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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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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.


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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Self-Directed Anger

I’m pretty pissed off at myself.  I’m angry about the way that I’m eating, the food choices I’ve been making, and the unhealthy behaviors that I continue to reinforce.

It might be difficult to understand the difference between beating up on myself and being angry with myself, but right now, this type of anger actually feels healthier and more productive.  It’s better than turning it inward into depression and then eating over it because I’m sad and depressed about my disease.  It absolutely is a lot better for me than denial.   It’s also cleaner and more constructive than just telling myself I’m badbadbad, useless, weak-willed and all of that crap that I am also capable of saying.

I’m looking to use this temper and straight-talk myself into positive action.

One positive action is as simple as acknowledging the anger and all of my feelings and then letting myself experience them instead of smothering them with food.

So, anger can be positive when appropriately channeled.  It helps to reinforce the wake-up call that I desperately need and then shore up the motivation and constructive actions to reclaim recovery.

Speaking of reclaiming recovery, I went through half a dozen boxes from my storage unit today, sorting through things that I’d put away for quite some time.  In one of the boxes, I found two of my OA books.  No coincidence that they would reappear in my life right now when I so badly need them for study and healing!

No coincidence at all.

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Binge Eating Disorder

This morning while preparing breakfast, packing lunch for work and so on, I had the television on.  All of a sudden I heard an ad about Binge Eating Disorder.  I looked up at the television in complete surprise.  There was Monica Seles, a well-known former professional tennis star, talking about having the disorder and what it meant.  The ad showed some definitions/diagnosis points and referred people to a site called bingeeatingdisorder.com and recommended discussing things with your doctor.

Watching that commercial, being in that moment, I felt intense gratitude.   For so much of my life, I suffered with this disorder without knowing what was wrong with me.  I didn’t know it even was a disorder, a disease.  I thought I was a weak, fat, eating slob with no will-power.  It destroyed my self-esteem, affected my physical health, my relationships with myself and others, led me into destructive behaviors and situations and caused me years and years of emotional misery.

I was 34 years old before I found out about binge eating and compulsive overeating and began to rebuild myself.  Recovery took many more years and remains an ongoing effort.  I will never be completely recovered or cured, but I am so much better and healthier emotionally, physically, and mentally than I was.

Putting this message out publicly will help untold numbers of people who are dealing, or attempting to deal, with this disorder on their own but who may not understand what it is, how it effects them, and how they can seek and receive help and treatment.

Thank you to whomever is driving this campaign.  Thank you, Monica Seles for sharing your story and putting yourself out there.

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The On Again Off Again Relationship

Ever hear someone talk about being in an on again/off again relationship?  When they’re on, they’re great.  The partners are in synch, nurturing each other, providing good support, a mutually beneficial give and take.  They have fun together.  Sunlight, roses, upbeat music surround them.  Joy ensues and they feel like, together, everything is better and they are invincible.

When relationships are off, whew boy.  The bloom comes off that rose.  Everything that used to be so simpatico dissolves into a morass of discontent.  The things that attracted two people to each other often become annoying.  Cute turns to cloying.  Give and take become keep and take more.  Sometimes you downright love and loathe each other at the same time and end up resenting what you most need.

This sounds a lot like my relationship with food and, by extension, with recovery.  When things are good, I’m in that sunlight and roses place.  Food is nourishment, it supports my body.  I enjoy what I eat and, when in strong recovery, I feel invincible.

When the relationship goes into “off again” mode, my viewpoint, attitude and emotions get completely skewed.  Take individual foods for example.  When in recovery, I absolutely love and savor healthy, delicious food.  I’ll get positively gleeful over a fresh salad with crisp vegetables and a melange of wonderful flavors.  Fruit is like ambrosia.  I taste and feel joy over fueling my body with yummy food and not overeating or compulsing.

When I go to the “off again” place, there’s no appeal in those same salad ingredients.  I lose my appetite for healthy food and start craving junk like sugary doughnuts and greasy french fries.

The food itself hasn’t changed.  I know that.  It’s all in my perception of it, depending on the state of my recovery.  When I’m in a good place, like I am tonight, I look at my whack perceptions and just sort of shake my head at the ridiculousness.  Living in a diseased state of binge eating or compulsive eating holds more than its share of crazy behavior, that’s for sure.

I’d like to keep my relationship with food on a more even keel, based on the simple fact that food is just food.  I don’t need to invest so much of my emotions and mental health in it.  Food can be a pleasure, when I eat it in reasonable, healthy, appropriate ways.

When I don’t, it can be the most stress-inducing, emotional turmoil producing matter in the world.

Currently, I’m in a good place.  I’m grateful and know that recovery can be fragile.  I need to shore it up, give it my proper time and attention.  Recovery needs to be tended and nurtured so that it grows healthy and strong.  That’s not all that different than an other relationship.

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Goal-Setting Revamp

When I dieted, I lived and died by the numbers.  Okay, that’s overly dramatic because, hey, I never actually died, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that I fixated on the scale number as the sole measure for my success.  (I originally typed that as soul measure which, in its own way, is also accurate.)

