Monday, March 31, 2008

What a Great Weekend!

On Friday night, T and I registered couples for the Retrouvaille weekend. There was a gigantic buffet dinner set out for the people working that evening. I was absolutely ravenous, but took my time, choosing a turkey sandwich, one dessert, and some raw veggies. I ate it and it was enough. Later I had a couple of crackers with cheese, but that was it. I mulled it over and didn't feel terribly deprived -- and I didn't go hungry.

On Saturday I went to a scrapbooking crop all afternoon and evening. They had a gigantic bowl of candy sitting two feet from me, and a table groaning with desserts and snacks. I had one mini Snickers bar, two brownies, and half a cookie. However, when dinner came, I wasn't thrilled with the sandwich and only ate half of it, along with salad and a breadstick. I didn't feel overfull and didn't eat anything else after dinner. I was tempted -- I had a very brief thought of "Oh man, I ate two brownies...maybe I should just finish that last one on the platter..." but realized I really had eaten enough and it would just be emotional eating if I did.

Yesterday afternoon, I was prowling around the house feeling very restless and grumpy. I tried to lie down but couldn't relax. I didn't feel like reading. I didn't want to clean or organize anything. I didn't want to do a craft. I didn't want to take a walk. I just felt very out of sorts. I had almost decided that I'd bake something, but realized that I only wanted to bake so I'd have an excuse to lick the beaters. So I went downstairs to catch up on my email until it was time for bowling. I felt really glad that I hadn't given in.

Our bowling season ended last night and our team finished in the middle of the pack, rather than almost last as we did last year. AND you won't believe who the high/low winners were? Yes, that would be me and my partner! Unbelievable. For the final day, they pair the bowlers with the highest and lowest average, the next highest and next lowest, and so on. At the end of the night, the pair who bowled most over their combined average wins. I'm not really sure how we won -- my last game was awful -- but we won!

We had a potluck dinner there too, and I was very pleased with myself. I went to the buffet once and took a very small plate of food -- only things that looked wonderful to me. I took only one dessert! I ate it mindfully and that was it. I was satisfied and didn't really fight any huge urge to run back to the table and stuff myself. I had to walk past the food several more times to get raffle tickets and did give the homemade chocolate chip cookies more than a passing glance, but I really was okay with not having any.

Hey, I can do this.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Therapy Visit #2

This week would normally be a very "dangerous" week for me. I was gone every single evening -- support group, therapy appt, haircut, work...even tonight T and I will be registering couples for the Retrouvaille weekend our community is having. However, every time the mom/wife guilt fairy has popped into my head, I have shushed her firmly. This is one week out of my life, and I will not let stress and guilt drive me to unhealthy behaviors.

I had a very good talk this week with my therapist. I shared my "eating as decompression" theory with her and we chatted about my compulsive/impulsive eating. I told her I haven't binged much at all for the past few weeks, but I sometimes find myself eating something almost unconsciously. I walk past the goodies and work and, almost before I realize it, I'm taking a bite from a cookie. I'm very driven by external cues, so if I come home and T is eating, I immediately want to join him whether I'm hungry or not. She challenged me: the very next time I find myself eating something I had not planned on, I'm to walk over to the sink or trash and throw it away. Eek. I can't imagine doing that if it's something yummy. She asked how I thought I'd feel if I did that and I answered, "Empowered". She said, "Exactly!"

Now I feel as though I'm hyper-aware of everything I eat. I've had a few thoughts pop into my head, but haven't acted on them. For example, R's godmother mailed her an Easter basket of candy. There were some Whoppers in it and I took them to work because no one in our family likes them. The next day I noticed that someone had opened the carton and I started to walk toward them to get one. Then I stopped, literally, in my tracks and thought, "HELLO?!? You brought these in to work because you don't particularly like them!"

Near the end of our session, she said, "It sounds as though the theme "not good enough" has come up a lot for you in life". I had to admit that it had, very often. She told me to journal or write a poem about "not good enough". I haven't started yet, but I've been mulling it over every morning when I walk the dog.

The other morning I weighed 171.2. It's so nice not to have skintight pants anymore.

One more thing I have to share. Last week R said to me, "Mom, I'm finding it so hard to believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus because I see so little real magic in the world. When I read books the wizards and fairies seem so real to me, but I look around and I just don't see it." Sometimes I think she is a 70-year-old lady trapped in a 10-year-old's body.


