Monday, June 22, 2009

Second thoughts (not second helpings)

I have spent much of the weekend with my butt parked in a chair in front of my computer monitor doing some reading. Specifically I've been reading the blog "Half My Size" of "Pasta Queen", written by Jeanette Fulda, a midwestern gal (does being 2something negate the "gal" title and relegate her to "girl"?) who found herself at age 23 and relatively new out of college inching precariously close to the 400 pound mark some years back (2003) and decided to embark on a journey of weight loss, life style redo and healthier living and began chronicling said journey from day one. And it turns out day one wasn't the first day of the rest of her lifebut rather the beginning of several beginnings lasting many months before she began to hit her stride and begin the long, at times glacial-paced creep down the scale. She is bright, laugh out loud hilarious, honest, and incredibly inspiring.

I found this blog through another weight loss blog "Roni's Weigh", which is also very good and full of positivity, great ideas, recipes and inspiration, and once I clicked the link to PastaQueen and read a couple of current posts, knew I wanted to go back to her beginning and read the whole thing. I'm only up to August of 2006 where she's down over 160 pounds, but from August of 2003, this has been a lot of reading and I've enjoyed every morsel...just eaten it up. I do love food metaphors, esp. in this genre of weight loss blogging.

What prompts my second thoughts of this entry title is that in reading Jeanette's story, I see how relatively positive and self-affirming she is throughout, even in the beginning when she was lurking around the 380 lb mark. Sure, she's self-deprecating and pokes very good fun at herself and her girth, but never in a mean spirited, self-hating way. Being half way through the blog, I have a very good feel for the kind of person Jeanette is...down to earth, as real as they come, humble,and pretty self accepting. It's making me rethink my own 55+ year career as an always-struggling-with-weight-and-self-acceptance person whose default setting was deeply grooved in the "I suck in every way" position. Jeanette talks about how her family never made fun of or were mean to her about her weight (nor presumably anything else), where as my mom started telling me I was fat by age 5 or so. Never felt quite up to "the standard". So rather than beat myself up more about always beating myself up, I can suffice it to say that I came by my tendencies honestly.

Anyway, I'm loving reading this blog and am f-ing off at work every chance I get, continuing to read of the Pasta Queen and her triumphal entry into the world of the healthy and fit. And I'm totally inspired for my own journey and can't wait to get to the gym today for a work out.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It's working on me

The disease, that is. The disease is working on me. Today I am full of anxiety, fear, worry about old stuff, new stuff, about anything I can come up with to be all out of sorts about. I'm worrying about what I'm sure is a sinus infection that has me so stopped up that earlier I thought my nose might explode or something. Zero airway space through nose and then I'm a bit wheezy, so I started to feel like I wasn't, or soon wouldn't, get enough air. Ran home to get nebulizer which I haven't used yet because I didn't bring the medication chamber. I really think I'm fine but all my health anxiety issues are popping up and I'm living in a fear based reality. Or unreality actually.

My heart rate stuff yesterday with the trainer has me torqued. Yes, I'd had albuterol, but 2 hours earlier so shouldn't the tachycardia be over? I know I'm hyper and white coat-ish, and a trainer fits the white coat bill. She's great, by the way. And once I settled down a bit I saw that my taching was stable.

What I want to note here is that it occurs to me that if I just started binging my brains out, I'd likely stop thinking/worrying/obsessing about self. At least in the moment. But then I'd be back to moi later, or tomorrow, and feel all shitty about myself for backsliding and having to begin again again again again...I believe an element of my food addiction disease process is this health anxiety/general anxiety that becomes acute in a moment, and I eventually cave and eat, thereby neutralizing the fear of the moment. That's what substances do, right?

I'm determined to weather the storms of my mind without turning to eating. No matter what. No matter how scared I feel. I can always feel better and get a perspective on my health anxiety when I think of people with big stuff going on. And also, looking realistically at my own history, I've been quite healthy, and quite able to show up and do what I have to do when there is question, like with my thyroid drama. So my psyche's anxiety ploy to get me to cave in to overeating is ON NOTICE (thank you Stephen Colbert). I will find other ways to alleviate my insane moments of fear, dread, worry... over things I can't control anyway.

