Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I'm Back!

I didn't really mean to take a vacation from my blog as well as work, but it just worked out that way. My 15 days off work went really quickly, and though the time wasn't quite as fabulous as I had imagined it would be, I did manage to sit and relax for a few days. I spent three entire days wrapping and baking, which wasn't very rewarding at all. Next year, I'm going to choose only three types of candy or cookies and make large batches of them - instead of making one batch of 15 different kinds. Mark my words.

I have worked with the personal trainer at the Y for three sessions now. The first one was just an evaluation, goal-setting meeting. I shared my food and overexercise issues with her the minute she brought up weight loss as a possible goal, and after a few questions, she assured me that she didn't want to cause any relapse behavior and wouldn't bring it up again unless I did. We've had two workout sessions and WOW! I was so sore after both, I could barely move. I was amazed at how much I could do, however. She pushed me much more than I would have pushed myself, and, though my muscles hurt, my knee didn't hurt much more than usual. The walking lunges she made me do....oy! I have two more sessions with her and then I'm on my own.

I'm going to have to stop writing now, but I will say in parting that, though I haven't weighed myself since my last entry, I don't think I've put on more than a couple of pounds since my last entry. My pants are still just as loose. I did eat more than my share of sweets, but was very mindful at meals. I think that was the key. More later!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Slowing it Down

My weight is holding steady at 156.8, which is just fine with me. I have been focusing on eating more slowly these days, rather than bolting my food down as though someone were going to snatch my plate away at any given moment. A week ago I bit my tongue -- REALLY hard -- and it had a very large swollen place on the side of it. I was forced to eat very slowly at every meal for several days, and I realized how much more I enjoyed my food. I've been busily baking Christmas cookies and having to throw them away because they're stale. I've been freezing most to take to various parties, but kept some back for us to eat. Eating one cookie very slowly and savoring it is so much more rewarding than making myself sick by gobbling down half a dozen.

My dh has a surprise date planned for us tonight -- I am dying to know what it is! I will be extra happy to be out since today is my last day of work until December 29.

I have an appointment with a personal trainer on Monday evening. I'm hoping to have her help me come up with a weight training routine to build some muscle without injuring myself. I used to lift a lot (for a while I lived with a guy who was a competitive power lifter), but I'm scared to re-start with all of my current limitations. I'm a bit nervous, but also kind of excited.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Pain Free Knee...Someday?

I lost another pound. Now that I've lost some weight, I have really noticed a lessening of pain in my knee. It barely hurts now, when it used to hurt all the time. That almost makes me happier than buying new clothes! Here are a few pics from thanksgiving weekend. Princess is checking out the flock of turkeys in our front yard in the bottom picture.

Monday, December 01, 2008

A Taste of Success

My thanksgiving was lovely. I woke up far too early, but gave the dog a long walk, got my food in the oven, and even had time to paint my nails before everyone showed up at 11:30am. I asked people to help me instead of trying to do everything myself, and relaxed during dinner and after. I ate very mindfully and finished dinner feeling full, but not overfull. I really savored every bite of what I ate, and enjoyed the company. We had five pieces of pie left over, and there are still three in the fridge. The M&M cookies I made a week ago are still in the cookie jar, probably stale. My positive experience with this past holiday gives me hope for Christmas.

I had "the talk" with T, and it went fairly well. He didn't say much, but he rarely does. We did agree that we'd have a new evening routine: while I make dinner, he will relax and read the paper or play on the computer; after dinner he will do dishes while I relax; then we will both help the girls get ready for bed and read to them, or play a game all together. We'll try to get them into bed earlier than our usual 8pm, both because they both need more sleep than they've been getting, and because it will give us more leisure time before we go to bed, which is usually around 9pm.

He did ask, "So, then when are you going to do things like pay the bills?" I told him I hadn't worked that out yet. I would share the responsibility with him, but he has absolutely no interest in learning anything about it. From our pre-marriage experience, I can assure you that he just wouldn't do it and everything would end up being late. Since we talked, he has been extra helpful around the house. I don't know if it will last, but I'm hoping.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Simplicity = Peace

I woke up at 4:18am this morning and couldn't go back to sleep, so I gave up at 4:40 and got up. After walking the dog, I baked two pies, cooked 8 lbs of potatoes, baked cornbread for tomorrow's stuffing, set the table for tomorrow (I'm now hosting 12 or 14), did the dishes, washed some laundry, bathed C, exercised, and got ready for work -- all before noon! I'm very glad that I got so much done today. Tomorrow will hopefully be easy and stress free. I told my therapist yesterday that I've forced myself to dial back about 25 times over the past few weeks. Every time I got the notion that I would cook this or that fabulous dish for thanksgiving, I'd remind myself that every year I end up hot, tired, miserable, crabby, and resentful by the time the meal is served. Then I end up soothing myself with too much dinner and/or dessert. This year I'm keeping it simple. I'm not baking homemade rolls. I'm not making three desserts. I'm not trying four new casserole dishes. No, no, no. People are bringing various dishes and I'm making only turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie. So what if we have store-bought rolls? I will be relaxed and able to enjoy my guests and the meal.

I confessed my episodes of going hungry to the therapist, but assured her that I realized what I was doing and was now having a snack mid-morning. I told her that I'm feeling so good that I'm sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop. There have been periods in my life when I've been stable emotionally, not starving myself or bingeing, and kept a lower weight, but something always happens -- I overeat at a few meals and gain a few pounds, or some other trigger -- and suddenly I'm right in that cycle of waking up every day determined to be on a diet and "blowing it" by the end of the day, cycling between going hungry and having a binge. She pointed out that I am a different person now. I am now someone who deals with her emotions without using food. I now realize that overeating at one meal is not a diasaster. She suggested that I continue to remind myself of that and say to myself that things are great and will be great from now on, rather than wondering when it will all fall apart.

It had been ninety days since we wrote out a treatment plan and as we looked over the goals we'd set for the past ninety days, I was pleased to see that I'd achieved most of them. I haven't binged, I've improved my relationship with food, I've stopped obsessing over food and my weight all the time, and I've been more expressive of my feelings at work and at home. I still need to work on the last one though, and we made that one of the new goals.

We had a long discussion after I admitted that I often feel resentful that I do so much more at home than my husband does. He tries hard and has vastly improved in doing his share, but there are still many times when, for example, I am sitting and paying bills while he reads or plays around on the computer. I realized that it isn't so much that I expect him to be scrubbing the bathroom while I pay bills, but I resent him relaxing and enjoying himself. If he were playing a game with the girls or reading to them, I'd be okay. I promised her that I would have a talk with him about this issue. I'm dreading it because in the past, I often managed to say the wrong thing, he got very defensive, and we ended up not changing anything. I will try to choose my words very carefully, This is a very important issue for me and I don't want to end up stuffing my feelings because I'm afraid to confront them.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Thanks Cilly! I called my doctor and she told me to simply take both Wellbutrin pills in the morning. On Friday, I was in bed at 7:15pm! I've been falling asleep easily since starting that regimen. Whew.

I saw 158.2 on the scale this morning. I noticed that I was able to zip and snap my ski bibs for the first time in 2+ years this week. All last winter I had to wear them unzipped while walking the little Princess.

I see my therapist tomorrow. I feel kind of guilty that I've lost weight because there have been several mornings that I didn't eat between breakfast and lunch even though I was very hungry. I had promised her that I'd feed myself when hungry. For the past few days I've been trying to eat a snack when I'm hungry because I don't want to fall into the pit of disordered eating again. I have definitely NOT been undereating overall, so I don't feel scared that it will happen. I've been eating a cookie or a few french fries here and there when I want them, but I've really been doing well at not overeating at meals. Sometimes it is very difficult to just sit there after eating one piece of pizza and my salad, knowing that I'm no longer hungry, but wanting more.

My brother and his family are in Michigan this week, visiting from Seattle. They aren't staying with us, but we will be able to see them tomorrow evening and the day after thanksgiving. It's not nearly enough, but it's better than nothing! I am a virtual stranger to my three nephews and it makes me sad. T and I have a new nephew, born to his brother and wife in England. We won't see him in person until June. I used to wonder why people would want to live in the same town they grew up in, but now that I'm older I can see the advantages of being close to family.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sleep, Where Art Thou?

I weighed 159.4 yesterday morning. I think this is the first time I've been in the 150s since April 2006, when I was dismayed to see the highest weight I'd been in 15 years. Now, I'm thinking I look pretty good. I finally took some of my size 12s (that were so loose they looked like clown pants) out of my closet and packed them in a box for Goodwill. I bought a pair of new pants last week, along with some new tops and sweaters. All of the size 10 pants I tried on fit, though of course some fit better than others. Sizes, oy!

I've still been having a terrible time sleeping. I don't think it's the Wellbutrin, since I'm taking my first dose at 4:55am and my second dose at 11am. (On a side note, I had to buy a watch with an alarm because I kept forgetting to take it!) I also gave up caffeine completely. I wonder if it's now psychological. I'm worried that I'll have trouble falling asleep so I have trouble falling asleep. After I finally fall asleep, I sleep well except that I've been waking up at 4am this week. I don't feel especially sleepy during the day, but I can't help but think it's going to catch up with me sooner or later.

I realized this morning that I haven't had the slightest urge to binge for at least a few weeks. Occasionally, a thought of "oh, I shouldn't have eaten that, maybe I'll now eat this" pops into my head, but I am immediately able to realize how stupid that is and squelch that little voice. I've been taking more time to do the things I want to do, rather than dust and re-organize the linen closet and other things that have been niggling at my perfectionistic self. After dinner these days I am doing things like going downstairs to work on trying to organize my scrapbooking materials, or going to the YMCA with the family. I think this is serving two purposes; I'm not anywhere near the kitchen and don't even think about food unless I'm hungry, and I'm doing something that doesn't make me feel stressed or anxious and I don't want to procrastinate. I may have cobwebs hanging from my ceiling for the next 15 years, but I won't be miserably stuffing myself with food.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

On a Cold November Day

Huh. It's snowing outside. I guess winter is truly here....sigh. My scrapbooking weekend was tiring (lots of snoring women in that cabin!), but I got 44 pages done! It poured the entire weekend, and was very windy to boot, so I didn't get any walks in at all. I ate very mindfully -- it helped that the food served at meals was quite mediocre. I probably snacked a bit more than I needed to, but weigh the same, so no harm done.

Last night we went out with T's brother and his wife to dinner and to a local improv group. The improv show was very funny and it was great to laugh for two hours straight. At dinner I ordered a turkey reuben and fries. The sandwich was good and I at 3/4 of it, but the fries were only okay, so I only ate a few. I was quite full, but not overly so, and felt good about leaving most of the fries behind. In the past I would have eaten every crumb on my plate because it was food I didn't normally allow myself to have.

Here are a few pics from the last few months:

Me (with C) on the day I walked in the 5K to raise money for breast cancer.
T and me celebrating our 13th anniversary with a nice dinner out.
I went with C's class to the apple orchard (it was FREEZING!)
I was in charge of C's halloween party at school and T was able to stop by.
I went trick-or-treating with a pirate and a green fairy who got very annoyed that everyone thought she was Tinkerbelle.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's That Time of Year Again

Tomorrow (at 3:15pm!) I leave for my annual 3-day scrapbooking weekend. Last year's weekend was better than the year before's weekend was, in terms of mindful eating. I'm hoping that this year's will be the best yet!

I only had to wait in line 5 minutes to vote, even though I went at 5pm. I was prepared with a book, snacks, and C's birthday thank you notes, but barely had time to put my driver's license away before it was my turn. I am completely amazed that we elected an African American president. We had an African American foster child for almost four years when I was a little girl. She came to live with us at age 6 weeks because her mother was in jail. Some people at our church went to the priest and asked that he talk to us because they didn't want us bringing her to church. Thankfully, he had a little talk with them instead. That was in the early 1970s -- and look how far we've come!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Just Passing By...

Not much to report -- sleeping better, weight is 160.8, still feeling peaceful about eating and food. R and I had "girly day" yesterday and went to Red Robin for dinner. I only ate 3 french fries because they didn't taste that great to me. That's kind of incredible for me. I didn't eat most of my bun either because the burger was so huge and I really wanted the meat and toppings.

Halloween was not difficult for me this year. I ate about 5 mini candy bars with the girls after we trick-or-treated, but that was it -- and I didn't feel guilty about it. We've had halloween candy sitting around our house for a month and it hasn't been too tempting. I've eaten a hershey kiss here and there, but mostly I forget it's even there.

I have a bunch of pictures that I really want to post, but my life is still wildly busy. Soon, I hope.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Full Steam Ahead

Things are still going well for me. This past weekend brought me two birthday parties (with the requisite cake, ice cream, and fabulous food) and I ate just until full at both. In fact, I even skipped the ice cream all together(!). I've had an open package of graham crackers in my cupboard for about ten days(!), and I don't think I've eaten a single piece of halloween candy. I've been doing well at not thinking unhealthy thoughts -- I've been so busy at home and work that I forget to eat sometimes and get too hungry, but I haven't overreacted by eating to "stuffed" level. There was one night when I was hungry at bedtime and had the brief thought that if I didn't eat anything, I'd lose weight faster. I reminded myself that my life wasn't about starving myself anymore and had a cup of lentil chicken stew from the freezer -- and a few Doritoes.

The last time I weighed myself, I was at 162. Most of my size 10 pants fit well and some are even a bit loose. Sizes are so weird. I have one pair of size 10 Levi brand jeans that fits perfectly, and two pair of 10s in the same brand that I can't even pull all the way up. I am really enjoying the fact that I can look at my closet and know that I can wear almost everything in it now.

I'm still sleeping badly. I cut my caffeine intake to 1/2 cup of coffee in the morning and started taking my second dose of Wellbutrin no later than 11am. I've had a few nights of good sleep, but most of the time it takes me FOREVER to fall asleep and I wake up several times during the night for no conceivable reason. I wonder if maybe it has something to do with premenopause. I'm still having my period like clockwork every month, but sometimes when I awaken at night I feel really HOT. Not like a hot flash, but just like I have too many covers on. Yet when I go to sleep I'm really chilly and need all those covers. Ah, the joys of being 44.

Monday, October 20, 2008

What a Pill

I feel as though I have officially reached middle age. After a visit with my doctor last week, I am now taking daily medication for cholesterol, SAD, and birth control, as well as fish oil, vitamin D and calcium, CoQ10, and something I can't even remember the name of for joints. I'm going to have to get one of those gigantic pill holders to remember everything. She also gave me a new migraine med to try. For my SAD, she put me on Wellbutrin and, so far, I've had no ill side effects. If anything I feel a bit toooo peppy. Last week at work, I felt like the Energizer Bunny and ended up with 2000 extra steps on my pedometer. I've been having terrible trouble sleeping, but that started before last week, so maybe it has nothing to do with the drug. I skipped my noon dose yesterday and still tossed and turned horribly.

On to my weekend. It was great. Well, parts of it were great. Friday at the chili cookoff, I ate until full but stopped before I felt too full. In fact, by the time we got home at midnight, I felt a bit hungry. On Saturday, as I dressed to go scrapbooking, my dh called me from soccer practice to tell me that a friend had been killed in a motorcycle/car accident the night before. This was a guy T went to the Police Academy with, worked with in his first job as a deputy, and has been good friends with for years. We used to belong to a motorcycle club with him and his wife. T urged me to go ahead to scrapbooking, but I knew I had to go to him when he broke down crying. I flew out the door sobbing and drove over there. I was composed when I got there, but promptly sobbed all over T's chest. I stayed for the soccer game, but we were both composed by the end, and he told me to go ahead to my crop and take R. I still wavered, but he insisted. I knew he'd be on the phone all day with friends in law enforcement anyway, so I went. Once there, I was confronted by doughnuts, several homemade desserts, chocolate, and more. I skipped the doughnuts and the chocolate. At lunch, I ate some soup and salad, and a few bites of the desserts.

We went out to dinner with T's siblings, which was really good for him, as he got a chance to laugh. I only ate about 1/3 of my entree and was just fine. On Sunday at our block party, I took really, really small helpings of the main dishes so I could sample all of the yummy pumpkin and apple desserts. I'm sure I ate what would have amounted to two pretty large pieces of dessert, but I was not too full and felt good about what I'd eaten. I enjoyed every bite of the fabulous food. Unlike last year, I didn't overeat and didn't go home and binge on the leftovers. I feel so peaceful about my behavior and thoughts this past weekend. I made the choice to eat mindfully and not stress out about having little control over what I was going to eat, and I did it!

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm doing quite well, except that there's so much going on in my life that my head is spinning. After soccer ends for the girls, things should slow down. A bit. I'm feeling a bit anxious about this weekend because I have: a chili cookoff to attend tonight; an all-day scrapbooking event tomorrow (always lots of unhealthy food), followed by a dinner out with T's siblings and spouses; and our annual block party on Sunday (everyone is supposed to bring an apple or pumpkin dish for the cookoff). It's an all food all the time weekend. I've been feeling so great that I don't want to freak out and make this a horrible weekend. So, I'm not going to. I'm going to eat mindfully and stop before I have that "too full" feeling. So it won't be such healthy fare. It's one weekend out of my life. Tune in Monday to see how I did.

I saw my therapist this week, and she's happy with my progress. Her only assignment for me is to work on stopping my irrational thoughts sooner. I shall endeavor to complete my assignment well.