It wasn’t enough for me to say that I wanted to lose X number of pounds.  Oh no, I had to say things like, “I want to lose three-four pounds a week” or “Must lose 20 pounds before such and such date”.  I was ruled by this practice.  It has taken me a lonnnngg time to realize that not only am I setting myself up for unreasonable expectations because I always determine high numbers for the measure, but also in so doing, I was creating huge stress for myself.

Anytime I obsess over any aspect of my program and progress, I stress myself out.  It all becomes an exercise of wondering and worrying what my weight will be any time I get on the scale.  Then, if I didn’t hit what I projected, or didn’t think I would hit the week’s goal, I’d add negative feelings of disappointment, disillusionment, despair, self-loathing and other things to my stress.

Then, in true compulsive overeater/food addict form, I’d want to eat huge amounts of not-good-for-me foods to try to squelch those horrible feelings.

When I first started learning more about my compulsive eating disorder and joined OA, I learned to focus less on the numbers.  Instead the goal was to just follow my program one day at a time.  I worked on developing self-honesty as to whether I’d been abstinent of compulsive eating.  I didn’t set weekly or monthly goals for the number of pounds I wanted to lose.

I began to learn how to foster self-esteem in ways that were not connected to my weight and body size.  I wasn’t obsessed with numbers but with taking good care of myself through healthy, non-diseased eating.

I’m thinking about this a lot today.  I still haven’t gotten on the scale since returning from the cruise.  At first, this started because of pure avoidance.  If I gained weight while on vacation I did not want to know because I didn’t want to feel lousy about myself.  Now, a week later, this has shown me how, once more, I’ve become such a slave to the numbers as the measure of whether I’m in recovery.

That’s not the way to do this for me.  The measure of recovery and healthy eating is the process.  Am I following my program, maintaining my defined abstinence from compulsive overeating, making healthy choices?  Those are the things that matter.  If I’m not paying attention to those things but monkeying around, I could still end up with a good number on the scale – but it would be a false indication of the consistency of my abstinence and recovery.

In the course of writing out this blog and working through my thoughts, I’ve decided that I’m going to shove my scale under the dresser for the foreseeable future and go back to solely focusing on my daily behavior.   Look, if I do this one day at a time and build up long abstinence, I will lose weight.  That’s a given.  However,  can let it happen in a relaxed, stress-free, natural time frame, sans the obsession on the scale number.The commitment to abstinence is the single most important tool.   I need it to continue long term recovery.

I feel it’s important to point out that what is necessary for me is not automatically what is necessary for anyone else.  Not every person who is overweight has an eating disorder.  One size does not fit all when it comes to weight loss and healthier living.  I support every individual discovering what works and is appropriate for them and salute them as they follow their own path.

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Home from the Cruise

Thank you all for the good wishes about my trip.  I had an amazing fun time.  I love country music and every day featured multiple concerts, interview sessions and other activities.  Plus, I met numerous nice people from all over the country – many of whom I will remain in touch with going forward.

We visited three ports plus the cruise line’s private island.  I was active in all four places.  I also walked all over the ship, seemingly all of the time, every day.  I also frequently took the steps, climbing four or five decks.  For fun, I took part in three or four hour-long line dance lessons and then a couple of times went up for the nightly dancing again.

Full disclosure time:  I ate well every day, but I did not eat right.  By right, I mean that my good intentions apparently stayed in port when I sailed away.  I definitely ate too many carbs and too much sugar.  I’m not going to lie or pretty it up.  I won’t claim that I didn’t mean to do it.  I got on board surrounded by all of that delicious food and I ate it.  Conscious choice.

So all of the activity was intended to be not only for fun, but also to partially compensate for the increased caloric intake.

I am absolutely terrified to get on the scale.  So, I’m not going to right away.  Now that I’m home, starting tomorrow I’m going to do a three day liquid diet with protein drinks and fresh fruit & veggie smoothies.  Because I know that I get a crunch-texture craving when I do this, I also have some celery sticks and crisp apples.  Those will be the only deviations.

This is a real test of recovery for me.  It is one thing to deviate so drastically from my food plan.  It is another thing all together to pull my act together and get back on track.

Emotionally, deviating from the plan did not affect me.  I wasn’t consumed with guilt.  It didn’t make me feel fat and ugly.  A couple of my daily readings reminded me not to let those negative feelings and emotions overtake me and ruin my fun.  Instead, I enjoyed myself.  I was social all of the time.  I took part in snorkeling excursions, and a bike and kayak ride.

I wore a beautiful gown for costume night and joined the parade across the stage.  I was even mildly flirted with by a charming Texas gentleman who asked me to dance and assured me I’d do fine even though I’d A) never danced the Texas two-step and B) was dressed in a full gown and hoop skirt.  I’m delighted to say that I didn’t stumble, trample his toes, or tangle us up in a satin heap of material.  I was actually on the graceful side and I do not have a lot of experience dancing in a couples’ dance.  So, booyah for me!

