Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chores and Checklists

Well! This is the longest I've gone without posting in awhile. Getting ready for this trip on Monday is taking up a lot of time and space, both in my life and in my head. There are endless lists and chores swarming in and out of my consciousness. Unfortunately, something important will pop up, and before I can write it down so as to actually remember it, it'll settle back into the abyss of gray matter and neurons that is my brain. I just can't catch the brilliant thought in time. Kind of like cranial "Whack-a-mole". Actually, between yesterday afternoon and today, a lot of the uncertain minutiae of what to take, will it fit in the suitcase and which purse to use have fallen into place. And since we're not going to the Arctic or darkest Africa, it won't be the end of the world if we forget something.

First, this morning my weight was 194. So far, the lowest number I've seen on the scale since June was 193.9 a couple of weeks back (and posted the picture of the LCD display, remember?), so I'm in essentially the same place. Decent news. No horrible cumulative gain from the sporadic mini-binges that are still plaguing me. As I wrote that sentence ending with "plaguing me", I laughed out loud at my ridiculousness. Like binges are hunting me down, laying me flat, prying open my innocent mouth and shoving candy and buttered bread down my throat. What a crock!! Let me rephrase...I've given into some minor bingeing a couple of times this week. I've also had many good days, and have been able to abort the binges before they became fast tracks to oblivion. I'm feeling pretty good about where I am at this juncture. From what my daughter says, food in the DR is fairly repetitious with lots of beans and rice, vegetables, and great fresh fruit. I intend to strive for reasonable eating, which sounds possible given her description of the cuisine. The 3 of us will be staying at a resort for 3 of the last 4 nights we're there, and that food may prove more of a challenge. I'm not going to be rigid about avoiding things (unless I'm offered fried goat or something), but I am hoping to not overdo any good thing either. Being constantly with Jean and Tom will help, I'm sure. I generally don't tie on the feedbag (excessively) when others are present.

On the left knee front, I had my MRI this morning and was told my doctor will have the report by Tuesday. Knowing me, I'll end up calling from the DR to find out what, if anything, it revealed. I'm hoping I can just let it go until I get back though, because regardless of what the test shows, I can't do anything about it until I return home. As has been the case since it started really bothering me about 3 weeks ago, it is now feeling better after my treadmill walking on Wednesday that aggravated it so acutely. Only this time, I know not to try and start exercising it again just because it's less bothersome.

The MRI was not bad. I'd had one on my head about 20 years ago (must have been just after they came out), and it was awful because I'm claustrophobic, and they didn't have open MRI scanners then. This was nothing, because I was only sent into the "tunnel" about to my chest. Interesting was that when the technician had me and my knee situated correctly and actually began moving me into the tunnel, my arms went flying out to "save" myself from being all the way "submerged". Raw instinct, fueled by momentary raw panic. Powerful. She gave me headphones through which I jived to soft rock of the 80s and 90s -Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steve Miller Band - it was actually pleasant. And over in less than 30 minutes. Details to follow.

As I lay in the scanner, the biggest impression I had was that on that flat platform, I was acutely aware that my ribs and the bottom of my rib cage felt very prominent. I could easily trace along the lower contour from one bottom rib, across the sternal process, and on to the other rib. It felt awesome to actually feel those bones so easily. That would not have been the case back in early June and 26 pounds heavier. Who'd'a'thunk an MRI would give me a NSV (non-scale victory)?

I don't have much more to say here, but I will try and post one more time before we leave. My plan (and hope) is that I'll be able to have internet access several times while we're away. My laptop will not be going because I was advised not to take anything that I'd be upset to lose or have stolen. That instills confidence, doesn't it? Anyway, if I don't have access to my blog buddies, I'll experience some serious withdrawal.

On to more checking of lists and doing of chores (laundry). Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The good, the bad, and the whiny

This will be a brief post today. Yesterday I went to the gym - and the visit brought good news and bad news:

Good: All my body composition numbers were improved. Not by huge margins, but improved nonetheless. Fat free mass up, fat % down, weight down (always different on their scale in the middle of the day from my home scale, of course), BMI 29.4 - which is the first time I have officially left the obese category and downsized into merely overweight. Also, my body measurements were all down slightly as well, with the biggest decrease being an inch off my hips and 1/2 inch off thigh. My true waist was the only thing that stayed the same...that's not what I think of as my waist, but rather about 2-3 inches above the belly button line. I'm not surprised it stayed the same given my new menopausally sculpted proportions that render me no longer a pear. I'm pleased about all this and relieved because of the decrease in my working out this month.

Bad: I did all of 13 minutes on the tradmill yesterday at 3.2 mph with an incline of 4, warming up for strength training after which I planned to do a full 30 minutes of cardio back on the TM. By the time I did 3 of my strength training exercises, my darn left knee was hurting. A lot. It continued to hurt all evening and is still achy and wrong today. Yesterday after I left the gym, I called the orthopedic doc I saw 6 weeks ago to have the knee checked (when it was x-rayed and the bones looked good, despite some arthritis). At that last knee visit, the doc suggested a few things, most of which I've incorporated, and the knee is clearly not responding. It starts to feel better and as soon as I do even a small amount of walking, it seizes up again. So time for an MRI. Fortunately, I was able to get it scheduled for this Saturday morning. We're leaving on our trip Monday at the crack of dawn, so I won't know results until I return (though I may try to call just to find out while away, if possible).

The recurrence of pain this time tells me I have to stop doing any exercise walking at all until I know what I'm dealing with. It seems I keep reaggravating it. Time to accept this injury and stop trying to push through it. It's driving me crazy, and as I sit here and type, I feel like crying because I'm so frustrated at how this is thwarting my exercise. I need exercise physically; but also mentally. I really love it, and this is depressing me. I know it's no big deal and in the general scheme of things a mere blip on the horizon. But my catastrophizer (that is, my mind) is fast forwarding to all kinds of unappealing outcomes.

This is the kind of frustration that makes me all the more vulnerable to overeating, bingeing, and hitting a mindset where I want to chuck it all and go back to my old ways. That's not going to happen. NOT. But I don't like sitting in uncertaintly and discomfort and not having a plan neatly laid out about how this will unfold. My mind obsesses, overthinks, and my thoughts get me depressed and anxious. I was thinking about emotional eating in these circumstances, and realized that for me, it's more emotionless eating. That is eating to stop feeling, to stop thinking, to stop striving to accept what is, to not ask God to give me patience and the acceptance required to live peacefully in each moment, regardless of circumstance. Bingeing just makes me numb. Mutes emotion. Puts me in a self constructed prison of oblivion. When I think a binge through (before the act itself), I know I don't want the emotional shutdown it brings.

I want to be able to hike mountains in the DR, walk beaches, and do whatever else comes along. I don't want my daughter and husband to think I'm a stick in the mud, not being at my usual activity level. I know they won't mind...they will want me to take care of myself and operate within reasonable parameters given my injury. I MIND. I hate it. Poor me.

After all that whining I just did, I want to mention that my mood is still pretty positive about things other than my knee. I'm getting more excited and anticipatory about the trip. Starting to pack, prepare, shop for a few things. And isn't it interesting to notice that I spent one paragraph on the "good", and 4 on the "bad". Time to reframe. Time to ask for help. Not time to plan a food storm. I've taken the steps to investigate what's up with the knee. In the meantime, I'm going to try and let the negative energy go. So much for me being brief.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

LG - 3 Variations on a theme

LIFE'S GOOD! I'm in an obnoxiously wonderful mood today for several reasons. I say obnoxiously because if I was in a crap mood and around someone as happy as I am today, I'd want to smack them. Please don't smack me, even virtually, because I'm very delicate. I'm also feeling silly and could break into song at any moment. Where I work, this is entirely possible because the different classrooms are usually playing some kind of good music.

Why my joie de vivre aujourd'hui? ("hearty enjoyment of life today", for you non-francais speaking bloggers, which actually I am one of as well since 4 years of high school French have gotten lost in my brain's RAM...see, I am almost giddy here!)

1. Tammy, from the great blog From Fat To Fab, gave me this: Thank you Tammy, for this award. I'm delighted and honored. What I'm supposed to do is give it to 7 other bloggers, and then write 6 things about myself you don't already know. So first, I present the award to the following excellent blogs:

*Chris at chrislivessimple.blogspot.com - A Deliberate Life
*Tina at fatgirldivesin.blogspot.com - Fat Girl Dives In
*Jodie at the overweightlife.blogspot.com - The Overweight Life
*Bethany at bethanymcdonald.blogspot.com - The Great Reduction
*Lisa at lgurney.blogspot.com - My Life As A Daughter
*Patsy at weight-off-musings.blogspot.com - Musings On A 100 lbs+ Weight Loss Journey
*Auburn at quest4amile.blogspot.com - Jogging Auburn

These are but a few of the blogs I love, follow and read daily. There are many others, but I tried to not regive this award to anyone who already has it or who already has a zillion followers and other awards. Everyone on my blog roll deserves this and more.

Now the 6 unknown things about me:
1. I'm left handed
2. My first job-age 16 as a nurse's aide at a Nursing Home.
3. I was born in Flushing, New York.
4. My maiden name is Blake. Growing up kids called me Snowflake Blake.
5. I'm planning to do a mini triathalon August 2010 with 2 friends from work.
Better get crackin'.
6. After my oldest child was born,I was on a mission to have another so as not have an only child. I was NOT happy being an only.

