Weighty Matters

Just another WordPress.com site

Different Measures of Success

After a wonderful weight loss in the first two weeks of the new plan, I’ve had a frustrating week.  I’m still carefully following the plan.  However, I not only haven’t lost weight, I’ve gained a couple of pounds.  There might be a couple of things factoring into my body’s reaction.   I did three challenging rowing workouts this week.  I wasn’t great early in the week with drinking enough water.  My digestive system has been extremely sluggish.  Even knowing all of these things and absolutely knowing that I have not deviated on the plan, it’s hard to not be disappointed.

I will give myself permission to feel frustrated and disappointed.  However, I am determined to not let it throw me off of the wagon.  We already know that I have an unhealthy obsession with the number on the scale.  I cannot afford to let that be the only, or even the main, measure of my success.  It is definitely a great time for me to reconnect with Non-Scale Victories or NSVs.

Here are some of my other successes from the past week.  I went to a business dinner last Tuesday and, on Wednesday, we ordered from a restaurant for lunch one day.  At the dinner, I bypassed the dinner roll and the white rice and only ate foods that are on my plan.  For lunch, I did not order my favorite sandwich.  Instead, I ordered a great wedge salad and supplemented it with protein I brought from home.

I really, really worked hard at each rowing class.  Not that I don’t work hard every time, but these three classes included some challenges we haven’t tried before.  On Friday, when doing sprints, I hit a personal best on power – hitting 222 watts of power on several strokes.

I’ve faced temptations — then turned my back and walked away.

Even today I went to a big luncheon fundraiser.  I declined a cocktail.  When dessert came, I ate the whipped cream and fresh berries (both on the plan), took one forkful of the cake and then stood up and placed the plate out of my reach.  Later one when took a trip to the supermarket, I cruised by all kinds of food items that I would normally buy and eat.  Instead, I stuck to my list and that was that.

Although I wish the number on the scale would go back down, I can see the overall weight loss.  I can also feel that even just 11 pounds — or 8 with the weird gain – has reduced the pressure on my right knee.  I have less pain in that joint.  That’s huge.  Last month I was so depressed by how much and how frequently my knee hurt.  To be aware of the improvement is not just a physical thing.  It’s a real mood booster.

Three weeks into working a strong food plan, and working it so well, creates such an improved attitude.  OA has a saying that nothing tastes as good as abstinence feels.  Alleviating the compulsive overeating is a relief.  I feel better about my plan, my progress and, yes, about myself.  This, my friends, is a NSV beyond measure!

Advertisements
Leave a comment »

Pretend Coping

It’s Sunday night.  I’ve made it through a stressful, emotional weekend without blowing my abstinence.  Instead of running to food to cope with the upset of Pyxi’s ailment, I ran to program.  I kept using the tools of committing my food in the morning and logging it in the diary.  I went to my newly discovered online support group and read their posting while posting my own note.

This morning was the worst.  Pyxi has not been drinking a lot of water.  She is still interested in food  but is not always able to keep it down.  Even a couple of hours past a meal, she may throw up.  Even though our veterinarian and his wife are friends of mine, I am reluctant to bother him on a weekend when I know he is not on call.  So, I called the emergency number and the on-call vet got back in touch with me pretty quickly.

I conveyed Pyxi’s symptoms and condition to her since she wasn’t in the office with access to the medical records.  I wanted to know if I could start giving Pyxi an over-the-counter acid fighter to help with the vomiting.  I wanted to know if the vet thought that it was time to give her some fluids since she wasn’t drinking much.  Let me preface what I’m about to write by saying this other veterinarian is a good doctor.  While she hasn’t seen my kids often, the couple of times that she has she’s been good and thorough with them.  I trust her knowledge.  Besides, I know that my regular vet would not have invited her to join his established practice if she wasn’t up to his standards.

