Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Disorder me up another clean day

I haven't posted since Friday, which is unusual for me. It's also "a bad sign" according to Tammy, and damned if she isn't right. After logging a paltry 1.2 pound loss last week in the Beach Challenge, I decided to take a day off (from the paltry effort that yielded the paltry loss) on Friday, which extended into Saturday and through Sunday. Yesterday I was back on track except a few saltines and butter that never have been and never will be part of my program. They did not trigger me, and were eaten while I waited for a quiche to cook that took 30 minutes longer to cook than the longest end of the time noted in the recipe. More on that later. But I was READY to eat (more in my head and mouth than my stomach, though I'd had a clean day to that point) when the quiche was supposed to be done. Me want my food NOW! And so I grabbed the saltines, which I don't ever get into. They're in the house for the mister. WTF?? But they did provide a good vehicle with which to get a few spreads of butter on board.

How sick are you of hearing me struggle? How much do you think, "She doesn't really want this..."? How many of you are thinking of nice ways to suggest I go into therapy or food rehab or eating disorder treatment or heavy psychotropic drugs? These are rhetorical questions by the waywith tongue in cheek; so it's not necessary to call the paddy wagon to cart me off to a loony bin. I'm embarrassed to again have had a relapse into bad eating, even though according to the scale there has not been harm done...translate no gain. Yet. Am heading this off at the pass for today and feel strong about it. But my pattern is to start having the food thoughts late afternoon and then to capitulate after dinner. There ARE things I could do - go to a meeting, take an after dinner walk that lasts until I'm virtually asleep on my feet and come back to fall directly into bed.

Here's the thing. I was so pumped up about the Tammy's April challenge. I felt the fire in the belly to stay the course. It felt real; it was real. And then I tried things like the Yoplait Delights Lemon Torte I wrote about some days back that was like a strong hit of crack. Tried one piece of chocolate another day. The meals out where I make good choices but come home feeling like I want something else. I know...tell myself, "You're not having something else, so find something to do!"

As much as blogging helps, right now it feels like I'm exposing the underbelly of a rather substantial eating disorder at this point. I'm not beating myself up or acting like I've committed the worst sin, as was mentioned to me a while back when I posted being frustrated with my eating issues. I'm just getting a little scared that for some reason I'm struggling right now. I've done more therapy and have more insight into my issues that probably any human being on the planet. I'm evolved in so many ways at this ripe old age. I have a great family, many friends, a satisfying career and lots of interests. I mean it with all my heart when I say I want to lose my excess weight.

When I tell my AA story at a meeting, one of the truths I always tell about myself was that I "quit" drinking many many times. I'd do a good "talking to" myself and say, "This has to stop...you're a mom, a nurse, a smart person." I meant it with every fiber of my being. And I'd stop for a week, or a couple, or one time even 5 weeks...aware of every non-drinking second of the dry time. And at some point I'd finally say, "Oh, I've stopped for ________ long (fill in blank with # of days or weeks) so I can't be an alcoholic." I could stop drinking, but I couldn't stay stopped over the long haul until I started going to AA, and even then it took a while to put it down for good (through today, because in AA there is no "never again").

The food misuse is very similar, but much more insidious. And for goodness sake - it's bad enough I'm not normal with alcohol, but food too? No way...I can master this. I CAN DO IT. Please understand that this is the "poor me" attitude that I start ruminating when I find myself in this place of really having a hard time putting more than 3 or 4 days of clean eating together.

I know a lot about addiction, and one truth is that addiction is a progressive disease. Abstinence from the substance or the behavior does not stop that progression. People have stopped drinking for 20+ years, and if they have a drink - odds are good that they will be back to the races and worse than 20+ years before in short order. Sounds crazy; is crazy; is true. I understnad this at a deep level, and I can absolutely see the progressive nature of my food addiction in these last months. Even though I had several really good months of sane eating last summer and fall, I haven't been able to get any sustained clean time since. Is it absence of will power? Am I using addiction as an excuse? Am I not truly accepting of the fact that I really may be a person who has to have a pretty regimented food plan in order to not get triggered? Points to ponder or more excuses to not take action? I do take action every day - I just don't always continue it through the entire time I'm awake. It's what has to happen. I'm not a person who can take one bite of something. Never was. Dare I say never will be?

I wrote a month or so back about ways to catch myself when a binge or even dangerous extra eating is imminent...like storyboarding or writing out a sequence of thoughts and behaviors that usually proceed my eating forays. It's not necessary. Know why? Because I know full well when thoughts and behaviors come that I'm at risk. There is a point that I make the decision - is the food plan a go or is the disordered eating a go? What'll it be today? Today, Tuesday April 20th, at this moment, the food plan is a go. Addiction or not - I am in control of what goes in. No one is forcing a whole box of Special K crackers down my throat. But not having the first 17 that are a 90 calorie serving makes it a lot easier to say no to the whole box. There are things I know I can't have or the momster gets unleashed.

I know this is going to be an epic-ly long post and I'm sorry for that. Can I claim it to be the combined post of the today and last 3 days I wrote nothing, smile smile? I've never felt judged or shunned in blogdom for having a brain explosion like I'm having today. I have gotten a few insensitive comments, but I welcome it all. When someone calls me on my shit, it feels insensitive because I am over sensitive. It's very true that no one is likely to judge me more harshly than I judege myself, but I need to say again that I'm not beating myself up. What is truly going on today is that I feel a little scared. That maybe I'm not going to be able to press on and get remotivated. How can I be remotivated every morning and then slowly lose it over the course of the day?

Yesterday I ran across an article titled "Why We Think Thin and Eat Fat" posted on a Psychology Today blog March of 2009. I'd printed it last August, finding it through Roni's Weigh. Roni wrote about a whole series on eating issues written by this author, Steven Sosny. It's pretty short, and the links to the other articles in the series are available at the first link. I highly recommend reading this if you've ever been baffled and perplexed by your eating behaviors. It talks about emotional eating in a unique way, noting that there is biological programming involved. The fact that I found it yesterday in a stack of papers I had folded up in a South Beach Diet book is surreal, given my current struggle. My Higher Power has an interesting sense of humor!

Well, if you made it to the end of this novella, congratulations, or my deepest sympathy, whichever feels appropriate. And I'm not kidding when I say that the article is worth the few minutes it'll take to read it. If nothing else, it helped me to see that I'm not simply weak willed, excuse filled and doomed to eternal fatness. But it doesn't give any answers either. I know the answer - continued, persistent sustained effort. Never giving up. And as I say everytime I spill the contents of my brain like this...I never will give up.


  1. Thank you for sharing all of that. I know that addictions are hard, whether they are alcohol or food or smoking. I understand the frustrations you are expressing.

    Thanks for the link to the article - I'm going to head over there and read it!

  2. I read it all!!! You can do this :)

  3. I read it. The reason I really like seans approach to eating is because those saltines you talked about..Not evil.
    I have 10 or so with butter every other day..not diet butter..REAL BUTTER. i LOVE saltines with butter. I just add them into my calorie count. I don't think we should eat diet food. Just food we like. Yes, we need to get our veggies in, and our fruit in..but if one day we want three rolos...(yesterday for me for instance...well...I was sitting at 900 calories before dinner..knew I was going to have turkey sausage and veggies...that it would come in around 400-450...so I allowed myself 3 rolos (which are about 35 calories apiece) boy did i enjoy those suckers. the more so for knowing i wasn't going over my calorie budget. I don't think your weak willed. I think you like crackers. lol.
    Have a better day.

  4. Chris is a gem, isn't she? lol I agree...eat whatever you want..just count the calories. Counting calories is considered a pain in the ass for many....but you know what I consider to be MORE of a pain in the ass? Staying fat. It breaks down to simple math. If you stay under a certain number and do some moderate exercise, the weight will come off. We'll get it down pat one of these days girl....just gotta' keep hittin' it! :)

  5. I don't get it either! My story is very different than yours, but I ask similar questions. And I appreciate your honesty and openness.

  6. I read that article back when Roni posted it. Very interesting.

    But I do think sometimes there is no big deep reason for overeating. We're not weak willed, we're not emotionally overloaded, etc., etc., Ocasionally, we eat simply because we like the taste. Food is a sensual pleasure.

    Of course, you know yourself better than anyone so by all means work on figuring it out. Which is the equivalent of never giving up.

  7. I did make it to the end.

    I also have Steven Sosny's articles linked (always there) on my side bar under "psychology links" so if you lose track of them all - you can find them again.

    I am noticing a trend when you DO a challenge. I think you might go through the same pattern each time. I am not sure WHY, but I think I see a repeat of behavior/thinking. The only suggestion for thought I have is 3rd party/outside force VS change within oneself.

  8. Hey, Leslie. (Be prepared, this turned into a novella of my own.) I don't think any of those rhetorical questions or believe that your fears of failure will come true. I don't.

    As you know from dipping into my own blog, I have the same trouble. I don't articulate it as well as you do, but I hear my situation in your words.

    I know you want to lose weight. I know it's not from lack of effort or desire. And, no, you're not pathologically engaging in self-flagellation.

    And, here's something else I know: some cravings are above and beyond what "normal" people experience and call cravings. There is a different spirit, emotional element & intensity.

    (I wrote a post about it talking about needing a different word other than cravings for what I feel & settled on 'foodlust'.)

    I discovered the difference between normal cravings and foodlust a few days after I had eliminated gluten (accidentally) from my diet.
    I had 10 perfect days--then had to go back o gluten to get tested--then struggled for weeks.

    Right now, I've had another 10 perfect days. I've eliminated all major sources of gluten (some things have a smidge of gluten added--like some salad dressings) all aspartame, and sugary things. My only source of carbs are from fruit, veggies, dairy & low-carb dark chocolate. :)

    I told you all of that to say this: I'm back to normal-people cravings and wishes. You know like, "Hmmm. Noodles would be good with this cabbage." or "Hmmm. That meatball sub is pretty good..." BUT THAT's AS FAR AS IT GOES. It is a normal, just say no, passing thought. It is powerless. Not so when I eat gluten.