Okay - take a yawn break.

Now - onto the 2nd reason for my glee du jour:
2. Remember the Lands' End swimsuit I mentioned yesterday? It came, and upon first glance, I thought. "No way. Cute, but no way". I wasn't even going to try it on because it looked like a...well, a bathing suit. But I slept on it (the notion, not the bathing suit) and tried it on this morning. First the top - not too bad. Hubby said, "Leslie, it looks fine. You look normal." He's quite the sweet talker. I sent him on his way and put on the bottom - also not awful. Acceptable! Not bad at all. I was shocked, thrilled and delighted. The light was low in the bedroom, so I'm sure the pale dimpled flesh was muted, but I think it will be fine, and I see the possibility of a swim in my very near future. WILL SWIM AGAIN! Maybe even at my gym after I get back from the DR. Here's the suit - it's kind of a fat lady tankini with a skirt bottom:
The color is off in this picture - the bottom is black and just a straightish skirt, the top is the same color blue as the blue bar across the bottom of the screen here. All in all, not bad. I may get the nerve to have hubby take a pic of the body in it to post, but don't hold your breath. Like you would.

3. Last reason I'm going to list for now about my excellent mood - the lovely comments I received yesterday after talking about my daughter. Blog friends are so gracious and kind! I think you'd have been positive and complementary if I noted that she was a crystal meth. lab owner. I'm going to post 2 final pictures today, one taken by a friend of Jean's in the Peace Corps, when a bunch of them were at a beautiful beach during the beginning of their training and the second taken by Jean herself.
Jean's caption to this was: "Beautiful Dominican beach instills serious joy". You can see she didn't inherit her mother's body. Yet. And the last picture is of the virgin beach where the first was taken, I think: After posting yesterday about being nervous regarding certain aspects of the trip, I felt better. I told my husband I was a little nervous, and he said he was too! Go figure - and that also made me feel better.

Finally, I'm getting my monthly body composition and measurements done at the gym after work today. Not thinking things will have changed much since 5 weeks ago since my exercise has been mildly curtailed by various aches and strains. I hope everyone has a great day.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Uncomfort Zone

Somehow yesterday got by me and I didn't post. Not usual, and frustrating for me. Work has been very busy lately, with a couple of 911 calls to send clients out, as well as me doing physical assessments on all the senior citizens in our program. There used to be 6 when I started here 5 1/2 years ago; now there are 13! So the quarterly assessments by an RN (mandated by their funding sources) that used to take maybe 2 hours total is now a much longer endeavor and requires several days to complete because I have to do other stuff too. Also, some of our clients are getting increasingly crotchety and uncooperative in their older age, and that makes everything take longer. Wah wah wah, poor me - I have to work hard at my job where I'm being paid to work hard. Don't they know I get some serious blogging done here in my down time, of which there is less and less these days?!

I'm in a weird place today, likely due to the fact that hubby and I are leaving this coming Monday for the Dominican Republic to stay for 8 days with our daughter who's in the Peace Corps. November 2 we depart, and that day has been the focus of my goal to get to 190 pounds. I set that goal on September 18th when I weighed 198 pounds. It should have been quite easy and doable to attain that goal as it was realistic. But I won't reach it (unless I lop off a limb in the next 6 days) because my weightloss efforts have been fairly shoddy and less than consistent. I'm not going to beat myself up...I'm still down from September 18th, but only by 3 pounds. My daughter could care less that my weight isn't what I want it to be...she's just thrilled we're coming. This trip has nothing to do with my weight, though the time in the DR will surely have an impact on it and my eating. So will the 6 days between now and then. I'm feeling nervous and uncertain about the whole trip, simultaneous to being excited and thrilled to see Jean and spend all this time with her. I'll be talking about different aspects of our trip and my feelings between now and departure day.

Why am I nervous? We are, afterall, going to a tropical island where the temperature ranges from high 70s to (hopefully) low 90s that has terrain ranging from world class resort beaches to mountains, forests and beautiful rivers. We'll be staying with Jean in her own modest casa she just moved into. We will get to observe her in action in her various roles as a Peace Corps volunteer and hear her converse fluently with the locals in their native tongue. I've seen Jean in various work settings since she got out of college, and it is a joy to see your own flesh and blood functioning as a passionate, competent, knowlegable and delightful adult in the real world. This is all good stuff that I'm eager for and can't wait to experience.

My nervousness stems from taking a giant leap out of MY comfort zone where the water that comes from the faucet is safe(allegedly!). Showers in homes are abundant. (When Jean was first in a DR town, she had to take "bucket baths" with cold water because the water supply was inconsistent. I don't think it's like that where she is now, but mama likes a hot shower!) The ability to do laundry requires nothing more than walking down steps to the basement. Electricity is a light switch away. (Again, service was spotty and inconsistent in the first town where Jean spent time). The poverty that exists in my comfort zone is on down the road a piece. Education is excellent and people love their pets and care for them like beloved family members. The language spoken by the locals is my own so my independence and ability to breeze through my days is a given. If I or one of my loved ones gets sick, I can advocate and run interference with the health care system. All my friends and creature comforts are easily accessed when desired.

None of the above list is a guarantee for us in the DR. Tom and I will have each other and the world class interpretor and hostess who is our wonderful daughter. We'll mostly be with her, but when we're not we'll have to fend for ourselves. I'm an adventurer from way back, seeking new experiences and at times risky endendeavors, but I see I've gotten soft over the years. More cautious. More tentative. More catastrophic in my thinking at times. I don't like these qualities in myself. Life experience has afforded me abundant wisdom, knowledge, and well...experience. With these come awareness that all isn't sweetness and light and comfort in the world. This is part of what makes me so admiring and proud of my daughter for signing on to be deposited wherever the Peace Corps saw fit. She's in a relatively close and safe place, but she was on board for whatever was asked.

During her first weeks in the town she will be in for the rest of her assigned time, she told me of experiencing lonliness and homesickness amidst the flurry of excitement over new experiences and surroundings where she was THRILLED to be. This from a kid who went to Australia between 9th and 10th grade. Who's a veteran traveler and true independent spirit. Who felt aloneness that came from the knowledge that even though she spoke the language well and could converse fluently with the locals, she was still a stranger in a strange land. She noted, "I keep bumping into myself". She was not in a comfort zone, and by choice. Talk about a chance to get to know oneself better.

She's well assimilated now, and loves most aspects of the Domincan culture. She isn't soft like her mom has become. Her youth helps. Her spirit and faith help. As for her mother, who is wondering something as petty as if I'll be able to drink my usual amount of water each day and get a comfy shower, I hope some of the adventuresome nature and fearlessness of my youth are rekindled. I hope my basic faith in humanity and divinity step up to my emotional home plate and enable me to go fearlessly into this amazing opportunity.

I'm expecting a package in the mail any day from Lands' End. I ordered a bathing suit for this trip that will be the first I've owned in 10 years. I know I ordered one in too large a size, an 18, but I didn't want to take any chances. I'm anticipating the ultimate uncomfort zone being seeing my pale dimpled flesh swimsuit clad for the first time in a very long time. This feels like more anticipated adventure than I can handle! Hopefully the upcoming swim tog experience will help me stay the course in the weight loss realm. One thing for sure, you'll hear about it when it arrives.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend meanderings

It's been a glorious autumn Sunday after the gloomiest, rainiest Saturday of the century. Yesterday I didn't want to go anywhere because of the hassle of dealing with rain gear, umbrellas, and not wanting to slip in a puddle and risk further wrenching of my delicate left knee that is showing signs of improvement. Today on the other hand, I haven't wanted to be inside at all. The fall colors are at their peak here, if not a day or 2 past prime; driving along my usual routes feels surreal with trees so intensely hued that the leaves appear liquid in the sunlight.

I took a walk at Ridley Creek State Park, the same place I took pictures in late September and posted. The colors and light have changed in 30 days, and so I decided to take a new round of photos to show off this beautiful resource just up the road a piece. My pictures don't reveal some of the vivid reds and oranges that I saw with my eyes...my simple camera has limits that I guess can't quite filter light to capture the brilliance of each and every jewel tone.












I'm a lucky duck to live in a region that affords 4 distinct seasons each year. I grew up in Florida where the only season was hot. Sometimes hot and humid. For a day or 2 each winter it might drop to mild, but palm trees and cacti don't change colors in the fall! I'd see pictures of Autumn in magazines and yearn to be near such explosion of color. Now I'm in its midst and loving it.

On the food and exercise front, my eating has been good this weekend. Last night (of the rainy day) the binge monster was poking around my psyche, but there was absolutely not one thing upon which to binge my brains out. Nuttin' honey (including no Nuts'N'Honey)! And I wasn't going to brave the dark monsoon raging outside to bring in "supplies". That felt like an answer to prayer, by the way. So I fell asleep and woke up with another clean day. Gosh, that feels good. It's a lot easier to clear the house of all contraband when one is home alone. But it also gets real old after several days. Hubby returns late Monday night from his Chicago junket and I'll be tickled pink to have him back.

I walked about 3 miles both weekend days and am glad to report my knee is improving. Not perfect, but much better. One thing - when you injure a body part in your 50s, you heal a LOT slower than when you were a sweet young thing in your 40s and less. Take heed young bloggers - stay on this journey to fitness, wellness and strength now while your estrogen is still percolating! That strength will serve you well when your ovaries are gasping their last breath. Strong muscles help support osteopenic bones. I'm fortunate that my bone density scan reveals that so far I have almost no bone thinning or loss. I've added a lot of muscle mass and strength just since June, which is wonderful. But it would have been good to emerge from menopause already strengthened. No regrets - I'm doing it now. But if my experience in this can't be a cautionary tale, what good is being 56?!? If I only knew then what I know now=D!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Insert Frowny Face

Do you ever hate when someone is right? I find myself in that place today; and before I go on it's important that I differentiate between hating someone being right and hating the SOMEONE who's right. The "right" person of which I speak is another blogger whose posts and comments I really enjoy and have found to be very insightful, inspirational and accurate. She's Vickie, from baby-steps-v.blogspot.com, and I very much like and appreciate her. Her comments reflect her experience with weightloss, and she says what she honestly thinks, even if it may not reflect what others have commented. Okay - groundwork laid for this piece.

In yesterday's post, I talked about making good choices while at a restaurant the prior evening, and then not getting triggered to binge afterwards. I was all happy happy joy joy about it; claimed it as a real success (which it truly was); and felt a new strength within about this journey to health and fitness. I got affirming comments and "atta girls", which felt great. In the post I noted I was also going out to dinner last night to a Thai place and knew I'd be having a vegetable and tofu stir fry with brown rice, to further demonstrate and assure readers of my soundness of mind and committment to staying "clean" with the food. Finally I mentioned I'd be weighing myself Friday morning for the first time in 2 weeks.

Well, this morning I was up at my usual crack of dawn, and prior to weighing and showering, I checked the blog for any further comments, and found this from Vickie:


"My 2 cents - there is a LOT of salt in what you describe that you ate and are planning to eat. So be mentally prepared to SEE that on the scale. It will not be a real number. And actually I would not get on the scale (since you have a feed back problem with what the numbers tell you). I think it takes 4-5 days of a LOT of water and REALLY clean food and exercise to flush and get past an asSALTed attack."


First of all, Vickie definitely reads what we write, and remembers it :)! She knows I'm a self avowed wacko when it comes to the scale, allowing it to dictate my self worth and mood status as well as my eating behavior for the day ahead. That said, I read this and thought, "HMMPH! What a negative Nancy". Yet I also felt the vapors of concern creep in, and not just because of the salt content of my 2 well chosen restaurant meals. Last night I changed my order from tofu and vegetables to a stir fry with chicken, beef, shrimp and pork with the veggies. Brown rice stayed the same, and hot tea was the beverage. But when I got home, I definitely wasn't satisfied. I was comfortably filled up, but I wanted more. And not of vegetables or lite yogurt. There wasn't/isn't much sugary carby food in the kitchen, but what there was I got into. I really don't want to list it. Suffice it to say it was too much of the wrong stuff. It was a rewind of other bingey episodes in the last couple months. So I was already dreading the scale, but decided to follow through on weighing. It wasn't good. 196.9. On October 9, the last official weigh day, I was 193.9. Up 3lbs...not the direction for which I'm shooting.

I wish I could hang onto Vickie saying that the scale wouldn't give "the real number" today because of the salt content of the food. But clearly it was more than salt. It was also the binge and the decreased exercise, along with the overall sloppiness of my efforts of late. My clothes ARE looser, and I'm getting more comments about "looking good" and "you've lost more weight"; so I don't think I've done permanent damage. But I really need to get with it and decide what I want to do here. I'm not beating myself up - honest. I'm not happy about this today, but I'm still 25 pounds down from when I started this work in June and that's great. At least this time I didn't entertain thoughts of not being honest about it here. That, at least, is progress.

Thanks Vickie, for your honest commenting. And thank all of you blog friends for hanging in with me, and with each other. If I didn't have this community, I'd be a lot worse today, because I'd feel alone and more disgusted with my craziness.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Successful beginning

Regarding the goals I set yesterday, I had a pretty good day 1, as well as a wonderful success involving eating dinner out with a friend. Most of you know I've struggled with bingeing 2-3 times a week during September and early October. I've certainly been "good" much more than "bad", and my weightloss and exercise have stayed consistent, if slower than before during this time (due also to aching body parts limiting exercise). Among common binge triggers for me are weighing everyday, which I've totally stopped for the last 2 weeks. Also, having meals I don't prepare, i.e. going out to eat, has flipped the binge switch into the "on" position several times; to the degree that I stop on the way home from the restaurant to get more crap food to continue my food storm. Of course, the most common trigger for me is thinking I can have "a handful" or "a bite" of certain non-program foods that invariably set the binge mode into high gear. Totally laughable when I do that, because I know full well I'm just opening the flood gates...the decision is already made.

Last night, since hubby is away until Sunday or Monday, I went out for dinner with a friend to a nice place that has an excellent variety of items from which to choose. The last time I went there with this friend 3 months ago, I got a crab cake sandwich with a huge pile of fries (a top 10 favorite of mine!), and we split a dessert. Given my goals, my determination to stay on course and my fear of self-sabotage , I literally prayed on and off all day long to make a healthy selection, and for whatever I would eat at the restaurant to be enough. I ended up with a cup of Cream of Carrot soup that had no cream but was pureed vegetables with a small squiggle of creme fraiche on top, plus a Black Forest salad that was a mix of greens with black forest ham, gruyere and portabello mushroom with a garlic something or other dressing on the side. The amount of gruyere and ham was very moderate, and the whole thing was awesome! It came with a big beautiful roll that was white flour based, so I didn't touch it. One bite with a thick slab of cold butter would have had me off to the races. I ate every drop of delicious soup, every morsel of salad, and nothing else. Once home I had a container of 80 calorie Breyer's lite yogurt, and that was it for the night. Logged all food (per Goal # 2), brushed the teeth, and got horizontal for the night. Huge success for me, and I feel great about it. I really felt great when I got up this morning with NO REGRET. I said of prayer of thanks and asked for another sane day.

Also, I did go to the gym and did 36 minutes on the treadmill at an elevation of 4. My knee felt almost normal, but I didn't do weights due to time crunch. Probably today; if not, definitely tomorrow. I haven't weighed, though tomorrow will be my first day on the scale in probably 2 full weeks. I'm already nervous and feeling the need to emotionally prepare for what it reveals because good or bad news could send me on some kind of tailspin. I had tons of water, not great sleep, but as earlier noted I woke feeling refreshed and clean on the inside! I love that feeling.

Believe it or not, I'm going out for dinner again tonight with another friend who is also striving for sane food intake, We're going to a Thai place where I know I can get a tofu and vegetable stir fry with brown rice. Once again, I pray that it will be enough. Right now I feel strong about it, but I'm onto my own tricks about "I have this all together now". So send some positive vibes my way around 6:30 tonight. I'll be posting the big weigh-in tomorrow so stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Three A's of Change

After my post yesterday afternoon about being on a slippery slope food wise and feeling myself caving in, I ended up having a sane and reasonable dinner despite having had walnuts and dried cranberries as part of an afternoon snack. Vickie, from Baby Steps V commented that she was surprised I could handle eating dried cranberries as they always have a lot of added sugar to make them palatable. Well, she was right. I did end up overeating last night, but not in binge fashion. I went to a meeting after dinner that turned out to be another anniversary celebration I wasn't aware of. They had cake. 'Nuff said. I ended up having 2 small pieces of the cake and then got out of dodge in a hurry so that more cake didn't enter the portal. When I got home, I had 2 more handfuls of the cranberries before I stopped in my tracks. No, Leslie, they aren't a healthy snack if they woo me into eating the whole Trader Joe's bag of them. So down the disposal they went, followed by lots of water and power grinding by the Insinkerator. That was the end of the eating, but obviously I didn't get through the evening unscathed as I'd hoped would happen after I took time out to write about it and tell on myself for the food thoughts (hopefully) before any crazy eating happened. Once again, progress, not perfection.

Exercise wise, I walked about 2 miles yesterday - the longest I've gone since the knee has been hurting. I certainly felt it, but it seems to be improving. I'm hoping to return to the gym this afternoon for a modified treadmill and elliptical workout, since I haven't been there in 10 days due to the knee. I feel the emotional effects of less exercise, and they're not good. I'm a little more sluggish; also antsy and irritable. Exercise is an excellent reliever and outlet of pent up body and mind energy; I see why it's so useful in helping manage depression.

Yesterday I noticed how several people make a list of goals for the week ahead; then report on the progress of achieving each goal over the course of the week. I haven't done that, but noticing it gave me a kick in the a$$ about tightening up my own program. I haven't binged for a week now despite having 2 days where I did eat more than I'd intended. But with my exercise limits of the last 10 days, not weighing myself in almost 2 weeks (maybe longer), and not writing down my food, I realize that I've gotten pretty loosey goosey about my "program". I think I'm doing pretty well because my clothes continue to loosen; some new jeans I bought less than a month ago are now baggy even fresh out of the dryer. That's a good indicator, but I think the sketchiness of my tracking isn't good.