Okay, that said, I question whether it was necessary for her to give me a quick and sudden lesson in the nature of kidney disease in dogs, including how it is incurable and we focus on managing symptoms until we reach the point where we have to consider our dog’s quality of life and weigh other decisions.

At some point in her talking, I stopped hearing her actual words because my brain started saying, “Pyxi’s dying.”  I ceased being able to process things rationally at that point.  All I could really say was that this was dramatically more somber than M had been on Wednesday and, while I knew her condition is serious, I didn’t think we were at the “assessing quality of life” stage yet.  I felt like my hope that we might be able to at least stabilize Pyxi had just disintegrated.

I guess I was able to participate enough in the conversation to hear the vet say to start her on the anti-acid meds twice a day.  She also suggested that I could try to syringe some water into her and, if she didn’t get in some fluids today to call and I could bring her in for some subcutaneous fluids.  I told her I’d call her, thanked her, and disconnected the call.

Then I lost my mind.  I went into a complete emotional meltdown with my chest heaving, tears pouring out of my eyes and my arms wrapped around my mid-section.  It was awful.

Through it all I kept repeating, “Don’t eat.  Just don’t eat.  Don’t eat.  It won’t help.  Just don’t eat.”  I don’t often fall apart, but when I do, I’m thorough about it, let me tell you.  It was a good 15-20 minutes before I pulled myself together enough to think.  I decided that my friend would absolutely not mind me reaching out to him in this case.  I was such a basket case that I didn’t even remember that I actually have his cell phone number, so I texted his wife, apologized profusely for bothering them on a Sunday and asking if he had a minute to call.  I even said that I was probably overreacting but I was losing my mind over it and needed verification on what I should do.

My vet is the calmest, nicest and most gentle of people.  He called me within five minutes.  The first thing he said was that I should never feel bad about calling him any time and that he actually preferred that I call him directly because he has Pyxi’s history in his head and knows her so well.  The second thing he did was reassure me that, while Pyxi’s condition is serious, he does still have some hope that we can stabilize her so that she doesn’t worsen and that we might even be fortunate and see some improvement.  He feels we need to look at more than her numbers and assess her behavior.  Even though she sometimes throws up, it is still encouraging that she is eager to eat and there are things that we can do to treat the vomiting symptoms.

This immediately calmed me down enough to tell him what I’ve been seeing in the last 48 hours.  He wasn’t surprised that I’ve kept a log of when she eats, drinks, pees, vomits; what her behavior and demeanor are like, etc.  He reiterated to keep her on the anti-acid medication.  He told me at this point not to force her with syringing fluid into her mouth but to keep monitoring her intake and output.  We agreed to touch base later in the day.  If we thought it necessary he would meet me at the clinic at any time and give her Sub-Q fluids.

Before we disconnected, I wanted to let him know that I understood the seriousness of the situation and that I accepted that it might not turn around for her and she could deteriorate to where we’d have to face that quality of life discussion.  He told me he knew that and that I knew he would always tell me straight.  This helped settle me in my mind even more and I truly felt that we aren’t at that point.

As the day went on, Pyxi didn’t get any worse.  She did throw up several hours after her first dose of anti-acid med, but at least she had time to digest some of her breakfast.  She continued to be pretty quiet, sleeping most of the day.  She’ll get up and go outside or follow me into the bedroom, but then settles down again.  I was on the point of calling him and suggesting the sub-q fluids when she went into the kitchen and drank more water.  Dinner was several hours ago and it’s now three hours since she drank and, so far, everything is staying down.  He called me for an update and we decided that if her water intake doesn’t increase by mid-day tomorrow, I’ll bring her in for fluids.

I am so fortunate to work where I do.  They are completely fine with me bringing both dogs to work when I need to do so.  Nat and Pyxi behave very well in my office so I can get work done and they don’t disrupt any body else in the building.  I’m going to take only Pyxi tomorrow.  Normally, the two of them go everywhere together but I just have a feeling that she’ll be less ramped up on the trip and in the office if it’s only her tomorrow.  Natty won’t like it at first but I also know that he’ll go back to sleep within minutes after we leave.

The day is winding down now.  I’m going to bed soon and plan to still go to my 7 a.m. rowing class in the morning.  I am so happy to have gotten through this day without mindlessly abandoning my food plan and attempting to use food to cope with the upsetting situation.  I stayed on track.   I even went out and did 35 minutes of water aerobics.  Then I prepared a delicious dinner (Grilled lamb steak with roasted rainbow carrots and fingerling potatoes) and enjoyed eating it — without overeating more than I’d planned.

Given my decades-long history of using food to cope, this is sort of miraculous.  That brings me to the point I wanted to make when I named this post.  Using food or any substance, heck, using behaviors in ways that could be destructive, are not really coping.  We call them coping mechanisms, but when we use them, we aren’t truly coping.  In my case, when I’m upset and plunge into compulsive overeating, I’m actually running away and not dealing.

As emotionally upsetting as it was to sit here sobbing and think about possibly losing my sweet little furgirl, I needed to go through the process, experience the emotions and get to a place where I was functioning and thinking straight.  I need clarity to properly manage Pyxi’s care and get her whatever she needs.  Drugging myself with food is not going to help.

It will only make me feel worse and then create even more stress and upset when I get mad at myself for overeating.

For today, coping means feeling the emotions, no matter how uncomfortable or painful or scary, and doing what is necessary regardless.  It means not looking for false mechanisms to make it easier but choosing effective, not destructive methods.

It means that, no matter what, don’t eat.  Just don’t eat.

 

3 Comments »

Binge Food Reimagined

Thank you to everyone who contacted me about Pyxi.  She is no worse, thank goodness.  She’s eating and taking her meds.  Her energy level isn’t quite where it usually is, but neither is she markedly lethargic.  So, I’m cautiously optimistic that she’s holding steady at the very least.  Perhaps the medication will gradually lead to some improvement.

Emotionally, I was much better today.  Still concerned, but I didn’t cry multiple times.  I was able to focus with greater effectiveness and not dissolve into a mushy mess.  I also succeeded in sticking to my abstinence and not catapulting off the recovery wagon to plunge into vats of inappropriate food.

It might be a little premature, but I feel like I’ve turned some sort of corner over the last week where my eating disorder and recovery are concerned.  I’m not obsessing about food.   I’m committing to my food plan on a daily note on my phone and then logging meals, snacks, water and exercise in My Fitness Pal.

Staying on my food plan is accomplished with little struggle and angst.  .  I’m not beset by cravings.  This all greatly reduces my levels of eating disorder-related stress and anxiety.

While writing this, I just had a realization.  You know how I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist?  As part of the treatment, she places some needles in key points in my outer ears to assist with the food cravings.  For the last couple of weeks, after removing the needles at the end of the session, she sticks tiny metal “seeds” on the points to continue help with the cravings/food thoughts.  Normally, these begin to irritate me by now, the evening of the day after the treatment.  According to the practitioner, the irritation or twinges happen because a particular point or set of points needs the assist.  So, it was no coincidence, I guess, that I had irritation at the seed points when I was also struggling with the compulsive disease.

Tonight, I’m not struggling and the seeds aren’t bothering me.  Also not a coincidence, I suspect.

This week, I’ve been more open and willing to exercise.  Not just the rowing classes, which I love, but also finding other opportunities to be active.  Yesterday, because I had an early acupuncture appointment, I didn’t have to leave my house as early as usual.  So, I pulled on a bathing suit and did a half hour of exercise in the pool.  The other night, I rode my bike to and from Tai Chi.  All of these things add up.