I hung up the phone after talking to my sister for 85 minutes and felt absolutely stunned. My beautiful, smart, sweet, wonderful 17-year-old niece started throwing up to lose weight a few months ago -- and has been cutting herself. After losing weight due to the bulimia, she now has her first boyfriend and is spending every second with him, smoking pot and having sex. She had enough credits to graduate from high school last May, but has been taking classes this year so that she could graduate with her friends. Those would be the friends she hasn't seen in weeks, due to the new boyfriend. Her grades, previously all As, are now slipping to Cs and the scholarships being offered by various universities are evaporating. I feel so helpless and scared for her. My sister has had her in therapy, but she refuses to admit that anything is wrong, claiming that she's not engaging in any self-destructive behavior anymore. Then my sister saw a gigantic bandage on her ankle.

To top off my worry, my sister confessed that she also has been harming herself. She started off scratching herself and has now switched to head banging. She gave herself two black eyes a few weeks ago. She's not getting enough sleep, not exercising, AND her husband announced that he's going to leave her "just for a couple of years" so he can move in with his mother and help her pay off her debts. I know...what a family.

I wish I knew what to do. I wish I lived closer than 1600 miles away. I wish I could just make everything better. I wrote my niece a long letter telling her of my 25+ year struggle with eating issues and men, and begging her to learn from my mistakes. I don't know if it will do any good, but I had to do something.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Last night I went to the eating disorders support group run by my therapist. I was very nervous when I got there, but thoroughly girded my loins and went in. I grew more and more self conscious as anorexic teenage girl after anorexic teenage girl came in, mothers in tow. I recognized one teen (she was in my preschool storytimes 12 years ago) and her mom. What had I let myself in for? Finally one overweight teen came in -- and I recognized her mother. Oy. I may have bolted except that two women who were at least close to my age came in -- and it was the meeting during the month when parents and loved ones have a separate group. Whew.

It was heartbreaking to listen to these young, beautiful girls talk about eating only one meal a day, being afraid of restaurants, and exercising for hours every day. I just sat there thinking, "Please God, do NOT let this be my daughter six or seven years from now." I feel kind of proud that I was able to offer some concrete suggestions and comments to some of the attendees. One woman told me, "I'm so glad you were here." She is anorexic and bewildered, unable to afford therapy.

On the way home, the first thought that popped into my head was, "Wow, I want to go home and eat." The second thought was, "What? That was weird." I think eating after successfully making it through a stressful situation is a way of decompressing. At the family brunch on Sunday, I didn't overeat a bit. I didn't really eat much at all, actually. However, later at home I had 3 desserts. It was as though I thought "Whew -- it's over. I made it through without bingeing or overeating. Now I can eat." That doesn't really made sense to a sensible person, but until last night it made sense to me. For the rest of the drive home, I considered this new discovery. When I got home, I chatted with T about the meeting and went to sleep. No urge to eat anything at all.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Of Snow and More Snow

I can't believe it's snowing. Well, I CAN believe it -- I just don't want to! The past couple of weeks have been so lovely and snow-free. We still have piles of it, but the roads have been clear and I've not had to worry about falling while walking the dog. Sigh. A white Easter. So festive.

So...about Easter. Last year I wrote in my blog that I "grazed myself into a food coma". I have vague recollections of last year, and I'm determined NOT to do that this year. I've had a really good week working on not procrastinating. I've started a few projects at work that I'd been putting off forever, and when I have the thought "I should do such-and-such or call so-and-so..." I've been doing it rather than writing myself a post-it note and promptly forgetting all about it. No binges this week - no overeating whatsoever. I so didn't want to drag myself from bed to exercise this morning, but fortunately the wee Princess wasn't taking no for an answer when she wanted a walk. After walking her, I prevented total boredom on the elliptical by watching "Prime Suspect". Love that show. I should have been English. Well, I am part English -- in fact, while doing genealogy research my parents discovered that I'm in line for the throne. Of course, I'm around 60th or something, but it's kind of neat to know anyway.

So, back to Easter. Tomorrow I have to whip up two desserts for our post Easter Vigil dinner with the inlaws. Luckily, we talked my MIL into having a lighter dinner, so I'm also making chicken noodle soup. On Sunday we head to the extended family brunch. I have to make raspberry vanilla chip muffins. This is my plan: have a snack before church on Saturday and eat very lightly at dinner afterward. On Sunday, scope out the buffet, take only what looks absolutely fabulous, eat it slowly and mindfully, and stay far, far away from the food for the rest of the day. Chat up the aunts and uncles instead; pretend I'm sociable.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I was reading the book Confessions of a Carb Queen, which is a very raw memoir of a woman who went to the Rice Diet Clinic in North Carolina weighing 468.1 pounds and ended up staying for 2 1/2 years, losing 250 pounds or so in the process. It was quite absorbing, though I would have liked more details about how she changed from a person who fell asleep dreaming of food even after her clinic stay to a person who no longer longs for food. Anyway, she had a poem in the book that I just loved:

The jump
frightening between
where I am
where I want to be....
because of all I may become
I will close my eyes and

I feel as though today I leapt. I saw my therapist and we wrote out a list of goals. Wow, was it long. Interestingly, her focus is not at all on stopping the binges or food. It's on working on the underlying issues that caused the eating disorder. Huh. Who'd have thought?
She had given me some tests last month and I scored pretty high for having an eating disorder, interpersonal problems, and some other things. I scored almost off the charts for perfectionism and body dissatisfaction. No surprise there whatsoever. I will see her in one week and she asked me to choose one thing from our list of goals to work on. I chose procrastination, so for the next week I am supposed to work on not procrastinating and not needing everything to be perfect (because the two go hand in hand).

In other news, I got an 89, 90, and 97 in bowling, which helped our team win all three games. My average is up to 79 now. In two weeks we have our potluck and the last night until fall. I think I will miss it (HA HA HA HA!). My weekend had its ups and downs. On Saturday we went out to dinner at Logan's Roadhouse. I was already quite hungry when we arrived and we ended up having to wait 75 minutes for a table. By the time we got dinner rolls I could have eaten the table. They serve a humongous bucket of peanuts for you to much on while you wait, but I limited myself to about three because I really wanted to enjoy my dinner. I had only one dinner roll while my 10-year-old ate four! She was quite hungry herself. I really enjoyed my salad, part of my steak, and part of my sweet potato. They have little tiny desserts served in cute little buckets. I had the Nutter Butter Fudgeslide -- about half a cup or so of chocolate mousse with a thin layer of peanut butter topping, and a dollop of whipped cream on top. It was perfect -- just enough sweet and richness. On Sunday, I overate after bowling because I was too hungry, but I didn't binge. Yesterday was fine. I'm getting there.

p.s. I saw four crocuses in our front yard! Wa hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Dinner in the Alley

Here is my little C at a dinner we had at the library last night. Yes, she is pointing to a stuffed rat. Every year we divide the staff in half and each half makes a themed dinner for the other half. This year our team's theme was "The Alley". I was a little uncomfortable since it seemed a bit non-PC, but my team was gung-ho for it, so whatever. Our decor was that of a run-down alley, complete with trash, grafitti, a car garage with pin-up calendar (photos of the other team photoshopped onto pin-up bodies), a peep show, winos (mannequins with our bosses' faces on them)....okay, I'm quitting while I'm behind. The other team couldn't stop laughing and we all had a great time stuffing ourselves with loads of food.

I definitely ate too much and paid for it with a tummy ache, a sleepless night, and a grouchy demeanor this morning when I awoke. I definitely didn't eat intuitively. I really ate very little except for ...ahem...the desserts. You knew that was coming, didn't you? Yes, I'm 100% certain that my body didn't want either of the two pieces of cake I ate, or the four cookies, or the half a Twinkie. I didn't even LIKE the Twinkie! Ew. It tasted of chemicals. I could tell the chocolate cake was frosted with canned frosting, yet I finished the piece anyway. Sigh.

I gave myself a pep talk. One meal does not a life ruin. I'm back on track today, eating until satisfied and eating what my body wants. There are loads of leftover goodies in our back room, but looking at them just makes me feel icky.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Normalcy, continued....

....or normality, as they would say in the U.K. :-)

It's almost surreal how totally normal I've been feeling about food and eating. I've lost some weight (172.6 yesterday), which is nice, but even nicer is that I've felt so relaxed about eating. I made cookies twice last weekend for a potluck we attended, and I didn't really care much about eating them or not eating them. I ate a couple on Saturday, and a couple more on Sunday, but I don't feel any particular need to run to the cupboard and eat them all or anything.

On Sunday we had bowling (I got a 68, 105, and 98 -- my average is now 87), and I had eaten lentil soup, potato chips, and a pear for lunch. I'd eaten a bit late because I was busy making the soup and pumpkin bread, so I wasn't really hungry by the time 4:45pm rolled around (which is when we leave for bowling). Usually I'd wrestle with myself --" Should I eat? I know I'll be hungry before 8:15 (which is when we usually get home), but I'm not hungry. Should I buy something at the bowling alley? No, it's all fried and I'm too cheap anyway. AACK! What to do? I think I should eat now in case I get hungry...." etc. -- lots of mental anguish. This past Sunday I just thought, "Eh, I'm not hungry right now. Should I eat? No, because I'm not hungry. I'll probably be starving by 8pm, but I'll either eat there or just wait. Nothing will happen if I wait." I was indeed starving by the time we got home, but I just had a small meal and went to bed. All was good.