For the next 10 days, until I leave for the Dominican Republic on November 2nd, I'm going to establish some goals as a means of helping me gauge the status of my body, mind and spirit each day. The thyroid issue had me mentally and emotionally distracted for the week or 2 leading up to the biopsy and I decided I could only "do so much" while silently obsessing over that. I don't say that to excuse slacking up on my program; rather to acknowledge it, accept it and move on. Awareness, acceptance, action - the three A's of change. Following is a list of goals my myself for the next 10 days - to be tracked daily. I may not post about each one every day, other than a check mark (which I don't know how to do on a computer); but I commit to daily self-monitoring and occasional reporting on the blog. Knowing how verbose I am, you'll probably hear about some aspect each day!

Goals:
1. Follow food plan of my Healthy Inspirations program
2. Write down everything I eat, inc. amount, time, and mood if relevant
3. At least 30 minutes of cardio 6 days/week/ simple walking if knee pain persists
4. Strength training according to program given me by the trainer 2-3x/week
5. Post daily, even if only a couple of sentences, to stay accountable
6. Daily ball crunches - at least 2 reps of 15
7. Weigh myself Friday October 23, and the morning of November 2. Only those days.

I think that's enough for now. Just the writing down of food will take some discipline as that's one thing I'm resistant to because of the experience I had in OA once where a sponsor yelled at me for not doing it. YELLED. That kind of thing contributed to OA not being a good fit for me. I wonder, do you write down everything you eat? I've long read that this is a useful tool for weight loss, and have found it to be so. But it takes planning to have "the notebook" and pen at the ready, and so I tend to slack up. I'm really interested to hear other bloggers' experiences with this.

Off to write down my breakfast. I hope everyone has a healthy, sane and great day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home alone

My husband left this morning on a business trip (allegedly) that will take him to Chicago, where our 22 year old son has been living since August (the REAL point of the trip!). Stephen is our oldest son, and just a wonderful human as well as a great kid; and no, I'm not prejudiced! I miss him a ton but am happy that he's finding his way nicely so far. He's also pretty funny kid. A while back, he somehow managed to do the following to my facebook profile picture: I've tried to reciprocate in kind to Stephen's picture, but alas my technical prowess is not up to the challenge of such bufoonery. How do these 20-somethings know so much about computer shenanigans?! By the way, that's hubby in the background.

Anyway, Tom's trip leaves me home with woman's best friend, Louis . Lou is mama's baby, but after 6 days with just the two of us (translate: I do all the dog walking and maintenance, which gets old fast when said canine decides to bark at me in the middle of the night once he realizes I'm the only show in town)I'll be eager for Lou's daddy to return from the midwest. BTW, Lou has a blue eye (left) and a brown eye, which is why his eyes look weird. Actually they are weird, but that's why.

So I realized I haven't felt like blogging today, which is very unusual as I am generally tethered to my computer these days; and seem to go through the motions of my days planning posts and writing in my head. I've always done that to some degree, including coming up with titles for my mindwriting. But the blogging has really added an amazingly rich dimension to my life that energizes me and lights me up on the inside. I've always loved to write, as I've talked about before, and blogging has become the best creative outlet for me I've had since I was in school. Writing my next post or thinking about all of you and wondering how things are going in your worlds are never far from the forefront of my mind. So it's strange that I'm "not in the mood" today, the first day of being home alone. Given my history of withdrawing in advance to behaving badly (bingeing?), I thought I'd just go ahead and write about how I don't want to write.

I am feeling the hunger that isn't entirely representative of an empty stomach, though I am a little hungry. I've had some dried cranberries and walnuts, plus a pear for a snack; as dinnertime is upon me the options are swarming. Leftover healthy stuff (pork tenderloin, sweet potato, roasted root veggies)?, a bowl of oatmeal and eggwhite omelet?, peanut butter on hearty whole grain bread? I feel the ice under me thinning, and perhaps that's why I didn't want to write. In AA, I tell newcomers to pick up the phone and call someone BEFORE they drink, even if they know for a fact they will drink after the call. That way, they put a little more time between the compulsion and the kneejerk response of drinking when the urge hits. Maybe that's what I'm doing here...telling on myself before the fall rather than having a slobbering confession after the fact. By the way, very few alcoholics in the earliest days of exploring AA will actually pick up that phone and make a call before drinking, probably because they're afraid it will work! This is different, because there is no voice on the other end to remind me of what it is I really want from life, beginning with the rest of this day. No one to tell me to think it through before I "pick up". But I know there is a wide community of support and friendship out there, even if I can't have the instant response of a phone call.

You all have supported me and each other so beautifully. I've come to cherish and depend on your very existence as one of my anchors - pretty remarkable to realize about a group of people I haven't met. But though we haven't met, we do know each other, care about and support each other, and wish for the best for each other. If that's not true community, I don't know what is. Just thinking about my blog life is making me feel better and lighter. And even filled up. I still need to have dinner in a bit, but I think I'm going to be okay tonight. I'll go to an AA meeting to see some buddies, get out of my head, and hopefully log another sane day. But I'm still not that much in the mood to write.

Monday, October 19, 2009

HAPPY THYROID DAY!!!!

Yesterday (Sunday late afternoon) while I was at the AA anniversary party, my awesome endocrinologist called and left me a message telling me my biopsy is entirely benign!! I just need to see her once a year to stay tuned to my thyroid's apparent propensity for sprouting nodules. This thyroid drama has been going on since March, and while not the biggest deal in the world, it's been an offstage worry in my mind since. I'm thrilled, relieved and so grateful that she called on Sunday afternoon (docs can get results and stuff on their home computers now) so I don't have to be on pins and needles every time my cell phone rings today. I'm going to write her a note and tell her how great I think that was. So for now, my thyroid gland will continue to reside in my neck, rather than in a kickbucket on an operating room floor. Thanks for all your support and prayers about this. I literally did a dance of joy, and made my husband join me in said jig.

On the food front...several people commented that they would find it hard to bake the cake I did yesterday and not be tempted to eat it from batter licking to last crumb on plate. I did have one small piece at the party, and that was it. There were so many people that it got gobbled up pretty fast so there wasn't time for me to appropriate a sizeable hunk for myself, which I've certainly done many times before. It was utterly scrumptious and I had numerous requests for the recipe. It was so good that I'd never EVER make it for home. EVER. I'd be safer drinking an anthrax cocktail or eating arsenic pudding. I definitely ate more food at the party than I should have, as well as the housewarming I went to the night before where I dabbled in fried chicken and macaroni and cheese. Very risky behavior, but I made it through both occasions on the right side of bingeing...as in I didn't get triggered to come home and start rummaging the cupboards for bizarre combinations of sweets (since I keep nothing like that on hand now)to continue eating until I was "done". I couldn't even guess at how many times I've done that...too numerous to count.

I'm glad that the food events are over for now. How crazy is it to call those parties food events, I just realized!? One was a woman celebrating moving into a new home after her last one burned to the ground. The other was celebrating an AA meeting that has been going 7 days a week for 9 years. There was food served at both these gatherings - but the food wasn't the main event or the reason for either.

In my mind, food is how I've always framed life - from parties to meeting a friend at Starbucks for coffee. From holidays to cold weather days to hot weather days to spring days to baby showers and weddings, a kid getting an award, book club. I know that food is infused into the fabric of all aspects of day to day life. It's essential for survival, pleasurable, comforting, nourishing. But for me, food has always been the umbrella under which life happens. It's been the ground under me and the soft place I fall. Truth be told, since I gave up alcohol, it's been my major life strategy, and it was before I ever started drinking. Baby's first addiction.

I want that to change. I'll always love food and eating. But I want my relationship with food to change; I want to make peace with it. Last week on my first binge free day after the bad episode on Tuesday, I didn't want to eat dinner because I wasn't craving anything and wasn't even that hungry. I was afraid that as soon as I ate anything, even salad, the binge switch would get flipped. It came to me that in addition to loving food, needing it, using it to self medicate and cope, I'm also afraid of it at times. So I'm praying now for right relationship with food. By the way, I did eat a sane dinner that night and did not get triggered to binge, and I haven't since. That doesn't equal perfection, but it does give me hope that a right and sane relationship with food is possible for me.

Off to work now. My knee is still bothering me a bit, so I have to continue to abbreviate my working out; but I know the more important thing on which I need to stay focused is keeping my food clean and staying aware of potential food traps. Pay attention to my thoughts and feelings and notice when "the urge" hits. It'll hit for sure - sooner or later - and I want to be ready,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Working on calm

I'm going to be pretty brief today, as yesterday's post was so long, and after writing it I realized it took some emotional energy! That's a good thing, but time to lighten up a bit. It's the 4th day in a row here of heavy clouds, continual windy rain. This area has had 2 Nor'easters move through since Thursday, and the lack of light and ongoing dreariness are infiltrating my mood. I just saw on the weather report that the rain should be out of here around 6, hopefully in time for Game 3 of the National League playoffs between the Phillies and the Dodgers. GO PHILS!