Speaking of rowing, I am very proud of myself today.  I absolutely nailed the day’s routine.  There were three of us in the 4:30 p.m. class.  We were going for consistency and distance in increasing increments.  First we rowed for a minute, then three minutes, five minutes, seven minutes and nine minutes.  All these had :20 rest periods in between the intervals.  We had a two minute rest and then five one minute rows in which we gradually increased our strokes per minute.  All told, in slightly more than 30 minutes, I rowed the equivalent of 3.5 miles!  I also earned zone master designation for the class which means that I kept my heart rate up in the desired 80-89% range for the longest amount of time overall.  I also was the cool down champion, meaning I brought my heart rate back down the soonest.  Not bad, right?  Particularly when I was older than the other two rowers by about 30 years.

From there I drove home and made dinner, which brings me to the real topic of tonight’s post — reimagining binge foods.  There are certain foods that I absolutely cannot trust myself to eat in sane, healthy, portion-appropriate ways.  I will binge on them.  It’s that simple.  When I’m in a bad place with my eating disorder, I’ll bring them into the house, even though I know that I will definitely overeat.  When I’m in a good, healthy, abstinent place, I don’t get those particular foods.  It just isn’t worth triggering a binge.

Pizza is a binge food for me if I order it when I’m alone.  I’m okay if I go out with friends, or have it here when I have company, but I absolutely cannot be alone with pizza.  At all.  Back in the pre-weight loss surgery days, I could easily plow my way through an entire pie, washed down with a liter of soda.  These days, with the restricted stomach size, even if I can’t physically fit more than, say, a slice and a half, if there is leftover pizza in the house, I’ll keep going back to it and pick at the toppings and cheese.  It’s a different kind of binge, but it still counts as one.

This totally bites, because I love  pizza, but I accept the limitations.  I’ll have it if I’m out with friends sometimes, but that’s it.

Last week sometime, the rowing class trainer and all of us were talking eating healthy.  For me, I’m making a concentrated effort to up my protein grams per day, and cut way back on refined sugar and starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.  For example, earlier this week I cooked and mashed up celery root.  Mashed celery root makes a fine substitute for mashed potatoes.  I seasoned it up, added a little plain Greek  yogurt and have enjoyed a reasonable serving at eat dinner.  Anyway, back to the trainer.  He mentioned that he and his wife, who is also a trainer, experimented with a cauliflower and cheese “pizza” crust and it was great.

I’ve seen this cauliflower crust from time to time in Facebook recipe memes and other places, but I’ve never tried to make one.  As it happens, I got a head of organic cauliflower in my organics share this week, so I vowed to try it tonight.  I even went so far as to prepare the cauliflower part last night so I could put it together with the other ingredients and bake it tonight.

Cauliflower, some cheese, seasonings, and eggs make up the mixture.  You spread it out like a crust on a baking sheet and bake it at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Add your favorite toppings and bake for 10 minutes more.  Tonight I spread some homemade tomato/red bell pepper/meat sauce over the top.

Oh.  My.  Goodness.  It was absolutely delicious!  No, not the same completely chewy texture as a thick flour/yeast crust, but so tasty that the difference didn’t matter one bit.  My meat sauce topping was pretty darned terrific, too.  I thoroughly savored and enjoyed my reasonable portion of the dish and felt no compulsion to binge or otherwise overeat.

Success!

I then input the ingredients into My Fitness Pal and determined that, even with the cheese, the Cauliflower pizza crust is definitely a healthy alternative to regular pizza.  181 calories, 14 g of protein, only 4 grams of carbohydrates; 12.5 grams of fat.  I can’t get too worked up about the fat grams since I didn’t slather more ooey gooey cheese on top.

Look, I don’t pretend to say that I will never again eat “real” pizza, but having this delicious, healthier, reimagined version of a dreaded binge food makes me very happy!

2 Comments »

Sourcing Support

I’m pretty sure that back in the early days of this blog and the beginning of my post-weight loss surgery journey I talked about things I did before the surgery.  Among them was discovering a website community called ObesityHelp.com.  I found the site soon after I decided to seriously consider having surgery, which would have been roughly six months before the actual operation.

