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?