Anyway, while the day is dreary, I'm going to use the morning to do some cooking for the week, laundry, and other homey stuff. This afternoon Hubby and I are going to an AA anniversary party where there will be tons of food, great fellowship and good sobriety. I'm bringing 2 things I ought not sample...an artichoke dip that is yummy, and a to-die-for fresh apple cake with caramel frosting. The cake and dip are already made and I've only the frosting left to do. So far, not a molecule of any of it has passed my lips. I expect I'll eat more than I otherwise would, but am planning the rest of my food for the day around it. I went to a housewarming party for a friend from work last night, and I had a piece of fried chicken (just a thigh) and some macaroni and cheese in very moderate amount. Neither of those would normally be on my food plan, but I don't want to totally eliminate food that in moderation is okay. There are some things where I know "I can't go there", but neither of those things set me off. They were great, too! I could have had another piece of chicken, but moved out of the food room fast. We left before the desserts came out...they would have set me off.

This morning I've started obsessing a little about my biopsy results that I should get tomorrow. One minute I feel dread, the next I feel okay and optimistic. Sounds about right on schedule. I'm using the Serenity Prayer to keep myself right-sized abut it: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Hopefully I have the issue set aside for now since there's nuttin' more I can do or know about it today.

Have a good Sunday, Friends.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Delving deep

Day 3
Binge free
4 me
Golly gee.

No weigh
4 third day
Me no pay
When me no weigh.

I may not have mentioned my recent Pulitzer for Poetry. Hardy har, huh? I didn't actually plan to expound so eloquently when I sat down to post this morning, but out it flowed. For anyone who needs deciphering of the heavy symbolism of my poetic style, I now have 3 days with no bingeing, and no weighing. And by not weighing, I don't pay the consequences of having to deal with whatever the number says.

While 3 days of no bingeing (and no weighing) doesn't sound like much, I know anyone reading this gets it. Especially if you've been reading my recent posts...like 2 months worth. I haven't had more than 2 consecutive clean days in that long. That's not to say I haven't continued to lose a few pounds, because the scale roulette of September enabled me to mete out my bingeing or lack thereof on any given day according to the all important number on the scale. It was a dysfunctional dance of disordered thinking and eating. And I'm finding that leaving the scale out of the equation is helping release me from that bondage.

I mentioned yesterday that resorting to prayer on Thursday evening had resulted in the lifting of a binge compulsion that was threatening my 2nd day of freedom. Furthermore, the need to jump on the scale Friday morning was also lifted in the form of what felt like a direct message from something greater than my own mind...I woke with the knowledge that jumping on the scale would lead to a binge later in the day - guaranteed, given my recent history. And so I shunned that digital hunk of plastic and metal and subsequently had no mental masturbation going on Friday (an AA term, sorry if it's offensive, but the term fits) about what to eat based on whatever the scale said. And so a 3rd clean day.

Something got pried loose this week in my dysfunctionator (yeah, another AA nugget) after the Tuesday Binge of 2009. (I love melodrama! =D) The comments I received from my post about the binge and about my craziness with food jolted me almost as much as my shame and remorse about the eating episode. So many of you said such amazing things - noticing how my bingeing isolates me from my husband; how I miserably beat myself up after but also during a binge; offering prayer and verses of scripture; and also genuine kindness and support. It has all impacted me hard. But softly, tenderly.

Addiction is a spiritual malady in addition to whatever other havoc it wreaks on the afflicted and their loved ones. At the core of addiction is a hole in the soul...emptiness, yearning and despair at our deepest interior, that really can only be filled by spiritual means. My ongoing recovery from alcoholism has illustrated this over and over. Yes, the substances or behaviors have to be stopped. But sometimes that can't happen without a spiritual dislocation within the addict that results from prayer, willingness, desperation, and a desire to stop hurting. Sometimes Divine Intervention. It's become increasingly apparent to me that I can't seem to get over this food addiction on my own. I've tried a million times. I mean it with all my heart every time I say, "No more". And then, eventually, sooner or later, something happens or nothing at all happens and self will becomes woefully inadequate. The "need" of the addict obliterates the determination and efforts of the most earnest desire to be free.

In AA they say that for every recovering alcoholic, there will come a time when the only thing between you and a drink is a higher power. Note it doesn't say God, or Allah, Buddha, Jesus, Mary, or Eckhardt Tolle. Just a Higher Power. God, or not God, of my understanding. Something greater than myself. How can it be so hard for someone who can feel so shitty about myself at times to acknowledge that there IS SOMETHING greater than myself??!! And I believe in God! YO Leslie! How about talking to God, or god, every now and then?

That's what I did Thursday night when the binge thoughts were accumulating. I felt myself giving way like ground over a sinkhole. I asked for help and I got it. I'm wondering if I hadn't asked, would I have gotten through that evening intact? I'm glad I didn't find out, because the experience taught me something I've learned a thousand times in, where else, AA. The answer to every soul sickness I have is more spiritual development. I know this, I've seen it work for countless others as well as for myself. But about this food thing I've been resistant, because I want to have my cake and eat it too. I want to lose weight and eat what I want. I don't want to give up things I like (like cake), and I don't want to become indifferent to them because they give me pleasure in a moment despite the emotional pain they cause later and longer. Ultimately, I've been deeply afraid to pursue spiritual development in the food realm because I'm afraid it will work, and then who will I be? How will I cope? What will I fall back on? OHHH, more spiritual development and my Higher Power.

I'm not sure I'm making sense here to anyone other than myself, but these are some of the realizations that have come from the prying loose of the thing in my dysfunctionator I mentioned earlier. What will life look like if food isn't my savior and social lubricant? I felt the same way when I began to consider stopping drinking. How will I have fun? Eat pizza? Be comfortable in my skin?...without my little drinkie poos to smoothe the rough edges. I felt that life would go from technicolor to black and white if I gave up booze. The exact opposite happened. Very slowly. My ability to live and be in relationship with humanity and with myself expanded beyond my wildest dreams. And so I have every reason to trust this process of spiritual development and awareness in the food realm. Now can I do it? I can today. Tomorrow will have to wait until it's today.

Friday, October 16, 2009

NO WEIGH!!!

Lisa Gurney, from the excellent blog My Life as a Daughter at lgurney.blogspot.com, was kind enough to offer me a second Honest Scrap award. I'm so grateful, and though I got one some weeks back, this one is a different graphic, so I'm adding it to my side bar. It's my blog and I'll put up a second one if I want to! I'm not ready to pass it on, because I would pass it on to virtually everyone on my blogroll, and then some. So taking the idea from Amy H at No To The Deuce, I offer it to all of you. There are so many amazing and inspiring blogs out there, about different subjects than just weight loss, by the way, that I could read and comment all day long. In fact, my book reading (which I love) has dropped way off since I've hopped on this circuit. I believe this blog world is a fit for me! I might do another 10 things list, but not today. I'm feeling a little full of myself so need to amp down a few notches! I would insert a smiley face there if I knew how, but I don't. I see other bloggers insert the facey icons in their text...can anyone tell me the trick? My technoboobism is legendary. Ask my 20-something kids.

Onto other matters...this week has been quite an emotional roller coaster for moi, as my posts have indicated. The bad Tuesday binge, the thyroid biopsy, and other forces in the universe that apparently targeted my personal peace combined to render me as torqued and twisted as I've been in a long time. I was aware of the events (binge and biopsy), but I don't think I recognized their emotional toll until this morning, when I woke up feeling clear headed and calm. Finally a day where I didn't have the plunging of a needle into my unanesthetized neck either a few days ahead, or in the case of yesterday, a few hours ahead. And while I won't know results until Monday, I'm relieved to have it over more than I could have anticipated. I'll probably get nervous each time my phone rings Monday, waiting for results. But in my heart of hearts I know I'll be okay regardless of the result.

Also contributing to my peaceful easy feeling this morning is the fact that I've had 2 consecutive binge-free days. Wednesday was easy in the afterhorror of the binge. But yesterday got tough late in the afternoon. I felt bingey and food thoughts started wafting into consciousness. I told myself, "just put it off for a while" again and again. Finally, after a sane breakfast-for-dinner, I prayed about it. "Please help me cuz I'm sinking here". And no lie...the food feelings were lifted. I wasn't gutting it out anymore...it became a non-issue. I brushed, flossed and went to an AA meeting to stay distracted; but the urges never returned before I went to bed. Which brings me to the genesis of today's post title...

NO WEIGH. For the last 4 weeks I've been weighing on Fridays only (alledgedly, heh heh) to break my scale addiction while tracking progress to my goal of 190lbs by November 2. So this morning was the day. You guessed it...I did not get on the scale. I woke up about 4:30 (my usual time) and my first thought was, "If I get on the scale, I know I'll end up bingeing today." Don't know why, but I just knew that weighing myself today would not serve me well AT ALL. If it was good, which it would be after 2 clean days, the number would start working me towards an evening of wanton eating, since "I'm doing fine". If bad, I'd be crabby and pissed off all day and be that much more vulnerable to any random food item lying within arm's length.