The site was an unbelievable resource for me.  It is filled with forums where people of all backgrounds, challenges, journeys and so on share their stories.  There are forums for folks who are having or who have had weight loss surgery – broken out even by the type of surgery.  When I started my research, I’d never heard of the type of surgery I eventually had – a vertical sleeve gastrectomy (VSG).  Once I found out about VSG, I then started looking deeper into that procedure.  I think that’s what led me to ObesityHelp.com.

Oh, thank goodness!  For months, this was a place where I could read about other people and their journeys.  I could ask questions and benefit from the experience of others.  It was amazing.  The people were enthusiastic, generous with their stories, oh so encouraging.  I went there every night and, if I got scared or anxious or confused, I’d even pop on during the day.  Since I live in a place where in-person support groups are not available, online became a lifeline.

When good friends approached me and said they were considering weight loss surgery, I recommended that they also check out the website in addition to the other research they were doing.  I still do.

So, I don’t remember when or why I stopped frequenting the website and participating in the forums.

Yesterday was a particularly bad food day for me.  There is no rhyme nor reason for it, other than my eating disorder taking over my actions.  Even as I snacked and ate crap that wasn’t on my food plan I felt mad, sad, discouraged and depressed about it.  The emotions then fueled me eating more.  But a big bold mark in the Suckitude column.

I don’t know why I thought to do it, but at some point I walked over to the computer and logged in to ObesityHelp.com.  I cruised the forums and posted a note about what I’ve been experiencing and how I’m not sure what at this stage of the game I should be following as a food plan, how many calories, what ratio of protein to carbs, etc.  I asked for suggestions.

Today I went back on and there were several replies, all with good suggestions and, as important, encouraging words.  I visited more forums on the site and found someone who asked if anyone else post-wls still deals with binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating.  So, here was another place to touch base, to share, and to read the sharing of others.  Then I found a group for people fighting back from regaining some of their weight.

All of this information.  All of this support.  It’s still all right there, where it was before.  My needs have changed and the site is still a wonderful resource. Even the strongest, most knowledgeable of us can benefit from the knowledge and experience of others.

I’m feeling very grateful right now that I went back to the site.   I plan to keep going back.  I was feeling pretty isolated and alone in my struggle.  I don’t feel so alone anymore.

2 Comments »

Food Fidgets

I am fidgety about food today and I don’t know why.  I’m not stressing about anything.  I’m excited about developing a more regular workout routine/effort.  I got enough sleep last night.

Yesterday, I had a terrific acupuncture session, including some work to boost the channel associated with my metabolism.  (It was sluggish.)  I feel great, darn it, so why the compulsive thoughts and desire to eat?  I’ve stayed on track and just finished my planned mid-morning snack.  Still I’m thinking about food more often.  Thinking often leads to false-hunger and wanting.

At least I’m aware of the situation.  It’s when I’m not aware and move directly and swiftly into acting on the compulsion that the day’s plan falls apart.

Right now, instead of going in search of food to augment my snack, I’m going to fill up my water glass and consume some nice cool water instead.

Leave a comment »

Body Work

It’s Sunday.  I woke up, ate a healthy, tasty breakfast, and then went to the massage therapist.  I think I’ve mentioned before that she puts the “therapy” in massage therapy.  The woman is gifted and even with years of experience, she continues to learn more about the body and how to work on it for healing.  She worked a lot on my legs to accompany the other things I’ve done to promote healing.  When the session was finished, my entire body and mind felt terrific.

I wrote her a check and had to chuckle.  Most of the checks I’ve written in recent weeks have been to pay for sessions and experiences dedicated to my health and well-being.  A facial, manicures, a pedicure, acupuncture, massage therapy.

Clearly, it’s all about me right now.  I have a hair appointment on Tuesday.  I categorize that as something for my well-being, too.

The point is that I am willing to invest in the things that make me feel good and help to take care of my body.  The facial addresses my skin.  The acupuncture is clearly helping me in a variety of ways from pain reduction to cutting down inflammation to staying on track with my food plan.  The massage therapy doesn’t need any more explanation.

