Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Weight for just a minute!!!

I haven't talked about food, eating, dieting and weight much recently, but you can bet your sweet tooth I've been thinking about it all. I read a wonderful post yesterday from Lyn at Escape From Obesity, talking about how her mind can be so "mushy" about committment to stay the course of weight loss and healthy choices versus out of the blue thoughts of "I should/could/want/need to eat cookies/candy/pie/pounds of cheese..." etc. I could totally relate to her thoughts. In fact, on my last blog (that I deleted but printed out the posts in case Knopf or another publisher comes a'knockin) I wrote about that very topic, but in a different way. It was about being a morning person...how in the mornings, I typically feel strong and committed to my plan of healthy binge free eating, but as the day wears on, my resolve diminishes subtly but steadily to where I decide my real task should be to accept myself as I am and just go ahead and have the donuts I want right now, knowing full well they will merely serve as an appetizer to the menu of full blown bingeing that inevitably follows. I think I'm going to put that post in here if I can find it.

As I've been on this recent (and last) incarnation of weight loss and exercise with the help of a supportive program, I see that I'm still falling prey to the kind of disordered eating that has led me off course in the past. While many of my habits have improved greatly, I have been doing this thing where when I hit a new low (like my 199.8 last week), I continue the exercising and healthy eating until the evenings, when I begin to do a bit of bingeing. OH BULL SHIT Leslie, just be straight. I do a lot of bingeing in the classic sense of starting sweet, then going salty, then buttery, then whatever isn't nailed down. I've done this about 3 times in the last 4 weeks, just for a day or 2 each time, but the result is that I gain a few pounds and then tow the line back down to a new low, and do it again. One pound down, 3 pounds up, 4 pounds down, etc...

This makes me wonder about several things: fear of success, low self esteem, am I eating too little on my daily plan so that I'm feeling deprived and finally explode into overindulgence for a couple of evenings (not even during the days). I guess it doesn't matter why, but that I'm doing it that counts, and I know I want to stop it. And I'm aware, which means there is possibility for change. How can I change something if I don't cop to it? Reflection is fine, but action is what counts. And I know from when I stopped drinking that the behavior has to go first...then the insight comes. I used to think that if I got my life straightened out I could stop drinking. I had it backwards. Now it's clear that nothing can get really fixed until the destructive behavior stops. This is tough, because once you stop an addictive behavior, there is this thing called withdrawal.

Withdrawal isn't just physical...though the physical part is extremely real and presents before other withdrawal symptoms do. Get past the physical, and suddenly there is grief, depression, fear, constant cravings, feelings upon feelings upon feelings...that is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to giving up a destructive substance/behavior. It's why so many addicts of all kinds, gamblers, drinkers, eaters, smokers, sex addicts...fall back to their fixes. The physical withdrawal is tough, but learning to live "clean" of the behavior takes a long time, and much patience, tenacity, support, sometimes outside help, and definitely at certain points along the way, just gutting it out. So for me to do well and not overeat for a lot of days is great, but that lays me open to the feelings and thoughts that my food and eating kept at bay. And then "I want..." again.

That's part of why I think I'm feeling my empty nest so acutely right now. I have been doing pretty well with my eating, especially in the last week. And for the last couple of days I find myself ready to cry on a dime, feeling depressed and overwhelmed, and wouldn't you know...I want a certain plate sized gooey decadent cinnamon roll from Wawa constantly. Lots of other foods too. It feels endless, this wanting. But it gives me a view into my soul and my heart that I can't have when I'm numbing myself by gorging on junk.

I'm lucky to have the experience of having gotten sober in AA 18 years ago, because I understand a lot of this. But understanding is a thinking function. Change is an action word. In aa they say "you can't think your way into right action; you can only act your way into right thinking". So giving up doing the next wrong thing (tranlate: NOT eating the next coffee roll) has to come before insight into "why am I doing this?" It doesn't matter why I'm doing it...it has to stop in order for me to get better. And when I'm better it doesn't matter why I did it because I don't do it anymore. The rewards are remarkable.

And I am getting better, though at a glacial pace. It's a slow process, but I have my experience getting sober to inform me and remind me that I am capable of change and have already navigated many of my inner roadblocks. So as I'm missing my children, worrying abut things over which I haved no control, and feeling some stuff I'd rather not feel, I know that staying numb keeps me from feeling the good stuff fully as well. So I'll take where I am today, stay the course, follow my food plan and know that whatever it is I'm feeling in a moment will pass. The good, the bad, the sad, the glad. And the yearning for donuts.


  1. Thanks for the shout out. I'm glad you liked that post on my blog. Blogging REALLY helps work through the Binge Eating Disorder issues, IMO. You're doing great.

    Not sure if you saw my post about fear of success but THAT is a real thing too. I was so scared there would be a world famine right after I lost 100 pounds and then I would die of starvation. Insane, in a way, huh? But I cant keep hanging onto 100 extra pounds as "food storage" on my body. Not working so well.

    Hang in there :)

  2. Thank you so much for commenting! I did read your post about fear of success...in fact I've read your entire blog and am so grateful for your relentless honesty and insight. You set a great example for your readers. And yes, the blogging is such a wonderful tool. I love to write...it's the truest way I express myself.

  3. Hi Leslie. Rereading this post now I feel it's really speaking to me tonight. I didn't know anything about the aa's philosophy, but it might be a good plan. It makes sense because I know I am just using food to dull the pain. If I could tolerate alcohol then I would have been an alcoholic. Not eating when I want to (ie to make myself feel better) means that I end up crying and feeling really miserable. But I have to remember that this is how I am feeling in reality without the food to self medicate with. I need to deal with the pain and stop using food to try and avoid it.

    Many thanks for this insight.
    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx