Sunday, December 31, 2006

Walkin' the Dog

If anyone out there in cyberland has difficulty forcing herself to exercise, get a dog! "Santa" brought R a Jack Russell Terror --er, Terrier four weeks ago and I have walked more in that four weeks than I have in months. To be honest, I was avoiding walking as exercise because it hurt my knee even a month ago when I took a long walk on my scrapbooking weekend. But since getting Princess I've been getting 11,000-14,000 steps on my pedometer every day (in addition to my regular stationery bike/elliptical exercise) and my knee is okay. I got shin splints at first, but they're better after a few days of walking in the grass alongside the road, instead of on the pavement. I did step in dog doo at 6:30am this morning, however. Ick.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On the Weigh Down month one

"The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers."."~ M. Scott Peck

Weight: 169.2

Not bad -- almost what I weighed on halloween, which is the last time I stepped on the scale. I was especially pleased considering the number of cookies I ate over the past ten days. I don't want to "give up" on intuitive eating, but I have realized that constanly being surrounded by food that is unhealthy is not any way to "cure" my eating issues. As I wrote in my previous post, I have a definite problem with variety. I am not going to go on a diet, but am going to renew my efforts to resist bingeing or eating just for the sake of eating.

I sat down and really tried to think through what I need. I started listening to the book "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck. It's not a diet book, but a book on how to add joy to your life and find that elusive thing that's been missing. I've felt that "something is missing" feeling for a while now. Her first assignment is to spend 15 minutes a day doing nothing. I immediately thought, "Oh yea, right." But I listened on and realized that I've known I need more time to relax and do nothing, but have always resisted, feeling that I'm wasting time. So yesterday I hauled out my meditation CD (the one I bought in September and never opened), set the timer for 20 minutes, and listened. Section one was affirmations and section two was breathing. I was so relaxed I'm pretty sure I fell asleep. You have no idea how unusual that is for me -- the person who didn't even nap when pregnant. After the timer went off, I felt relaxed and wonderful for the rest of the day! I had no desire to compulsively eat anything all afternoon. At dinner (at my aunt Sue's house -- aunt Sue is the most fabulous cook in the universe!!) I didn't overeat. I ate three cookies, but for the first time in ages I didn't have to fight the urge to eat more, more, more when I got home. Today I listened to the CD for 15 minutes during the afternoon. I felt great when I finished.

So, at least 15 minutes of meditation is definitely on the list of what I need. I also think I need to stop being the food provider for my kids. I am turning into a food pusher -- I ask them what they want for breakfast the minute they awaken, I announce that it's lunchtime at the stroke of noon, I offer snacks, I ask if they want dessert, etc. I get stressed out when they don't eat everything I give them. I need to STOP. I will let them ask me for lunch when they're hungry -- or better yet, ask T.

I also would like to stop being the person who puts the leftovers away after dinner. T can do it. When I put them away, I end up eating more at least half of the time.

I no longer want to be the person who brings dessert to every freaking family gathering. Either that or I will start making desserts I'm not all that crazy for, or make something that isn't easy to snitch from, or at the very least make ONE dessert, not three.

I've been doing fine with exercise, so I will keep that up. The one thing I want to increase is weight training, which has fallen by the wayside since my gym issues. I will also continue to eat lots of veggies, fruits, whole grains, etc., avoid diet soda, and I'm toying with cutting out caffeine. I'm down to 1 cup of half-caf coffee per day now. I'd love to switch to green tea, and eventually decaf green tea.

I plan to weigh myself once a month and add in more changes as I go along.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

wanting the biggest piece

Do you think some people are hard-wired to be greedier than others? I was reading "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink (quite fascinating BTW) and he found that overweight people ate more than other people in his experiments. Whether it was a never-ending soup bowl, a dish of ice cream, m&ms, or stale popcorn -- the overweight ate more than normal weight people (who also overate when faced with larger portions). Were they hungrier or were they just...greedier? As far back as I can remember I have always coveted the largest cookie, the largest piece of cake, the dish with the most pudding in it. It used to be that I'd make sure I was first in line at any buffet -- to make sure I got the food I wanted. I'd feel slightly gypped if the waitress gave the person next to me the plate that had more fries on it. I tried to get the corner piece of cake -- because it had more frosting -- well, unless the corner piece was smaller than the others. As a kid I remember eating so much at buffets -- especially desserts -- that I felt sick.

These days I still want the biggest cookie, but I hang back for the buffet line -- hoping that some of the good food is gone and I won't have to wrestle with my desire to eat some of everything. Wantsink found that people ate more when there was a variety -- even if the variety was m&ms that were all exactly the same save for color. I am definitely a variety victim. When I had tea in London, I cut all of the cakes in half so I could taste all four or five kinds. The women with me each had 1 or 2 cakes; the end. They didn't seem to feel any compulsion to taste everything available. Lately coworkers and customers have been bringing in huge platters of various kinds of cookies for us. I look at the platter with 12 different homemade goodies on it and flee. I have the same problem with menus -- I want one of everything. I agonize -- should I have the burger or a sandwich? the pancakes or an omelet? the fries or the onion rings?

I think this is really the root of my issues with food. How can I overcome my greed? Is it partially fear? I'll never have this cookie or this cake ever again! I'll never come to this restaurant again and even if I do, they may not serve this sandwich anymore! Tis true that there are ALWAYS more delicious cookies in the world and there are ALWAYS fabulous sandwiches. How can I convince myself of this truth and overcome my natural greed? I worry about finding the answer -- not just for me, but for my 9-year-old daughter. She is a skinny little thing right now, but I watched her eat five desserts at her sister's Christmas program. God forbid that my legacy to her is a lifetime of food and weight torture.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

building new neural pathways...

Yesterday I had to leave work early to pick up my 9-year-old, who had a fever. It upset my planned out day and (natch) made me want to eat. I took the dog for a walk, ate my tuna and salad for lunch, and went on to make a cake my coworkers have been after me to make for them for a few weeks (I am the baker extraordinaire at work). In spite of having baked it for 15 minutes longer than the recipe said, when I took it out of the bundt pan it stuck to the pan and parts of it stayed behind.

I scraped out the parts and they looked mighty tasty. I tasted --mmmmm....chocolatey warm goodness, with lovely melted chocolate bits. I thought, OOhh..this would be so good with ice cream. I got out the ice cream, dished up a bit, and dug in. It wasn't as good as I had imagined. I thought, "I'll eat the whole thing standing here and then I'll eat the rest of the stuck cake." Then I thought, "Wait a minute, missy. You aren't the slightest bit hungry and this doesn't taste as heavenly as you thought it would. What's really going on?" I realized that I was frustrated over being home with a sick child, and was upset that the cake hadn't turned out perfectly, thus risking my fab baking reputation. I dumped everything down the sink and went on to make cookies for my daughter's school holiday program. I was fine -- ate one cookie and moved on with life.

Yea me!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dimishing Returns

The Law of Diminishing Returns: "When someone bites into something delicious for the first time they have an amazing experience. However, by the 4th or 5th bite they're already bored no matter how wonderful the initial impression was of the dish." (from a cookbook -- can't remember which one)

Now, if only I had remembered that when it came to the pumpkin upside down cake I made for Thanksgiving. I was oh-so-sensible about the meal, eating tiny portions of the things I loved and skipping the rest. I was pretty darn full anyway. I wish I had skipped dessert and waited until I was not so full, but my MIL was dishing up and I chowed down with the rest. It was good, but would have been better had I waited until I actually felt a pang of hunger. I managed to foist off most of the leftovers on guests, but took home about 8 portions. I had one on Thursday night in lieu of dinner, two on Friday, two on Saturday, and the rest on Sunday. I guess the bright side is that I didn't eat it all on Friday!

In future when eating something fantastic (or not so fantastic) I will try to keep in mind the law of diminishing returns.

Our elliptical machine was delivered today -- I can't wait to try it out tomorrow! Though I will say that I think using the stationary bike 5-6 days a week has built up some muscle in my legs that wasn't there when I was switching between the gym's elliptical and the bike at home. I can get nearly to 80 rpm on the bike at level 3 for 45 minutes now. I was nowhere near that 3 months ago.

Friday, November 24, 2006

food labels

This is why I think programs like Weight Watchers or other calorie-counting programs aren't the greatest. I tend to think "Ohhh..I have four points left (or 200 calories)! What else can I eat?" whether I'm actually hungry or not. If the labels aren't correct on products, I may not actually have four points left. We bought some subs for a school fundraiser and on the label the sub was one serving for 350 calories. It looked awfully large to me to have so few calories, especially since it had on it salami, ham, and cheese. A serving size was one sub, __ number of grams (can't remember how many). I got out my food scale and weighed it. That sub was more than 1 1/4 servings according to the weight. If I had been counting calories, I'd have been over by more than a tiny bit.

It makes so, so much more sense to me to simply eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. Most of my choices are healthy ones and I don't have to be afraid of holiday meals -- or any meals.

Monday, November 20, 2006

another lesson learned

So, I went 10 days without bingeing or even overeating. I was hungry some of the time, but usually ate when I was hungry. I practiced leaving the dining room/kitchen after dinner so that I wasn't tempted to entertain or distract myself with food. Yea, me. I also talked myself out of eating just because I was procrastinating or bored. I had "last supper thoughts" several times, but told myself not to be ridiculous. So far, so good.

I went off to a scrapbooking weekend and learned another valuable lesson: food doesn't help you be less tired and cranky. This particular weekend is a yearly thing for me and is always a major food-fest because every woman brings a snack to share with the group. The organizer's mom always brings a decadent thing that consists of pretzels, m&ms, and Chex cereal covered with white chocolate and I usually make myself sick on it. So this year I told myself "You are a normal eater. You eat when hungry. You stop when satisfied" know the drill. Friday night I ate a very small dinner and was fine. I got hungry around 11 and had a small bowl of snacks -- okay. I even discovered that I don't really like the decadent snack all that much (!)

