Weighty Matters

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Perspective and Attitude

When the scale was moving steadily down and I got to my current weight, I was over-the-moon delighted and excited.  I felt powerful, supercharged, able to take on the world and pursue any activity or adventure.  Oh, it was glorious!

All those wonderful, positive feelings really fueled me in the first couple of years.  Since I’ve had this long period of off and on struggle, I’ve noticed another way in which the situation and my disease messes with my head.

Me at this weight when on a losing trend felt strong in body, fit, healthy and beautiful.

Me coming back to this weight — really only a few pounds in the grand scheme of things – feels weak, out of shape, out of sorts and not attractive.

So which is the truth?  Which is the real Mary?

The one I choose.

This comes down to perspective and attitude.  Thank goodness I realize this, even when beset with diseased thinking.  Once more I make the choice to not be defined by my eating disorder and, furthermore, not permit that disorder to poison my self-esteem and self-view.

I’m not where I want to be, but I am still a whole lot better than I was.  I have challenges, but I keep making the effort.  It’s not great right now, but it’s not as bad as it was last week.  My attitude is definitely improving.

In other news, I had a follow up with the foot doctor today.  I have some improvement but not as much as I’d like.  There are times when I can walk more easily mixed with times when each step is uncomfortably tight in the tendon and sharply painful in the heel.

So, I’m continuing with the running sneaks.  Oh, how happy I was to at least find jazzy ones with purple and pink!  Hey, if I have to wear them all the time, I should have ones that make me smile, right?  I’m staying away from sandals, wearing the splint at night, and so on.  I flex on the steps to loosen my calves.  I might whine to myself about it a lot, but I’m doing what I’m supposed to do.  After meeting with the doctor today, I’m 95% sure that I’m going to proceed with the Plasma Rich Platelet injection therapy he recommends.  My health insurance policy covers it and the doctor is sure that it will speed and intensify the healing.

He would have done the therapy today but I put it off for a week.  The downside is that I have to wear a boot for a week to ten days after the shot.  That will drastically cut down on my mobility.  Next week I have a couple of things going on at work that definitely require me to be more mobile.  I can suck it up and deal with the pain in order to get those things accomplished.  Also, darn it, it’s supposed to be really nice this weekend and I am determined to go out on the boat.  I didn’t get out last weekend due to a slight problem with the engine but that should be fixed now.  I can’t imagine that I will be able to clamber on and off the boat when booted, so I’m taking this opportunity while I can.  I need that boon emotionally and I know that it will do me a world of good!


Good Food Days

Everyone recovered from the holiday food coma?  If you put on a few pounds over the weekend, don’t panic!  It’s the body’s normal reaction to probably eating differently than you normally do.   If your body’s like mine, I can suck on four pounds of bloat without blinking.  Thankfully, I can get rid of it quickly too.

On the phone tonight with a friend  I shared that I had a good food day.  Then I realized I probably needed to explain what I meant.  Good food day could be interpreted different ways.  It could be a day when one eats lots of good food.  That was certainly true, but more importantly, it’s the way that I went through the day.  I was not besieged by compulsion.  I didn’t constantly think about food, nor did I suffer constant cravings.  I didn’t wish I could dive face first into an open bag of junk snack food.

All I did was mix up a nutritional, tasty smoothie for breakfast.  I planned, prepared, and packed two snacks and my lunch.  When I got home after work and a stop at the supermarket, I cooked the meal that I’d also planned and ate it in a relaxed, easy way.  (Grilled skirt steak with a salad of grilled romaine, roasted beets, a sprinkle of toasted walnuts, and some goat cheese crumbles.)  A short time ago, I had my evening snack and a cup of tea.

I’m satisfied.  I’m not craving more or wondering if it would hurt if I had a spoonful or two of (fill in the blank).

Translated, I am not white-knuckling and battling my eating disorder.  Any day when I am not regularly beset with food thoughts to the point where my compulsive desire to eat is fueled is one that goes in the Good Food Day category.  So, booyah for me!

Since I had a pretty good weekend food-wise, I feel strong and serene.  I decided not to do the full three day detox.  Instead, I went two days and then ate a small, healthy lunch and dinner yesterday.  I also got out for a few good walks and a long bike ride over the weekend.  Overall, I felt like I took really good care of myself.

