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?

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Fear of Recovery

Ah, the confindence of the young! If only they would always think they look as beautiful as they do in this picture.

I've been doing really well, for the most part. T and I went out on Friday night -- 12 cops and me. Even the cops' wives were cops. I was okay though -- just sipped my iced tea and water, and listened to war stories. We'd eaten pizza with one of the couples before going, and I was careful to stop when I'd had enough -- 2 pieces from a medium pizza kept me full til we got home around 11:30pm. I ate a third piece before bed, but I was truly quite hungry.

Yesterday we had to give a post talk for Retrouvaille. We did it the first time six months ago and it was pretty stressful. We spend two hours talking about the time when our marriage was in trouble and how we healed, so it brings up lots of emotions -- good and bad. I knew there would be a table full of snacks there, and did some pre-day preparation. I told myself that yes, I'd feel some desire to chow down, both because of the anxiety of doing the session and due to the desire to decompress afterward. However, I planned to eat lunch and not be hungry. Therefore, I wouldn't eat anything. I eyed the snack table a couple of times, especially after we were done, but I didn't eat anything. I wasn't hungry and didn't want to feel bad. I still felt quite "bingey" after dinner last night. My mind kept telling me that I wanted ice cream! cake! cookies! I couldn't get my mind off eating dessert, but ate 3 graham crackers dipped in milk and a couple of Hershey kisses and stopped. I started on a lollipop, but realized that I didn't really want it and was only eating it to keep my mouth busy. I threw the rest away.

Because I think I've lost some weight (I haven't weighed myself but my size 10 Levis that haven't fit for several months were fine yesterday), my thoughts have been becoming a bit obsessive lately. Especially when I walk the dog or when I'm bored at work, my thoughts begin spiraling out of control -- all about how much weight I could lose by what date or what I've eaten or what I shouldn't have eaten or how I could have the lowest calorie dinner possible or..... on and on. If I'm with the dog (and hence, alone outside at 5am), I tell myself out loud, "Think about something else!" It is easier said than done. The problem is that nothing else holds my thoughts for very long. I tried to plan a flower bed I've been wanting in my front yard, and I've tried just staying present; staying in the moment. I admired the way the moss looks on a fallen tree, noticed how the gorgeous purple hyacinth contrasted with the yellow daffodils, took in the sounds of the birds and frogs, checked out the tangle of varying shades of green in the woods, but it was hopeless. My thoughts kept circling around to weight loss.

I think this is part and parcel of why I've always been a bit afraid to recover. What on earth will I think about? If I no longer have to dwell on weight, size, calories, food, and the like, what will I do? When I try to imagine it, my mind goes blank. I used to love reading, but most of the time I feel too restless to sit and read for hours the way I used to. I can only read at night before bed these days. I used to love scrapbooking but now, though I enjoy it, I don't have any passion for it. It has been a few years since I touched my supplies except to pack them for a crop. I kind of like golf, but I can't see myself as a daily player or anything. What do people without eating issues do with their time?

I had a sorta binge today. I don't know if it was a binge or not. Maybe it was, though it didn't have the urgency or "out-of-control eating everything in the kitchen" quality about it. I had my Sunday all planned out. We'd go to church. Then I'd go to the driving range to practice, buy my groceries, come home and eat lunch, then take the girls to the zoo while T had a meeting. After dinner I'd take a bike ride. My plans had to change though, when I found out that a friend's father had died and visitation was this afternoon. The zoo went out the window, and the visitation brought up all kinds of sad feelings about my mom. Today would have been her 72nd birthday.

I got home from the visitation, T was still gone, and I decided to finish the dessert R had requested for dinner. Then I realized that I didn't have the cream cheese I needed to top the brownie dessert. I tried not to be annoyed and just made some frosting to finish them. Suddenly frosting on a graham cracker sounded so delicious that I couldn't stand it and had to have one. Then I had about four more. Then I ate two brownies. Then I stopped. I felt kind of sick and thought, "I am NOT going to do this. I am done." I didn't really feel any temptation to keep going. I was hungry for dinner and though I didn't eat much, it was only because I got full quickly and wasn't hungry anymore. I did have one more brownie. I rode my bike ten miles and I confess that part of me was happy I was burning off some brownie calories. I didn't punish myself with a 20-mile bike ride though, and stuck to my original plan of 10 miles. I felt really good when I got back. So I ate some crap. So what. I stopped, started life anew, and I'm fine.