Weighty Matters

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Once More With Feeling

Once more, I dig deep and resolve to get myself moving in the right direction.  I was doing so well with balancing things for a while and this past week I crashed emotionally and physically.  I’m eating in full out relapse and physically feel like total crap.  My stomach is off.  I’m bloated like I’m retaining fluid for three people.  I refuse to get on the scale so that I don’t totally demoralize myself.

Emotionally, I’m sad, depressed, angry with myself.  Spiritually, I’m downhearted.  Mentally, I go between WTF (What the f&&k) and DGU (Don’t give up).

Here are the bright spots.  Despite everything, I stuck to working out three times last week and gave it my all in rowing classes, Tai Chi and getting Nat out for walks.  When I finish this I’m either going to go for a bike ride or go in the pool.

Emotionally, the bright spot came when talking to one of my closest friends, I talked about how I’m still going through grieving for Pyxi.  My friend could have said, “Suck it up.  It’s been two weeks.”  Instead, she shared that she still experiences moments of grief when she sees a box of things that belonged to her beloved dog who passed a couple of years ago.  So, instead of a negative judgment, I got a much needed validation.

This helped a great deal because I’ve been judging myself all week.

I understand that this is a function of my disease.  If I ever wanted to make it an actual creature in a horror novel, here’s how I would characterize it.  It would be an evil, needy force that craved human emotional pain to to feel alive; that gained substance in form whenever its victim criticized, judged, and body-shamed herself; that took sustenance from the addictive substances that its victim consumed.  So, needing these things for its own survival, the disease would take control of its victim to incite these things and then gobble them up.

Knowing all this, there are times when I just want to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and hide or wallow in my own misery.  Times when I want to say, “What’s the use.  I can’t win.”

Thankfully, somehow, somewhere with help from whatever Higher Power refuses to abandon me, I find the need to dig deep and try once more.

Tomorrow, I’m going the full liquid route.  This is not a crash diet.  I simply want to remove as many food options as possible.  Fewer choices mean fewer chances for my disease to take control and lead me to making the wrong choice.  Plus, my stomach physically feels raw inside from the crap I’ve been eating, like I’ve rubbed it raw with junk.  It needs to be treated gently for a while.

I’ve thought off and on about whether to face the music and weigh myself tomorrow.  Right now, I’ve decided against taking that step.  I’ve meditated over whether this is denial on my part, but I’ve decided that it isn’t.  What I want to achieve is the simple act of getting abstinent again.  I don’t want to make this about how much weight I might have gained over the last week or how much weight I might lose on a food plan of full liquids.  It isn’t about moving up and down in my numbers.  It’s how restoring my emotional, physical, mental and spiritual stability.

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Feeling a Little Sideways

Over the last week, I’ve been up and down and then, this weekend, mostly sideways.  I continue to feel abundant gratitude for the kindness given to me and Nat.  It inspires me to pay it forward and to be open to opportunities to be kind to others.

Yesterday I hosted a “tea” for a friend who is getting married in a few weeks.  She didn’t want a big shower.  The tea was her preference, which was fine with me because I love a good tea.  It inspired me, of course, to dig in and give my house a deep clean — always a plus, even though I hate actually doing the work.

The down side, unfortunately, is that I felt compelled to bake cookies and scones for the event and to make a prosecco-lemonade punch.  While these contributed to the loveliness of the occasion, they also provided occasion for me to contribute to my eating disorder.  I ate wayyy too much stuff that isn’t on my plan, wasn’t eaten in a healthy sane way, and ended up giving me a stomach ache, acid, and a night of just being sideways.  Sideways, for me, is akin to being numb.  Not up, not down, but not fully engaged and functioning.  I pretty much stretched out on the couch for most of the hours after my guests left and I cleaned up so I was physically sideways, too.

Note to self:  When in that kind of mood, find a comedy to watch.  Dead Man Walking, while it features wonderful performances by Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn, is not a jovial mood-elevator.

Today I did something really nice for myself.  My regular nail tech is on vacation for a couple of weeks and I was due for a manicure and pedicure appointment.  I wasn’t able to get a convenient appointment with any of the people she recommended.  So, I indulged and went to the fancy spa of the big resort a few miles up the road.  Although I paid much more than I usually would for these services, I give the technician credit.  She did a great job and the foot and hand massages were extremely thorough.  This little indulgence felt good.

I don’t want to get on the scale tomorrow because I fear that I undid all of the good that I did for myself last week when I was careful with my food and working out hard.  So maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll just stay on a healthy eating track, exercise, and not weigh myself until the end of the week.

Avoidance?  Perhaps.  However, I also don’t want to make myself feel any worse.  I’m teetering on the edge of negative self-judgment and beating myself up.

