Saturday, February 25, 2006

do something different

I saw the therapist for the second time yesterday. When I mentioned that I just couldn't figure out WHY I binged or ate when I wasn't hungry, she said that it's not necessary to always try and figure out why. You just have to change the behavior. So, if the time after dinner is always a problem for me, I need to change the pattern. Instead of sitting around at the bar in the kitchen or at the dining room table reading the paper, I need to leave the room and do something different. I can't wait until the urge to binge strikes and then try to force myself not to eat -- rather I need to live "as if" -- as if I'll feel the urge every day -- and figure out how to head it off. I need to not put myself in trigger situations. It sounds so simple. I made cookies today. They were small and after I ate two, I told myself to do something different. So I left the room and foudn something else to do. It worked! The urge to eat more passed.

She also asked me to write out a detailed description of how my relationship with food would look if it were "normal". What would I be doing, what would I be eating, what would I be feeling, etc. So I need to start working on that.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

day two of logging

It was interesting yesterday to log my food intake, along with my feelings and thoughts before and after eating. It's HARD to figure out what my thoughts and feelings ARE -- most of the time I just felt "hungry". I suppose that's because yesterday wasn't a day I felt a huge urge to binge. When I got home from work I did feel the urge, but I was physically hungry also. I ate a Kashi bar with a bit of peanut butter on it. I was still hungry and then ate about 6 cups of Sun Chips. It wasn't exactly mindful eating -- I was standing up and shoving them in, but I stopped there and didn't go into a full-blown binge.

A few things I've learned about myself over the past few weeks about my binge triggers:
I can't let myself get too hungry before I eat
I can't let myself get too full when I eat
I HAVE to get out of the kitchen when I feel the urge
I need to stop procrastinating and just DO whatever it is I need to do
I have to have a specific plan for what to do when I feel anxious or am in one of the above situations

I also have been thinking that I need to remind myself that just because I can have any food whenever I want it, that doesn't mean I should always eat it. It's just common sense that eating healthful foods will be better than eating crap all the time. During the legalizing stage, Evelyn Tribole and Geneen Roth recommend having lots of your previously forbidden foods around. BUT then I think they become beckoners for me. There's a big difference between longing for ice cream for days and then eating some and enjoying it and eating some just because it's in your freezer. I think for me, it would be better to wait until I have a real, true craving and then go buy the food, rather than have the cupboards full of stuff that will jump out at me when I open the cupboard door. Then I constantly second guess myself -- do I really want a Pop Tart or do I just want one because I saw the box?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

the real work starts

Yesterday was disastrous. I didn't binge, exactly. It was more of a foodfest from breakfast til bedtime. I ate a normal breakfast and took some soy crisps and a Kashi bar with me to our inservice day. They gave us a snack baggie with animal crackers, peanuts, a bag of M&Ms, and a blow-pop in it. I skipped the large breakfast spread (wasn't hungry -- had just eaten). At the first breakout session I was hungry. I ate my soy crisps & Kashi bar. I still felt hungry -- ate half my peanuts and all of my animal crackers (which weren't very good). I even ate some M&Ms. Picked up a Little Debbie frosted brownie -- you know, the kind that isn't worth the calories. I was full, but not stuffed.

At lunch I had a turkey breast sandwich on a kaiser roll, about 5 Terra Chips, and some fresh fruit. I was full, but not stuffed. After the afternoon session, I picked up two cookies at snack time and ate them. I wasn't hungry and felt quite full afterward. I then ate the rest of my M&Ms, the rest of my peanuts, and my blow-pop. I felt reallllly full and promised myself I wouldn't eat dinner if I wasn't hungry. I went home and ate a dinner roll, some chicken breast, a piece of garlic bread, some salad, a chocolate chip cookie, and a small dish of ice cream. I was very full, but really not stuffed. I rode my exercise bike. While T was putting the girls to bed, I read the paper. I proceeded to eat about 5 or 6 more chocolate chip cookies. I wanted more, but stopped myself and went upstairs.