    I don't know if gluten is your thing. It is mine. The six year shingles-like rash I have had is almost completely gone. Only a little tingling patch of skin (so weird) and the scars remain. The foodlust is gone, too.

    If gluten is not your underlying cause, something is. Yes, you may eat when you're anxious, bored, etc--but there is something more. Something physical that is driving it.

    It is not your character, your will, your desire or emotional incompetence. It is something else. Ask God to show you what it is.

    Keep at it, girlfriend. We're gonna get it done.


  9. Leslie.

    I've learned a few things from having a sister with Leigh's Disease, a daughter with Rett Syndrome, and Bipolar NOS.

    There is no such thing as normal. Remember? back in paragraph 6?

    Next, we do what we can. We stretch our own abilities. We accentuate the positive.

    We don't hate ourselves for not running the marathon because we're too busy celebrating that we walked with two hands held to the table for dinner.

  10. Hi Leslie. I could lol at Chris saying she eats just 3 rolos.

    For some of us this thing is more difficult than for others. I know that when I am in a good eating pattern if I have ANYTHING that is not on the schedule then I can be shot to pieces. This is partly mental and partly physical.

    I suffer from overproduction of insulin. Often when I eat I feel more hungry afterwards than I did before I started. If I eat randomly and not on a strict plan then my blood sugar is shot. ANYTHING involving wheatflour is bad news - even if it's wholewheat. I eat 8 thick slices of wholewheat toast in a sitting, then will still be looking for something else.

    I know I can only eat certain foods and still be OK. And that is very restrictive. Like an alcoholic who is unable to imagine the rest of their life without alcohol. I KNOW I can do it for a while ... but the rest of my life?

    I really don't know what the answer is. But it probably involves abstinence of all foods which trigger and a very strict eating plan ... forever.

    And right now I am not doing abstinence, any kind of eating plan or forever. So I am nowhere on this.

    At least you are in the ball park. Like you are constantly circling it but not quite getting there. Just not quite catching the ball (buttery paws? sorry).

    It's like the kiddologist inside always wins - in my case "Yes you can just eat that piece of cake and that will be it" or "Yes you can buy that box of cakes and not eat all six in one sitting" (I am trying my very hardest NOT to buy anything which comes six to a box)

    I think this week I am just going to try to challenge the kiddologist a bit! Small goals I know ...

    Bearfriend xx

  11. I finished! Interesting link, as well. Our relationship to food can be tricky, for sure. I don't think that I will ever be "normal". I won't ever be a person who can keep saltines in the house, for example, as I have no brakes. If I know stuff like that is in the house, then it's a constant obsession. And I usually fail.

    You will find what works for you - you are one smart cookie!

  12. Hang in there! We are all fighting the same battle (DARN SALTINES!!!) This FOOD addiction is sometimes HARDER because uumm...well we need food to live! Big hugs and lots of support!!!

  13. You can do this.You have shown that you have what it takes to overcome addiction. Saltines are sugar in the form of a square. When you eat those little guys they turn right into sugar and if you are carb sensitive it sets up the craving for more.That craving is as strong as a craving for drugs. I think knowing that helps so that you don't think it is all up to will power or the lack of it.

    You are strong and you will succeed. Wishing you well today and all of the days ahead.

  14. I finished as well. I think times like this - those inner reflection times - are the times that we grow and get better. Sure, we may get knocked back down, but each time we get up, we move further along. There is one thing I know for sure about you - I KNOW you can do this.

  15. Oh Leslie, I just want to hug you, you are trying so hard! And you will figure this out.

    I hope you re-read Deb's comment several times. It has sooo much truth in there. There are the spiritual/mental/emotional sides, which are HUGE!

    But for SOME of us, there is truly a physical side... a substance that affects us, our brain chemistry, how we secrete hormones and blood sugar levels, enzymes, etc etc.

    For Deb, is was gluten. I was tested and am NOT allergic in the least to gluten. But I go bonkers and have "foodlust" when I allow myself to eat sugar, or things that quickly turn to sugar-- like flour or white potatoes. For me, eating a white potato is like eating pure table sugar!!

    Anyway, years ago I when I attended OA and AA meetings, I remember them talking about the connection between how alcohol affects some susceptible people, and those same people being susceptible to sugar/flour. So, perhaps this might help you?? It may or may not, but you could check into it. In fact, I'm thinking you already know about it, eh?

    Thing is, you'll get there, because you don't give up. Seek and you shall find. I believe that.


  16. Leslie, I have been going through the same thing. I havent been blogging because I feel like a hypocrite. I WANT THIS SO BADLY but for some reason, I have not even been trying lately. Im refocusing, but its a struggle to get myself motivated again. YOU CAN DO IT! WE can do it! Im here for ya girl!

  17. I feel for you, Leslie. Hang in there; you'll figure out how to get back into "drive". Hate it when something that I usually don't even care about (like saltines) trip me up.

    Give yourself a lot of credit for trying to find answers, and for chipping away at this.