Here’s the plan.  I’m about to eat a tasty, planned for dinner, that’s also healthy.  I got back a short time ago from a good long walk with Nat.  I have rowing class at 7 a.m. tomorrow.  I will commit my food in the morning and stick to the plan all day.

As long as I don’t let sideways turn around into completely losing progress, I can settle myself into my program and start moving forward again.

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Extended Funk Part Deux – and the “D” Word

First I want to say that you all are terrific and I am grateful for your concern.  I appreciate you checking on me. This funk and the food relapse have really taken hold and I’m having more trouble than I anticipated fighting my way through it all.

I haven’t wanted to post because it’s been difficult for me to face facts and talk about them, but my agreement with this blog, myself and everyone that reads it is that I don’t come here and post bullshit.  I’m not going to come and lie that all is great with sunshine, roses, and sparkles when all is not great.  This blog is my gut-check honesty place.    So, rather than lie, I emotionally isolated.

My relapse continues and it’s the worst it’s been since before my weight loss surgery.  I’ve gained weight, although I don’t know how much because I haven’t stepped on the scale.  I can feel it in my clothes and in the way my body feels.  More than the physical results, the emotional and mental effects are the worst.

I know I’ve said this all before and I’m like a broken record right now, but there isn’t anything original about binge eating disorder.  Relapsing sucks.  Feeling out of control messes me up in a myriad of ways.  I’m unhappy and that also has an impact in other areas of my life.    Also shared before is the chronic heel pain from which I’ve been suffering which severely limits my ability to exercise.  Not only do I not reap the physical benefits, but I’m lacking those uplifting endorphins.

At least I took positive action for that condition and saw a doctor last week.  I’d properly self-diagnosed the condition – plantar fasciitis.  I am now following the doctor’s instructions – wearing good sneakers, stretching to loosen the tight calves, taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory meds, using a splint at night.  I am mostly following the no bare feet/no flip flops directive although that’s honestly the most challenging.  I hate wearing anything on my feet when I’m home.  However, he told me I can wear original Crocs so I truly am trying to be better about this too.  I want the condition to get better.  Constant pain is, well, a pain, and limiting the types of exercise I can do interferes with my recovery plans.

Yes, I do have recovery plans.  I can’t let all of my hard work and effort fall apart.  It is never too late to begin again, unless I’m dead, and good Lord willing, I’m not going to die anytime soon.

I need to go back on a diet.  The dreaded “D” word used to describe programs and methods of eating and making food choices to result in weight loss.  That runs counter to a lot of my accepted knowledge about having an eating disorder and being in recovery.  Heck, it runs counter to a lot of popular medically-influenced thought these days.

On the other hand, it can also mean, to me, an actual plan that embraces healthy food choices  with frood eaten in planned-for, structured, non-binging, non-compulsive ways.  That’s the kind of diet I need.

However, I also know that, as much as I hate admitting it, I need that validation of seeing pounds come off of my body, seeing the number go down on the scale.  Sure, keeping to my food plan of healthy eating and abstaining from compulsion should be enough positive reinforcement and engender the feel-good spirit and emotions that keep the abstinence rolling.  But, I’m human.  At least in the beginning, if I see that I’m losing weight again, I will feel better.  I am less likely to then engage in attacking myself with ugly thoughts, angry labels, and shame-inducing negative comments about my weak character.

So, here I go again, my friends.  Once more into the breach.  This really is a never-ending journey, an eternal process and, to be honest, a constant effing struggle.

It isn’t easy and never will be.  However, it is always and absolutely worth it.

Thanks for hanging in with me.  How are all of you doing?

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Ten Day Break? Wow.

I’m stunned that it’s been ten days since I wrote a post.  Time flies when one is incredibly busy at work, has numerous after-work commitments, and generally gets home too tired to think straight, yet alone coherently write.

Mea culpa.  My apologies!

In addition to the reasons listed above, I’ll also cop to a subconscious need to avoid admitting some things.  I believe so strongly in keeping it real on this blog that when something came up that I wasn’t ready to talk about, I stayed away.  I also hate feeling like I’m whining about the same old same old.  I haven’t been feeling good about my progress.  A lot of diseased thinking has taken hold of my brain.  So, it all added up to me not feeling good about me.  However, I didn’t want to come on and say that, partly because of that “no whining” preference and partly from denial.

My behavior feels like the internet blog equivalent of avoiding class reunions or other gatherings because I didn’t want old friends to see me looking like a cow.

Pffffffffffffffft.  (The typed equivalent of blowing a raspberry at myself.)  Honestly, that’s junk thinking on all counts.  I work on my issues here.  I process crap through writing.  So, not blogging here means I wasn’t dealing.  Not dealing means not being honest with myself.

