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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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Little Wins

I almost called this post Small Victories, but that’s the title of a book I’m reading by the wonderful Anne LaMott and I didn’t want to steal it for my blog.  I will no doubt write a whole post about this book after I finish it, so stay tuned. 🙂

It’s Day Three of Lean-Green-Clean and it’s been another day of good, clean abstinence from compulsive overeating.  Even though I mentioned a few posts ago how my body feels different when I eat clean versus when I eat crap, I am frankly amazed at how much better I feel after only three days.  My systems and cells are practically singing.  They’re much happier when I fuel them with healthy, nutritious food and don’t inflict big quantities of fat, junk carbs, processed foods, and sugar.  I’m also doing a better job of hydrating, which increases the wellness.  I have more energy too.

I’m sure there are people who might look at this and think, “Three days.  Big whoop.”  To a lot of people, eating clean, green, healthy food in appropriate volume isn’t difficult.  It’s, shall we say, normal.  For me, one day of abstinence from compulsive overeating is a win.  I can’t take the days, any of them, for granted.  I sure can’t look at the effort and consider it easy or think there’s nothing to it.  Humility and gratitude are important to my recovery.

On top of the overall day, I had a particularly special “win”.   A group of us got together right after work at neighboring restaurant for the send off of a dear co-worker who is going on to a different job.  I’d already decided that I wouldn’t order anything to eat, but instead just enjoy the time and then eat my planned-on meal when I got home.  It’s not that I can’t eat out at a restaurant, and the food is good at this place.  I just knew, however, that the portions would be huge and there weren’t many menu items that fit the lean-green-clean plan.  I felt strong and confident in this decision.

I hadn’t planned on there being a large cake at the gathering.  Red velvet with a cream cheese frosting, to be exact.  It was sitting right on the table in front of me . . . so close that I could actually smell the cream cheese and the sugar.  Others at the gathering offered me a slice and I didn’t even think about saying yes.  I sat there with everyone and that scrumptious looking/smelling cake for a good 45 minutes, just talking and sipping a glass of water.  It wasn’t even a case of white-knuckling my way through the event.  My mindset was strong, calm, and sure that I truly didn’t want to eat any cake.

That truly is a victory for me.  I faced down a substance that is usually addictive and didn’t give in to my disease.  In addition to checking in and noting how I feel physically, I need to spend some time acknowledging how recovery feels to me emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

There’s a saying in program that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  I’m celebrating that feeling tonight.

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Creaky and Cranky

Day two of the lean-green-clean effort is pretty much a wrap.  I had another strong day of recovery eating-wise.  I’m working the tools by planning and preparing, doing readings, engaging in some spiritual reflection, and regularly giving myself pep talks.  I’m not, however, going great guns on my exercise.

You’ve all heard me whine often enough about my right knee with the considerable osteoarthritis.  I just got my tax refund back so tomorrow I’m calling the orthopedic doctor I was examined by last year and scheduling the two remaining shots on his suggested treatment.  I sure hope it helps because I know that my knee is worse than it was.

Worse or not, I can function and stay active with it as is, but what’s hampering my activity level right now is the heel pain I frequently experience in my left foot.  I haven’t been to a doctor yet about it, but I’m familiar with the symptoms and am 100% confident in my self-diagnosis of plantar fasciitis.  When I first get out of bed or stand up after sitting at my desk for a while, it’s almost comical how much I hobble for about a dozen steps.  That’s how long it takes for the knee to loosen up and the tendons, etc. to stretch out in my foot.  The heel pain comes and goes but when it’s aggravated, every step nearly makes me wince.

There are things I try to remember to do, such as stretching exercises before I get out of bed or while I’m sitting.  I wear some comfy slip-on sneaks more often right now because of the cushy protection for the heel and the better arch.  I’m a big baby about having to wear shoes instead of flip flops.  I know the doctor would also tell me to not go barefoot.  Silly as it might be, I hate wearing any kind of footwear in the house and can’t quite bring myself to take this next healing step, as it were.