Last weekend was a very full one with little down time (always a trigger for me) . As I sat down to pay bills (also always a trigger for me), I started to feel the urge to binge. At first I was so distracted by the desire that I couldn't concentrate on what I was doing. I paced around a bit, trying to soothe myself with little success. Finally, I got a little snack packet of cookies to sit down with and decided that I would ride out my urge. I reasoned that it couldn't possibly last forever. As I got involved in paying the bills, it was still there but I ignored it. When I finished, I wavered as I stood in the kitchen putting the leftover detritus in the recycling bag. I reminded myself that I was riding it out and went upstairs to get ready for bed. After I did my bedtime routine and got into bed to read for a bit, I realized that the urge had lessened. It didn't really completely go away before I went to sleep, but wasn't there any longer in the morning. It was really an empowering feeling to know that I'd faced the urge and beaten it without escaping the house on my bike or on foot. I stayed right there and didn't give in.

I had never really thought about why sitting down to pay bills is a trigger for me until I read this in Karen Koenig's blog and it struck a chord with me...

there's the anxiety response from childhood which "makes" you turn to food. Because you know exactly when the munchies will hit, prepare yourself. Recognize that the appointed hour will come and you'll want to eat. Plan to do something else, either distracting or comforting or both. Anticipate that you'll have mega-anxiety and reframe your beliefs to help you ride it out. If someone trustworthy is around, enlist their help in getting you through the anxiety without eating. If you have feelings connected to the anxiety, write them out or cry or scream. Talk yourself through the moment. You reinforce your "need" for food every time you eat out of anxiety and move toward extinguishing the behavior every time you resist it.

I remember watching my mother pay the bills and worrying so over every penny. She used to have to juggle things to have enough to cover everything. Making her grocery list involved also listing the price of each food next to its name so that she knew exactly how much the bill would be. It was very anxiety-producing to watch her go through this ordeal week after week. I think that even though we have enough money to pay our bills every month, I still worry that I will end up like my mom. There was so little money that having something break was a major trauma. There was a very odd time that she rationed toilet paper to us and told us that when we ran out we'd have to use newspaper. Then there was the time she discovered someone had left a radio on all night. She took away everything we had that used electricity, including our light bulbs, because she wanted to prove to us how much we were wasting. That was the reality of my childhood.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Another Monday...

...another crazy week gone. Kids' soccer is ridiculously time-consuming with four practices and two games every week. At least one of their practices is at the same time in the same place! I keep telling myself I can make it -- only four more weeks to go. This past weekend we had our monthly Retrouvaille support group meeting and T and I presented the second great date in the "10 Great Dates" program. I was nervous and ate two brownies I hadn't intended to consume. We went to a local bookstore for our date so we could buy a book for a party we had the next day. As we settled in at the cafe to chat, it seemed that our date was only going to last five minutes. The questions were all about feelings, and since dialogue in Retrouvaille is all about sharing feelings, we are already used to talking about them. We ended up talking for half an hour or so because we veered off topic a bit, and later T told me he was really glad we did. We found out some things we didn't know before. On the questionnaire, we had to write our feelings about various situations (when you compliment me, when you touch me, etc), and one of the statements was "when you tell me you love me". He wrote that he felt happy and relieved, which really surprised me. He said that after all of the trouble in our marriage, he really needed that validation. Huh. I usually think of myself as the more nervous of the two of us when it comes to "us", but apparently we're both somewhat fragile. I wonder how many years of distance from our separation it will take before we're no longer scared.

We went to a surprise birthday party on Sunday, which was fun. Is it bad that I was very relieved that the birthday "cake" was coconut cream pie? I can take or leave that easily, and left it. I've been struggling a bit with my eating, but I think it is not due to trying to lose weight as much as it is to my wild schedule. I find myself grabbing the nearest food, no matter the nutrition, because I've not had time to eat my snack and I'm ravenous. Lately, I have had very little down time to do anything at all, let alone things I want to do. My house is a gigantic mess. When it's in such a state I have great difficulty doing anything but trying to clean, yelling at my kids, and crabbing at my husband. I haven't had the time to devote to cooking nice meals or even making a good shopping list for the store.

I was doing my grocery shopping last night at 8pm, and just tossing a bunch of boring vegetables into my cart because I hadn't had time to peruse my recipes. I had to wake up at 5am this morning and skip exercising (except for the dog walking) so that I'd have time to snuggle with my dh and get dinner in the slow cooker. We have only half an hour total after getting home from work before rushing off to soccer practice, so that usually leaves out cooking a lovely meal. Last night we had frozen french fries (I did bake them!) and chicken strips because the cupboards and freezer were bare! At least now I have food for a few meals this week, as well as salad makings. I need to make myself slow down and not get so hungry that I end up with potato chips and brownies for dinner. I don't know how on earth to make more free time, so I think I'll just have to try and live with the stress, messiness, and cranky feelings for just a few more weeks.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Cake Eating, sans Drama

Whoa-- what a weekend. Friday night my dh was working (making extra $$ working security at the football game), so I was a single parent. I was completely stressed out, trying to bake a cake for R's birthday party the next day, make stew for her family birthday lunch on Sunday, make dinner for the three of us, clean up for the party, walk the dog, and get to bed at a decent hour. At one point, C was having a breakdown about something and I wanted to have a breakdown too. I really just wanted to run downstairs and fling myself headlong into the halloween chocolate in the living room candy dish. Instead I took some deep breaths, washed my face, and got on with all of the crap I had to do. It was a much better solution.

Saturday morning I zipped across town to walk in a 5K to raise money for breast cancer. I was very pleased to find that I can still walk quickly (with the dog, it's walk. stop. sniff. walk. stop. sniff....) and finished in about 75 minutes. I zipped back across town for C's soccer game, then went home to finish preparations for R's birthday slumber party. Seven giggly girls arrived, got glammed up with fancy hairdos and makeup, and we all drove downtown for a photo shoot. They had a ball and felt really gorgeous in their finery. The highlight of the evening was when we ran into the homecoming queen and her friends. They asked the girls to pose for a picture with them, and the girls were over the moon. Not much sleep was had by anyone at our house that night, but they had a wonderful time. I ate a small piece of cake and a small scoop of ice cream and left it at that. Did I want more? Of course. I may even have eaten more if I'd been alone. I wasn't alone and just looked at it longingly for a few minutes before reminding myself that I could have more tomorrow. It was okay to leave it.

Sunday, a bunch of family members came over for lunch and we had a pleasant time visiting. More cake and ice cream was eaten and no spectacular binge urges followed. T and I went off to bowling, where I bowled above my (82) average all three games. I even bowled a 122 on my second game! I woke up this morning thinking, "Where did my weekend go?". I'd lost another pound when I weighed myself Saturday, making about 13 total pounds lost since mid July. It's amazing how "skinny" I feel, since at 164, I still weigh more than I have since about 1991. I guess it's all about perspective.

Someone asked in my comments if I'd journaled about my (mostly) avoiding a binge. I didn't really (except for writing about it here), but that is a good idea. Once I get some distance from the situation, it's difficult to remember what caused it and how I felt about it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let Me Eat Cake

Remember when I posted the piece of writing my therapist gave me last June about the hole in the sidewalk? I have it posted on my refrigerator and I look at it often. Over the past few weeks, I've been reading it and wondering if perhaps I was finally walking down a different street. Yesterday my mind forgot the new route and took a detour back to the old path -- and straight down the hole. Luckily, I only fell a few feet before I grabbed a handhold and clawed my way out.

My day started with me determined to have a South Beach phase one kind of day with no fruit or grains because we were headed to my SIL's at noon to celebrate three family birthdays. I had baked all three cakes and really wanted to try two of them, so I wanted that to be my only "indulgence" of the day. I decided I'd have two small pieces and savor them. My plan went off-track immediately -- probably because of those "you can't have..." thoughts. My older daughter wanted breakfast in bed for her birthday (a family tradition) because she won't be able to get it next Sunday on her birthday (8 sleepover friends will be here). I made her eggs and cinnamon rolls. The rolls smelled so good that I ate part of one. I immediately regretted it and judged it a bad start to my day.

At my SIL's I ate two smallish pieces of cake. In spite of sticking to my plan and not feeling overfull, I started thinking I was a failure because I was struggling not to eat a bunch more cake. Coincidentally (?), I developed a blinding headache within 15 minutes of eating the cake. My thoughts took off in all sorts of irrational directions and by the time I left her house I was convinced that I'd never be able to eat cake again in any moderate fashion. It would always give me a headache, I could never control myself around it, etc. At home, I put the cakes away and ate some more as I did it -- not a binge amount, but more that I didn't really want. Then I felt guilty.