Given my prayer of last night, I believe this is some kind of divine inspiration that was inserted into my compulsive brain this morning. And maybe because I've felt emotionally beaten to a pulp by my own behaviors this week, I listened to the message. I don't want to weigh. I don't want to know. I just want another binge free day today. And not getting on the scale is a major tool in helping me accomplish that goal. Just for today. Tomorrow will have worries of its own, so I'm keeping my focus on this day only.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Gratitude, among other things

Thank you all so much for the remarkable insights and support you gave me yesterday via your comments and emails. I certainly feel listened to and heard! It's amazing how relative strangers can become such good observers and call each other on our stuff! It's my fervent desire to offer as much support and wisdom to others as you guys give to me.

I'm feeling better and have put away the whip with which I was beating myself up. That was one of the themes I read most in the comments. I was on quite a self pummelling rant, which thankfully is a rarity for me these days; but once I got going, I guess I needed to get all that stuff out. One of the things that moved me so much about Tammy's post was how honest she was in pouring out her true thoughts. I realize that I can tend to hold back in the interest of sounding good and like I have my act together. But I get more relief and definitely more truth from self and others by daring to be honest. So many of you are great role models in this arena for me, and I thank you. And I thank you for not being afraid to say what really comes to mind when reading others' posts.

Before I go on, I want to note that I'm typing this on my shiny brand new laptop I just got 2 days ago. I've never used one before, but since I'm home today, I'm using it to post for the first time and the keyboard is something to get used to! I'm feeling like I'm in typing 101 as it's taking me 3x as long to get grammatical sentences due to me missing keys. It'll take awhile to get used to the key touch. Here's a picture of Blulu, which I've named said laptop, after her Pacific blue color and my dog Lou:
And here's her profile:
She's good looking, but she's a bit of a bugger.

The other thing I want to mention is that I'm back from my thyroid biopsy this morning. It went pretty smoothly, and the doc assures me she'll call me by Monday afternoon to give me the results and I'll find out if I get to hang on to my favorite neck gland or have it surgically removed. Guess which one I'm rooting for!? I tried to ask the doc a couple of times about if I had to have surgery, and she said she didn't want that to be the outcome and didn't think it would be. But then she didn't think the biopsy from last July was going to be anything other than routine. It already is what it is, and since I can't do a thing about it until I know what I'm dealing with, I'm setting it aside for the weekend. Surprisingly I've been able to do this since the whole thing started last March. Uncharacteristically Zen of me. You know I'll keep you posted. Hubby has taken a picture of the puncture wound in my neck from the needle biopsy. I'll put it up, because who wouldn't want to see my anonymous neck! Somehow the is no evidence of a double chin! Alright, yes I'm stretching my neck out, thereby obliterating said twin chin. Actually, that's a place where my weight loss is evident.

I had a binge free food day yesterday, and noticed my desire and instinct to undereat after my "indiscretion" of Tuesday evening. Ahh, eating disordered tendencies! I wasn't very hungry most of the day due, I think, to an emotional hangover from getting in touch with a lot of baggage while writing that post. But I ate 3 balanced meals, got a walk in, and once again feel hopeful and optimistic. I also know in my heart that I can lose this weight, continue to address my demons, and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I've been on this journey for a long time, and I'm not stepping out of the boat now. It's so comforting to know that I'm not on the journey alone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Heaven help me

After talking yesterday about how helpful it is to share thoughts and feelings, and how it can help one to endure the rigors of being on the inside of a frightful binge compulsion, I totally imploded late yesterday afternoon, and just a few bites at a time entered into a bad binge. A really bad one. Worse than in months. All the behaviors returned - the ones I talked about in that post...isolation, leaving the house at night to get "more of a fix", electing to be ina different place in the house to go unwitnessed by the husband in this behavior.

I wasn't going to share it. There is so much shame, remorse and self hatred for me this morning. It's utterly ridiculous and pathetic. I don't want to sound this way. This way that I simply am right now. But I read Tammy's post (From Fat To Fab) from yesterday early this morning, and I knew I had to at least have the courage to be honest. Maybe I don't have what it takes to abort a binge before it starts when I hear the f-ing thoughts building like ominous thunderclouds, but I can tell the truth instead of my old behavior of lying to self and others about my eating. I started this blog for myself - to journal about my struggles, my crazy thoughts and my victories (of which there are way too few of late). I didn't start it to sound like Mary Mental Health, and it's a good thing because I really do feel a bit psycho. Maybe I'd feel less so than if I wasn't blogging and having to be honest. Then I'd just be engaging in the behaviors and not really dealing with them. Just accepting them as part of my hardwiring that could easily propel up the scale into weight regions I don't want to go.

Looking back on this binge, it feels like it was almost self-violence. And pointless. No hunger involved. No relief after the first few bites that signified I was going to do some no-holds-barred eating. I would never have gone out to a meeting last night except that I didn't have sufficient junk food on hand to "get the job done". So I stopped for "supplies", ate a few on the way to the meeting, and was antsy through the whole meeting knowing what was waiting in my car.

I wonder if it helps to analyze and scrutinize this? It's basically the same broken record replayed for the trillionth time. I have some stress, but nothing major. The thyroid biopsy is tomorrow morning. No I'm not thrilled about it. Yes I'm a little worried, but not that much. It'll be over by 9:30 and I'll have the day to myself. My left knee is acting up so I've not been exercising per usual. My right elbow is screwed up so I can't lift weights the way I did in the beginning of my journey. The health care crisis in America can send me into a rant for hours. We're losing the war in Afghanistan. None of it is worth the abuse I heaped on myself last night. Rather, into myself.

I don't want to have to write one more freaking confession about bingeing.

Tammy's post I mentioned earlier included her thoughts and possible fears about getting to goal. I get that big time. In every other area of my life, I am together, confident, competent, content, peaceful. But this food thing has me licked. (is that a food pun?) Can I really be all that positive stuff listed in the previous sentence and be this powerless over food addiction? I've never been the evolved person I am today AT A NORMAL WEIGHT. I've battled this for 20+ years. What will a normal weight look and feel like? I think I'm afraid it's not possible for me. I know I'm afraid of that. I'm afraid I can't have all the positive without paying a price. Like will I die as soon as I get there? I don't think I believe that, but I have to wonder what lies beneath this most recent episode in a series of relapses. Why can I stay sober, but I can't stop bingeing? Why am I a beacon of alcohol recovery, and a sad story of food addiction? Poor me.

I want to say this is it. I've said it before. I think I need to pull out bigger guns to fight this...like my spirituality and faith. I keep that all at arm's length, because if that doesn't work, I'm really screwed. Maybe I'm afraid it will work. One thing I know for sure, what I'm doing isn't working. A normal person starting where I did in June would be in the 180s by now. And I was doing great until I hit an inner brick wall that I was hoping I'd permeated last week. But apparently there is more to do. More to uncover. More to be honest about.

So much for feelin' almost groovy.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Feelin' almost groovy

Things most always look brighter in the morning. Of course I wrote my brain dump yesterday morning, but THIS morning things seem better. I'm better and so grateful that blogging (both mine and all yours'!) found its way to my life. I think I've become a person who really can't sit with a lot of crap in my head and not find an outlet for it. AA has greatly facilitated that, but so has getting older, getting wiser (at least in my own mind!) and now blogging. There is immense relief in letting our secrets out. I think I posted something about that a while back, and probably noted yet another AA nugget of truth - we're only as sick as our secrets. I'm sorry I keep tossing out this AA crap ad nauseum, but it's damn good crap and has enabled my life to do a complete 180 over the years! Anyway, if there is actually a coined phrase about secrets keeping us sick, then there must be something to the notion of spilling them to someone, anyone, as a means of clearing out the negative brain flotsam and jetsam that swarm within and keep me effectively out of being fully present in each moment. I felt better almost immediately after clicking "publish". Sometimes I worry I say too much or don't express myself accurately, but yesterday once I sent it out into the ether, I literally felt lighter. And no, I didn't run to the scale to check =D !

Amazon Runner commented yesterday that obesity is a disease of isolation. That is so true. Most of us who've engaged in the kind of overeating that necessitates substantial weight loss haven't consumed most of those calories with other people. My binges have caused me to choose to stay downstairs after hubby goes to bed so he doesn't "interfere" (translate - witness) with my consumption. Countless times I've said no to doing things with others because I was in binge mode. Or, I left friends early to "head home", knowing full well I was stopping at the local convenience store or fast food joint to stock up "for the duration". Or to run out to the store at 9:30 at night "because I forgot to get something..." What a crock of shit. People person that I am, when the compulsion to binge hits, I find many and varied reasons to be alone. And believe me, I know there's nothing wrong with being alone - but there is when it's for the sole purpose (soul purpose?) of consuming mass quantities of high fat high sugar food that send me into food oblivion.

Something interesting and surprising happened a little while ago while I was passing meds at work. I had a thought, "Oooh, I have a great assortment of snacks for before I have lunch." This is the assortment I brought today: This is a pretty healthy selection, yes? (and note its clever placement in front of my monitor with my own blog onscreen, smile smile - I'm having an attack of egocentrism, which is better than self contempt for sure!) And I honestly felt a ripple of excitement about ripping open the veggie bag and munching a bit before lunch in another hour. As I write this, the bag is gone now, somewhere in my alimentary canal, and I'm feeling ready for the next big event which is lunch. A few more meds to give out, and then sanctioned sane nourishing eating, including one of those pieces of fruit for dessert. Does it get better than that?