Saturday I ate small meals, skipped the snacks -- all was well! Wheeee..... Then I got really tired and rather cranky around 10pm (3 hours of sleep the night before will do that to you). I started eating and probably ate about 2000 calories worth of junk food. It didn't help -- I was still tired and cranky. So....lesson definitely learned. When tired, go to sleep!!!! Duh.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Do you think "normal" eaters spend a lot of time hungry? I've done well this past week with normal eating -- no overeating, no bingeing. But I've spend a lot of time hungry. No matter what I eat for breakfast at 7am (and I've tried it all, from oatmeal to peanut butter toast to frozen South Beach pizzas!), I'm hungry by 10am and positively ravenous by noon. My lunch is usually at 1pm so I almost always eat some sort of snack around 11, but it doesn't usually do much for me. After lunch I'm okay for a few hours, but I'm almost always ravenous again by 5pm. It seems ridiculous. What in the heck do normal people eat that they're not constantly dwelling on how hungry they are?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

ineffective coping skills

I didn't weigh myself this morning. Part of it was fear about what I'd see after having a bingey evening on Monday. But I'm also tired of having my mood dictated by the scale. I'm going to see how long I can hold off on weighing myself. I think (unless you count the time I was bedridden 16 months ago) the longest I've ever gone is 3 weeks or so.

At our CORE meeting Saturday, we were working through one of the steps in the 12-step marriage book (it's not as weird as it sounds), and I copied down something that struck me. It said "ineffective coping skills are a learned behavior. What is learned can be unlearned -- it is not a part of me or my character". It gave me new hope -- what is learned can be unlearned. Being a binge or compulsive eater is not part of me or my character.

It also went on to say that continuing in your coping behavior just means that your instincts are misdirected toward the fulfillment of needs you have as a human being. Acceptance of the underlying needs within you that are not being met is what brings transformation. Devising a more enlightened reasonable plan for dealing with your needs is the answer. The rule is that you take 100% responsibility for your behaviors.

So, what are the underlying needs not being met in me?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I am Pavlov's Dog

Tuesday weigh-in: 168.6
Not too bad, considering the three birthday parties I went to this week. Though I confess, I thought I was doing really well not overeating at all. On C's birthday she requested pizza. Knowing I'd want cake & ice cream I ate one piece of pizza, 3/4 of a pear, and about 3/4 cup of butternut squash. I didn't feel the slightest bit guilty or stuffed after eating it either.

As to the title of my post? I have realized over the past couple of weeks as I journal my food and any "lessons learned" that day that I have become so completely entrenched in a diet mentality, it is practically impossible for me to either overeat or eat anything unhealthy without feeling guilt. Whenever I finish a meal (even a salad) and feel quite full, or eat a small dish of ice cream, or eat one Hershey's kiss that I hadn't really planned to have, I have such strong feelings of wanting to eat more and start over tomorrow (the so-called "last supper" syndrome known to many a dieter), it's unbelievable. Thoughts of "what else can I eat" or "what the heck -- I might as well eat ______ now" just pop into my head, totally unbidden. I noted such feelings in my journal this past week almost every single day.

This may be the first time that I was able to overcome them so often. I told myself over and over again that I am the only person who can put food -- or not put food -- into my mouth. I can eat any food I want whenever I am hungry. When I am not hungry, there is absolutely no reason to eat. Not that I haven't told myself that before (see multitude of previous postings), but this week I actually listened to myself. Perhaps eventually I will be able to short-circuit Pavlov's training.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Can One be Fit and Fat?

Tuesday weigh-in -- 168.8. Perhaps I should change it to a Thursday weigh-in since I never seem to get around to writing until Thursday!

There seems to be a lot of arguing about whether someone can be fit and fat at the same time. Personally, I don't think one can -- at least I can't. Two years ago at my lowest weight I was super energy woman. I rarely got out of breath climbing anything, couldn't sit still, and rarely felt tired. True that I am now not quite as aerobically fit as I was then. I now do the elliptical machine for about 45 minutes 2-3 times a week (at level 5 or higher, ramp 8 or higher), ride the stationary bike at a good clip (level 3 or 4) for 30-45 minutes 2-3 times a week, and sometimes ride my "real" bike. Back then I did 35-60 minutes of step aerobics 5-6 times a week, walked 10,000 steps or more every day (though not at a fast clip or anything), and rode my bike once a week.

Anyway, I now weigh 25 or so pounds more than I did then and there is a big difference in my fitness. I huff and puff if I walk up more than two flights of stairs, I'm tired by the end of the day, and sometimes getting out of my chair seems like more effort than it's worth. This last could be due to the pain in my knee more than my level of fitness, but I digress. The huffing and puffing is really what bothers me. I feel like a giant lumbering up the stairs when I used to feel like a sprite who practically ran up the stairs. I spite of the fact that I exercise at least twice as much as most people I know, I feel very out of shape and hardly fit.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lesson learned?

Tuesday weigh-in: 168.8
I'd be upset except that it is TOM, so perhaps that's why the gain -- hoping, anyway. My eating has been on a pretty even keel for the past week -- I think I only overate one day and it wasn't horrible.

Sometimes I wonder how many times I have to learn a lesson before it sticks. I KNOW that I shouldn't try to "eat around" what I really want, yet I keep doing it.

Last night I finished a very small dinner (bit of chicken breast, one roll, and veggies) and was fine -- not hungry, not particularly full. I had bought ice cream earlier in the day and was thinking perhaps I'd have a small dish of it after putting together the dessert for tomorrow's potluck. Then I kept trying to talk myself out of it because I wasn't physically hungry.

I ended up eating some yogurt, a small brownie, and three "pretzel with Hershey kiss and m&m" thingies before I finally caved and had ice cream. I didn't eat much but felt uncomfortably full after I finished. The only upside is that I didn't give in to further eating and have a big ole binge.

Sigh...lesson learned...again.

I learned that my gym had been bought out and I could pay $99 and have the rest of my contract with Powerhouse plus 6 months. Okay...sounds awfully too good to be true, but I signed away merrily. Apparently they will re-open in a few weeks, but in the meantime I can use a gym about 10 minutes away. I went this morning and had time only for 50 minutes on the elliptical (manual level 5, ramp level 11). My knee hurt -- still does. Blech. Maybe the bike is better than the elliptical for it -- though it used to be the opposite.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Well, soccer should be fun after the snow and freezing weather we've had this week. Ugh. T and I went out last night for the first date we've had in a while. We went to a newish restaurant that serves English food. It's rather a mix of Indian and British food, actually. Nice atmosphere and tons and tons of microbrews. T got a burger with Stilton cheese and fries and I got an Indian vegetable stew in a bread bowl. I also ordered fries but cancelled my order, realizing I'd really be too full. The stew was quite a small portion and I ate probably half the bread bowl. I was pleasantly full, but wanted cheesecake. I ordered it to go -- a first for me. I ate a few bites, but saved the rest for later. We went downtown to the symphony -- Bugs Bunny on Broadway. It was pretty good, but we were both yawning terribly. Friday night is NOT a good night for us to be up later than 10pm. I was rather hungry when we got home and polished off my cheesecake. I enjoyed it so much more than if I'd stuffed it in at dinnertime. Must remember -- can order dessert to go!! Though in all truth, I spent a bit too much time dreaming about my waiting cheesecake at the concert. If I'd eaten it, would I have spent that same time obessessing about how I shouldn't have eaten it?

My SIL called to say that the gym is reopening with new owners. I'm glad I hadn't paid a big chunk of money upfront. Apparently I can pay $150 and they'll honor the rest of my contract. Hmmm...I'll have to go check it out because I'm getting sick of my stationary bike.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tuesday weigh-in

Okay, I know it's not Tuesday, but I haven't been here. Weigh in was 168.4. So far my plan is going well. I couldn't really leave the table Tuesday night because dad was there eating with us, but I limited myself to half a chocolate bar and a decaf coffee. Last night I worked, so no probs there. I was hungry when I got home, but had planned and eaten smallish amounts during the day so had a small bowl of cereal & milk and a banana with a smear of peanut butter. It was enough to take the edge off my hunger so I didn't have trouble sleeping. I had brief thoughts of "I'll lose weight faster if I don't eat" but told myself that dumb thoughts like that lead to bingeing and I know that perfectly well!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Square One

What doesn't work:
dieting/starving/putting off my hunger
counting calories in any way, shape, or form
focusing on weight loss

What does work:
who knows?

So, here I am at square one. I am determined to have a normal relationship with food and exercise. I think I will have to start small and see what works, rather than drafting a grand action plan (that one way back there in the archives that failed miserably).

So, here is where I'll start:
1) exercise 3-6 days a week (which I've been doing faithfully. It may be a bit more difficult now that the !#*$%^ gym went out of business while I was in Ireland!) I think I'm going to break down and join the YMCA. It's freaking expensive ($90 a month for a family membership) but they have daycare and the kids could come with me to use the pool.
2) log my food, but not obsessively. Just jot down at the end of the day what I can remember eating so that I might be able to see some patterns and feel some sense of control.
3) weigh myself every week, on Tuesday. I debate the wisdom of this, but if it starts freaking me out, I'll quit. I just feel as though it's easier for me to pretend I'm not growing out of my size 10/12 pants if I don't see that I weigh 170.4 (last week).
4) my one real "action" will be this -- every evening as soon as dinner is done, I will get up and leave the dining room. I will either go for a short walk, go downstairs to work on organizing or read teh paper, or go upstairs to get ready for bed. I will not sit in the dining room or at the kitchen bar until I can't resist the urge to eat, even without feeling one pang of hunger.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

back to reality

Vacation is over and boy, did it fly by! We arrived in Shannon on Wednesday morning, picked up our rental car, and headed north along the coast. I don't know if it was the flight time or the fact that I really tried hard to sleep a bit on the plane, but my jet lag wasn't nearly as awful as when we went to Europe in the spring. Anyway, our first stop was for lunch -- can't remember where. I had scrambled eggs and the most delish brown bread with strawberry jam. Our next stop was Milltown Malbay, where T's family came from. We found a bakery with the family name and stopped in to chat. T went to the Irish-looking woman to ask if the owner was around and she promptly pointed to the asian woman! LOL -- so much for stereotyping. She was married to the John Hanrahan who owned the bakery but they don't think it's any relation to T's family. We bought some stuff, which turned out to be dry and disappointing.