After dinner, my dh left to take R to religious ed and C to the park. I was totally in a state and just wanted to binge! binge! binge! binge! binge! Cake! Then onto the ice cream I'd bought for R's birthday party! Then more cake!...... I stood in indecision, trying to calm myself and talk myself out of bingeing. I'd just feel worse afterward. Yes, I'd eaten too much cake, but I'd hardly eaten anything else all day. If I binged, I'd just be adding more calories to the damage -- and more guilt. I couldn't quite seem to talk myself out of it. So, I decided that I'd eat a few bites of each cake and then leave the house for a bike ride. Not a bike ride to punish myself as much as to release some of my pent-up feelings, and maybe to burn off a few of the calories too.

Within 3 miles I felt calmer. As I rode, I stopped thinking about cake and started reveling in the strength of my legs and the feel of the cool evening air. I rode 13 miles or so, and arrived home with no desire to eat anything at all. Today, I feel pretty normal. I had a terrible headache again this morning -- so bad I left work at noon. It's now gone for the most part, and I feel okay. I feel confident that one of these days I WILL be walking down a different street for good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

South Beach, Week Three

Life is crazily busy these days, but I'm still plugging away at the South Beach diet. I haven't been super strict with it because I don't want to allow any room for binge thoughts, but for the most part, I'm sticking with it. I haven't eaten much fruit yet -- one banana and one apple is all. I've had a grain serving each day -- whole wheat pasta and whole wheat pizza crust both tasted yummy.

I've had a few irrational thoughts here and there, but have been able to squelch them pretty easily. A couple of evenings ago I ate a bit too much -- after my piece of pizza and salad I was fine, but finished off C's piece of pizza and felt overfull. I felt a bit freaked out and couldn't seem to calm myself. My irrational thoughts were flying off in every direction. I was awfully jittery and feared a binge if I hung around the house. I told T I needed to burn off some excess energy and took the dog and little C for a 45 minute walk. By the time I got back home I had put things in perspective -- it was 1 1/2 pieces of pizza, not 1 1/2 pizzas! -- and felt calm and perfectly fine again. Whew.

I weigh myself again Monday, and I'm quite curious to see if I've lost any more weight. I have to make three birthday cakes for a family celebration on Sunday -- nothing like testing myself, eh? I made a batch of cookies last weekend, but didn't really want more than one out of the entire batch. One was enough. What a wonder.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sooooooooooo Gooooooooooood!!!!!!!!!!!

I had a lovely bowl of creamy Scottish Oatmeal with walnuts on it this morning and wow, did it taste fantastic! I made it through phase one of the South Beach diet and plan to re-introduce grains or fruit with only one serving a day at first.
Last night we had to run the registration for our Retrouvaille weekend and dinner was served to us. T had offered to stop and get me a salad on the way, but (naturally) we didn't pass a single restaurant! I was forced to either remain ravenous or eat a turkey and cheese sub on a white bun and a sweet potato for dinner. Oh, the irony. I skipped the sugary baked apples, Chex Mix, potato chips, cookies, and brownies that were also on the table. It may have been coincidental, but after eating that sandwich I had terrible bloating and gas for the rest of the evening! I was also hungry by bedtime. I was so exhausted that I just went to sleep without eating anything. My daily calories were about 1600 so I wasn't too worried.
This morning I was a bit discouraged to see a 1 lb gain on the scale. TOM is due on Monday, so I'm hoping that is the explanation. For a brief moment I just wanted to chuck the whole idea of eating healthfully and dig into the Pop Tarts. I regained my senses since that would only make me feel miserable. Instead of chowing down on sugary carbs, I hopped on my stationary bike for a while. Now I'm off to set up my new laptop and pay bills. What an exciting life I lead, eh?

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Dreaming of Oatmeal

I'm on day 11 of the South Beach Diet and, I swear, I am longing for a nice creamy bowl of oatmeal. I have had no wild cravings for any of the junk food, ice cream, or cookies in our kitchen at home, and no great difficulty not eating any of the selection of tasty treats at work. Bread is not calling my name. However, when R requested oatmeal a few days ago for breakfast, I had great difficulty in not eating a gigantic bite of its lovely creaminess before handing it to her. That is the first thing I'm going to eat in phase 2 (on Saturday!).

I made my list of behaviors and irrational thoughts to be aware (or beware!) of, and have been checking it when I remember. I've had no freakish thoughts or behaviors so far. When I weighed myself on Saturday, I geared up for disappointment just in case I hadn't actually lost any weight, but had lost four pounds! Of course, it's probably all of the water from my muscles since my carb intake has been pretty low, but my pants are definitely looser. I got a pair of size 12 pants ($9.99 on clearance!) from J Jill last summer that I hadn't yet worn (because they were velvet) and when I put them on yesterday they were almost too large.

I can honestly say that I haven't really been hungry unless I miss a snack or a meal for some reason. There are some days when I put in my calorie intake at Sparkpeople and it's barely 1300 calories for the day. I find that so weird since I was ravenous on 1800 calories before starting SB. I think I usually eat about 1600. The recipes I've made from the books continue to be yummy too. I've had to eat differently from my family for some meals (last night they ate pizza due to soccer practice but I had leftovers -- stuff like that), but for the most part I've been feeding them what I'm eating.

My dh is back from his long weekend trip with his coworkers, thank heavens! Being a single parent for 5 days was AWFUL. I don't remember it being that stressful when we were separated, but we didn't have the dog and neither girl was involved in any sports or activities. Wow, does that make a difference! We had R's first soccer practice last night in pouring, cold rain. Ick.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Day Five On the Beach

I started the South Beach Diet on Saturday and so far, it's been a piece of cake (so to speak). I was quite hungry the first day, which concerned me, but haven't really been abnormally hungry since then, unless I skip a snack. I get hungry an hour or so before mealtime, but that's pretty normal for anyone. I've made several of the recipes from the book and they've all been quite delicious, filling, and satisfying. I've had a spinach fritatta, Cheesy Vegetable Fritatta, broccoli soup, Gingered Pork Loin, Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Taco Bake, and a South Beach-friendly "pancake" (made with egg whites, light ricotta cheese, and an egg) which is probably the only thing I've eaten that I didn't care for. I've also discovered that I'm not a fan of eggplant. I've rediscovered my love for hummus, and found that I really like spaghetti squash. I'd never eaten ricotta cheese in my life before this week unless it was in an Italian dish or cheesecake, but with 1/2 tsp of sugar and a dash of vanilla extract in it, it's quite yummy. I'm not "supposed" to eat sugar, but since I don't eat artificial sweetener....well, I figured 1/2 tsp isn't really going to affect things.

My family has eaten the dinners described above without complaint, and in the case of Taco Bake, even with praise. Of course, the girls have no idea I'm "on a diet", but they haven't commented on my skipping dessert every day. Perhaps I am not, after all, the center of the universe. I thought it would be more difficult to go without bread and fruit, but I haven't had any mad desire to start chowing down on the cookies in the cupboard. Even at work today, when I saw that someone had brought in a HOMEMADE loaf of bread, all I felt was a mild regret. I made two pies for our annual Labor Day cookout and briefly considered freezing a small piece of each to eat later, but decided that it certainly won't be the last time I'll ever see pie.

It has been brought home to me -- yet again -- how often I mindlessly lick a spoon or take a bite of something. When I made the pies, it was hard not to lick the bowl. When I make lunch for the girls, it's hard not to finish their banana or apple or take a potato chip. It's such a habit for me to do so. Maybe this two weeks will help break me of it. Maybe not.

I saw my therapist today and asked her if she thought it was a bad idea for me to try and lose some weight, provided I was committed to doing so without overexercising or undereating. She was cautiously approving of it. She gave me the "homework" assignment of making a list of what my warning signs would be -- the warning signs that I was slipping back into disordered eating or thoughts. I know some of them would be:
  • avoiding or dreading social situations because of tempting food -- or even taking my own food
  • exercising extra to burn off calories if I overeat
  • eating sugar-free food or "fake" low calorie foods
  • going hungry -- especially going to bed hungry
  • cutting out lots of high calorie recipes that I will never allow myself to make
  • feeling deprived because I "can't" have ______ food
  • being afraid of food

I'll have to ponder it some more to see if there are others. She advised me to make a checklist for myself and look at it every single night to make sure I'm not regressing. I have to email her updates until I see her again too.

We discussed my feelings about T, and I made her a promise that I would start the ball rolling with our dialoguing, which we haven't really gotten around to doing any of since our talk. Today is a bad day to start because I work until 8:15pm and he is going out of town at 4am tomorrow until late Monday, but we have to start sometime! We also discussed (again!) the need for me to take more "time out" for myself. I confessed that I always have the best intentions, but then I notice "just one more thing" that needs doing before I can relax. She suggested that perhaps those things could wait, but to be honest, that just creates more stress for me as things pile up. You can only put off doing the laundry or paying the bills or doing the daily picking up for so long. If you do put it off, it only makes the job bigger. My family helps -- if I ask them too -- but I get so tired of always having to ask. That's probably every mom's mantra, isn't it?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School

We had two back-to-school open houses yesterday. C's kindergarten open house was at 1pm -- very low key. The teacher said hello and C ran off to play. I chatted with a few moms and that was it. R's 5th grade open house was much more involved. Our school system starts middle school with 5th grade, so we went to meet the two main teachers she'll have and hear all about the curriculum, rules, etc. She eats lunch at 10:40am!

I know it's goofy, but I love going to orientations! I love seeing the classrooms all decorated for fall; talking to all of my daughter's friends; feeling the excitement in the halls from kids, parents, and teachers; signing up for all of the volunteer opportunities, and hearing all about all of the great stuff the kids will be doing over the course of the year. My dh, OTOH, was ready to go home as soon as we got there. Spoilsport.

I have felt so much better about my dh since I told him how I'd been feeling. It's very hard for him to provide me with the kind of openess I need. Cops just hold everything "close to the vest" and are used to having to wear a neutral mask for the public. Sometimes they forget to take it off at home. Another part of my discontent has to do with my job. I've been trying to put more energy and enthusiasm into it, but I just keep wishing I were doing something else. I suppose my situation isn't going to change anytime soon, so I'd best make up my mind to make the best of it and get on with life.

I've been trying to prepare for starting the South Beach Diet by making sure I don't eat much fruit or bread/pasta/rice. That's not so hard, but doing without the sugar sure is! There are many times that I reach for something and think, "Hmmm..I won't be able to eat this on South Beach." Of course, it's usually something that isn't healthy for me anyway! I'm going to start SB on Saturday, but I'm going to monitor my feelings and reactions very carefully. If I start to feel "bingey", that's it -- my diet experiment is DONE. I've gone too long without bingeing to start that up again now.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Here We Go Again...in More Ways Than One

Since the last time I saw my therapist (3.5 weeks ago or so) and rambled on to her about how well things were going, my eating has been very up and down. No binges, but days of peaceful eating followed by days of overeating. I realized that I needed to figure out what was eating me if I wanted that peace to last longer than two days, and spent some time pondering what I was avoiding with ice cream and pop tarts. I came to the conclusion that my marriage was troubling me. Our summer has been so busy that we've seriously neglected "us" and haven't even had more than one or two dates by ourselves. As a result, our emotional connection has withered. On our dinner date I struggled with conversation that didn't include the children or friends and their doings. I'm descending to that dark place in which I minutely examine T's every look and action for signs of unhappiness with me -- and everything he does annoys and irritates me. The other day I was actually thinking that I'd be relieved if we got divorced and I was daydreaming about moving into a condo with the girls. That's when I knew I really needed to talk to him about my feelings.

So I bit the bullet last night -- only because he asked me what was wrong and said that it looked like something was bothering me when I attempted to demur. I told him of my thoughts and he didn't argue. We agreed to start doing our dialogue questions again (a Retrouvaille technique), and to schedule some dates together. I bought some tickets to upcoming symphony concerts (the Magical Music of Walt Disney, 3 Men and a Tenor, The Music of the Eagles, and Pops Goes Vegas), and we chose some other dates to have breakfast together, go out to dinner for our anniversary, and have an afternoon date on a Sunday. Our bowling league starts September 14 (drat!) and will be from 3:30-6:30pm this year, so I suggested that we might have dinner together after bowling on some Sundays. Sometimes I wonder if marriage is this difficult for everyone or if we're just not really meant for each other. I love him and would be devastated if anything happened to him, but we're really very different. Well, I'll soldier on and see if I can get over this blah period.

So....I've been considering going on the South Beach Diet. I know, I know...you're thinking that I'm kidding myself. The only diet I've ever stayed on for longer than 3 days was Weight Watchers -- and I think I lasted 7 days on that before I went over my allotted number of points. However, my main problem with all of the diets I've ever tried is HUNGER. I am always ravenous and finally give in and end up face first in a bag of potato chips. I read the old SB book, the new SB book, and did a LOT of reading online about SB. I haven't found a single person who said she was hungry while on SB, and all said they lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, and had all sorts of fantastic results on SB. As a result of trying to lower my triglycerides, I already only eat 1-2 servings of fruit a day and 1-2 servings of bread/cereal/rice/pasta anyway. The biggest stumbling block for me is the "no sugar" rule. I am not about to go back to eating artificial sweetener after giving it up last fall. I may try subbing agave nectar once I finish the first two weeks of the diet -- at least it's natural. It's low on the glycemic index too. I don't want to end up bingeing because I feel deprived in some way -- it's been months since I had a binge. The jury is still out, but I am seriously thinking of trying it. Let me know if you have any thoughts about it or experience with it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Facing My Fear

Even though I've been back on my bike quite a bit this summer, I've been hesitant to recreate the route I took when I crashed three years ago. I just felt a weird superstitious notion that if I took the same path, I'd crash again or something else awful would happen. I set out on a ride this morning and it was gorgeous. As I neared the 10-mile mark, I thought, "Hey, if you ride just 5 miles farther, you'll reach the point you got to the day you crashed..." I decided to go for it, though I started feeling regrets around mile 12. The wind was strong and I was barely riding 8 m.p.h. I kept going and went 15.5 miles before turning around. On the way back, I felt a little thrill when I passed the fateful crash point, but I felt more of a sense of triumph than anything else. I arrive home, having ridden 31 total miles, and feeling great. My knees don't feel so great, but I am really glad I faced my fear and pushed past it.

Here are some pictures from my 44th birthday celebrations. I had a pleasant, though unremarkable birthday. T took me to dinner and a movie the night before "the day", and he had flowers waiting for me at the table when we arrived at the restaurant. That was a very nice surprise -- he really is quite a romantic at heart. We saw "Batman" after dinner, which was as good as the hype said it would be. I was disturbed to see pre-teen kids there, including some very young kids. It is NOT a movie for kids -- maybe not even for teens.

On my birthday, I went on my annual lunch at Arnie's. I usually go with my MIL, SIL, and aunt-in-law. This year my MIL's neighbor and two aunt-in-laws from the other side of the family joined us. It was fun, though I felt a bit geeky getting excited about having lunch with five "older" ladies! That evening we had dinner at a local Indian restaurant with my dad. Yum!

Saturday, August 02, 2008


At the 83rd Annual family golf tournament, R, T, and I all won golf balls. R had the highest girls' score (which, if you're unfamiliar with golf, isn't really a GOOD thing but she was happy just to win something), T had the lowest putts, and I had the highest putts. I shot an 81, which is pretty awful, but it could have been a 90, so it wasn't the worst score possible. We had fun, though my five-year-old only made it 6 holes before getting tired of the whole thing.
We had a local petting zoo come to the library last week, so I got my picture taken with the ball python they brought. I'm not really scared of snakes unless they surprise me in the yard.
Last night T and I went with four friends to see the ABBA tribute band Waterloo in a concert. Our seats were quite far from the stage, but we still had a good time. Today I'm taking the girls to see stage show of "High School Musical", and then T and I have a wedding reception to attend. I can't believe we're old enough to have friends' children getting married, but this girl is the first! I was supposed to pick my dad up at the airport, but he and my aunt missed their flight from London.
I've been pushing myself a bit more with the exercise and I definitely feel more of a high when I'm done. As for my eating, it has been quite normal over the past week. I've been tracking my food again and it isn't making me psycho. We've had ice cream in the freezer since our card party and I've only eaten a couple of bowls of it. I haven't had a binge in several months now, and my compulsive eating has been fairly absent since my visit to the therapist. Talking to her and admitting that I really wanted my restricting behavior to kick in again really seemed to help me feel a lot more peace about food and eating.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You Should(n't) Be Ashamed of Yourself!

Wow! Thank you all you kind people who made comments on my last post. I realized as I read it that I wrote "incisive" instead of "insightful". Thank you (Isabelle) for not pointing out my mistake. I know you noticed, even if no one else did!

Anyway, I will try to give people the benefit of the doubt and simply say "thank you" to their comments. Cilly's comment made me realize that I too fear falling back into the trap of wanting those compliments so much that I start undereating again. I think more than that however, I (the recovering people pleaser supreme) don't want people to notice my weight loss because I will then disappoint them when I regain all of the weight plus 20 pounds (so goes my thinking anyway). I'll never forget my grad school roommate's mom saying, "You look so good now that you lost weight. Don't gain it back now". Of course I did. Though she never mentioned it, I hid whenever she came to visit.

Four years ago when I lost weight on the "separation from dh diet", the coworker mentioned in the previous post lost weight on the South Beach Diet. We bonded over our weight loss, especially when I went on to lose more on the "got back together with dh diet". We gleefully discussed fat grams and sugar free desserts and the delights of size 6 pants for over a year. I still vividly remember going in to work to confess to her that I'd gained 6 pounds (because I was SURE it showed and she was eyeing me speculatively). She confessed to gaining 3 and we both vowed to redouble our weight loss efforts. When I came back to work after my leg healed, the first thing she said to me was, "Oh, I'm so glad you didn't gain the weight back! I just knew you'd be so worried about that!" These days I still feel a jolt of shame whenever I talk to her, wondering what she thinks now that I did gain back all of the weight, plus some.