The manicure, pedicure and hair appointment?  Yes, I can make a case for health and well-being in those areas, even if the end results that are obvious to the eye are prettier hands, feet and hair.  The nail treatments condition my hands and feet.  The hair treatment, well, I think it really does help my over all hair condition too.

Body work is good for us.  Treating ourselves well, whether externally, internally or a combination of both, goes deeper than just the physical.  The results are so positive for us emotionally, mentally and, ultimately, spiritually.  With my eating disorder, I damage myself physically and emotionally.  This messes me up in my mental process and dulls my spirit.  I can easily begin to believe the crap that my disease says to me and think badly of myself.  So, taking the time and making the effort to restore myself assists my overall program of recovery.

These sessions don’t come cheap, although at $30 I think the acupuncture is darned near a bargain, but I think they deliver high quality return on my investment.   When I’m healthy and in a good, strong place with managing my disorder, I spend a heck of lot less money on food.  I also waste less food.  So, I think it’s fine for me to take those food dollar savings and put them toward a treatment.

I matter.  My health and well-being are important.  I’m worth these efforts to support myself.

So are you.

 

2 Comments »

Conversation Comparison

This is what a conversation in my head sounds like when I’m in disease and obsessed with food:

(While driving home from work.)  “What do I have to eat for dinner? Do I have anything in the house to eat?  What am I hungry for?  I could stop for take out from that new Mediterranean place.  Gyro.  Spanikopita.  Baklava! Oh, wait.  I have leftover spaghetti squash with tomato meat sauce and fresh ricotta.  I should eat that.  Healthy.  But it’s Italian.  I should have bread.  I haven’t had any.  Did I eat other carbs today?  I need bread.  I don’t have any bread in the house.  I’ll top and get some.  Crusty chewy Italian bread.  (Begin imagining myself tearing off a thick hunk from the loaf and slathering it with soft butter.)  Dessert.  Do I have dessert?  Lots of fresh fruit.  But I want chocolate.  I can practically taste chocolate.  I must have some chocolate.  Cookies?  No, maybe ice cream.  Ohh, that gelato!”

This is not a work of fiction.  I had this conversation earlier today in between work and the acupuncturist’s office. Exhausting, not to mention damaging.  From one thought to the next, I can totally veer off of my healthy food plan and fall into compulsion.   Plus, that’s just one conversation.  In the course of a day, when I’m in full compulsive eating disorder mode, I have those internal chats frequently throughout the day.  They build on themselves like a snowball rolling down hill gathers more snow and more snow, getting bigger and bigger and bigger.  The more momentum the compulsion gets, the less resistance I have and the more likely I am to go from trigger point to the actual act of eating or overeating.

As I said in the previous post, I saw some real easing of compulsive thought in the past week, but I won’t pretend for a nanosecond that a single acupuncture session can fix me.  Nothing will ever fix me.  It can hopefully be an effective weapon in my anti-disease arsenal, however.  So, I pulled into the acupuncturist’s office, which distracted me from the obsessive food chatter in my head.  We talked for a few minutes.  I recapped everything that I’d felt/experienced in the last week post-the initial session.  Then I stretched out on the table while she inserted the needles to help continue the heel and tendon healing, reduce knee pain, and work with my cravings and compulsions.  I relaxed into the treatment, breathing and being mindful and present in my body and mind.

She’d told me to be aware if I felt anything in my body during treatment like twinges, aches, pains or anything.  Those could signify blocks releasing and opening up to let the internal energy flow.  About mid-way through, my knees began to warm and my flesh felt a little like it was experiencing a low modulating vibration.  It was comfortable and lovely, actually, so I continued to relax and enjoy.  A short time later, the needles in my right ear which are for the food cravings and weight issues started to hurt a little.  It was not the same pleasant sensation, but I remembered not to constrict and fight it.  I breathed deeply and expanded into the feeling.  Before long, the discomfort faded away.  I also felt a little pricking feeling in my left foot, right in the area where the doctor inserted the needle at last week’s plasma injection in order to treat the tendon.  It felt like it had a needle in it, but I didn’t remember the acupuncturist inserting one at that spot.  More breathing, expanding, noting.