Loved Jess, the trainer. I learned some valuable stuff yesterday, like that I've been exercising at way too high an intensity for plain fat burning. Who knew? It'll feel weird to walk the treadmill at 2.4 mph, but if that's what it takes to keep my heart rate between 98 and 120, I'm doing it. I wonder if I'll even break a sweat? Oh hell, I break a sweat more readily than most, so probably after enough time at 2.4, I will. And I go back and see Katie today before working out, which should be good. I'm feeling pretty strong at this point and have been blessed with no big cravings or food obsession for a few days. I like the snacks between meals...they help me not feel deprived and to know it won't be too long before I can eat something if I want to.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday thoughts

What an olio this life is. Since Friday, really, I've been on board to see myself through this new journey. My food's been pretty good...actually according to the plan I was given for Healthy Inspirations, my food has been quite close to on target for their program. I've also exercised in some way every day, but I don't officially meet with the personal trainer until tomorrow to get my tailor-made for Leslie (haha) plan. Anyway, I'm feeling pretty good about stuff at this point, but I also can very easily find my thoughts spiraling into an abyss of: what if..., how can I really get fit, what if I do, what if I don't, more public failure about weight etc..., is there a thinner healthier version of my self/life possible? That last question makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Literally. Like, who the fuck will I be as an adult woman not overweight, not dumpy, not consumed with self hate about my body, not food addicted. Can such an incarnation of moi exist? I can't imagine, but I deeply desire it. Yet I'm afraid. What if I stop having these issues to obsess about, to focus on, to use as my excuse to not totally show up for life?

Over the course of getting and staying sober, my movement toward my truth, my soul, my self, glacial though it may have been over the years, has really brought me to a place of liking myself okay. More than okay. I love life, in particular my own. And actually I don't mind myself at all usually. Dare I say I kind of love myself (yikes it's scary to write that, or at least weird). EXCEPT............the big except is of course food and eating. My original substance abuse that has been part of my schtick, my coping strategy, my operating system since I was a wee one. And right up through the present, despite my wonderful gift of solid recovery in AA from another substance, I've always felt the slimy little secret that even though I'm sober, I'm not free of addictive behavior patterns that keep me stuck and at odds with my true self. And numbed from reality.

Yesterday was a tough day for some reason. My food stayed okay according to my new plan, but I felt blurry and messy a major binge waiting to happen. I worked out right after work, then went to my meditation class, then to the grocery store for dinner fare, and by the time I got home I was hungry, angry, lonely, tired, irritable, scared, and seriously contemplating one more night of the wanton eating. I was quite a mess, and not nice to be around. I threw together a semblance of dinner...leftovers for men folk and expensive gourmet salmon for self (priorities and all), and once I sat down to eat with hub and son#2, and began slowly taking in one bite at a time of good food, I settled down and realized I wasn't going to die from not shoving food in my face. But the intensity of awfulness I felt prior to finally eating was pretty shocking. Very ugly, this food addiction and obsession thing. I did, by the way, eat a big bunch of fresh cherries (15 or so) while getting dinner ready. I guess that would be considered binge behavior, but it was sane food, healthy, okay for the plan, and I needed it. My goal here is to make peace with food and eating, not go into some rigid impossible to sustain pattern as I've don'e so many times before. Food addiction literature says that my cherry eating is a big no no. But my gut says it's okay. Having tortilla chips - no. Fruit in a moderate portion - yes. Okay, enough for now. I go for my first healthplex workout today and meeting with a lifestyle consultant. Looking forward to it.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Sloggin' on down the road

I was fully expecting to write here everyday, esp. after how low and down and uber-motivated I felt Friday when I renewed my blog committment to self only. The weekend was a complete mixed bag, but ultimately wonderful. Relevant to the food/eating/lesliehatesherfoodaddiction stuff, I did something a bit different end of last week...I joined the Healthy Inspirations program at the Health Plex. A number of different events and pieces of information were sent on to my radar screen over the last month about the program, and finally this past week, 3 things happened that told me it was time to do something concrete about a committment to health and wellness. The first was sitting at my meditation class last week and talking about how I love water but haven't had a bathing suit on in at least 5 years because of how I feel about my body. I don't recall how the conversation unfolded, but I heard myself say how much I enjoy being submerged in the water, and yet how it never happens. This is total unmanageability and powerlessness. I know that I've thought over ther last years that I likely would never enter a pool or beach setting again. Ever. Because. Fat. Body. When I heard those words utter from my mouth, I felt a deep pang of sadness, and also self pity. And finally, anger. At? Moi. Vous. Everyone who doesn't feel this way, even if they look like I do. Just utter frustration and emptiness about how my eating is calling the shots in my life at an increasing number of levels.