In my heart of hearts, I KNOW being ashamed for gaining weight is absolutely ridiculous. It doesn't make me dumber, a worse mother or wife or librarian, or anything. It just makes me larger. I'm really trying to tell myself that people don't care, but that #!^% roommate's mom's comment pops into my head at the most inconvenient times. I try to picture myself making sarcastic comments to her.

Golfing was quite........long. It took the five of us (dh, me, R, C, and my SIL E) FOUR HOURS to play 9 holes of golf! The golf tournament on Sunday may not take quite as long since dh will golf in a foursome with people who can get the ball into the cup in fewer than 15 strokes. Oh my word, was I sore yesterday. My back, shoulders, arms, hand -- all hurt. Though part of the soreness may be from R and my push-up attempts. We are up to 17 "girl" push-ups now. We attempted one "real" push-up when we got to 10 and failed miserably. So we will try again once we get to 20.

I have come to the conclusion that I have been slacking on my exercise for months -- or maybe years. Oh, I exercise daily, but when comparing the way I feel while riding my stationary bike or elliptical to the way I felt when I did step aerobics before my biking accident, the difference is vast. During aerobics I could barely catch my breath and ended up drenched in sweat by the end. After exercise these days I have a smallish patch of sweat on my t-shirt, and during exercise there is no time I am in danger of becoming breathless. Yesterday and today I pushed harder -- and felt better when I finished.

Monday, July 21, 2008

A couple of people have made comments to me lately that have REALLY annoyed me. I'm trying to figure out why, but I'm having difficulty coming up with anything insightful. A woman who brings her grandson to storytime gushed in a loud voice, "Susan! How much have you lost?!?" When I looked at her blankly, she said, "How much weight have you lost? I LOT since last summer!" I said awkwardly, "Well, I don't weigh myself much but no, I'm pretty sure I haven't lost any." She proceeded to argue with me, finally ending with, "Well, you look great anyway." Then last week a coworker was passing me and made sort of an up and down motion with her hands, saying "You're losing weight again. I can tell." I answered, "No, I'm pretty sure I haven't". She also argued with me.

After both of these encounters, I felt vaguely squirmy and dirty. Do I not like attention drawn to the fact that I had gained weight, needed to lose weight, or am overweight? I do definitely feel that it is intrusive to comment on someone else's body, but I also realize that society is obsessed with weight and weight loss or gain. All you have to do is stand in line at the grocery store to realize that people delight in reading "I lost 100 pounds!" stories -- myself included. Judging by the trashier magazines, people also delight in reading about famous people who are caught looking fat, wrinkly, or dimpled by cellulite. I guess I wish I had the guts to say to people, "I know you mean well, but I find your comment very inappropriate". I can just imagine the look I'd get.

My list of reasons I want to be healthy is very short. I suppose that's okay, as long as it's sincere. I'll post it later, but right now I have to go put some clothes on. I took the day off work to spend with my family. We were headed to a local water park, but R fell off her bike last night and skinned her knee, elbow, and hand. So we are all going to play a round of golf together. The annual family golf tournament (I think it might be number 84!) is next Sunday and we need some practice.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Glass IS Half Full....isn't it?

I am really trying to improve my outlook on life. I always thought of myself as an optimist, but somehow along the way my Pollyanna attitude has turned rather Grinchy. This was brought home to me by a rather embarrassing comment made by R: "Mom! Why do you always have to be so crabby about everything?!? I say, "Isn't that water a beautiful shade of green?" and you answer, "It's probably full of algae." I was really taken aback until I realized over the next few days that she was 100% correct. I have become one of those people who has something negative to say about everyone and everything! I am mortified and have resolved to change my attitude. Wowsa -- it's hard! Last evening when I looked at my zinnias growing so nicely, the first thing I thought was, "Hmmm...I thought the colors would be brighter."

I saw my therapist today and told her that my eating behavior over my vacation really disappointed me. I didn't binge, and I ate mindfully at many meals. However, I used the time as an excuse to eat ice cream a lot (okay, I know many people do that on vacation) and I ate with the group mentality quite a few times (you know...everyone else is eating chips/cookies/crackers so I'll join in too). I can't even say that it was due to any particular feeling -- I just used being on vacation as an excuse to eat. I told her that I'd been thinking about why I did it, and thought perhaps part of my psyche still believes that any day now my "willpower" will kick in and I will start starving myself for months. That has been the pattern of my life since I was 15, after all. She said, "But you're working on changing that pattern." I agreed, but confessed that part of me HOPED it would kick in because I'm unhappy with my weight. She suggested that maybe I was purposely trying to force my weight up so that I reach a tipping point and trigger my past behavior. Whoa. Ouch. I think she may be right.

I moaned about how I eat dessert whenever it's offered and just feel deprived if I turn it down. She told me I really need to find some more satisfaction in my life -- if not at work (where I am sooo bored at the moment), then at home or in other areas of my life. Deprivation and work combined with deprivation in other areas of life = food as my only reward. I know she's right. I have been doing better at treating myself well, but I'm still not really quite "there" yet. Part of the problem is my perfectionistic tendencies. I think that I can't possibly scrapbook or work on a craft project if my craft room isn't totally neat and organized. That never happens, so I never work on anything. As for work, she says that passion in all things has to be rekindled from time to time. It doesn't remain high by itself. Huh. I never thought about it that way. I guess it's another example of my Grinchy thinking!

She also suggested that I refocus my thinking. Rather than feeling deprived about not having dessert, I need to think about the reason I'm turning it down. I need to have a clear idea of why I don't want to eat the dessert. So, she wants me to make a list of the reasons I want to be healthy. She suggested that I focus on what I want my life to be like when I'm 50, 60, or 70. Do I want to be able to ride my bike? Stay off blood pressure medication? Walk without knee pain? Etc. I am having trouble coming up with much that isn't superficial (I want to fit into a smaller size!). I shall work on it, along with my attitude.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scenes From a Vacation

The "cottage" in Wisconsin owned by T's cousin and her husband. It is a work in progress, but is lovely. I think it had five bedrooms and bathrooms (or maybe six!), and a HUGE kitchen, complete with restaurant sized fridge and stove/oven. This isn't even their "real" home -- just their vacation home. They were very gracious about having 60+ relatives invade. I don't know how many of us stayed in the house, but there were 2 or 3 RVs outside, as well as several tents.

We shared the cooking. Our branch of the family was responsible for one dinner and one lunch. Here we are making a Tex-Mex feast. It took 2+ hours too cook all of it, and we spent $555 on groceries for the two meals. In this picture are two of my BILs and SILs and T and me (we're on the right). You can't really see any faces in this picture of the entire group, but I thought it looked pretty impressive to see everyone together. Well, almost everyone. Some of us are snapping photos.
R found the ferry ride from Mackinac Island back to Mackinaw City quite exhiliarating. We took the speedy boat and she loved standing up to feel the wind in her hair.

The vacation was quite fun, though far from relaxing. I took a few strenuous bike rides, but still found myself eating for entertainment. I ate mindfully at most of the restaurant meals we had, but at the cottage, I ate more than my share of smores and birthday cake. Since we got back home I've felt far more normal, though I haven't been exercising much except walking the dog. R and I took a few short bike rides, but tomorrow morning I go back to work and hopefully back to my regular routine.

Monday, June 30, 2008

And We're Off!