Last night we ate pretty early and then stuffed Easter eggs for the annual hunt. The sight of all that candy didn't even faze me. When the girls went to get their dessert, I saw them eating Girl Scout cookies and wandered in to the kitchen. I ate half a no-bake cookie and half a peanut butter cookie, but then thought, "You know, I'm not really hungry. These would taste so much better when I really want them and I'm not just eating them out of habit." So I didn't have any more. I realized when I went to bed that I was hungry, but I was too lazy to get up and eat anything. By morning I was ravenous. As I was walking the dog, I was thinking, "There's no way I can exercise without eating something." Before riding my exercise bike I had a banana, half a piece of pumpkin bread, and a piece of "lite" whole wheat bread, and a smear of peanut butter. Then I got kind of panicky -- eek! I had eaten a bunch of calories and the day had barely started! Maybe I should skip my usual breakfast! Thankfully, my reasonable self piped up with, "Chick! Chill! So what? You were hungry and you ate -- that's totally what normal people do!" I was still hungry after exercising, showering, and dressing, so I ate my usual breakfast and that was that.

So, I've been concentrating on really listening to my body and what it is hungry for. Last night I barely ate 1/4 of my baked potato (granted, I think it was a mutant potato because it was gigantic), half my chicken breast, and a bit of mixed vegetables and I was REALLY full. I still had lots of food on my plate, but I just sat there with the feeling that I should be cleaning my plate and ignoring it. Mom didn't always know best.

On Saturday, T and I had a "writing day" for Retrouvaille. After couples attend the initial weekend, they have 12 post talks that follow up on the things they learned. Last fall T and I wrote one of the talks and gave it. It was pretty rewarding and the community really needs more post talk presenters, so we decided to write another talk. It's rather amusing that our talk is on sex and intimacy. My sweet dh can't even say the word SEX, so I was really curious to see how he did with writing about it. The day was long, but we just about finished the talk and he did okay with it. Now, to see him actually read his talk -- that will be another thing. I am going to push T to do more writing. Retrouvaille teaches a tool called dialogue, which involves writing and sharing your feelings without judgment from your spouse. I always feel wrung out yet peaceful after I've done a whole day of writing, but even doing one question is very helpful for me. When you write, you have to identify your feelings, and that's something I really wrestle with. Having to write down my feelings forces me to really think about what exactly they are. I keep thinking that one of these years I won't have to stare at the "feeling words" list for several minutes before I can choose one!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Normalcy Reigns

I've been having several "normal" days...those days when you think "Why would I ever eat half a package of Girl Scout cookies and make myself feel that icky?" I've been trying to puzzle out why I feel so calm, but can't really put my finger on it. I've been exercising and not overeating and just feeling good. I made two batches of homemade chocolate chip cookies and didn't feel the slightest urge to gobble down any dough or more than one baked cookie. I even started my period and no PMS. Except migraines for three days in a row -- the usual. I tried the new medication my doctor gave me (Maxalt) and WOW! That stuff is fabulous! I want to kiss the researcher who came up with it. I take one tablet and my migraine completely disappears within an hour. No more taking to my bed in agony with prayer and Tylenol PM.

I skipped yoga last week. I can't really say exactly why, but I don't want to go anymore. I tried to tell T I wanted to quit, but he doesn't want me to. Perhaps this is terribly dishonest of me, but I'm going to leave the house and do something else for the final couple of weeks. I probably will end up telling him the truth anyway. I did enjoy yoga, but as the weeks went on there was a lot of ....well, being upside down, for lack of a better description. I HATE that "blood rushing to your head" feeling. I always feel terribly hot and just yucky. Ugh.

We are already planning our summer vacation. T's mom's family is having a reunion in Wisconsin over the fourth of July weekend and it sounds as though 50 or 60 people will be there. His cousin has a cottage (VERY large house) on a lake there and will host the gathering. She even offered us a room in the house -- woo hoo! Free lodging is always good. I really enjoy most of this part of the family, though I dread going if I'm still this size. The last time many of them saw me was in a size 6 dress at a wedding.

T's brother and wife are coming from London and we're planning to drive up to Mackinac Island for a couple of days before heading across the U.P. to Wisconsin. I hope some of the rest of T's family comes with us. Some of our best vacations have been with his parents and all of his siblings. I know that probably sounds odd if you don't get along with your inlaws, but we all had a blast when we went to Washington D.C. one year for a wedding, and we used to love going to Notre Dame every year for a football weekend. We all had a great time seeing Ireland together too.

Enough babbling. My dh is home from basketball and I have to get to bed. 4:45am comes awfully early -- especially when you have to walk the dog in a snowstorm. Oh, how I long to see a snowdrop instead of snowflakes!