I HEART Blogging!!!

Hi Friends - I'm going to post more later, but I just want to say you all are the best bunch of blog buddies a girl could have! I so appreciate everyone's kind words of encouragement and support. Tammy from From Fat To Fab said it perfectly in her comment, "the therapeutic side of blogging is something I never, ever expected...". Ditto in spades. I'm so blessed to have many friends in the real world - more than I deserve. And now I feel genuine caring, friendship and love from this community as well. It makes me want to give it back to everyone else when they/you need it! And you make me want to be a better blogger and a better person! (Didn't Jack Nicholson say something like that to Helen Hunt in a movie whose title escapes me at the moment?) Thank you again. I'm feeling better today, mostly funk-free. The writing about it helped a lot. The kindness and friendship took it home!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Warning: Toxic brain dump ahead

As I sit at work before the official start of my day catching up on blog reading after not doing much of it over the weekend, I notice that a lot of you posted at least one of the 2 weekend days. I should have done that this weekend, because my mood was gray and cloudy for no particular reason and it manifested ultimately with me overeating both days. I felt itchy and restless and just this side of irritable; and I never really put it out there to anyone. That isn't like me. Most people who have read my blog know that in addition to food addiction, I am in long term recovery in AA, where I frequently put my hand up and share at group level when I'm feeling funky, as well as when I'm great. This weekend I didn't share at any meeting I went to, and I didn't post on the blog either. Maybe if I'd just talked about my discontent briefly, I could have saved myself a few thousand calories.

I'm wondering what my atypical quiet and keeping thoughts to myself was about. I'm going to list a few possibilities that are percolating up into the noggin:
1. I want to look and sound better than I feel
2. I don't want to feel funky, and by not acknowledging the funk I can will it away (if only)
3. My left knee feels messed up so I haven't done the 5-6 mile walks (on or off the treadmill) I usually do. Exercise definitely helps me clear out the cobwebs in my brain when I'm out of sorts.
4. I haven't felt like I have my act together the last few days but I don't want anyone else to think I don't have my act together. WHY? WHO CARES? No one is on their game 24/7.
5. I have a medical procedure coming up this Thursday that I'm a little nervous about, even though this will be my 3rd one of these. More on that in a few minutes.

That's enough of a list. It doesn't take much reflection for me to know that at some level I chose my mood by letting go of practices that have proven to help me again and again. Eventually my angst and discomfort lead me back to food for comfort, although using food like this is not comfortable at all. I've come too far now for food to work for me that way. It's nothing more than a disgusting distraction at this point. At least that's how it was over the weekend. There's a saying in AA: Pain is mandatory, suffering is optional. I think I opted for suffering this weekend.

I still feel myself couching my words and wanting to sound better than I feel. I can't say I'm depressed, but I'm definitely funky and down. I'm not doubting that I'll be back on track with my food today - I already am. I know "this too shall pass" and I most likely will feel like myself tomorrow. I can't blame PMS, perimenopause, external struggles or family issues. None of that fits. The prevailing winds are just blowing in this direction for now and I'll get through it.

About my medical procedure...I'm having a biopsy of a thyroid nodule on Thursday. As I said above, this will be my 3rd since March. Long story less long - I went to an ENT doc for sinus issues last March; during her routine exam she felt a thyroid nodule and ordered an ultrasound. I was freaked at first, but she assured me they are very common and that it's standard procedure to check them out. Turns out I had 4 nodules that showed on the ultrasound (also common), and one was big enough to biopsy. The biopsy turned out fine, but the endocrinologist who consulted on the biopsy result said I should see her for follow up, and had me get a nuclear scan. Then she did another ultrasound in her office and found a 5th nodule that needed to be biopsied because it didn't show up on the nuclear scan. That biopsy was done in July, and the result was that there was no cancer, but some unusual cells that needed to be rechecked in 3 months to be sure they stayed okay. That brings me to this Thursday, when I'm going to University of Pennsylvania for what is hopefully the last biopsy.

As I type this I feel myself filling up and getting teary. I'm nervous, though the doc says she thinks all will be fine. Even if it did turn out to be malignant or suspicious enough to have surgery recommended, thyroid cancer is over 99% curable just with surgery. So my honest sense is that no matter what, I'll be fine. But I'm still a little scared. I've been able to back-burner this issue for the 3 month intervals between biopsies, but now that it's 4 days away, I feel myself getting antsy. The procedure doesn't take more than 20 minues, and basically they stick a pretty long needle into the nodule (guided by ultrasound) 2 or 3 times to get cell samples. There's no numbing involved because it's so fast that it isn't necessary. But it ain't much fun, either. I just want it to be over. I'm having it at 8:00 Thursday morning and then have the rest of the day off from work, mainly because I wanted to. I'd be fine to work afterwards, but I have to have something to look forward to that day. I will likely have results the very next day which is how it went last time.

Thanks for putting up with reading that, if you did. I think talking about it with other than the inside of my head will help me feel better about it. In the meantime, I'm going to see the knee doc tomorrow to see about an MRI or physical therapy or something, because not exercising makes Leslie a crazy girl. Okay - woman. At 56 I guess I'm not exactly a girl, but I do feel like one most of the time, which is precisely why I want to be okay from this thyroid issue. I'm going to keep my food clean and sane, and if I feel like crying, let the tears flow. And keep talking about stuff with friends and blog buddies. Because if I don't talk about stuff, I'll find myself stuffed from my own doing, trying to seek something from food it can't provide. That will just make everything feel worse.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday novella in 3 chapters

Chapter 1 - Away it goes, bit by bit

Woohoo! I finally have lost 2 pounds in a week. Besides the couple of...um...food indiscretions (about which I've posted here over the last week), I was pretty clean with food and consistent and rigorous with exercise. I guess this shows scientifically that bingeing every other night does impede weight loss, and refraining from said bingeing facilitates it. Interestingly, when I first stepped on the scale, I was praying for something in the 195 range, and the weight first read 193.3! I almost passed out into a naked heap of dimples and pale flesh. It was then it occurred to me to take a picture, so I had to wrap a towel round the bod, dash downstairs to find the camera and then do the scale thing one more time. Only it turned into about 6 more times because by the time I had the camera ready the weight disappeared. Then the flash totally obliterated the numbers. But the other thing is that when I returned with the camera the weight was now 193.9, and there it stayed. Somehow my cardio run down the stairs and back built enough muscle to increase my weight by 6 ounces - har har. After I got out of the shower and dried off completely, I hopped on again, like any respectable addict would, and it read 194.1. Whoa! Time to cut my losses (gains) and knock off the scale dance. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

This progress is motivating me in a way I hope will last. I'd told my husband that whatever the scale verdict was this morning, I wanted to get pizza tonight for dinner. (Me no cook on Fridays!) But now I don't want to do that. I want to try and stay the course toward my goal of 190 by November 2. It's almost intuitive that I can make that goal easily now. But as any habitual binge-er knows, I could achieve a 10 pound gain by then as well. Bearfriend said in her post yesterday that at times she really can't trust herself. Yep - me too. It's still one day at a time, and one bite at a time for me.

This morning I feel all inspired and determined, but it would take nothing for the binge activator button to switch to the on position later in the day. It happens all the time. Sometimes I can resist calmly and distract myself; other times I engage in verbal combat and staunch resistance until I'm beaten down to an exhausted pulp and just give in to stop the conflict. That's where I know that feeding that aspect of me strengthens the inner binge-er. I hope I can remember that when she appears, because she will. And I know that what gets fed gets stronger. I want to nourish my increasingly healthy and whole self who deserves better than crawling into bags of potato chips and cookies for comfort and companionship.

Chapter 2 - Totally waisted
No, I did not pick up my first drink in over 18 years and come crashing off the wagon - that would be wasted, which I've been many times in my life, to say the least. (And before I go any further, I want to say that I'm not one of those recovering alcoholics who believes that everyone who drinks, or even enjoys a good buzz every so often, has a problem. When I talk about drinking, it is mine and the problem it became about which I speak.) As usual, I've digressed, so back to the topic at hand:

My waist. My bra band size. The skin between the two.

I started this topic yesterday before my good weigh in; in light of today's weight, it's even more relevant.

For all you premenopausal women out there, hear me loud and clear. Your bodyweight and shape DO redistribute after the change'o'life. I'd heard that for years, but never thought it could happen to pear-shaped moi. It's happened, much to my chagrin. Now I'm taking on the body type of a boxy elderly woman - think Bea Arthur with should pads, only slight shorter. Of course I'm exagerating, but what brings this up again is that I have bras that are STILL the same tightness around the band that they were before I lost weight. I also have some that are totally comfortable now, but I just don't get how this is possible. My monthly measurements at the gym will be next week, but as of last month they'd decreased in the areas of which I speak by over an inch. Now the girls themselves are definitely smaller, which further adds to my annoyance at being literally bisected into upper and lower halves by these agents of Satan.