So...that very night, I think, I had a dream just before waking. In the dream I was standing on the beach, facing out into the Gulf of Mexico (where I grew up). I was wearing a tank top and shorts, and suddenly I just dove into the water, which in the dream scape then became more like a pool - clear water and able to be seen through...and I just began swirling, turning, slithering through the water, feeling it's coolness and refreshment over every possible body surface. It was glorious, and I felt free. I woke up from that and knew at a deep level that my soul had spoken to me somehow about my life, my choices, my powerlessness, and my ultimate ability to write a new script for myself.

Finally, the boys went to Bonnorroo to work for 5 days. Anticipating their absence and the hassle of getting them to the airport and on their way, for some reason I decided to medicate my angst and stress with wanton eating that ultimately lasted 3 full days. The worst binging I've had in a long time. I was on steroids for asthma, so maybe that played a role, but the self contempt and the trauma to my body, mind and spirit from the total loss of control over food was complete. I felt terrified that I would never again be able to be restored to sanity.

That's it for this post, I'll continue tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

I sure as hell hope (fill in the blank)...

There are a lot of things with which I can fill in the many that pluralizing "blank" would be appropriate. So blanks. And for this newest blog 'o'mine, I will list hoped for states of being, seismic shifts in consciousness, and all that comes to mind that would rock out loud if it/they materialized.

First to note is this journal is about my ongoing struggle with food addiction and crazy eating. Other stuff too, but this issue in my life continues to reach up from the depths and pull me lower and lower, again and again. It is a dark festering gelatinous murk of shame, self disgust, fear, dimpled bulging flesh, the slapping of hanging fat filled skin against more of the same. And it is the emotional equivalent of an acute anal fissure (which was the worst pain I've encountered to date...much worse than childbirth/labor/dental procedures et al. And sure, the emotional pain comes and did the fissure pain. When I had percocet, it went, at least abating to a dull ominous pressure that constantly threatened it's inevitable return to full throttle agony from the lessened version of itself. So it is with "good food days/I've got this licked/I feel nothing because I'm food numb".

So it goes with being in the throes of this addiction/affliction. A journey marked by periods of control alternating with ever increasing episodes of less control, and finally into prolonged states of total powerlessness over food and eating behavior. No amount of weight loss has cured me. No prolonged period of clean abstinent eating has lasted. No demoralizing horrific relapse has rendered me "scared straight". When I'm trying hard to not crazy eat, I'm thoroughly exhausted by the effort. When I cave in to the compulsion and "decide" to just go ahead and have one more day of wanton food intake, the relief I feel is immense. It is the ultimate broken record of true addiction. I can't get on. I can't get off. I can't start being better and I sure can't stop the freight train bearing down on me.

I have over 17 years of solid recovery from alcoholism. I know about addiction, treatment, 12 step programs, working steps, denial, self reliance, letting go without truly surrendering. On and on I can wax prolific about substance use, quoting relevant "program" literature and nuggets of wisdom. And now I find myself engulfed in the despair, shame and lonliness of my earliest addiction. My primary drug of choice. Again. Still. And though it would sound much cooler for that substance to be a little edgier, like crack, oxys, percs, I'm ETERNALLY grateful that it's just food. Because I am bad hooked, and getting worse. Crazier. More bizarre episodes of consumption. I can't go on this way any more and I'm terrified I can't change.

Except I know I can, because I have, tremendously, in my journey with alcohol recovery. I have to believe it is possible, because it's happened regarding my other big addiction. If yes with that, why not yes with this? It has to be possible, but it's going to take more than I've ever tried before. Real honesty, truth, courage, revelation, humility, being hungry, living through hours, days of obsessive mind games, gutting it out.

I've said more than once that if my alcoholism was as deep seeded - primal - as my eating disordered behavior, I'm not sure if I could have gotten sober. I've seen plenty of people struggle with alcohol at a much more disturbing level than I did, though it was certainly no picnic to get sober and I was truly hooked on hooch. But this food thing is so much deeper. And I'm ready to do whatever it takes, go to any lengths (in AA parlance) to find recovery and begin to climb up from from the abyss of self loathing and shame. I commit to honesty and truth in chronicling my thoughts, feelings, impressions, and spilling whatever comes to mind or heart. There is much to tell of this entity that has been with me since I was old enough to receive a quarter from an adult, go to the store and buy 5 candy bars and eat them between store and back home. It's all going to find a way onto this page. I don't know how or what or who or where or why, but I do not that I can't go on as I've been anymore. Gotta do a wrap up here because I'm at work. The process of recovery is underway. I am utterly powerless over food and eating behavior and am ready to do whatever it takes to find a way out.