On down the road to the Cliffs of Moher, which were absolutely breathtaking. I was going to hang around in the gift shop because it was pouring and I was nervous about my footing, but it stopped raining and I hiked up there to meet T. I'm so glad I did -- it was a fabulous view. We drove on to Knock and stopped at the shrine there, more for T to have a chance to wake up a bit than anything else. We arrived in Sligo a bit after 7 and ran into the Morrissey clan in the parking lot of the B&B. We all drove downtown to dine at a terrific restaurant over a pub. T and I split a steak and it was tender, juicy, and delicious! I am not normally a steak fan, but this was great. We collapsed into bed and slept soundly til morning.

The B&B served a full Irish breakfast -- eggs, canadian bacon, sausage, grilled tomatoes, grilled mushrooms, brown bread, toast, coffee, muesli, yogurt....needless to say I was stuffed until mid afternoon. T headed out the the links with "the boys" and I went into northern Ireland with Ellen and family. We went to the Beleek factory to see how Beleek is made. It was very interesting, and I bought a Christmas tree ornament to bring home. We stopped somewhere for lunch at a local place recommended by a woman on the street. I had shepherd's pie, which was quite good. We got back into Sligo just in time to head to Ballymote for the rehearsal.

T and I found out what piece we were reading at the wedding and the rehearsal went swimmingly. The priest was a very funny guy. We all zipped over to the castle for the rehearsal dinner, which was a cookout. I was quite chilly and spent the evening huddled under the outdoor heater, so I'm sorry to say I didn't socialize much. I was also far from the food, but unfortunately directly next to the dessert. It was an Irish concoction of bananas, caramel, and graham cracker crumbs with real cream for the top. Whoa -- Kim and I each had two helpings.

The next morning we again ate a large brekkie and headed to the castle to check in. It was really wonderful and we kept pinching ourselves. We were fascinated with everything from the HUGE fireplace in the lobby to the 1-foot wide staircase leading to the roof (which were probably weren't supposed to actually use). Our room was at the top of a turret -- how cool is that? We drove into town for shopping. There wasn't really much shopping to be had, however, and all I bought was the most expensive hair dryer I've ever owned in my life (I had brought the one with me that DIDN'T have the right voltage for Europe). Oh well, we'll simply have to travel back to Europe often.

We skipped lunch, but when we got back to the castle, they were serving sandwiches and tea, so we chowed a bit and got ready for the wedding. A&P had rented two buses to take guests to the church, so we had it easy. The wedding was really, really nice. It was a mixture of American, English, and Irish tradition and was just lovely. A&P looked as though they were having a ball too. After the wedding we headed back to the castle, ate a bunch of cookies, posed for photos, and headed into dinner. The food was terrific, followed by some funny speeches, and then dancing. We spent quite a bit of time in the bar, away from the dancing, but when a band arrived to play traditional Irish music, we went in to watch. They had some great dancers and it was highly entertaining. T joined in a dance that was similar to the Virginia Reel. "Afters" were served at 11pm (sandwiches) and that was about when the second band arrived. We stayed for an hour or so more, but went up to bed shortly after midnight. The last person left at 4am!

The next morning we again ate a huge breakfast, checked out, and headed to Dublin. We didn't really stop anywhere along the way and arrived in late afternoon. After checking in, a bunch of family met in the bar for a snack before going to rest a bit. We decided to head out to the Abbey Tavern to hear some music and see some traditional dancing, so had dinner in the hotel bar first. We had a good time at the Abbey, though the dancers only did about five songs and we were in the back. The music was toe-tappingly fun though.

The next day we went into Dublin on the train and saw the Guiness storehouse, lunched at a pub, and went to Trinity College to see the Book of Kells. It was very impressive -- beautiful! When we got back to the hotel, P was waiting to take us to dinner in Malahide at a Thai restaurant. We got a bunch of different dishes and shared them -- all were great. We went 'round the corner to have a pint at a pub there, and then fell into bed.

On our last day, we just ate a huge breakfast (natch), and walked down to the beach. We grabbed a cab to the airport and jetted off, arriving home this morning at 2am. I should be tired enough to sleep early tonight!

We had a really lovely time, but I will confess that my experience was marred a bit by my eating. I feel sad to confess that. I'm beginning to feel a bit hopeless -- that my whole life my eating will be out of control. I started out well, eating just til full, not overeating, etc. I even threw away my entire eclair from the bakery in Milltown Malbay because it wasn't really very good. Somehow, though, as our vacation went on, my eating got worse and worse. Yesterday was the absolute nadir of horrid eating -- I felt stuffed after breakfast because I ate so much. I didn't eat again til we were on the plane (oh, well unless you include the orange chocolate chip cookie and two Bailey's Irish Creme chocolates I ate) and then I had a healthy meal of salmon, veggies, rice, a roll, cheese, and a cracker. We got off the plane and ate during our layover. I was hungry, though not terribly so, but managed to stuff down a GIGANTIC (1/2 lb?) burger and fries. The burger alone probably had 1200 calories, as it had bacon, bbq sauce, bleu cheese...need I say more? I was really, really full.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And we're off!...or are we?

Today we leave for six days in Ireland. A & P's wedding is Friday in a castle in Sligo. We're going to stay overnight in the castle the night of the wedding, but otherwise we're staying at B&Bs, either in Sligo or Dublin. I'm excited, but R is sick today so I'm completely stressed out. She came into our room last night at 3am, trembling all over, burning up, and saying her tummy hurt, her eyes hurt, and her head hurt. I gave her Tylenol and laid down for a while with her. She never did throw up and seemed fine this morning. She just played with her breakfast though and said her tummy hurt (and she was shaking again). She's on the couch now and I'm wanting to eat everything in the kitchen. I really wanted a chance to work out today since we'll be on a plane or in airports for over 12 hours. Ah...the best laid plans as they say...

I've been concentrating on eating when hungry, stopping when satisfied, and not eating when not hungry over the past few days. It's been okay. It's hard not to eat over every little feeling, but I keep telling myself that when I'm hungry I can eat whatever I want. Good Lord, how many times have I tried this over the past few years? I figure it's got to sink in sometime. Last night we went to Old Country Buffet for dinner with dad. T was working overtime on the Dick Cheney detail as part of the motorcade. I wandered around and nothing really appealed to me. I finally made a large salad, ate a roasted chicken breast, and then ate about half of 7 different desserts. I really wasn't stuffed when we left though. My dad was appalled at all of the dessert I ate! It was kind of amusing.

I was thinking about why I feel so much more accepting of being overweight when I'm a size 12 than when I'm a size 10 or 8. I think I feel less pressure -- actually, no pressure. No one says "Oh my, you need to lose weight!" or "There's Susan, eating her salad again!" or "Oh you're so good -- you never eat the donuts (or cookies, or brownies, or candy, or....)". People just leave me alone. When I was a size 6, I felt constantly pressured to maintain my weight loss. My coworkers never left me alone -- "You look so great!", "You're doing such a good job!", "Oh, there's that skinny Susan!", "Oh, look how healthy you're eating. It's disgusting!", etc. Every time I got on the scale and saw that I'd gained a pound or two, I panicked. OMG -- was my stomach bigger? Did my pants look tighter? Could people tell I'd put on 2 pounds, or 5 pounds, or 10 pounds? It's almost as though I needed to either be 135 pounds or 160, with no in-between. If I'm 160, people can tell that I've given up. They leave me alone to eat my salad in peace. If I'm 145, people feel sorry for me that I've gained some weight back and my pants are tight. They eye the half donut I'm eating with disapproval. If I weigh 160, obviously I eat donuts, so it's okay. I could eat several because -- hey, I'm fat! Fat people eat donuts.

Friday, September 22, 2006

spiraling out of control

My sister stayed with me for 10 days after my mom died. She has always been an itty bitty thing with somewhat strange eating habits. When pregnant she would eat an entire bag of mini Reeces pb cups at a sitting. She has almost always managed to keep her weight low, however. I think it's just genetic (she's not my biological sis). I was able to see what she was eating while she was here because we were together all the time. The first day she was here she ate 1/2 a granola bar 1/2 a cheese sandwich, and 3 bites of cornbread. That was it. The entire day. It freaked me out and I think I tried to eat enough for both of us.

I'm not sure why it freaked me out so much. She's always been "the skinny sister". Two years ago she had put on some weight for some reason and I was actually a size smaller than she was (being a size 6 at the time). It weirded her out totally. She couldn't stop commenting on how small I was. It made me feel a bit uncomfortable and a little....well.......pleased, happy, proud, superior. I mean, I'd always been the fat one. Anyway, I'm back to being the fat one, and I think I was trying to cement my role or something, while trying to make her eat more and join me. Every time my sister mentioned loving some kind of cookies my mom used to make, I'd run to the kitchen and bake them. We had so many cookies here last week, you'd have thought it was Christmas time. Unfortunately, I ate far more than she did (or anyone else for that matter).

I feel stuck. I cannot seem to eat in any sort of intuitive manner. I try to slow down my eating pace and I end up eating faster. I try to feed myself when hungry and I end up eating too much by the end of the day because I "can't" resist dessert after dinner. I try to ignore my hunger for a while and I end up eating too much, feeling too full, and then fighting the temptation to eat even more. I can't seem to convince myself that I don't have to eat all of the food in the world in one day.

I weighed myself last week and the scale said 167. 167! I haven't weighed that much in years and years and years. I actually can't remember the last time I weighed that much, but it must have been in graduate school -- 1991 maybe? Since I got married in 1995, I know 156 is the most I've weighed unless I was pregnant, and my weight has hovered around 150 for most of my married life. I've been trying to remember what on earth I used to do differently, but it's all a blur. Heck, there were long stretches when I didn't even exercise, baked dozens of Christmas cookies, and still didn't gain weight. Did I spend most of my day starving? I kind of remember eating cereal & milk for breakfast and then ignoring my hunger until lunch, but can't recall much else. Sigh. I don't know why I'm rambling.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I have to say that I will miss mom more than I ever thought possible. There are so many things, big and little, that I’ll miss: her fantastic homemade dinner rolls, brought to every celebration dinner; the way she seemed to read my mind when I wanted to ask for help with something, but couldn’t quite get up the courage to spit it out; the beautiful craftsmanship she exhibited in the gorgeous holiday dresses and Halloween costumes she sewed for her grandchildren; and the glee she took in playing with her grandkids.