Sooooooo -- today I started logging my food on the food log from I resisted, telling myself that it was too much like dieting, but I think that was just an excuse. I need to check in with my feelings before I eat, and this will force me to do so. I simply have to start doing the work. No healing is going to magically take place without some real work on my part. This can't simply be the "eat when hungry diet".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

progress, not perfection

So far, my list of things I enjoy:
eating (ha ha)
rubber stamping
going to the movies
ice skating
reading blogs
playing cards

that's it so far. I can say that some of these aren't really things I enjoy as much as I enjoy the results -- gardening isn't fun, but I like seeing the flowers and nice yard that come of doing it. Cooking -- is it fun, or do I just like hearing people say "mmmm... this is yummy!" I can't walk, bike, or ice skate til my leg heals. I can't scrapbook or rubber stamp until I get the stuff unpacked after our move. So I guess I'd better get unpacking.

Someone posted this on the bb and it definitely resonated with me:

"I'd like to also add that all of my cravings for food that would constitute disordered eating are linked to one of two things and only these two things:
1. I am not expressing something that needs to be expressed.
i.e. Mad about something and not talking about it
Excited about something and not sharing it with another person
Sad about something, but not taking time to just sit and be sad without having to rush around and fix the sad.
Remembering stuff that I am trying to forget (which needs to be remembered and expressed) OR
2. I'm not taking care of meeting my needs.
i.e. like staying up late cause I don't want to miss out on anything and not getting sleep working too many hours and not taking time to play with play-doh
not getting enough hugs
not taking appropriate breaks
So the way I FLEX my EMOTIONAL MUSCLE is by finding a way to either EXPRESS what needs to be expressed, or find other non-food related solutions to getting my needs met. By the way expressing emotions doesn't always mean I'm a crying-teddy-bear-clinging-thumb-sucking-bundle-o-emotions. Some times expressing myself means playing the piano, drawing, dancing, doing my karate, writing in the Forums here with y'all. it can take many many creative forms. There are lots of outlets for self-expression."

I have definitely realized that my emotional eating mainly stems from boredom, procrastination, frustration/anger, loneliness. I can fix the first two easily -- by entertaining myself and -- for pete's sake, just buckling down and doing what needs to be done. I so often overeat when T is gone and I'm alone with the girls. I shouldn't be lonely or feel stressed -- I'm a good mom and I'm perfectly capable of taking care of them alone. I'm just lazy about doing fun things with them. I need to get over that -- they're only little once and I remember feeling so excited every time my parents would play with us.

I took R to see "Hoodwinked" on Friday -- clever movie for older kids. C definitely wouldn't have appreciated the humor. I was unpacking sb stuff before hopping on the computer. I made chocolate chip cookies this morning and one (admittedly large) one was enough. Then I ate one after lunch too -- procrastinating coming down here to unpack. I don't feel tempted to run up and eat the whole container of them, however. Progress, not perfection.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

an odd realization

I almost always have problems with late afternoon and evening -- overeating and bingeing. Any time I binge, it's almost always after dinner and if I overeat at a meal, it's almost always dinner.

I think part of it is that I'm almost always STARVING by the time dinner is ready. I'm not sure how to help this problem. I've tried eating a snack if I get hungry in the afternoon, but sometimes I'm not hungry until 4 or 4:30pm, and I can't usually take a break then. Yesterday I ate some yogurt, fruit, and flaxseed meal at 5:30pm, thinking that would tide me over, but I was so hungry by the time I got home that I ate a dozen of my kids' french fries before I got my salad ready to eat. Then, in spite of being full, I kept eating until I was quite overfull -- a Pop Tart, some pie, some potato chips, some ice cream (all junk food, you'll notice). Then I felt icky and sort of bewildered as to why on earth I do this to myself.

Anyway, besides that issue, I realized that I often don't want dinner to end. I think for me, it signals that it's almost bedtime (we usually are upstairs putting our girls to bed shortly after 8pm and stay upstairs, going to bed around 9 -- dh gets up for work at 4:30 and I get up at 5:30 to exercise). Bedtime means an end to the day and I'm never ready for that. I rarely feel as though I did anything constructive or fun and I get down that life is flying by. I do work full time, which, though you could say is constructive, I don't LOVE my job. To be perfectly honest, I wish I didn't have to work -- or at least not full time. I guess life just seems a repetitive grind to me and eating both puts off going to bed and adds some excitement.