Good food days, good program days, are important.  I can only do this recovery one day at a time and every day matters.


Obsessive Food Chatter

You know that old statement that guys think about sex every ten seconds?  I have no idea if that’s actually true, but I’d like the people who think they figured that out to chart a similar study of how often people with eating disorders think about food.  It sure seems like I have food chatter in my head a lot.  I won’t go as far as saying that I think about food every ten seconds or every other thought, but sometimes I have entire internal conversations with myself.

This morning, for example, I decided that, even though I had a tasty, satisfying protein smoothie for breakfast, I wanted/needed/had to have a toasted bagel with butter.  Not having bagels in the house, while I continued my morning routine, I mulled over where I could stop to get that bagel on my way to work.  This went back and forth for a while, even while I was already in the car.  Then I presented the counter argument that I didn’t need the bagel, that eating it was not on my day’s food plan, that I shouldn’t give into the compulsion, etc. etc. etc.

The debate went on until I passed the last convenience store market without pulling in to buy anything.  It’s mentally exhausting sometimes to go through these mind conversations.  And that was just one for the day.

I might have a dozen more, or more than a dozen more, before I go to sleep tonight.  They aren’t really chats, more like arguments, because what’s really happening is a struggle between me and the eating disorder.  Recovery vs relapse.  Abstinence from compulsive behavior against giving in.  They aren’t all long debates like this morning’s bagel discussion, thank God, or I’d never get anything done.  Most of the time they’re fleeting thoughts of “I want” and “No, don’t do it” type duration, then I dive back into whatever I was doing.

Repeating healthy, recovery-oriented reminders helps.  I have good nutritious food that I enjoy with me ready to eat at the appropriate times.  I don’t need the other foods.  I’m stronger than my compulsive disease.  Any positive statement helps.  Those also take time and mental energy.  What I really wish is that I could simply obliterate the food compulsion chatter all together.  Unfortunately, I don’t know how so the best I can do is continue to counteract it.

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Mental Satisfaction

I’m back from a few days of fun in New Orleans at the RT Bookreviews Convention. I had a great time hanging out with dear friends whom I don’t get to see often or spend nearly enough time with in a year. I also love New Orleans. It’s a fascinating, beautiful city with a variety of cultures, historical significance, wonderful art, fantastic music, and spectacular food.

I am not going to claim that I strictly adhered to my food plan. The best that I’ll say is that I did better than expected while also indulging in some treats that I love. I think I helped my overall effort by walking around a lot. In fact, on Thursday I logged close to 19,000 steps. I’ll find out how well I did when I get on the scale tomorrow but, more important to me, I will be back on good track tomorrow.

As several of you have reminded me over the months, recovery is not about always being strictly perfect or always depriving myself of foods that I enjoy. It’s about living a healthy, balanced life. I’m still learning how to do that balance thing. I might be learning how for the rest of my life. Sometimes are easier than others and I always need to remind myself that the key is progress not perfection.

Like I said, the food in New Orleans is mostly spectacular. I can’t tell you how many times I was enjoying something and actually caught myself wishing I could keep eating more and more. I don’t mean that I truly wished I could binge on it, but I also resented at times that I filled up sooner than I wanted to and was tempted to push my stomach past its capacity. Doing that is not good nor smart, and it leads to undesirable after effects like nausea, uncomfortable pressure, and, possibly, regurgitation of the meal. Food that was delicious going in does not taste good when it reverses direction.

A couple of times I went further than I should have and was uncomfortable. This at least led to me pondering what the heck was going on in my head. Sometimes I experience a real disconnect between physical satiety and mental/emotional satisfaction. Honestly, my stomach is ready to stop long before my head wants to call it quits. There is ongoing necessity for hard work on my part in this area.