She was a terrific grandmother to my children, especially to R. When mom and dad had R out to the house to spend the day or a weekend, mom had endless patience with R’s nonstop chatter. She and R formed a cozy partnership they called “The Crafty Girls” and together they completed a myriad of different craft projects together over the past couple of years. Mom was ever so much more patient than I was with R’s style of crafting, which involved her own stubborn ideas, rather than the actual directions. When she took my kids to the beach, she didn’t just stick them in the car and go. She brought little beach chairs, beach umbrellas, pails, shovels, sunscreen, bug spray, and packed four different kinds of sandwiches, just to make sure she had the kind they liked. She didn’t just sit in a chair wishing she could go home (as I do at the beach) but instead got down in the sand and helped build sand masterpieces.

In the past few years, family seemed to become more important to her, and we’d grown quite close. She was my ready companion for things like craft shows and excursions to places my husband would have found boring, like museum exhibits or home tours. She was supportive to me in many ways when my husband and I were separated and working through marital problems a few years ago. I wouldn’t like to call my accident a year ago a blessing, but I am so very grateful for it, especially now, because it completely changed my relationship with my parents, especially my mom. She and my dad came to our house and took care of my entire family for weeks, changing my bandages, keeping me company during my seemingly endless weeks of confinement to a hospital bed, peppering my physical therapist with questions, doing our weekly grocery shopping, washing our laundry, running our errands, unpacking boxes from our recent move, and cooking up a storm making us everything from homemade bread to dinner every night. I was so touched by the unselfish love and caring shown to me by mom that I started to see her in a different light. I let go of past resentments and anger and was able to tell her for the first time how much I loved her and how grateful I was to her.

I have no doubt that mom was not ready to die yet. She constantly had new schemes and plans afoot, was always planning to take a class or learn a new skill, and spoke about her life as though she was going to live to be 100. To be honest, I always thought she would too. I found a reading that made me think of mom called “Let Me Die Working”.

Let me die working,
Still tackling plans unfinished, tasks undone!
Clean to its end, swift may my race be run.
No laggard steps, no faltering, no shirking;
Let me die working.

Let me die thinking,
Let me fare forth still with an open mind,
Fresh secrets to unfold, new truths to find,
My soul undimmed, alert, no question blinking;
Let me die thinking.

Let me die giving,
The substance of life, for life’s enriching;
Time, things and self on heaven converging,
No selfish thought, love redeeming, living;
Let me die giving.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fear Factor Biking

Let me just say that I HATE exercise, in pretty much any shape or form. Occasionally before my accident I felt a rush of pride at how capable my body was when doing step aerobics -- heart pounding, sweat pouring off, muscles working hard -- but enjoyment was never any part of the experience. I do exercise -- often and hard. But only because I don't have any interest in a heart attack, a stroke, or use of a cane thirty years down the road.

The only exercise I find remote pleasure in is riding my bike (my outdoors bike, not the deadly dull stationary bike I torture myself with thrice weekly). So naturally, biking scares the *&%$ out of me since last summer. I'm pretty proud of myself that I actually have the courage to get back on a bike at all, but I find it terrifying. That's not strictly true -- once I'm on the bike and riding it, I don't actually feel scared -- unless an animal runs out in front of me. Just thinking about getting on the bike, though, makes me want to run for the closest quart of ice cream and dive in. Logically, I know the odds of breaking my leg into dozens of pieces a second time have to be really, really long, but that knowledge doesn't help. I rode 24 miles yesterday, and rather liked it (well, except for my behind hurting -- I MUST get a gel seat and possibly bicycle pants!) but I had put off that ride for 6 weeks because I was so nervous at the prospect. I wonder if I'll ever get over my anxiety?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

what are you really feeling when you feel "fat"? and other interesting stuff

Cutting-Edge Therapies forEating Disorders by Jessica Setnick, MS, RD
Three strategies that dietitians can employ when counseling eating disordered clients include the apple test, the transitive property of fat, and recognition of the benefits of the eating disorder.

The apple test:
Eating in response to emotions can lead to overeating, compensating, and/or unwanted weight gain. The apple test is a way to help clients distinguish emotional needs from physiological hunger (Note: This strategy is not appropriate for patients who avoid eating.) At the onset of food thoughts or cravings and prior to eating anything that is offered, clients are advised to ask themselves: “Would I eat an apple?” Since apples are usually considered plain but nourishing food, the goal is to determine if you are truly hungry (“Yes, I would eat an apple”) or not (“I would eat a donut, but Iwouldn’t eat an apple”). If clients determine that they would eat an apple, they follow the guidelines provided by their dietitian or meal plan regarding what and how much to eat. If they find that they would not eat an apple, they follow the guidelines provided by the dietitian or mental health professional for identifying and managing emotional needs.

The transitive property of fat:
Because the “language of fat” is spoken so frequently in our culture, we learn to blame our bodies for our bad feelings. To help clients find non-eating disordered ways to cope with their feelings, they must first recognize that they are having feelings. Otherwise, they will continue to feel“fat,” a situation that has only one solution. Each person has a different definition of “fat.” Feeling “fat” indicates that a person is also feeling how he/she believes “being fat” feels. Clients may disagree with that statement and tell the dietitian they are only feeling fat, and nothing else. However, clients are really saying that because theoretically there is a solution to being fat, while there maybe no solution to other feelings. Using this strategy, dietitians can ask clients to walk through the grocery store and when they see a “fat”person (whatever they consider fat), think about what they assume that person’s life must be like. The dietitian might say to the client: “I know you don’t judge people based on appearance, but if you did, what might you think you know about this person? Is he lazy? Unproductive? Ugly? Lonely? Does he eat too much, eat the wrong things, let himself go?“ Whatever you think you might know about this person, this is what you equate with ‘fat.’ If you think that fat people are lonely, whenever you are lonely, you are bound to feel fat. If you believe that fat people are ugly, whenever you feel ugly, you are going to feel fat. Ugly and lonely don’t always have solutions, but when you know your definition of “fat,” you can discuss with your therapist how to handle that feeling, instead of turning to your eating disorder behaviors.”

Recognizing the benefits of the eating disorder:
Because eating disorders are a response to stress, they develop in response to underlying problems. Viewing an eating disorder as solely bad and shameful only makes a person feel worse for having it; the disorder prevents sufferers from finding the ways that it is actually “helping”them. Ask the client: “If you were to view your eating disorder as a solution, in what situations has it come in handy? How has your eating disorder helped you to get what you want, avoid what you hate, or express your true feelings? Your true problems are the very things that your eating disorder has helped you with. Once you have found the things that your eating disorder has helped you with, find non-eating disorder methods to solve them. When you are feeling strong, you won’t need your eating disorder to do your work for you.”

Eating: From Disordered toOrder—“What is Normal”?
by Reba Sloan, MPH, LRD
Many of my eating disordered clients have asked me to define “normal eating.” Whether clients are struggling to be free from the bondage of extreme dietary restraint or wrestling with the drive to binge on food, the goal is to help them arrive at a normal relationship with food, eating, and activity. This involves abandoning the “all or nothing” thinking and discovering a life lived in the “middle ground.”The first task is to help clients understand which aspects of their relationships with food are disordered. Most clients understand from a rational standpoint that their behaviors are imbalanced in this area. The powerful hold of their eating disorder can hinder them from accepting and living out this intellectual truth. Here are a few areas that dietitians can explore with clients in an effort to uncover disordered eating behaviors or cognitions:

Are you adhering to irrational rules regarding food and eating? (ie, “I can only eat 1,000 calories per day.” or “Carbs are bad/fattening.”)
Have your eating practices/behaviors contributed to a disconnect withyour hunger/full/satisfied cues?
Has the way you are eating and the activity you are getting or not getting contributed to “artificial” weight loss or gain?
Does your current relationship with food disrupt your emotional, social, or spiritual life?

After the client acknowledges thatdisordered eating is present, factors that may have contributed to this imbalance need to be addressed. Thisc an include emotional triggers that might cause someone to eat or not eat continually over a period of time, frequent dieting that stems from unrealistic weight or size goals, or living in a social-cultural melee that complicates finding the middle ground withour food, activity, and weight. Thereis no clearly defined crossover point where disordered eating becomes an eating disorder. Even if one does not meet the diagnostic criteria for an eating disorder, disordered eating can destroy peace of mind and quality of life. My experience has been that many clients struggling with disordered eating fit the diagnostic criteria for Eating Disorder Not OtherwiseSpecified (ED NOS). This initial work with a client lays the foundation required for the journey towards “the middle ground” of normal eating. I have come to see normal eating in the following terms:
Eating that does not cause chaos inone’s thoughts and behaviors with food.
A relationship with food that is not guilt- or shame-based.
Eating that is thoughtful and connected, not obsessive.
Eating that is satisfying and enjoyable.
Eating that is flexible, and, occasionally“disordered.”
Achieving normal eating is even harder than defining the term. It is a process that involves a “hammer and chisel” approach. Our job is to assist clients in this pursuit by helping them identify and change faulty beliefs regarding eating, food, and weight, and giving them nutrition advice to encourage variety, balance, and moderation and to promote “style of eating”work that allows for more effective connection to the body’s signals. In a nutshell, normal eating is a result of realistic and practical goals. This might be best summarized by a quote I once heard and have long since forgotten the source: “Moderation in everything, including moderation.”
Reba Sloan, MPH, LRD, is a nutritiontherapist in private practice inNashville, Tenn.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

On a diet?

I recently read the book Eat, Drink, & Weigh Less by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood fame) and Walter Willett (Harvard School of Public Health). This has to be the first time in my entire life that I looked at a "diet" and thought, "I could totally do this!". The portions are generous, the food is delicious and totally real. No artifical sweetener, no frozen dinners, no convenience food, and the meals look fabulous. The only problem is that I work full time and have a family! The recipes are very time consuming, and for some of the dinners you have to make 3 of them. Perhaps if a I had a personal chef...