We don't usually do anything fun in the evenings. After dinner and dishes, we usually only have 30 minutes or so til the girls' bedtimes. We read the paper, open the mail, and poof! It's 8pm. Of course, none of this navel gazing would explain why I have trouble staying out of the kitchen on Saturdays. I suppose that I need to start doing fun things for myself. I guess I KNOW that, but I'm having difficulty putting it into practice. My current excuse is that it's very difficult to do anything with my leg still hurting as much as it does (not an untrue excuse). The honest truth is that I have always felt horrible guilt whenever I do something that takes away from my family.

It doesn't help that my dh has confided that though he realizes I need to have a life away from them, he feels very stressed out by taking care of the girls by himself. Guilt, guilt, guilt.

I think I will put a smallish plan into action. Each weeknight I will make the effort to either do something directly with the girls (play a game, etc) or do something I enjoy. On the weekends I will do at least one thing just for myself -- one thing -- at least once during the weekend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

catching up

I took my girls to see the movie "Curious George" last Friday. It was okay – they, of course, loved it. C giggled every time George did something cute. It was fun to listen to her. At every preview, R asked, "Mom, can we go see that movie?"

On Saturday T and I went out to eat – to Smokey Bones. YUM! I had pulled pork BBQ and it was soooo delicious! Tim had pork and brisket and said it was a tie between that and the pork as to which was better. Mmmmm…nothing like good BBQ. After dinner we went downtown to the museum to see the light show. They have three – 2 Pink Floyd and one Radiohead. We saw the Radiohead show – the CD "OK Computer". The Pink Floyd ones are laser light shows, but the Radiohead one is just a lot of pictures and computer-generated images. It was good, but some of it made me dizzy and I had to close my eyes. The music was good though.

I had PT again yesterday. I laid there tensing and relaxing my muscle with the biofeedback machine on (woo hoo…not too exciting). I had to do some leg extensions, which hurt my knee – not to mention the horrible crunching noise you can hear when I do them. Then they put me on a treadmill going backward at about .9 mph at an incline. Then I got on the exercise bike for 5 minutes. I told her I’d just ridden my exercise bike at home that morning for 30 minutes, but she just nodded and ignored me. Maybe she didn’t believe me, who knows? Finally, they iced my knee with a machine that has a big ace-bandage looking thing. It gets really, really cold. So, all in all, not too thrilling.

I just hope it works. I’m sick of walking with a cane. People stare at me and I feel very self-conscious. But I will say it’s not as bad as when I had to use a walker before I could put weight on it. Good grief – I felt about 95 years old and people REALLY stared at me then! The wheelchair was the worst – people didn’t even look at me. We went to R’s school open house and people who would have known me from the library didn’t even look at me long enough to see that they knew me! It’s funny – I guess they don’t want to stare, but I ended up feeling rather invisible yet like the "elephant in the room", if you know what I mean.

So, today is Valentine’s Day. I work until 8:15pm on Tuesday nights, so T took the morning off to spend it with me. We went to breakfast. I must say I love thick sourdough toast. He gave me some roses and a card. I gave him a card and a shirt that said something about the Seahawks being league champions. He seemed to like it. Then I came to work and they had cupcakes, chocolate, cake, cookies…it’s like a foodfest around here. T told me Ryan was taking his wife out to dinner and having flowers sent to the restaurant – for $66!! Sheesh – that’s a lot of $$$$ for something that will only live a week at most.

My doctor is sending me to a class on relieving stress. Now, why would he think I’m under stress? I hope it’s a good class. Last spring he sent me to a class on lowering your cholesterol and I could have taught the class. In fact, the teacher made some statements that were just plain wrong and I bit my lip to avoid correcting her.

T and I watched the Russell Crowe boxing movie, "Cinderella Man" the other night. It was pretty good, though it was heavy on the boxing, light on the storyline for the second half. The boxing sure was gory though – I had to close my eyes during several scenes. I don’t get boxing as a sport. How can it be entertaining to see two guys sock each other silly? I know lots of people like it though, so what do I know?