When the practitioner returned, I told her about all that I’d felt.  No, she hadn’t put a needle in my left foot at that spot.  It was a sign that the healing energy was getting to the necessary spot.  All of the signs were promising.

When my session was done, I walked next door to my manicure appointment.  I was decidedly more mellow and relaxed.  My nail tech friend and I had a nice chat while she did my nails.  A co-worker dropped in to say hello after finishing her acupuncture session.  It was fun.

I got in my car and had this conversation with myself on my way down the highway:

“Oh right.  I still need to fix dinner when I get home.  I was going to stop for that Italian bread.”  (Pause.)

(Pause)  “I like this song that’s playing.”

(Pause.)

“I don’t really want that bread.  I’ll just go home and have that spaghetti squash.  Don’t need that chocolate either.  I have all that fruit.”

Definitely less obsessed with food and a whole lot less compulsive.  This is what it’s like for me when I’m in a good place, when I have time between the inciting/trigger thought and the actual action of eating.

I can’t quite bring myself to 100% believe that the acupuncture treatment has this capability, but I am definitely optimistic about it.

3 Comments »

Emotional or Physical Damage – Which is Worse?

The physical and emotional damage of having an eating disorder are both horrible.  They’re also tightly connected and the effects of one have a strong impact on the other.

Earlier today, I was on the phone with someone I’ve known since I was in college.  She too has battled an eating disorder for most of her life.  While I don’t see or talk to her often, when we do we know that each of us “gets” it.  We were catching up with each other today.  Her husband is battling cancer.  As his wife, helper, chief support system, she’s working very hard to keep herself on track too.  “I have too,” she said.  “If I get into the food, I can’t be present for him, for anybody.”

I talked about how I’ve been struggling with the compulsion but am in there fighting.  I shared the insight I had a few weeks ago about how when I first got down to this weight I was delighted and excited.  Now that I’m at this number because I gained some weight, I’m not happy about it.

She said that the self-hatred we experience when we’re in our disease is the worst aspect of having an eating disorder.  I agree.  Most people might eat too much ice cream, cake or potato chips and feel the physical discomfort of being too full or bloated or queasy.  Those of us with an eating disorder feel those things — with a heaping helping of self-directed anger, loathing, dismay, and sadness piled on top.

Then, all of those emotions erode our confidence and make us feel so terrible that we want to medicate and anesthetize the feelings.  Our drug of choice is food and the destructive ways in which we eat.  We rip into ourselves, call ourselves horrible things and treat ourselves with so little love and kindness.  Overeating or compulsive eating, combined with the emotional backlash really results in a harsh form of self-abuse.

It goes without saying that if we are stuck in this behavior for long periods of time, we create physical damage.  Pounds pack on.  We become obese and can trigger numerous co-morbidities.  Over time, carting around excess weight strains our body, damages our joints, stresses our organs, creates conditions that shorten our life-expectancy.

Right now, I’m still overweight, but far less so than before I had surgery.  I don’t have the co-morbidities of Type II diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure any more.  I’m more physically fit.  So, in truth, the physical effects of my eating disorder are less prevalent.  For now.  I am ever conscious that I can lose this state of grace.

Overall, I am much more damaged emotionally by the current struggle.  When I feel bad about myself, I want to eat more to bury the feelings.  That just makes everything even worse.  So, while I continue to work on refraining from eating compulsively, I also consciously focus attention on what I think and feel about myself.  Equal attention to both these aspects of my disease are the only way in which I can recover.

Leave a comment »

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.

Leave a comment »

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.

 

Leave a comment »