I have, however, been eating the breakfast, lunch, snack parts of the plan -- then just eating a mindful dinner with my family. So far, the food has been great and though I can't say I've never been hungry, I definitely haven't had that soul-sucking hunger I got on Weight Watchers. I don't arrive home desperate for anything that looks remotely like a carbohydrate because I'm so ravenous. I'm not sure if this is due to the composition of the meals or due to the fact that they are higher in calories than I've been eating. I've been eating a small breakfast, morning snack, small lunch, and afternoon snack, totally about 1000 calories. This plan has a breakfast of about 350 calories, a lunch of about 400 calories and a snack of up to 250 calories. So it's about the same number of calories, but more at breakfast with only one snack per day. I wish I had the time to cook some of the dinners. Perhaps on the weekends.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I posted this on a bulletin board I belong to:

"It's so easy to understand my desire to eat when I'm anxious, upset, bored, etc. The other day I was feeling a lot of anxiety over something-or-other and I thought to myself, "I wish I could just binge instead of feeling all of this!" It's much less difficult to not eat in a situation when I realize why I want to. It's more difficult when there doesn't seem to be any reason beyond greed for me wanting food! "

One of the posters wrote:

"Susan when you describe your "greed" ~ always wanting the biggest piece of cake, etc. It doesn't sound like greed to me .... it sounds like little Susan wants to make positive that she gets her fair share. It sounds like there have been times in life where you didn't get what you needed and that large piece of cake is a form of taking care of yourself"

Another wrote that there will always be more cake and I need to remind myself of this when I want to eat more even though I'm not hungry or when I want dessert even though I'm full after dinner.

I think the "little Susan" theory is a good one. Growing up, we weren't short on food but with six kids we often didn't get "seconds" unless we ate our "firsts" really fast. We weren't allowed to eat between meals, and rarely ate out or had "good" food like pizza, french fries, ice cream, or chocolate. In addition, I used food to soothe my feelings, epecially as I got older.

I indulge (or used to indulge) in other behaviors (besides overeating) that agree with the fear of deprivation theory. My coworker brings in (giant) bagels every Saturday and I don't eat them anymore. When I did, however, I always made sure to rush over to the bag and pick out the one I wanted right away & squirrel it in my locker if I didn't immediately eat it. I used to be the first one in line at every potluck or buffet, and the first to cut into any treat brought by a coworker.
These days I often skip the treat and wait until last to get in line at a potluck. BUT I do still sometimes squirrel away treats, as though I won't be able to get any later. Silly because I could buy or make anything (I'm a good cook, after all), but I still sometimes find myself doing it. If I could figure out how to get past the feelings of deprivation...

I suppose I just need to put up with them. But then again, there's that fear that they will always be there and never go away. The fear that I will feel and feel and feel deprived and a bowl of ice cream will never just be a bowl of ice cream to take or leave. I've tried and tried to tell myself that there will always be more cake. Sometimes it works (especially with cake that isn't homemade). Sometimes though I think that my inner little girl says, "Oh yeah? Well when? You aren't having it now, you didn't have it last week -- exactly WHEN will there be more cake?!?"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

food and feelings

I have been thinking for a couple of days about the feelings-food connection for me and realizing just how often I reach for food rather than feeling my feelings. Nowadays I usually stop mid-reach and think, "Um...what are you doing? You're not hungry. Why are you reaching for that?" instead of eating something. Often I stop my thoughts before I ever reach. But I still think first of food -- often. Why is that? When did that start? Was there EVER a time in my life when I just lived? When I didn't constantly think about food, try to resist eating or overeating? When I just ate? There must have been.

I know there were times in my 20s when I was at a stable, lower weight for months at a time and I distinctly remember once being at the grocery store with some people, my roommate Kathy among them. She picked up a candy bar and asked if I wanted one. I said, "No, thanks" automatically and I remember thinking, "Huh. I haven't had a candy bar in months." I must have been living pretty normally then. I know I went regularly to the gym and worked out a lot then, but I've done that off and on for 20 years. My love life wasn't going great at the time, I can't remember if I was working or in school, but I must have just been living my life. How can I get that back?

I feel as though I've done a lot of healing this year. I'm not CONSTANTLY dwelling on thoughts of food, my binges have grown farther and farther apart, and I'm exercising in a healthy way (as opposed to obsessively). I'm eating healthfully, but I'm still struggling with the dessert "thing". Why does that sweet fattening stuff have such a hold over me? Last night we got together and mom and dad M's house with Chris, Julie, Shanna, Richard, and all of our kids. It was very fun and I felt fairly relaxed and happy. I was really hungry, but ate two small pieces of pizza and some salad and was full. We had dessert. I'd made a Texas sheet cake recipe from Cooking Light and Mom had some lowfat ice cream. My piece of cake was fairly large, I took a scoop of ice cream, and I ate it slowly, savoring it. I wasn't the slightest bit hungry when I finished (or when I started, for that matter). Yet I sat there, fighting the urge not to eat C's piece of cake (that she hadn't touched) for half an hour. If I'd been alone I think I would have gobbled it down.

As it was, I sat with the feelings of wanting it, half listening to the conversation around me and half pondering why I wanted it so badly. I think it has to do with feelings of deprivation. Not that we were deprived of food as kids, but we weren't allowed to eat between meals. Mealtime was "eat as fast as you possibly can because if you don't, you won't get seconds". We had dessert at almost every dinner, but I remember eating so many cookies or coffee cake at church coffee hour that I'd feel sick. My sibs ate a lot too. When we'd go to a potluck dinner we'd always eat more than one dessert. Were we making up for the lack of sweetness in our lives? There sure wasn't a lot of it at our house. But now my life is very sweet. I have a nice house and a great family. I have sweetness in abundance. Dessert is still my Achilles heel. Is it just a matter of being greedy, as Linda Moran says in her book? Do I just need to sit with the feelings of wanting more but knowing I don't need it? If I do that, will I still have those feelings of wanting forever or will they eventually go away?

Shanna felt no compunction about asking me if I wanted the rest of the cake to take home (there was a very large piece left -- about five inches square), and when I said no, getting a fork and eating the entire chunk. Of course, she's pretty slender -- does that make a difference? -- and I think she only ate one piece of pizza. Regardless, she wanted it and she ate it. End of story. Had I eaten it, I would have felt that I'd let myself down. I'd have had difficulty not thinking badly of myself.

Friday, July 21, 2006


more from Barbara Holtzman (I really like this woman!):

In the chapter on bingeing, she talks about two kinds binges -- food anger and emotional anger. Food anger is the frustration that builds in reaction to the deprivation of not letting yourself eat what you want. Either making certain foods "forbidden" or underfeeding yourself during the day so that you binge after work or after dinner. Reduce this type of binge by not letting yourself get too hungry and by allowing yourself to eat what you really want.

I think I'm doing fairly well on this one. I do still fight every day not to eat too many sweets/desserts, etc, but it's easier now to turn things down knowing that they make me feel crappy. The day after eating too much sugary stuff I feel downright CRANKY and CRABBY. I also seem to have trouble sleeping that night. Knowing that, why would I WANT to eat a doughnut?

The second type is an attempt to deal with uncomfortable emotional feelings like anger, sadness, anxiety, boredom, and loneliness. For those of us who focus on everyone else's needs but our own, eating (particularly sweets) may be the only way we know how to give to ourselves. For others, it's a means of procrastination. If you numb yourself with food, you may be trading the live feelings of anger, sadness and fear for the familiar dull ache of depression. You also miss the opportunity of learning what your feelings are trying to tell you.There may be times you experience uncomfortable feelings and do not use food to cope. Most likely, these feelings are in your "comfort zone". We all have a range of both uncomfortable and joyful feelings we can bear. The parameters of our comfort zones may fluctuate, depending on our general level of stress, health, where we are in our menstrual cycle, and how connected and supported we feel by our friends and family. If you feel the urge to binge, it may be helpful to understand that it's because something triggered you out of your comfort zone.

So interesting! I often wondered why sometimes I feel as though I'm coping just fine with feelings, even bad ones, and other times I feel such an irresistable pull to run to the cupboard. I'm definitely doing better on the self-care issue -- taking time out to relax and not do much, asking T for what I need, not stressing about everything not being perfect all the time, and doing things I want to do as opposed to things I think I should be doing. I don't succeed at all of this 100% of the time, but definitely more often than not. Procrastination is still big for me -- I feel a very strong urge to eat when I know I really need to do some chore I don't want to do. I've been coping okay with it lately though. I convince myself that the chore isn't going away, so why compound my misery with food I don't need?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Barbara Holtzman writes in her book of several different kinds of cravings (who knew?):

--associative cravings occur when we pair a food with a long-ago event. I'm sure this is why I crave things like ice cream and chocolate. I remember eating entire bags of Hershey miniatures in high school (very soothing) and ice cream was always a happy treat to us. G&G Simmons took us out for "cheap dates", Aunt Ann would take us for ice cream when she visited, our trips to the cemetary on Memorial Day were always accompanied by a stop at the store out in the country for an ice cream sandwich, and of course we always had ice cream on birthdays. Associative cravings can also arise from habit -- dessert after dinner, in my case. To change that habit, I should work toward something positive (i.e. substitution) rather than try not to do something. To transform a habit, I need intention, a plan, patience, and persistence.

I think associative cravings are a big thing with me. I am really having a hard time breaking my habit of eating dessert after dinner. I recently ordered some Alba 70 shakes from an online specialty store so that at least I have a low-cal, fairly healthy option to the ice cream the girls usually eat. But the best thing would be for me not to feel such a strong pull to eat it. I'm truly no longer physically hungry and have no need to eat anything else. Yet it's practically irresistable to me. I really need to just "lean into" the feelings, as Tina says, and go on with life!

--dispersive cravings are driven by emotions, such as craving sweets when we're lacking sweets in our lives. Paying attention to my feelings will make it easier to recognize what I really need. Craving carbs frequently may be helped by eating protein with the carbs. Hmm.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

light bulb!

I ordered Barbara Holtzman's book & CD from her website( and it's a combo of GR & Evelyn Tribole & others (as she acknowledges). Anyway, she said something I thought made a light bulb go on for me: "Initially, I thought I could simply talk about my feelings. Talking provided a great deal of insight and some relief, especially when a therapist or friend validated my feelings. But it was not until I learned to sit compassionately with my feelings that I was able to experience self-understanding and self-acceptance. Only by practicing acceptance of all of myself, including the parts I didn't like, was I able to make any real changes".