Even though all of the musical artists mingle around the ship and are open to people approaching them for photos and autographs, I am so reluctant to go up and ask.  Seriously, I’m such a nerd about it.  However, I will help out a friend on ship if they need someone to be their photographer while they get a photo taken.  Honestly, doing that paved the way for me to also get into a few pictures.  Not once, I’m proud to say, did I think any bad thoughts of myself or my body as in, “I hate asking these people to put an arm around my fat self.”

Seriously, years ago, that thought would absolutely have prevented me from asking.  Oh hell, when it came to pictures, I was always eager to stand in back of a group instead of actually letting my body be seen.  So, I am also proud that I was even willing to pose – and that I’m willing to share the photos here.  Enjoy!

Like I said, I had a great time and am now excited to get back on track and down to business!

I felt beautiful in this gown and loved that so many people complimented me and the dress.

I felt beautiful in this gown and loved that so many people complimented me and the dress.

After we took this photo, he played with my hair and complimented my curls.  I didn't feel too much like a cougar. :-)

Singer/songwriter Darryl Worley and me. After we took this photo, he played with my hair and complimented my curls. I didn’t feel too much like a cougar. 🙂


Singer-songwriter Wade Hayes and me on costume night.  He is a super nice guy and complimented me on my outfit.

Singer-songwriter Wade Hayes and me on costume night. He is a super nice guy and complimented me on my outfit.

I've been a big fan of Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers for more than 20 years.  I was thrilled to get a photo with him - particularly since I didn't last year.  He was so nice about it!

I’ve been a big fan of Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers for more than 20 years. I was thrilled to get a photo with him – particularly since I didn’t last year. He was so nice about it!


Shedding Things That No Longer Have Value

After several months of off and on remodeling, 99.9% of the work is finished.  This weekend I’m focused on deep cleaning, rehanging artwork and photographs, once more displaying items that I love and, since it’s the season, decorating for the holidays.

Although I got a start on it all today, I didn’t make quite as much progress as I’d planned.  I got sidetracked when pulling everything out of the room of doom storage room.  First it all needed a good dusting, and cleaning.  During the process, I found myself carefully considering each piece.  Was it something I wanted to display again? Did I like it as much as I once did?  Was it just something that I’d accumulated at some point and its importance had diminished over the years, or did it still hold value in my life?

As I progressed, I realized that I was making thoughtful decisions about what to keep and what to discard.  My choices weren’t based solely on beauty or monetary assessment.  The things I keep have value to me.  They please my eyes, cause me to smile, bring to mind a good memory, or show me the smiling faces of people I love.  Some are pieces familiar to me since childhood.  Some are mementos of more recent experiences.  They all have a place in my home and in my life.

The whole process is sort of a metaphor.  There are old habits, ways of thinking, ways of behaving, and even attitudes that hold no value for me.  They must have once had purpose, but ultimately they contributed to an unhealthy eating disorder and super obesity.  I’ve worked hard on shedding them in the last almost three years.   Like the excessive pounds that I carried on my body, I’ve needed to work them away.

Like today’s activities were all about putting my house in order, my efforts on my eating disorder, my weight loss, my physical fitness, are about putting myself in order.  I’m determined to keep only the behaviors, habits, thoughts and attitudes that are valuable to me.

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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.


Sorry for my Absence

Hi, All,

I was away for a four day weekend and life was crammed busy right before the trip.  I’ve gotten more reluctant to post about when I’m going away because internet stuff and safety have grown increasingly crazy.  If I’d had more time, I’d have pre-written some posts, but I didn’t.  So, my apologies.

It was a terrific trip away.  I went up home to New Jersey for my cousin’s daughter’s wedding.  As is my normal m.o. when I fly up for visits, I try to arrange things so that I get to see as many people as possible.  This trip was no different in that regard.  It was a little different because I had the opportunity to see people who haven’t seen me in a long time.  There were cousins who haven’t seen me in person since before my weight loss surgery.  There were friends who I haven’t seen in 15, 30, even 40 years.  I should qualify that statement — some of these people haven’t seen me in person.  We do connect on Facebook.

As you know I’ve been struggling emotionally and spiritually with my recovery.  This trip helped me with those things.  Yes, I soaked up the amazement over the change in my appearance and the compliments that followed, but it really wasn’t about my ego.  It helped me reconnect with just how far I’ve come in my journey, what I’ve accomplished, and the day to day recovery.  I need these reminders sometimes.  They’re good for my heart and spirit.

I also enjoyed some conversation with my sister-in-law.   When I’m struggling with the eating disorder, I need to hold onto the important fact that even if I have not reached my goal weight and I’m sort of in a holding stage right now, I have not regained the weight that I lost.  Sure, I’ve probably said it before, but that is a major difference in my life.  Whenever I’ve lost weight in the past, I have always, always regained it — and usually with more pounds added on.

So, here I am, holding all of the positives that were showered on me and integrating them into my spirit.  I need to remind myself of this essential part of my recovery.  Time and time and time again.

The disease is an every day reality.  The recovery reminders need to be every day too.