Still and all, I might have been away for 10 days, but I certainly have been thinking about my disease and food issues.  A lot.  Some might say I’m thinking too much about them and doing too little.  I don’t disagree.  I’ve felt like I’m not in control of my food choices.  I hate it when I feel like I can’t control my eating.  I hate it even more when I know that stressful situations are triggering the eating.  It’s my coping mechanism.  Harmful as compulsive eating is to me, it’s still a tool that I use to cope when my emotions are rocketing around.

This old behavior makes me think that I haven’t learned a damn thing in almost three years since my weight loss surgery.  Then I start feeling like a failure, which is total, steaming  bull crap.

That’s the problem with stinking thinking.  We start to believe, or act as if we believe, the crappy things we say to and about ourselves.  I know perfectly well that I’m not a failure and I’ve learned a helluva lot about my disease, my issues, etc.  Like Hope and others said, even if I never lose another pound, I’ve still succeeded.  That might be is true, but it takes a while to absorb that into my psyche and truly believe.

The last few days have been better.  Less stress, less compulsive eating.  Not always eating as healthy as usual, but I’m improving.  I got physically lazy too, particularly with the time change.  The last few days I’ve pushed myself to walk even when the weather is less than conducive for the activity.

While my control might be shaky, I don’t feel helpless, or hopeless.  This is a bump in the recovery road.  The highway to health didn’t suffer a washout.  I’m not lost.  Today was better.  God willing, tomorrow will be a good, new beginning too.

 

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Addictions, Relapse and the Never Ending Struggle

Many of us were shocked by the news of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s sudden death. I didn’t know he was a heroin addict. I’m always sad when I hear that someone, anyone, dies because of their addiction. Aaron Sorkin made a great point. Hoffman didn’t die because of an overdose. He died because of the drug – period. A friend of mine who is a cop and rather hard line, posted to Facebook that this was not a tragedy. I politely disagreed. I think whenever someone has an addiction, it’s tragic. When that addiction results in their death, even more so.

Toda on This Week (ABC Sunday News Program), they had a segment about the growing use of heroin. I was surprised to hear that it is actually less expensive to buy heroin on the street than it is to illegally obtain prescription drugs like oxycodone. Oxycodone addiction is no joke either and one of the speakers spoke of it as almost a gateway drug to heroin. Some people start on oxycodone when it is prescribed as a painkiller for an injury, surgery, etc. When they get hooked but can then no longer get their doctors to prescribe them more because the condition has resolved, some seek out street heroin.

There was another commentator on the show who looked like the least likely heroin addict ever. Clean cut, perfect suit and tie, Harvard grad, eminently successful. He’s been in recovery from his addiction for years and baldly stated that he knows he could at some point relapse and be back into his addiction. They interviewed someone else who said the same thing. The doctor-expert pointed out that every addict or alcoholic he’s ever spoken to never describes themselves as recovered. They say “recovering”.

I don’t think of one substance as being more powerful or more addictive than another. I don’t care if the addiction is to cigarettes, alcohol, pot, painkillers, heroin, cocaine, or food. They’re all equal. When one is addicted, it becomes a never-ending struggle, with them for the rest of their lives.

That’s how I feel about food. I know that to someone who doesn’t get that food or the behavior of compulsive eating is as much of an addiction as any drug this can sound silly, but it’s deadly serious to me. I jumped off the wagon last night at a friend’s birthday party. One of the fabulous local bakers supplied cupcakes and cake for the party. The frosting was to die for. I would have been okay if I’d had one cupcake because I’d been terrific with my food plan, adequately exercised, and planned for it. I got sucked in by the delicious, buttercream frosting. I ate frosting off of another slice of cake and an additional cupcake. Hands down, that is 100% addictive eating behavior.

Less than half an hour later I felt sick to my stomach from the sugar rush and I was emotionally distraught at my relapse behavior. Granted, an overdose of cake frosting was not going to kill me on the spot, like an o.d. of heroin, but what if I was a diabetic? It could have sent me into a danger state. Constantly repeating the behavior absolutely could eventually kill me if it leads to a prolonged period of relapse and eating, spiraling into weight gain and so on.

I woke up this morning determined to get straight. I ate half a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast and got on my bicycle. I pedaled for more than two hours and achieved my personal distance best of 21.34 miles! A few hours later and I feel like my body is still burning calories.

I have a lot to do around the house today and am concentrating on eating light and healthy while I work. It’s truly important when I slip to get back on track as soon as possible. The longer one stays in relapse, the harder it is to get straight again.

Recovering means staying on track one day, one meal at a time. I know I’m repeating myself and have talked about this in previous blogs, but it’s the reminder that I need to give myself today, right now.

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