My 10-year-old has finally learned to ride a bike with no training wheels! I never thought I'd see the day. We rode 6 miles together a couple of weeks ago and the wheels were knocked askew during the ride. After 1 1/2 miles of crying and frustration, she seemed to catch on. The next day T adjusted them so they were totally off the ground and she rode 7 miles without wobbling much. So the next day he took them off all together. She took off right after this picture and we rode 13 miles together without any major mishaps. Yea! The bike is really too small for her, so after our vacation, we'll go out for a larger one.
I've been biking a lot lately. On Friday I rode about 12 miles to breakfast with my friends and back. Riding on the streets is a heck of a lot more difficult than riding on the trail. The hills were killers, and I arrived at breakfast sweaty and red-faced. On Saturday, I rode 22 miles -- to my inlaws' house and back. For the first time since my accident three years ago, I had the leg strength to stand up and peddle on my bike. That gives me hope that I can still build up some muscle even after all this time.
In a couple of hours, we're leaving for a week of vacation. I should be packing right now. We're headed to Mackinac Island for a couple of days, then driving through the U.P. to Wisconsin. Sixty-two aunts, uncles, and cousins will be meeting for a reunion over the weekend. I'm feeling anxious enough that I have begged my dh to pack my bike in the van. I need an escape route. I like all of these people quite well, but I have a feeling I may start to feel suffocated after a while. "See" you when we get back!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Walking (or Riding) Around the Hole in the Sidewalk

There's my home sweet home on top. The house had white shutters until last fall when we had them painted blue. The color turned out a bit brighter than it looked on the sample, but it has grown on us. The other photo is the wild bunch from R's sleepover. They all seem like very nice girls, though some are definitely more high maintenance than others.
Yesterday morning we had our family picture taken for the church directory. We were given the option of ordering prints for ourselves, and went ahead and ordered our Christmas cards for next December. I dithered a bit, thinking I looked quite fat. What if I were skinnier next December? In the end I decided that was idiotic thinking and I'd have less stress for the holiday season if I just went ahead and ordered the cards. After the photo session, the girls and I visited the farmer's market. R begged me for cinnamon swirl bread and I gave in and bought a loaf. At home, we ate pieces of it and I immediately started feeling guilty and wanted to binge. Instead I went out for a bike ride. I ended up riding 22 miles, and felt 100% better by the time I got back....with the exception of my backside, which is still protesting.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Climbing Out of the Hole

I saw my therapist today and shared my setback of last week. I spent 4 days last week alternately doing fine and overeating. Finally, on Sunday, I sort of mentally pulled myself up by my bootstraps and said, "HEY! Yes, you are going to be fat your whole life because you are behaving like someone who WANTS to be fat! Maybe you are meant to be this size forever unless you starve yourself. However, you will never know if you don't stop overeating and eating when you're not hungry!" I've been okay since then. I even started bringing a snack to work to eat between meals when I get really hungry, rather than trying to wait until it's "mealtime". It made me very anxious on Monday (I brought two snacks), but yesterday and today it's been fine (I only brought one snack -- baby steps, you know).

I talked to the therapist about weighing myself and whether or not it's a healthy thing to do. I haven't been weighing myself more than once every few months. All of the books on healing binge behavior say to weigh yourself once a week. She pointed out that they are talking about healing only binge eating and emotional eating -- they aren't dealing with people who've had past issues with anorexic behavior or overexercising. Good point. She pointed out that surely I can tell whether or not I've gained or lost weight by the fit of my clothing, without risking the possible trigger of using the scale. I suppose she is right.

She gave me a really neat piece of writing that has apparently been around for a while. I think this woman has been inside my head! I think I'm working on Chapter 3 -- sometimes I even get to 4.

There's a Hole In My Sidewalk : Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
by Portia Nelson.

Chapter 1
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost...I am helpless.
It isn't my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in again.
I can't believe I am in this same place.
But it isn't my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in...it's a habit...but my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter 5
I walk down another street.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thrown for a Loop

On Wednesday morning, R, very enamoured of her new digital camera, snapped a photo of me while I was making her breakfast. It was a photo of the back of me. I looked at it and was immediately thrown into a deep pit of despair. Okay, perhaps I exaggerate a bit, but not much. Wow, did I look awful. My pants looked too tight, my shirt looked too snug, and I looked quite chunky. I went upstairs and changed, and tried to talk positively to myself. I told myself that it was just the clothes -- and even if it wasn't, so what? Being fat isn't the end of all happiness. I'll just buy clothing that fits better and is more flattering and I'll like my rear view better. Yeah, that didn't really work.

I spent the whole day alternately planning to go on a diet; wondering if I could after all do the South Beach diet; thinking about how much weight I could lose by Christmas....and reminding myself that diets make me crazy; I have worth no matter what my weight; and no, I really shouldn't be eating all of this chocolate at work when I'm not at all hungry. I was really shocked at how upset I was. Here I thought my self image was improving, but I was back in the "it's hopeless so I might as well have a brownie" rut. I took R out for lunch after their "Fourth Grade Celebration" (they move to middle school next year), and managed to leave part of my lunch behind because I was full, but arrived at work and ate too many treats. I went out to dinner with a friend and had just a bowl of vegetable soup and a piece of bread because I wasn't very hungry, but went home at 8:15pm and ate a piece of pizza and a piece of cake! Just before bed I filled out my eating diary and resolved to get over my backside freak-out. So far, so good, though my mind still occasionally wanders into diet territory.

At group on Monday, my therapist gave us a great list of affirmations to post on the fridge. I won't post it on the fridge because of my girls, but I want to share it:

  1. My worth as a person is not diminished in any way by my body size or my eating patterns.
  2. I will love myself no matter what my eating patterns are.
  3. I will judge my days not by what or how much I eat, but by the accomplishments I have made and the love I have given.
  4. My life is a gift, and I will not let my enjoyment of it be diminished by feeling guilty over my body size or how much I eat.
  5. I am finished blaming others, situations, and myself for the way I eat. I will take action minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour, and day-by-day until I can eat normally again.
  6. My eating disorder is a temporary condition in my life.
  7. There is a normal eater within me. I will let her take over my life more and more each day as I am ready.
  8. I can imagine a life without having an eating disorder.
  9. When I feel stressed, I will close my eyes and picture how my all-powerful, normal eater would handle the situation.
  10. I believe I will be a normal eater again. I know I will be a normal eater again!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Different Outcomes Require Different Behavior!

I got my new gel shorts in the mail and put on a pair to go for a 19-mile bike ride on Sunday evening. They didn't quite have the cushy fabulousness I was hoping for, but I think my nether regions are less sore than they would have been in regular shorts. The bugs were unbelievably horrendous. Much of the trail is in leafy shade, and I had at least 500 bug corpses plastered to my t-shirt by the time I got home, along with 1 in my eye, several on my cheek, and even one inside my bra. Ewww. I can't imagine how many would have been stuck in my hair had I not been wearing a helmet. Which reminds me -- why on earth do parents make their children wear helmets when they do not? It's okay if mom or dad dies due to a fractured skull and leaves little Johnny parentless? I don't get it.

I had support group last night and attendance was huge. 18 anorexic teenagers, one middle aged overweight woman, and me. There are some young women there who never say a single word. I have no idea why they come. Maybe just listening to others helps -- or maybe mom forces them to come. During the meeting, one girl said that she's struggling with doing the same thing every day -- starving herself all day and then giving in and bingeing and purging in the evening. She said, "I KNOW what happens every single time I starve all day -- I KNOW it -- yet I tell myself that this day will be different."

I thought about how I do similar things -- I do things knowing KNOWING what will happen -- yet I still do them. Yesterday was a CRAZY day at work. I didn't get a chance to even get a drink of water until 1pm. We had pizza and lots of treats around, but lunch was fine for me. I ate one piece of pizza, my salad, and a piece of cake and I was really full. The afternoon was so busy and I was still so full from lunch that I didn't even think about food. Yet, when I left work, I took three of the cookies a coworker had brought in and told myself they were "for my kids". Yeah, right. I ate them in the car before I was even halfway home. What was that about? A reward for a busy day? A release of all of the tension -- relief that I was done? Anxiety about my support group meeting? What? Who knows? I think the most important thing for me to admit is that I took those cookies for ME. I didn't take them for my kids or my dh or anyone but me. I KNEW I was going to eat them on the way home, but didn't want to admit it to myself. The only saving grace in it for me is that I ate a REALLY small dinner and didn't eat anything else the rest of the night because I wasn't hungry.

After group I went to TCBY to get a frozen yogurt pie for R's 4th grade graduation celebration dinner (which will be tonight), and I wanted to get a frozen yogurt cone just because I was there and I love frozen yogurt. I didn't get one though. I want to get better -- ALL better. That's not going to happen unless I consistently make good choices. If I'd been hungry, okay. However, eating frozen yogurt last night would have been all about "hey, it's there -- and besides, I already ate three cookies and a piece of cake today. Might as well..." No. No. No. No. NO. I will not be that person anymore.

Friday, June 06, 2008

My Brain...it's A-Changin'

Here's my wonderful dh T running in a 5K. He's now talking about doing a triathlon, which made me mentally scratch my head. He hasn't been on a bike for at least 8 years and I've never seen him do anything in a pool but play around. I will be supportive if he wants to do it though.

I've been MIA because my life is still rather CRAZY these days. With t-ball twice a week, golf once a week, etc., I've been gone almost every evening for several weeks now. Thank heavens t-ball and school both end next week. We don't sign the girls up for evening or Saturday activities in the summer. I want my kids to have the kind of relaxed summers I had (sans wacky mother who thinks kids are the perfect manual laborers for her gigantic garden and grand landscaping projects).