She says we try to "figure it out" to avoid feeling our feelings. I never "got" why it was important to "sit with your feelings", as everyone says, until I read this. I always thought sitting with my feelings meant trying to figure out why I wanted to eat when I wasn't hungry. But I guess (as my therapist did try to tell me) it really DOESN'T matter sometimes why. You just have to feel your feelings, even if they are only the discomfort of wanting to eat and not doing it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I need a head smack

The next time I forget that dieting doesn't work for me, someone please give me a good whack. I've been not logging my food intake for close to a week and I feel so much better and more normal. I've not obesessed about food nearly as much. I've just been trying to follow Geneen Roth's eating guidelines and though I've had a few moments of thinking, "Oh! Should I be eating this?", things have gone well with it. In fact, this morning I weighed 160.8 -- about six pounds down from my weight 6 or 7 weeks ago. I'm still struggling a bit with bad food/good food -- last night someone at work brought in a couple of cheesecakes. I cut a very small piece of the brownie cheesecake and ate it really quickly, standing up. That was dumb. If I was going to eat some (and it wasn't really that great) I would have been more satisfied had I gotten a plate, sat down, and savored it. But because it was something I didn't want to allow myself to have, I gobbled it.

The hardest thing, by far, is to stop when satiated. I'm sure I've said that before and I'm still sort of scratching my head over it. I guess that's why a plan or diet or calorie limit is comforting -- when I've eaten my portion, that's it -- I'm done. If I'm eating to satiation, good heavens -- I hardly get any food! I've been taking the tiniest portions at dinner and I'm still probably eating past the point of being no longer hungry. I need to work more on assuring myself that I can eat again when I'm hungry and can eat whatever I want when that happens. The other night we had chili and I had probably 3/4 cup of chili, a small piece of cornbread, and a cup of fruit and I was very full. I could have stopped after 1/2 cup of chili and half a piece of cornbread. I'm sure it's all tied up in deprivation and feelings of "I'll not be able to have this again!" left from childhood.

I've been doing fairly well on slowing down while eating, but still need to eat more slowly at dinner. I still am the first one done every night. So up next -- eating even more slowly and taking even smaller portions.

Friday, July 07, 2006


I'm quitting cold turkey right now. I have obsessed about food far, far too much over the past few weeks. Last night I binged for the first time in at least a month, and I think my constant thoughts of food had something to do with it. I have "diet head". I'm trying not to beat myself up over it, but rather am looking at it as another learning experience on the path. I've stopped myself from eating for emotional reasons many times over the past month and I can do it again and again and again until it is second nature.

Today I took a short walk after lunch and I was trying to tell myself to be mindful and enjoy the sunshine, flowers, etc., but all I could think was, "I only have 500 calories left to eat today and I'm going to Tanya's candle party and I know she won't have any healthy food and I'll have to either starve or eat too much and feel crappy and..." Ugh. From this moment on I am going to follow the eating guidelines Geneen Roth and Linda Moran and every other non-diet guru advise! They can't all be wrong. So I will feed my body when it's hungry, eat slowly and mindfully, stop when satiated, and know that I can eat again when I'm hungry.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Status Quo

I don't really have much to report. Things are going along well with exercise and eating -- my knee is quite sore today though. I'm taking one day of rest each week, but maybe that's not enough. Now that I'm back to exercising 60 minutes 6 days a week I really don't want to give any of it up!

I wanted to eat when I wasn't hungry several times this past weekend, but talked myself out of it. I knew it was just anxiety-related -- Gary came over for dinner on Sunday, I worked Saturday -- stuff like that. I rode 23 miles on my bike before work on Saturday and it was kind of odd. I left the house at 5:35am -- exact time I left it on the day of my accident. When I biked past the accident site, I kept seeing it over and over in my mind. I was gripping the handlebars so hard during my ride that my hand was swollen all day.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Am I finally getting it?

We went out to dinner last night at a local country club with the entire M clan (30 people or so) since T's aunt, uncle, and cousin were visiting from out of state. I went hungry most of the afternoon, but with the knowledge that I really didn't want to order a dry chicken breast and plain baked potato at the restaurant rather than the idea of losing weight faster. I think it really made a difference.

I chose the first thing that really struck my fancy -- a turkey reuben sandwich with fries. I ate half a bread stick when they came because it was past 7 and I was incredibly hungry. When my dinner came, the bottom of the bread was disappointly soggy. I shrugged, took the sandwich apart, and had half a sandwich with the bread tops & the ingredients. I ate most of my fries. I was pleasantly full, but not stuffed and felt okay about the whole thing. I didn't feel gypped as I would have in the past (by not "getting" to eat the whole thing) because hey, I'm not on a diet! I can eat a reuben and fries whenever and wherever I want! Woo hoo!

I've been logging my food and exercise into for my class. In playing around with the reports, I found that if I continue to eat and exercise as I have been for the past week I should lose about 3/4 lb a week. That would be nice. I'm not going to weigh myself for at least another two weeks, but my clothes aren't any less snug yet. Of course, I've only been eating really well for two weeks. I can't forget that I'M NOT ON A DIET and will not be losing massive amounts of weight really quickly. I need to find some patience somewhere... if only they sold it online I'd be set.

Two weeks now with no Diet Coke!

Monday, June 19, 2006

It seems I can no longer fool myself (and that's a good thing!)

On Saturday, I was totally procrastinating cleaning my house (16 people for father's day dinner!) and thought "Oh, maybe I'll just make brownies for the dads to take home from the dinner with them". I quickly caught myself in my dishonesty -- I was procrastinating and wanted to eat, so thought I'd make brownies to waste time and lick out the bowl at the same time (multi-tasking, you know). So, rather than making brownies, I did dishes, laundry, and put away the new lamps I bought on Friday!

Friday night, my dh got home really late from Chicago and I was on my own with the girls. These days getting them to bed is a huge, long process that sometimes turns into a frustrating ordeal, so both of us hate to do it alone. After dinner I took them out to the mall to have R's (the 8-year-old) ears pierced. She's been asking for a couple of weeks to do it. We enjoyed a "kiddie cone" each at Dairy Queen afterward and went home, getting there around 9:15, which is late for them to get to bed. They were cranky and I was exhausted! I had gotten up at 5 to go to the gym and it was so busy at work -- when I took off my pedometer last night I'd walked 15000 steps.

I just wanted to eat, but recognized immediately that it was only because I just wanted to go to bed but knew I had the bedtime thing to get through first. Knowing that really helped -- I just did what I had to do and went to bed myself. I was fighting the urge to eat all day long on Saturday. I think because I ate half my 3-year-old's doughnut while we were out running errands and it was my day off from exercise (which gave me those irrational "I blew it!" feelings), combined with the fact that we had two food-filled social things to do in the afternoon and evening. I didn't dread them, but felt a bit nervous because of the way I'd wanting to eat all day. I was hoping that just being aware of my feelings would help me stay with them at the open house and cookout.

We got to the open house and I just had two bites of a Subway sub and one bite of C's ice cream bar. At the cookout the food wasn't fabulous -- hot dogs, Doritoes, corn on the cob, watermelon, and pasta salad. I skipped the past salad because I just don't like it all that much, and had a small helping of the other items. The only thing I regret is that I took a fudge bar for dessert -- because it was not really very good. I knew that after a few licks, but there wasn't any good way for me to ditch it and I didn't want to be rude. I need to get over being a "good girl" and just stop eating stuff that isn't all that great simply to be polite.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I lost four pounds!

I debated for a few minutes on whether or not to weigh myself. All of the non-dieting literature says not to, but I feel as though it's nice to have positive feedback and it's too easy to let myself float along thinking all is well when it's not. Of course, if the number is disappointing it's dangerous for me. I decided to weigh myself and the scale said 162.6, four pounds less than 8 days ago. I think I will weigh myself, but not more often than once every two weeks at the absolute most. I don't want the number on the scale to dictate how I feel, what I eat or don't eat, what I wear that day, etc.

I decided to ditch and go back to Their reports aren't as cool but it takes much less time to enter food intake and it's much easier to use. I feel as though I'm starting to obsess on this, and that is NOT a good thing. I think I will make it a point to log my food only twice a day and stay away from weight loss blogs except for a once-a-week check on them.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

One week without Diet Coke!

I can't believe I've made it a week. I almost caved a few times, but thought "Why do I want to drink chemically flavored water? -- just have the real thing!" I was pretty tired yesterday and the day before but work has been so busy I didn't have time to nod off.

Things are going well with, though I laugh at the number of calories they say my exercise is worth. If that were accurate I'd have already lost 5 pounds this past week. At the gym I always lie to the machine and say my weight is 130, figuring then the calorie count is fairly accurate. My calorie intake & exercise for the week has been:

1940 (elliptical machine 45 minutes on "weight loss" program & 20 minutes of weights)
1745 (stationery bike 45 minutes on levels 3 & 4)
2403 (exercise bike 30 minutes on interval program, walked 11162 steps that day)
1991 (elliptical machine 35 minutes on levels 5-9 & 30 minutes of weights)
1813 (biked 21 miles outside on my "real" bike)
1800 (45 minutes on elliptical on the cross country program (which is a KILLER!), and walked 10000 steps that day)
and today isn't over yet, but I did the exercise bike this morning for 45 minutes on level 3.

I feel pretty good about how things are going, though I'm ignoring my hunger cues too often. I still don't quite trust myself not to overeat at dinner, so I ignore my mid-morning and mid-afternoon hunger as long as I can. Then eating a bit too much at dinner becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because I'm so hungry. I always take small portions, but still end up too full because I eat it so quickly.

Mid-morning and mid-afternoon, I sort of feel as though I "shouldn't" be hungry yet (though I know that's irrational). Take this morning -- I had oatmeal (quick oats made with 1/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oats & 1 tsp brown sugar) and an egg for breakfast. Sounds hearty, right? That was at 7:15am or so and I was physically hungry by 9:15am. By 11:30am I was so hungry I felt sick and ate a Lara Bar. Then at 1:15pm I ate my lunch salad so quickly that I ended up stuffed because I didn't stop when satiated. Even if you overeat salad, you're still ignoring your body wisdom!