After a few more pounds come off, I'll finally go and get new ones, but the thought of that is as appealing as drinking a cup of swine flu virus. Truth be told, there are only 2 of my bra rotation of 4 that violate me in this way, and they are both the same color and style. The other 2 are the same style, but are white instead of sexy beige. Could the different colors mean the dye affected the fabric back at the factory? 'Tis a mystery I'll be glad to solve, and I'm thinking the solution may be an old fashioned bra burning, ala the Equal Rights Amendment days of the 60s and 70s. I bet the women of the world who suffer from this lingerie strangling affliction could all contribute to the biggest bonfire of the fall. Burn baby, Burn.

Chapter 3 - Halloween Frights
I'm not talking spooks and goblins here - I'm talking candy corn, mellocreme pumpkins, autumn colored foil wrapped Hershey kisses, Reese's pumpkins and so on. Right now my local grocery store has 2 aisles stacked to the ceiling with halloween candy; and to add insult to injury they have bags of Brachs Candy Corn on sale 4/$5.00. If the bras are agents of Satan, this display is The Mother Ship. And there are similar displays everywhere, as you all know. So far, not one kernal of candy corn has passed through the portal - and if I stay strong and consistent with all that is working, I will have my first candy-free Halloween in my life. I better keep it that way, because once I get started, I can't stop. That is the absolute truth. For today, I'm good. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Another round of processing

I'm embarrassed to report I engaged in a binge last night. Friends had invited us to a special program of the Philadelphia Orchestra that started at 7 p.m. They wanted to pick us up at 5:45 to allow ample time for traffic and other assorted dramas that could prevent us from taking out seats in time for the start of the performance. What the early pick-up time meant was eating dinner way earlier than we ever do, so we had leftovers from the cooking frenzy of last Sunday at about 5:15. I wasn't that hungry then as I'd just finished working out and also had had a late lunch. I ate a smaller amount than my usual dinner, was entirely satisfied and thought to myself, "Since we won't be getting home until 10-ish, this will be a great diet day!"

I wasn't looking all that forward to this event, mainly because it was a week night and I had a zillion things to do at home, like laundry, lunch packing, and perfecting my evening couch potato routine. All day long I was aware that I was going to have an abbreviated version of my precious down time between work days and wished that this concert was on a Friday or Sat. night. I'm not an ingrate...these are great friends who got these tickets for free and were kind enough to invite us. That was great - I was just feeling a bit bratty and resentful about losing my Tuesday evening. But we ended up having a great time; the performance was good, and predictably we got home around 10. In the car on the way home, my friend and I were talking about how hungry we were (by now I could have eaten the harp featured in the performance)and discussing what little thing we might have when we got to our respective houses.

I think even then, on the drive home, I had a sense that I was going to overindulge in something - anything. I had a small container of yogurt, which was the equivalent of a thimble full of water tossed into the grand canyon to "fill her up". Then the foraging began...wheat thins, bread with butter and honey...and a few other things it's unnecessary to inventory. Then to bed. Damn. And this morning I weighed and found not too much damage done; but that, obviously, is not the point.

Today I've had a very clean food day as well as a good workout. I fixed a wonderful dinner of salmon, roasted brussel sprouts and asparagus. Hubby also had a potato.

After dinner, I immediately brushed, flossed and then went to Kohl's - partly to use a coupon that expires today, and mostly to distract myself from food thoughts. On the way home, I realized that my stomach is EMPTY - the gnawing kind of feeling that signifies real hunger, as opposed to wanting to eat. And I knew I would be fine tonight, feeling the hunger and yet not eating. Last night I didn't feel anywhere near the empty stomach feeling of tonight, yet last night my obsessive mind was spinning and at the back of my mind I was waiting for the evening to be over in order to "comfort myself with food". It wasn't comfortable.

Hunger is relatively easy for me to endure. It feels somehow pure, real - especially when I know I've had a clean day. Compulsive desire to eat is not easy to endure. But I've done it and can do it. There continues to be a resistance in me to stay clean with food for many days in a row. I have broken through the September plateau, but whatever is gnawing at me about continuing onward down the scale is still lurking. And I think I won't have access to whatever is buried in me about this until I sustain enough binge-free days to "unstuff" the feelings or fears so they can come up for me to acknowledge and face. I'm not giving up, and I'm not going to gain this weight back. I'm in this for the long haul.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Something to tantalize

Oops - I forgot something. I got on such a good rant in my post 20 minutes ago I forgot to show you something I bootlegged directly off Kath's blog at Kath Eats Real Food:

Me thinks I've read of a lot of folks loving pumpkin, so when I saw this on her blog, I thought I needed to share with my blog buds. I expect this is not low cal yogurt, but it will be a must-try for me. I'll probably just buy just one cup to save me from the rack and ruin of self, wink wink. I love pumpkin in any form. I haven't seen this in a store yet, but will be watching. If you try it, let me know! Kath said it's wonderful and not tangy or tart. Enjoy ;) !

Acute withdrawal

I'm in a mood today...irritable and grouchy. I'm not sure why, but I think I'm experiencing scale withdrawal. I've been true to my vow to only weigh on Fridays, at least until I go to the Dominican Republic in early November, after which I'm hoping to go to weighing once a month. But as I write that, and knowing the big Food Holidays will be upon us once I return from said trip, maybe it's unrealistic to plan to go cold turkey on the scale. But that is over a month away, so I need not worry about it now, right?

Anyhoo, I haven't weighed since last Friday, and while I haven't been perfect with food, I've been doing pretty well, and have 2 totally clean days behind me, plus lots of good exercise. So naturally I want to know my scale number. AAAggghhhh! Just shoot me now and put me out of my misery. At least a lobotomy, for heaven's sake. Why do I need to know the number? To make me feel better? To tell me I'm a good person? To assure me I've been a good girl? I know my food has been good. I know my exercise has been solid and consistent. Isn't that really all I need to know as I travel this road to increased health and wellness?

So I'm ponderinging what else is going on in my wittle bwain this morning that may be at the core of my discontent...and I don't have to go to far back to see how I got off on the wrong foot in the attitude department today. I woke up at 6:30, which for me is the equivalent of a teenager sleeping til noon. I'm an early riser and a morning person; and I always have been, even when I was a teenager. Normally I get up around 5, watch a bit of news, then shower, dress, get lunch together and head out at 6:30 to go to a 7 a.m. AA meeting I've attended for years. From the meeting (over at 8), I drive the ten minutes to work, where I need to show up by 8:30 though I'm often early.

Upon my late awakening, I said to myself, "I'm not going to the meeting, so I can chill awhile...". This mindset lasted about 30 seconds, when I sprang up, threw on work clothes (I'd showered last night) brushed the teeth, and dashed out the door to make the meeting. (note, no lunch, no breakfast, no nothin') Well, there's some drama going on about where our meeting is held because it's in a borough hall above a police station that is funded by the state government, or should I say, used to be better funded. As of this week, things are all screwed up, and now the only access to the room is via an elevator, which if you read my Honest Scrap list you know is my phobia. You can come down stairs once you're up, but the door to the stairs from outside was locked today. (BTW, it is one measly flight up.) $%*&#! So I shakily rode up with a brave friend, and then found that the person speaking at the meeting was a total blowhard who I had no desire to hear, and thought to self, "Should have stayed home". But I sat down, shut up, and listened. As soon as his talk was over, I left in order to run home and make the all important lunch and generally get my sh*t together. During the 30 minutes I stayed at the meeting, a good friend came in who was visibly upset about something, and another gal sitting next to me walked out when the first friend left crying (which I didn't see), and they never returned, so I assumed they were talking. That played with my head. "She's my friend, wah wah wah! I know her better, wah wah wah! I should be with her, wah.." You get it; now I've reverted to a jealous preteen mentality.

When I got home, I threw together a good lunch from the cooking frenzy of Sunday, and came to work. Once here, I've settled down a bit, but I find myself thinking about wanting or needing something I don't have, but I don't have a clue what it is. In AA they call it "restless, irritable and discontent". Very apt description. So I made my rounds, ate my breakfast, and took a little time to write this all down so maybe I can change my day around from this moment on. I always feel better when I empty the brain of messy contents, and that seems to be the case now.

Interesting to note that when I get jammed up in my mind, I start to have compulsive thoughts; today it's about wanting to weigh, but often it's about wanting to eat. And that could come later, but I want to stop giving in to those compulsive thoughts, because I'm only perpetuating them every time I cave in. Like a whiny toddler who works your nerves wanting something, my thoughts start working my nerves, and to silence the thoughts, I eat, or weigh (after which I often eat).

Dueling voices of healthy Leslie versus food addict Leslie...the one who wins is the one I feed. So I'm trying to hear addict Leslie and understand what it is she really wants, and feed that aspect instead. So she apparently needs to say that she's out of sorts and felt jealous about someone helping a friend when she wanted to be the one to help. She felt stupid being afraid of the elevator this morning. She's frustrated that she didn't stay home and have a more relaxed morning rather than feeling compelled to go to the meeting when she woke up late. She knows she doesn't want to stay fat and miserable in an endless revolving door of bingeing and hating herself for it. She/I want to be strong, healthy, lean and in touch with who I am today and how I want my life to be. I want to make peace with food and eating and my body. So rather than jumping on the scale or shoving in a cake, I'm going to sit with myself in the discomfort and know that it will pass. Everything does.