When I do it right, I do it well. For example, even though I was thoroughly enjoying the red beans and rice with andouille sausage, I stopped before I overate. I reminded myself that, as good as it was, I needed to quit eating and remember that it wouldn’t be the last time in my life that I could enjoy this dish. Later on, I remembered that I’d enjoyed the robust meal at mid-day and contented myself with a lighter, small salad in the evening. That’s how “normal” people eat. 🙂 I wish I’d been as successful with the beignets a few days before. I didn’t eat all three of the large, puffy, fried pillows coated with powdered sugar, but I should have stopped at one and not eaten a large percentage of the second. In retrospect, regardless of how delicious I think a treat is, it isn’t worth the yucky physical feelings afterwards.

So, as I continue to retrain myself and reshape/improve my relationship with food and eating, I need to focus on the mental satisfaction aspect.

I stopped at the supermarket on my way home from the airport today to get in the food that I need. I bought Greek yogurt which has become a staple that I use in many different ways. I have fresh fruits and veggies for smoothies, snacks and side dishes. When I got home, I took out the chicken stock I made the other week and will make up some fresh chicken soup tomorrow night.

Part of my process involves revving myself up to eat healthy. While I might occasionally experience old diseased resentments, I am far more frequently joyful and excited about making healthy choices and continuing to shore up my recovery. Doing so, and taking an active role in positive progress, is good reinforcement. I’m not defeated by the challenges and rough spots. They are in their own ways necessary to my recovery. If I don’t experience and notice them, then I have no hope of working through them and teaching myself a better way for long term success.

Here are few photos from the trip. They were all shot with my phone under less-than-ideal photographic settings, so please forgive the fuzziness.

"Step Up" - At Mardi Gras World

“Step Up” – At Mardi Gras World

Me and the King at Mardi Gras World

Me and the King at Mardi Gras World

Friends on a Float at Mardi Gras World

Friends on a Float at Mardi Gras World

At the Vampire Ball - RT Convention

At the Vampire Ball – RT Convention


The Dumb Thing I Did

I did a totally dumbass thing earlier this evening. I can’t even claim that I thought it was a good idea at the time. I knew at the time that diseased thinking motivated the action and did it anyway because the desire to show the lowest number possible on the doctor’s scale tomorrow took over.

I’ve been really good on my food plan. Up until a couple of days ago when I got sick, I was consistently great with my physical fitness plan and exercise. I’ve been losing weight and have felt great about it. This should have been more than enough for me to maintain a solid recovery mindset. I decided that it wasn’t enough. I got so hung up on the doctor’s appointment tomorrow and the damned number on the scale, that I opted to push things further. Yesterday I put myself on a “full liquids” plan. This meant fruit and veggie smoothies, protein drinks, greek yogurt and low cal/low sodium/low carb creamy soup. It’s the same plan I followed for two weeks prior to surgery and then, after the first ten days of clear liquids, followed for another four weeks post-surgery. I stayed hydrated, drank a lot of green tea and felt terrific.

A little more weight dropped off as of this morning and I figured that I’d really be in good shape by tomorrow.

It still wasn’t enough. So, when I got home from work tonight and made another smoothie to drink for dinner on my way to my manicure/pedicure appointment, I got the bright idea to use a laxative. From time to time my system slows down and needs a little help. As long as I don’t overdo and use only when necessary, it’s okay. It would have been okay in this case, too, but I took more than the recommended dose — just to be sure.

An hour and a half later, my system protested. I won’t go into all the details except to say that I cramped, broke out into a cold sweat, and was miserable to the point that I needed to excuse myself several times from the appointment to use the restroom. Finally, I couldn’t sit still and cut my appointment short. Thankfully, my nail tech is also a friend. My toes/feet were done, the manicure was half done, and she’ll squeeze me in on Saturday afternoon to put the polish on my fingernails.

I rushed home and alternated between curling up in my recliner and waiting in the bathroom for a good half an hour before the reactions settled down. The whole time, I scolded myself for bringing this on by taking laxatives for the wrong reason. Right now, I’m trying to get over the negative thoughts and stop beating up on myself. I made a poor choice. I experienced the consequences. It’s over. I need to let it go. However, I also need to remember tonight’s episode and what I learned.

The next time I fixate so much on my weight that I’m tempted to do something harmful, I need to make a different choice. On a daily basis, this is not about how much I weigh to the number. It’s not about whether I please my surgeon. It’s about making good eating choices, exercising, and being healthy in body and mind.