This Friday is the daddy/daughter dance at school. T and R are going to go out to dinner with his best friend Chad and his daughter Megan and then go to the dance together. We can buy ridiculously overpriced pictures (just like prom!) too. I’m sure she’ll have a great time. I, meanwhile, will stay home with the little one. I invited my parents over for dinner – haven’t seen them much since Christmas. Bad daughter.

So I haven't binged since seeing the therapist, but I've definitely overeaten at several meals or on several days. I'm trying hard not to have the "last supper" mentality. That Pop Tart/piece of chocolate/ice cream will really, honestly still be there tomorrow -- and if I can eat it whenever I want, I don't have to eat it all now, right? Evenings are hardest for me. It's almost like I don't want dinner to end because that would mean it's almost bedtime and the day is almost over and I haven't done anything fun or after day after day. Then again, weekends are hard too and I can do whatever I want all day. Hmm... I will have to ponder this more.

Friday, February 10, 2006

physical therapy, round two..and the depressing number on the scale

I had my first visit back to physical therapy yesterday and I'm going to spend most of my time trying to strengthen the interior quad muscle, which is depressingly concave. I'll be hooked up to a biofeedback machine that will let me retrain the muscle to fire, instead of having it laze around letting the outside quad do all the work. Then I'll spend a few minutes walking backward on a treadmill (at a snail's pace of .8 mph), which apparently also helps.

I think (dare I say it?!) that I'm finally able to ride my exercise bike without consequences, as long as I ice the heck out of my knee afterward. I've been riding for a week and a half for 30 minutes at a time, and my knee has been sore but not unbearably so. I'm really, really down about how out of shape I've gotten since July.

I weighed myself this morning and it was 158.2. Let me repeat that -- 158.2! I am shocked. I haven't weighed this much in many, many years. I broke down and went to the consignment shop yesterday to buy new pants. Apparently, I was in complete denial because I took size 8s to try on. Out of 8 pair, one fit well enough to buy. I switched to 10s and even some of those were tight. I haven't worn a size 10 for over 2 years (except my Levi 505s). I was very sad -- I am very sad. I have on a pair of size 10 pleated pants today that are really tight in the waist.

I cannot go on another diet. I simply cannot. It doesn't work, it has never worked, it never will work. I need to learn to make peace with food.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Some insight

Someone posted this on a bulletin board and OMG, it makes so much sense!

