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.