So I need to start eating more often earlier in the day and trust that I will stop eating when satiated at dinner. It's a bit late to do that today since I didn't bring a snack with me, but tomorrow I will do it. I also really need to eat more dairy. I just don't see how I can unless I totally cut out any sweets (which will lead to bingeing) or eat "diet" food, which I absolutely positively refuse to do. Mark my words, I will never again eat yogurt with artificial sweetener in it now that I've had the real thing. I don't mind plain lowfat Stonyfield Farms -- actually I've found that I like it just as well as whole milk yogurt, but there are some lowfat or nonfat "food" that is just not worth eating. I'd rather eat 10 real potato chips than half a bag of baked chips. Anyway, I need one more dairy serving per day. I eat 2-3 fruit servings, enough protein, and more than enough vegetables.

I rode on my bike to Rockford and back on Sunday with Rita and Ali, past the place where I had the accident for the first time since it happened. It didn't really bring up any feelings for me beyond relief that I'm well along the road to recovery.

Friday, June 09, 2006


I started the L.E.A.R.N. class last night ( I was a bit skeptical when I saw the literature the teacher passed out, but she is a registered dietician who just got her master's degree in counseling and she is specializing in eating disorders. She is anti-diet and has dealth with weight issues herself, so I will give it a whirl. We talked about diets and compared the word "diet" to "lifestyle", discussed what we hoped to gain from the class, and got homework. I have to keep an eating log. I'm glad I started using on Tuesday or I'd be feeling stressed about that. She also weighed us and said she won't weigh us again until the final night at the end of July.

The class had about 15 people in it, and about half were repeating it. You can repeat it as many times as you want. There was one girl smaller than I am, several overweight people, and over half of the class was obese -- most very large. She asked who eats with no distractions other than conversation and I was the ONLY person who raised my hand!

I'm on day four of no Diet Coke or artificial sweeteners (except my one cup of hot chocolate). I feel great. I can't say for sure it has anything to do with the lack of Diet Coke, however, since my eating has been good and I've exercised hard every day also.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

2 days down, 40 years to go

Two days without Diet Coke. Two days of making good food choices. Hmmm.. is this a coincidence? I did actually give in and have some artificial sweetener last night. After work I was quite hungry so I ate some Granola Munch'ems and a cup of SF FF hot chocolate. I was still hungry, but knew from logging my food on that I'd eaten about 2000 calories for the day. I woke up STARVING and even after my usual whole wheat tortilla, bit of cheese, turkey breast breakfast I got really hungry by 9:30am. I ate half a packet of plain oatmeal, about 1/4 cup of plain yogurt, and half a cup of blueberries. It's 11:45am right now and I feel so hungry I could eat pretty much anything.

I don't get it. All of the non-dieting literature assures you that you don't have to go hungry to reach your natural weight. Somehow I don't think my natural weight is 166.6. Yesterday I ate 2000 calories and the day before about the same. Both days I spent a lot of time hungry. I ate healthfully -- 7+ servings of vegetables, 2+ servings of fruit, only a couple of small squares of chocolate and a bag of Granola Munch'ems (130 calories) each day for sweets. I ate enough protein and fat, and not too many empty carbs. True, I exercised pretty hard yesterday and this morning, but on Tuesday I woke up late and didn't do a darn thing. How could I be hungry so much of the time?

I guess I'm not really being fair to the ND approach because I'm either being "good" or overeating. What would happen if I ate when I was hungry, stopped when satiated, and ate healthy foods 99% of the time? Perhaps it's time to find out?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I am a complete fraud

I saw my therapist last week for the final time. To be honest, she can't help me until I help myself and so far I am unwilling to do that. I am a total fraud. I talked the talk to her -- all about how I was trying not to emphasize losing weight and trying to eat healthier for other reasons, just as Gillian Riley says to do in the book Eating Less. Blah, blah, blah. I've been exercising regularly but not obsessing on burning calories, blah, blah, blah. Then I went home and binged that night.

All weekend I did well on eating healthfully, eating small portions, talking myself out of eating crap -- until evening. Then I fell apart. Last night I ate a small dinner and was satisfied, but really wanted ice cream. I gave myself "the script" -- ice cream will always be around, I can eat it whenever I want, I don't need to eat it, I want to be a mature grown-up and control my greed and not have food control me, etc. I made it as far as leaving the table, going upstairs, and changing my clothes. Then I caved and had a very small dish of ice cream with chocolate sauce. I felt a bit like a failure because I had typed in my food intake into and knew that by eating the ice cream I was going over the 1800 calories I wanted to eat for the day. But I didn't beat myself up because it was a small dish of ice cream. Then we took a trip to Lowe's to buy stuff to stain the deck and T surprised us by taking us to a new ice cream store. ARGH. I got a baby cone, but still felt like a total failure. Adding to my failure was the number on the scale this morning. I tried to resist, but hopped on anyway. It was 166.6. I haven't weighed this much (unless you count pregnancy) in 15 years or so.

I'm foundering around here at a loss. I don't want to "go on a diet". It has never, ever worked for me and somehow I don't think it's going to start working suddenly after 25 years of not working. I am allowing food to control me -- perhaps because I don't have faith in myself. After all, I've never been able to leave sweets alone unless I was in the "weight loss zone" and invincible to all temptation. So why should I be able to now? Yet, I can't make the solution to never be around tempting food. That's giving food way too much power and I can't live my life that way. I refuse to live constantly obsessing about what I've eaten and when, when and what I'm going to eat next, and whether or not I ate too much. I refuse to stress over going out to eat, or to a party, or on vacation, or anywhere I can't control what is served. That is a completely ridiculous way to live.

Gillian Riley says that you need to focus on eating non-addictively for reasons other than losing weight. Losing weight is an external thing -- you really want to do it to please others. You sacrifice your desires to please others. So you lose your motivation as you lose weight and your motivation is dependent on how others are treating you. If they let you down, the thing to do for yourself will be to return to addictive eating to soothe yourself. To make lasting change you need to find more pleasure in controlling your eating than in overeating. You need to concentrate on building your self esteem by making your eating healthy for non-weight related reasons. So she said to make a list of non-weight loss related reasons you want to stop eating addictively, a list of what it costs you to eat addictively, and a list of what will happen if you take 5% more responsibility for your eating -- all non weight related. Boy, was that hard!

My list of what it means to be in control:
--feel lighter & less weighed down by being too full
--lower cholesterol
--less knee pain
--easier and freer to move
--more energy
--no indigestion or "stuffed" feeling
--feel strong and successful
--feel honest

what it costs to be out of control:
--feel heavy
--knee stress and pain
--high cholesterol
--feel cranky
--avoid social situations
--"afraid" of food
--stuffed feeling
--feelings of failure
--feel weak
--feel sneaky
--yucky "ate too much sugar" mouth taste

If I take 5% more responsibility for my eating:
--I won't mindlessly eat one chip here and one chip there
--I won't feel out of control
--I will feel strong
--I won't obsess about what I eat
--I will stop eating when satisfied
--I will choose NOT to eat sometimes
--I won't eat when I'm not hungry

Friday, May 26, 2006

Is there such a thing as a trigger food?

Some of my listservs and bulletin boards have been discussing trigger foods lately. I find myself agreeing with everyone. I know that logically I shouldn't be afraid of food. A "normal" eater would allow the brownies to get hard and stale and not care if she had to throw them away -- or would a normal eater not make brownies, knowing that they are very high in calories and she doesn't need them for proper care of her body?

Sheryl from says, "I don't think it's ever good to put so much power in an inanimate object outside yourself that you need to shun it and flee from it. The power to decide - to choose - is in you. It's important to know that and believe it. You have the power! Feelings do not mandate action. It's possible to have feelings that you don't act upon - really, that's the definition of maturity. "

Well, yes I do believe that, but.... don't you think that most people who are naturally slender don't buy junk food and don't bake very often? I have tried for YEARS to be able to eat certain foods (good ice cream, homemade brownies, homemade bread, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and graham crackers spring to mind first) in a "normal" fashion and have failed miserably most of the time. No, they don't "trigger" a binge in me unless I'm trying to diet. But I almost always eat a larger portion than would be considered "normal". I eat a large bowl of ice cream or 2-3 brownies or a whole inner package of graham crackers. I always laughed at diets for which you are allowed "1/2 cup of ice cream" or "2 graham crackers". That would never satisfy me in a million years. Most of the time I just avoid those foods, rather than deal with a big struggle.

Oddly, I have been able to normalize some foods. I can now have chips, m&ms, cheese, and sugary cereal in the house all the time and rarely feel the urge to eat a bunch of it. I definitely wouldn't have been able to say that 15 years ago. Why the change? I think part of it may be the "not wanting to waste food" thing. I know that T and the girls will eat chips long before they go stale, and the other things take forever to go bad. My "problem" foods are all things that will get hard, stale, or otherwise ruined if not eaten fairly quickly.

I haven't been doing very well with leaving a bite of food on my plate and each meal and that probably relates. I do serve myself rather small portions, but still -- I want to be able to leave at least ONE bite on my plate. After all, I can go back and eat more food whenever I want. I'm an adult and no one will tell me I can't eat!

I rode my stationery bike this morning and tried doing a "program", as opposed to just 40 minutes on level 3. HOLY COW! I'd been doing level 3 and sometimes 4, but this program went up to 8 at times. I was so out of breath at one point that I had to reduce the resistance. Something to work toward, I suppose. I did the "weight loss" program at the gym on the elliptical on Wednesday and had the opposite experience. I had to keep upping the resistance. Huh.

I'm getting my bike back from the shop tomorrow and I'm pretty excited. I hopped on it a couple of weeks ago and slowly rode up and down the street. I wasn't nearly as scared as I thought I'd be, but it still felt too big for me. The bike shop said they'd switch out the seat for one that goes lower and crank the handlebars a notch closer to the seat and see if that makes a difference. I'm also going to try out the next smaller size and a totally different bike that is a bit more recumbent and thus, lower to the ground. They were super nice and said they'd replace the seat and odometer for free! I told them it wasn't their fault I crashed and broke my leg!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My ACTION plan!

I'm actually alive and feeling rather good these days. After foundering around for a few weeks trying to "legalize" food and eating too much, I realized that legalizing doesn't HAVE to mean buying every food I ever deprived myself of and having it in my cupboard. It can simply mean giving myself permission to eat whatever I want, provided it is truly what I want and as long as I'm hungry. Whew. Having a bunch of junky food in the house just stresses me out -- What if it gets stale? What if no one eats it besides me? What if I have to throw it away? ACK! Having grown up in a house where NOTHING was EVER wasted or thrown away, I can't deal very well with the concept.