Anyway, life is pretty good. I haven't had anything I could call a true binge in weeks and weeks and weeks. I've had some days when I've made a bad choice or two, but nothing worse than eating a few handfuls of chips when I'm not really hungry. I saw my therapist two weeks ago and I told her I was really struggling with wanting to lose weight versus trying to have a normal relationship with food. I think my self image has improved over the past several months, as I've stopped bingeing and worked on my destructive and irrational thoughts. However, I'm still not thrilled with my size. I confessed to her that I've realized through using the eating diary that I'm terrible at feeding myself at the first sign of hunger rather than waiting until I'm ravenous. I'm afraid of eating too much if I really allow myself to eat every time I'm hungry. We decided that I really need to trust my hunger and that I may end up eating less because I sometimes realize too late that I'm a bit too full because I was so hungry when I started eating. True confessions here...I still haven't been very good about it since then. There are a few days when I've had a snack at work when I'm really hungry between meals, but it makes me feel really anxious -- and I'm still super hungry at mealtime. So I think to myself, "WHAT in the heck is the point?!?" It doesn't matter what the snack is either -- high protein, high carb, mixture of both, fruit, veg...whatever. I've tried different things, but somehow I am still just as hungry when the next meal rolls around.

We discussed feelings and I told her I still have great difficulty pinpointing the feeling that underlies my anxiety or restlessness. I need to look at my feeling list more often when I'm having trouble. She gave me a really interesting sheet that shows how feelings change into destructive behaviors if you don't allow yourself to feel and/or express them. Anger, for example, changes into controlling behavior (among other things).

She led me through a visualization, which was really neat. I'd never really tried to do it before, but as she talked I really felt as though I was swinging softly in a hammock on the beach under a palm tree, feeling a soft breeze as I read a book. Ironic since I would never relax enough to do that, but she said that I could practice doing visualization to give me a little respite when I'm having a stressful day and can't actually escape. Of course, I haven't yet done it because I forget all about it when I really need it!

I've been trying to work on changing my irrational thoughts by asking myself what evidence I have for thinking _____________ (insert any irrational thought here!). It really calms me down when I take the trouble to challenge my squirrel brain. I have had many mornings lately when I suddenly think, "Hey! I'm not thinking about food!" If I start to have any weird repetitive food/weight loss thoughts, I immediately start reciting a nursery rhyme and my thoughts go away. It seems dopey, but it works.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Two of Me and The Daily Eating Diary

Here is me with straight hair and me with curly hair. No one likes the straight-haired me except my 10-year-old. After seeing myself with curly hair for 43 3/4 years, I felt odd walking around with straight hair for a few hours, but I liked it okay. I'm not sure I'd ever do it on a regular basis, but it was kind of neat to see.
I went to the cemetaries with my dad and the girls yesterday. We scrubbed gravestones and planted flowers. It was kind of nice, though I wonder how long I'll keep it up after my dad dies. The two cemetaries we visit are 90 minutes away, so an entire day is usually eaten up when we go. I suppose guilt will drive me to continue going as long as I'm able.
I got up today and rode 16 miles on my bike. It was lovely outside, but I had lost all enthusiasm by mile 12. The wind was against me and my bottom was hurting something fierce! Since I was still four miles from home I was forced to push on. I'm definitely buying gel shorts.
Here is the Daily Eating Diary my therapist handed out at our last support group meeting. It has been quite helpful to me, especially questions 11 and 12. I do it just before bed and I'm forced to think about whether or not I've done anything for myself over the course of the day, as well as to look ahead to the next day and pre-plan. I've also discovered that I'm really, really terrible about encouraging myself to eat from physical hunger and eating at the first signal of hunger rather than letting myself get overly hungry.
The Daily Eating Diary
1. Did I encourage myself to eat from physical hunger?
2. Did I eat at the first signal of hunger, rather than letting myself get overly hungry?
3. Did I find myself eating or restricting for emotional reasons today?
___sexual feelings
___transition between activities
4. Did I practice focused and mindful eating?
5. Did I stop when I was full?
6. Did I plan what I wanted to eat?
7. Did I eat food that was not pleasing to me?
8. Which times of the day and evening were the most troublesome for me with food?
9. What alternatives did I take during these times?
10. What alternatives could I have taken?
11. What are the ways I took good care of myself today?
12. What emotional needs do I anticipate for tomorrow and how can I prepare to take care of them?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Girls On the Run

Here is my 10-year-old in her 5K with the Girls On the Run. GOTR is a great program for preteen girls that helps build self esteem, as well as attempting to instill a love of exercise. Over the course of ten weeks, they do a lot of team building and self esteem exercises, and train to run a 5K. R did it last year and I was amazed when she actually ran the entire 5K. This year she did as well -- in about 32 minutes. Not bad.
I admit that I got very choked up when I looked at the sea of 852 girls taking off from the starting line. I wish there had been a program like this one when I was 10 years old. We stayed until the very last girl finished, and it was awesome to see the pride on their faces when they crossed the finish line. And so much for stereotypes -- several very fat little girls finished quite a bit ahead of the rest of the group. Go girl power!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sing, Sing a Song...

I saw my therapist last week. She said that what I did on my mom's birthday couldn't really be labled a binge -- more like a bad choice. I made a few more bad choices on mother's day. I wanted so badly to be happy. The girls and T were very excited about giving me new deck furniture and chocolate and wanted to take me out to breakfast. I just didn't feel like it. I still felt sad about my mom's birthday and mother's day just made the sadness worse. On Sunday, I didn't really realize that's what the problem was. I just knew that I felt crummy and restless and just wanted to eat all day. The commenter on my previous post was exactly right -- sometimes it is just easier not to fight and just to give in to the old ways of doing things; to give in to the comfort. It wasn't until I was in support group on Monday that I felt the actual sadness. Barb asked how everyone had coped with mother's day and I got choked up when I tried to talk about it.

I still feel quite self conscious at support group. There can't be more than 3 of us over the age of 25 and there are only a couple who aren't recovering from anorexia. I will soldier on though -- maybe I'm providing comfort to the other non-skinny women. Barb gave some handouts to the group and I think one will be quite useful for me. It's a sort of worksheet for emotional eaters. It's not the usual food diary, but rather a sheet of questions to ask yourself each evening. There are things on it like "did I eat mindfully today, without distractions?", "did I make myself eat food I don't enjoy?", "did I eat from boredom, anger....(etc)?", "will there be a time tomorrow when I may struggle not to eat and what will I do about it?" I will post the entire thing when I have it in hand (not at home right now).

At therapy last week I whinged about my obsessive thoughts and Barb suggested that when they start popping up, I should recite a nursery rhyme, sing a song, or tell myself a story (even if it's nonsensical) -- preferably out loud. That will force me to use the opposite side of my brain and take my mind off my other thoughts. I tried it a few times and it actually works pretty well.

She also urged me to stop personalizing everything. I tend to take responsibility for everyone else's feelings and for the way they act toward me. I am not responsible for anyone else's feelings. Wow. After a few days of ruminating on that, I remembered trying to make my mom happy when she was angry with us (my sibs and me). We hardly ever knew exactly why she was mad -- she would just suddenly stop talking to us. It was very stressful and I'd walk on eggshells and scramble around cleaning things and trying to do things to make her happy again. Usually the storm cloud would suddenly pass one day and she'd start talking to us again like nothing had ever happened. I remember even asking dad why she was upset and he never had any clue either. I felt such a responsibility to make her happy -- and I tend to do the same thing currently with anyone who is upset with me.

I had shared with Barb a day when I struggled with my eating after having breakfast with three friends (all former coworkers). We eat breakfast together every month or so and I really enjoy their company. One of them, B, was advised three years ago by her doctor that if she lost 15 pounds or so she'd probably be able to quit taking her blood pressure meds. She joined WW and was a model dieter. She never ate one single point over her allotted amount, lost 40 lbs in just a few months, and has maintained that loss ever since. At this month's breakfast, she ate plain oatmeal and I commented that she hadn't had her usual peanut butter with it. She said that she had switched programs with WW and wasn't counting points anymore, and she wasn't sure if peanut butter was an okay food. I was surprised that she still counted points and said so. She told us that she had been put on a new medication for her fibromyalgia and suddenly started gaining weight. She cut her points and was still gaining weight at 20 points a day. (20! I'd be ravenous all day long!) So she switched plans and stopped taking her medication. She said, "I just think I'd rather hurt than gain the weight back." I was rather speechless. I wasn't sure if I should admire her tenacity or feel sorry for her.

At the same breakfast she asked me if she should still bring me castoff clothing from her daughter (which she has done for several years). I, of course, took her question to mean that hey, I was kind of fat now and could never fit in to any of her daughter's clothes now so why should she still bring them to me? Barb pointed out that she may have simply been asking because it had been a while since she'd brought me any and that I should not assume she was implying anything. I'm still not convinced, but I think B's dedication to her weight maintenance along with the clothing comment made me feel deeply ashamed. All day I had that "I might as well give up and eat like a pig because I'm never going to lose any weight and I'm going to hate how I look for the rest of my life" thoughts. So, I need to work on NOT PERSONALIZING. The whole world does not revolve around me, right?