I hope that with the little treatments, stretches, some occasional over the counter meds to reduce inflammation, and at least wearing sneaks more frequently than I normally do, the plantar fasciitis flare-up will go away.  It did before.  In the meantime, when the foot doesn’t hurt, or doesn’t hurt horribly, I walk.  If I’m experiencing a lot of pain, I’m not a masochist.  I take things a little easier.  So far, even with heel pain, I can handle the pivots and steps that are part of Tai Chi.

I also try to not whine too much, even too myself.  After all, it’s only an arthritic knee and an inflamed foot.  There are worse physical problems I could have.

Do any of you watch Dancing with the Stars?  One of the celebrity contestants this season is a military veteran named Noah Galloway.  During his service in the war, he lost one of his legs above the knee and one of his arms above the elbow.  Let me have a cougar moment and tell you that the man is totally hot and ripped.  Go ahead and Google his image and you’ll see.  He’s also quite the dancer!  Every week I watch him and am inspired.  I’m so grateful to him that he put himself out there in the public eye and goes for it week after week after week.

I’ve seen Noah in person.  I’ve met numerous other veterans who have undergone truly horrible injuries.  My knee and my heel are nothing to complain about.  Not when there are men and women who deal with lost limbs and more.

When working to recover, it’s important for me to keep things in perspective.  For me, right now, that means not indulging too much in my creaky crankiness.

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Anatomy of a Good Recovery Day

It’s almost 11 p.m. and I’m going to bed soon.  I wanted to report that I’ve had a good day, one in which I stayed abstinent from compulsive eating and stuck to my food plan.  One day down and one day is all I need.  When I wake up tomorrow I’ll plan on making it another good day of recovery.

I know it’s helpful for me to reflect on what I did to have a good, abstinent day.  Sharing about it on this blog also serves as reinforcement.

Last night I talked about being prepared, so today’s effort actually began last night when I prepped the food I planned to eat while at work.  Can’t remember if I’ve explained my overall food plan in a while, but I eat six times a day.  That works out to three “meals” and three snacks.  Very often, there isn’t an appreciable increase in volume at the “meals”, although my tendency is to have dinner be a somewhat larger meal.  I’m trying to change that too, over time.

So, for today — I fixed a protein shake for breakfast with a small banana.  I had a couple of cups of hot black tea with a small splash of half ‘n half.  My mid-morning snack included a couple reasonable tablespoons of spinach-artichoke hummus with two celery stalks and half a dozen baby carrots.  I had a cup of green tea at work at around the same time.  After that I filled up my water glass too.  For lunch I prepared a chocolate protein shake.  That satisfied me until it was time for a mid-afternoon cup of green tea and a small apple for snack time.

For dinner, I steamed a spaghetti squash and cooked up some crushed tomatoes into a nice sauce.  I then put the two together along with a couple of ounces of fresh mozarella.  Another cup of tea in the evening was followed by about 3/4 of a naval orange.

As I said I planned to when discussing my homemade lean-green-clean plan, I avoided chocolate, all candy, bread, crackers, cookies, cakes and potatoes.

For exercise, I took Nat and Pyxi out for a short walk this morning and a longer walk after dinner.  I also did a set of Tai Chi.

All of this – the food, eating and exercise – covers the physical aspect of the program.  For the emotional/mental part, I read the daily message in one of my books and revisited the written explanation of Step One.  Knowing how supportive my friends at work are about all of my efforts, I “came clean” to them by explaining my decision to go lean-green-clean to a stricter degree than usual.  I don’t want them to police my eating, but it’s helpful to my mindset if I’m honest and open about what I’m experiencing.  It helps me with my accountability to myself.

I also acknowledged to my Higher Power that I am simply grateful for all of the blessings and lessons in my life and asked for help in experiencing a day of recovery instead of relapse.  This balanced out the three-legged stool with the spiritual side.

For most of the day, the effort was fairly easy, relatively speaking.  Granted I psyched myself up for it and brought forth strong motivation.  Also granted, this was only the first day — one day.  Still, it’s something on which to build with a whole series of “one day at a time”.  Tonight has been the most difficult part of the day.  About an hour ago, I started feeling hungry.  At least, I think I was really feeling it, but it’s sometimes hard for me to differentiate between real, actual hunger and mental hunger.  Whether it’s one or the other isn’t as important as what I chose to do about what I experienced.  I chose not to eat something that wasn’t pre-planned.  I chose to remain in recovery.