"I'm really learning something the last few days about me eating/weight obsession. Before I share, let me inform you that this is something that I've discovered before- a 'truth' that's affected the way I think and behave- but it's hit me recently again. This is a testament to the sort of upward-spiral path that recovery follows; a path that brings us back to what seems like the same place, but we are actually farther along than we were before.Anyway, when I binge/starve/obsess about my weight/search in books for the 'key' to solve my eating issues, I am trapped in a fake world that keeps me numb from the real world. This food/weight world is full of drama, it consumes my thoughts, it constricts my problems to the issues of overeating and undereating and promises me happiness and a life free from anxiety and shame and confusion when I can just find the key to set me free from bingeing. The world of food obsession is a painful place to be, because there is no way out and the script is repetitive: binge, starve, obsess, feel hopeful, control, binge, starve....When I eat according to my physical needs and don't allow myself to engage in obsessive thoughts, I am wracked with anxiety. This overwhelming anxiety is almost always the precursor to a binge. I've known this for a long time already (that anxiety leads me to binge, I binge to 'let loose') and always am convinced that the anxiety is a result of my resisting the urge to binge. Eventually, the urge is too strong and I need to give in. Now, I am really understanding that there is something other than the urge to eat (and the struggle not to give in) behind that anxiety. Sitting with this for months before every binge, every episode of overeating, it's finally starting to click. The anxiety is a result of life. This anxiety is accompanied by the fear of it. Life is painful, and confusing and overwhelming, and some things- some problems or struggles- aren't fixable in the moment. Some problems are huge, or are confusing- there are no fifteen minute fixes or even year-long fixes (ex. the pain of my sister's death). I thought that if I could just not ever binge, if i could just stop eating compulsively, I wouldn't feel confused, I wouldn't struggle, I wouldn't feel pain that couldn't be fixed, I wouldn't ever feel torn, I wouldn't make bad decisions, I wouldn't procrastinate, I wouldn't be lazy. It's not true- it's not true that life would be good if I could just stop eating compulsively. I was completing a list from Geneen Roth's book about what i would be like if I didn't have food issues. I basically thought life would be dandy. Sure, I'd have pain, but I'd be able to handle it. I would always make the right choices, I saw myself as happy and in control when I was not being compulsive about food. I read my list and recognized the 'magical thinking' laced throughout it. I've been realizing that, even without compulsive eating, I am confused about a great many things in my life. I only see these things, these real life issues, when I don't allow myself to binge and get caught up in food obsession. The last few days I have been sitting with the discomfort of feeling like I don't have the answer to my struggles with spirituality right now. I hate not knowing what I believe. It's incredibly stressful and I hate it and I want it fixed and I'm tempted to binge so I don't have to feel so upset by it and can just focus on food obsession. I can't fix my spiritual search in one day, there are no quick fixes. That is painful. That's hard to accept. It's the truth though. No matter how perfectly I eat, that issue will still continue to be an area in my life in which i'm struggling right now. My living situation is causing a great deal of stress right now as well. Though I'm working on a solution and trying to figure out how to set better boundaries, it's a tricky situation and won't be solved in 15 minutes. It causes me great anxiety but bingeing about it so I don't feel it removes me from the discomfort of real life and leaves me with the discomfort of my pseudo-life of food obsession.Even without compulsive eating in my life, i will still struggle with procrastination sometimes. I often blame laziness on my eating, on being full after a binge. "When I eat perfectly", i tell myself, "I'll be happy and passionate and energized and always want to work". I guess what I'm realizing is that there is pain in revolving my life around food obsession, but there is also pain in everyday life. I know I've recognized this before, but it's hitting a new level with me. I guess I'm realizing that, even though i have some real-life-issues that seem unsolvable or confusing or just plain stressful, eating doesn't help. Bingeing just shifts my focus from real life onto food obsession and gets me nowhere except back on the hamster wheel. I don't know if any of this makes just comes down to me realizing that I can either live in a made-up world, or in the real world. And also that, my life without food compulsion is still the same life, just without food compulsion. My life will always have struggles and I will always be human and experience good and bad emotions- it's my choice whether I feel them and deal with them and accept them or whether I numb myself out. The problem with compulsion is that when I numb myself to life's crappy moments, I numb myself to the experience of real pleasure and joy too.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Saw Dr M on Monday

Dr M was encouraged by the progress I've had since my last visit. He said the loose PCL can't really be fixed without surgery, but mine is "grade 1" (grade 3 is the worst) so it can be helped by strengthening the quad muscle. The crunching in my knee is due to roughness on the back of the kneecap and may go away as I use my leg more and more. If it doesn't, they can smooth it with some surgery. He said to keep doing the straight leg raises -- as many as 200 a day. Yikes -- I've been doing about 36 every other day. I can ride the bike as long as my knee doesn't swell to much and as long as I ice it afterward. Yeah, like that's going to happen.

I did ride the bike for 15 minutes on Sunday and it was okay. My knee was quite sore Monday and Tuesday, but that may have been due to all of the walking I did without my cane over the weekend. I only used it at work. I'm going to try and ride tonight after dinner and then ice it.

Eating is okay. I continue to be amazed at how little food it takes to satisfy hunger. We had pierogies and chicken, broccoli, and bread sticks the other night. I took two pierogies, about 3 bites of chicken, a cup of broccoli, and a bread stick. I was stuffed! Now, if I could only get rid of the damn sweet tooth. I'm always too full to eat dessert, but eat it anyway or I feel deprived. How can I overcome this? I love dessert and would rather eat it than dinner. I did eat a small piece of cheesecake for a snack in the afternoon the other day (I was hungry), knowing that I'd be too full to eat it after dinner. I still WANTED a dessert after dinner though. I ate a small piece of dark chocolate and part of C's Hostess cupcake.

I know the emphasis right now is not supposed to be on losing weight, but I am so tempted to count calories. I feel so hugely fat. I know many women would love to be my size, but after being so small for so long, I feel gigantic. I feel self conscious all the time about my size. Every time I look in the mirror, I have "bad body thoughts" and I can't seem to short circuit them. Buying larger pants would help. My size 6s are so tight as to be uncomfortable.