After spending a week writing down each time I ate when I wasn't hungry, I found some patterns. I wrote down the time, where I was, who I was with, what I ate, and any thoughts or feelings I had at the time. I found that I eat mainly due to boredom/procrastination, anxiety/stress, or anger. Some of the thoughts I had were "what the heck I already ruined my healthy eating for the day" sorts of thoughts, some ANTS, and anxious thoughts regarding either T or the girls or both. My problem times are dinnertime and just after, while reading the paper, during celebration/holiday meals, restaurants, and my days off. Soooo.. I have an ACTION plan! That makes me laugh. Anyway, here's my action plan:

boredom/procrastination -- just DO whatever I'm procrastinating (duh!) or at least leave/stay out of the kitchen

anxiety/stress -- ask for help

anger -- ask for what I need

for problem times:
dinner & after -- get up from the table as soon as I'm done and LEAVE the AREA! Remind myself that prolonging a meal does not stop it from ending.

reading the paper -- take it elsewhere in the house to read, away from food

celebrations/holidays -- remind myself that I will never run out of food. There is NOTHING I can't eat tomorrow that I'm eating today. There will ALWAYS be more food

restaurants -- eat slowly and try to keep to half of what I'm served

days off -- keep busy, care for myself, don't spend the entire day doing chores

My plan in general is:
exercise 3-6 times a week but don't obsess about length or number of times a week

eat more healthfully -- make most of my choices healthy ones, but eat french fries and the like with no guilt if that's what I truly want. Remind myself that deprivation and insatiability go hand in hand.

cut down on the desserts -- eat it every other day for a while, cut down to twice a week, then make it once a week, eating a truly great dessert

take smaller portions than I think will satisfy me, knowing that I can go back for more

eat with a plate always, sitting down always, and slowly

start leaving one bite of food on my plate at each meal

If I want to eat but I'm not hungry, stop and ask myself what it is I want from food since I want to eat more than I need. Remind myself that feelings come and go, but don't go away because I'm afraid of them. I can't feed a feeling with food. Change requires action.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm back from vacation

Our ten days in Europe were really great, but exhausting. We walked a LOT -- nine miles on a couple of days. I don't think I lost any weight, which kind of surprises me. More later...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

the eye of the beholder

I found out last night that Aunt Alice said to T "S looks great! How does she stay so slim?" I'm feeling rather foolish to imagine that anyone would care that I weigh 15 pounds more than I did at Christmas.

PT this morning went well. I did 22 minutes on the elliptical and I've been able to increase my ankle weights to 4 lbs for all of my leg extensions. For some weird reason I can't increase the weight on the leg extension machine. The sub PT guy a couple of weeks ago said it was probably due to the angle of the machine. Okay, whatever. I think my squats with the ball are getting easier and though it could be my imagination, doing the step-ups seems positively easy. Now if only I could actually walk up a flight of stairs like a normal person instead of one step at a time like a toddler. Ah well... I still have 3 months til the first anniversary of the accident. At least I now actually believe I will be "normal" again eventually.

I'm really getting excited about our trip -- nine days til we leave. I'm going to zip out to the mall this week on my day off and see if I can't find at least one more new top & pair of jeans -- maybe some Dockers too. I'm not happy with the way any of my non-jean pants look and A&P said to bring a few pair to wear "out" in the evening.

Monday, April 17, 2006

I fell a bit behind I see

Okay, let's see. I weighed myself, giving myself the big lecture that I wouldn't be disappointed if I'd only lost one pound. Imagine my dismay to see that I had GAINED a pound. I couldn't believe it. All that non-bingeing, all that exercise.... ARGH. The bad thing is that I allowed it to lead me to a mini binge one evening shortly afterward. I caught myself, realized why I was eating, and stopped.

I did well after that, except that I can't seem to stop eating before I feel too full at dinner. I think I just feel gypped that so little delicious food is enough. We went to Chili's and if I had honestly stopped when satisfied, I would have eaten two little quesadilla triangles and a couple of bites of rice. Instead I ate half of the platter they served me. That's an improvement, but I can't expect to lose weight if I continue to eat beyond satisfaction. The most important goal for me is still to normalize my relationship with food, but of course I want to lose weight too.

PT is going well. I joined the gym so I can keep up my exercise after PT ends next week. I did 21 minutes on level 6 on the elliptical on Saturday. I went on to do some weight work and it felt pretty good.

I was totally stressed out about this past weekend. Andrew & Patricia were here from London, so it was "all family all the time" for Easter eve and Easter. There were going to be 50 people at Ellen's on Sunday for brunch who hadn't seen me since I had gained anywhere from 15-25 pounds. I felt completely anxious, ashamed, and unattractive. On Saturday I was disappointed that we didn't have our usual family attendance to Easter Vigil services -- everyone was going on Sunday. I allowed it to get to me and after Saturday dinner ate 4 cookies, 2 pieces of cake, too many chocolate-covered almonds, and some more candy after we got home. I felt yucky.

On Sunday, for some reason, things were better. At the brunch I got very small helpings of a few things, ate them slowly, and had a piece of A&P's cake later. I sat with my feelings and tried to socialize. I actually ended up having a good time, though I still felt incredibly self-conscious. I cruised past the buffet tables many times during the afternoon, gazing longingly at the delish food, but I didn't want to stuff my feelings. We left in the late afternoon and A&P came over to discuss our upcoming trip to London. We waited far too long for dinner and I was ravenous by the time our pizza came. I ate two pieces, and managed to sit long enough to realize I was done. I still ate R's crust and a chocolate bunny, and a couple of Hershey miniatures, but that was it.

Even though I engaged in some binge behavior on Saturday, I feel okay. I recognized why I wanted to eat, I shared my anxiety with T before we went to the dinner (he said, "I like how you look honey" -- sweet man), and even though I did eat, I didn't continue with out of control behavior at the brunch on Sunday.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

the good and the bad

Well, Saturday evening wasn't so great. I felt panicked about being tempted to eat a pretzel. For pete's sake when will I learn that attempting to restrict my food intake only leads to bingeing! No, I didn't binge. But I grabbed some leftovers and ate them on the way to the movies. It wasn't exactly a satisfactory dinner. At the movies I ate some of T's popcorn, the rest of C's M&Ms, and I really wanted ice cream for some reason. We didn't have any at home, but when we got home I ate an ice cream sandwich with chocolate sauce and whipped cream on it. Then I ate something else (I can't remember exactly what but it wasn't anything too horrible). Then I told myself I was being an idiot and went to bed. I should have just planned to eat the damned pretzel -- I would have avoided the deprived feeling and been fine. Live and learn, live and learn.

Sunday was okay as far as I remember. I did eat dinner slowly, though I still ate a bit too much. Still working on that. Yesterday I got home from work and R told me they had gotten me a surprise. They had gone to Cheshire for lunch (my FAVORITE place for ice cream because they make it themselves and have hot fudge sauce that tastes just like Grandma S's!) and had brought me home a HUGE chocolate malt. They drew a heart on the cup and wrote "for mommy because we love you sooooo much! from daddy and R". My first thought was dismay -- oh, the calories! I caught myself immediately. I was really hungry and knew it would be a while till dinner was ready, so I split the malt three ways and shared it with the girls. It was delicious and guilt-free. I ate my very small piece of potato pizza slowly and mindfully. I was too full for anything else. Ahem...except that I shoved in another very small piece while putting away the leftovers. Ay yi yi.

Today after PT I went to breakfast with Aunt Peg. I ate my entire omelette, piece of toast, and half the cinnamon roll. I was quite full. But I didn't panic -- just waited until I was hungry again to eat. That wasn't until 4:50pm! Amazing when you really pay attention to your body.

I am dying to weigh myself. I keep telling myself that my pants fit the same so I haven't lost any weight, but I feel skinnier. Maybe it's just because I feel so much better about everything. I think I'll wait til next Tuesday and hop on. I will NOT let the number bother me, no matter what it is. I can't let this become about weight.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I feel good!

I went to see Lisa (therapist) yesterday and she was very pleased with my progress. I told her that I finally got it through my thick head that no one was going to wave a magic wand over me and take away my compulsion to eat. I actually need to do the work myself to heal. I gave her my description of what my eating would look like if it were "normal" and she gave me the suggestion to reframe it more positively. One of the things I wrote was "I wouldn't think about food first thing in the morning, last thing at night, during church, etc". She said to rewrite it, saying when I would think about food.

She also suggested that rather than trying to force myself not to think about food, that I consciously think about something else. I said that I picture a STOP sign, but it doesn't always work. She said, as an example, that if I'm in church I should think, "Hmm..what is the priest saying? What does that mean? How does that relate to my lfe?" so that I give my mind something else to contemplate.

I told her that the Managing Your Moods class has really helped me day to day, being able to recognize and stop negative thoughts and attitudes. I don't know if that's why I haven't had a strong urge to binge or not.

Yesterday I was tempted to eat (day off) but kept asking myself why? and what did I need to do instead? I ended up being able to relax and watch an episode of "Gray's Anatomy" on DVD, do some reading, & bake some cookies (and only ate 1 1/2 & no dough!). I had gone to breakfast and ate the two pieces of toast, the Egg Beaters, and only a couple of bites of hash browns before I was stuffed. I took the rest home. I felt a bit odd making and giving the girls lunch and not eating myself, but I wasn't the slightest bit hungry until almost 3pm. So I waited until then to eat lunch. At dinner, I definitely overate. I took too big a portion. I didn't eat it all, but ate until I felt very full. I ate too fast, as usual. So my goal for this week is to eat more slowly at dinner, putting my fork down between bites if I have to.

Tonight will be hard -- right after I get off work we're going to see Ice Age 2. I won't have eaten dinner and I don't really want to eat theatre food. I ate a bowl of vegetable soup an hour ago, and grabbed a Pria bar to take. Hopefully I can hold off til I get home and eat some real, nutritious food for dinner. But if I'm too hungry and eat a pretzel, so what. That doesn't mean I have to eat more when I get home, it doesn't mean I have to cut back tomorrow, and it doesn't mean I am a failure, right?