That was the choice today.  That’s the choice I’ll wake up and make in the morning.  I’d like to have another good food day of recovery.

 

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Lean, Green, Clean – and a Little Bit Mean

I haven’t been away from the blog because I’ve been sulking about my relapse.  The day after I last posted I started on a whirlwind including a work-week away in Washington, D.C. for business.  It’s been crazy, that’s for sure.

I haven’t had a lot of time to myself but what little I’ve had, i used to really think about what I’m doing, what I’m not doing, and what I need to do.   I conducted a personal inventory and considered different approaches to get me out of relapse and back on the road of recovery.

Half measures avail me nothing.  I can’t pretend that if I just do the program mostly right I’ll be okay.  Not now.  Maybe not ever.

So, I retook the first step, which in the 12 Steps means that I admit I’m powerless over food and my eating disorder and that my life has become unmanageable.  To someone who isn’t familiar with the steps, powerless and unmanageable might seem dramatic, but I know what I’m feeling and experiencing and they are very real.

I also know how crappy my body feels inside and out.  You know, I never used to know the difference because for decades I always ate huge quantities of poor quality food and that’s what was familiar.  Then, after weight loss surgery I had a couple of years where I ate really high quality food and my system got to know how great that felt.  So, now that I’ve been eating less quality and more junk, I feel it in my sluggish system and lower energy.  Plus there’s the extra pounds I regained.  Not a lot in the grand scheme of things, but enough that I feel them in my waistbands and see them in the mirror.

I am geared up and prepared to retake all of the steps and go to every length to regain recovery.  Right now, I don’t think this is something I can ease into, so I’ve decided to start off super strict  – lean, green and clean.

Vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes, leaner proteins more often than red meat, less fatty cheese that I like to pretend is a protein, no fried foods.  Saying goodbye to a slice of toast here and there, a bagel, a potato and pasta.

I’m cutting out candy – even the one or two little bites that, in themselves, aren’t enough to mess me up, but that can lead me to the craving for more and more.  I’m cutting out processed dessert items – cookies, cake, pie, ice cream.  If it isn’t something that grew and was picked – as in fruit –  I’m not eating it.

Look, I know that all of the above mentioned foods are okay in moderation, but right now holding myself to moderation is the issue.  Believe it or not, it’s an easier choice to just say no.

I have a lot of tasty tools to help me.  There’s the aforementioned fresh fruits and vegetables.  I have good quality protein powders to mix up in smoothies.

I also have the knowledge.  I’ve learned so much in the last three plus years and all of this will help.

For today, I have the willingness.   Hopefully tomorrow I’ll have the willingness again.  A day or two from now when I’m craving something fried or want a sweet chunk of chocolate, I hope that the willingness and desire for recovery will be strong enough to battle the cravings and the possible bitchiness I’ll no doubt experience.

Yes, that’s a side effect.  Even when I rationally know that I’m doing the best, healthy things for myself, I can still get bitchy about the whole thing.  That’s the mean that I referred to in the post’s title.

My program books will be at my bedside, helping me work on the spiritual and emotional aspects of recovery.

Before I sat down to write this post, I prepared and packaged my food for tomorrow.  The fight for my own recovery is on, my friends.  I’m locked and loaded.

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Rant Alert:

Has anyone else seen the television ads for the “Mixify” initiative? Apparently Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi are reaching out to our country’s youth to help them learn how to balance what they eat and drink with their activity level.  The cynical part of me says that they want people to exercise more so that they can keep drinking soda.  The less-cynical part of me says that achieving that balance is important and if the ad helps young people do this, then who cares who’s delivering the message?

The cynical part of me just looked at the other part and said, “Yeah, right.”

What really gets me about the television ad is the actress doing the voiceover.  To my ear, she sounds a great deal like First Lady Michele Obama.  Since her husband took office as president, Mrs. Obama has campaigned to fight childhood obesity, increase children’s activity, and help everyone develop better, healthier eating habits.

I can’t help but believe that the beverage companies’ ad agency deliberately tried to link the Mixify campaign to Mrs. Obama.  They probably went through dozens of auditions before they found someone with a similar voice.

Honestly, I don’t know why, but the commercial annoys me every time I hear it.

 

 

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