Friday, May 21, 2010

Brief whine - then Enough

Today's affliction over which I'm seeking dominion is poison ivy. Recall my epic yard work of last Sunday. The garden is looking beautiful; my arms, not so much. Actually it's mainly my left arm, but it's getting worse each day. I bought an 8 dollar bottle of Ivy-Dry the pharmacist sincerely assured me would dry it up in a snap. That was Tuesday. Yes, it's Friday, and the rash is not only NOT dried up, it's spreading despite my best efforts to not scratch. I took these pics Wednesday, and all areas are now more inflamed, larger, and ITCHING FROM THE INSIDE OF MY BONES. (Just like a self-absorbed blogger to take a pic of the back of her elbow, just for effect, huh?!) And with God as my witness, I will not resort to Prednisone to stop this, which I've often had to do in the past. A couple of new (and unphotographed) patches have cropped up above my wrist, but I think I've grossed you all out enough. This isn't the end of the world, but it woke me last night around 3 a.m., and I couldn't go back to sleep until after ingesting a sizeable swig of liquid Benadryl to stop the itching. This rendered me unconscious and thereby unable to do my morning 35-40 minute walk I've been doing all week. The way Benadryl knocks me out, I could probably have open-heart surgery while under it's hypnotic influence. Unfortunately, no buzz. But with a hangover. Insert frown.


Yesterday was another good food day, along with a second brisk 3 mile walk after work. As predicted I did have some eating thoughts after finishing an awesome stir fry and brown rice dinner. Sometimes I think that when dinner tastes soooooo good, it makes me want something more. If dinner is just average, it seems easier to turn off the "wanter". It's yet another bane of my dysfunctional relationship with food. I love it, enjoy cooking it, using fresh ingredients, trying out new seasonings and recipes. But it seems the less emphasis and joy I associate with eating, the easier it is for me to stay the course. Does that make sense? I'm not accepting that this is how my life needs to be with food in order for me to lose weight - bland unremarkable meals taken only for nutrition - no joy allowed. But it is a real phenomenon I've noticed before. Making peace with food and all that it brings is another intention I have. Letting enough be enough.

Enough as a concept has long been touted in the annals of food addiction and related 12 step programs. In keeping with my lexicographic tendencies this week, I googled definitions of "enough", and found the precise vagueness I expected. Why vagueness? Because what is "enough" is entirely in the mind of the experiencer. It's subjective, which is defined as an opinion or notion distorted by personal bias or emotion.

Some examples:
A woman stays in an abusive relationship beyond the first evidence of its nature. Maybe for days, weeks, years, or until she's killed. Never had enough.

Another experiences one bizarre episode with a partner where she is in some way knocked around, emotionally or physically, and she's gone. Had enough.

A third tolerates abuse from a partner, but when he/she puts a hand on her child, she's gone. Finally enough.

My usually dessert-abstaining friend has a piece of cake after dinner for a special occasion. She eats 2/3 of it, notes how awesome it tastes, proclaims herself stuffed and pushes the plate away with the remaining third uneaten. Had plenty. More than enough.

I have the piece of cake, finish it, and start thinking what will be the next thing to eat, since I've already "stumbled" for the day with the cake. Full, maybe stuffed, but haven't had "enough".

It sounds crazy. It's real, and not just for me. There is no objective quality to "enough", because what is deemed enough IS distorted by emotion and personal bias.

So getting back to definitions - Merriam-Webster online says: "occurring in such quality, quantity or scope as to fully meet demands, needs or expectations". HA. That may be what enough is, but then what is enough? Catch the drift? Is it as much as necessary, an adequate amount, or sufficient for the purpose?

In AA, it's often discussed that a person has had enough (of the endless day to day drudgery and devastating consequences an addictive life brings) when they finally become "Sick and tired of being sick and tired". Now the definition of that quote has been the subject matter of countless memoirs and articles over the centures. One good friend of mine drank through her children's childhoods - totally, causing emotional wreckage and devastation in their lives that is still unraveling years later. She lost a good job because of her drinking. A teacher by trade, she just hadn't had enough until............get this, she was "fired" as a volunteer Sunday School teacher because of her drinking. Emotional family wreckage couldn't bring her to the bottom, but the ego jolt of being denied a teaching role at church somehow got through.

Enough is tricky stuff. With my eating, I get enough to meet my physical needs each day with little effort. But then there's the enough I need to get more good taste, alternate the sweet with the salty, get me through a difficult circumstance, stuff the fact that while my mom did the best she could with me, it wasn't enough. Little Leslie needed more, and she's been seeking it ever since.

So now I pray that for today, I can let enough be enough. As it pertains to my unique self. It's the principle on which rigid food plans are based. Cover the basic metabolic and health maintenance needs and be done. But that just isn't how I can find my own peace with food. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. And of having a midriff that feels bulgy with certain bras. It feels good to eat cleanly but also enjoy the food to the max. A lot of paradox swirling around, and within it all is enough for me to lose the weight I intend to lose. Patience will help.


  1. I hope you arm heals quickly!! That does look awful :( Have a great weekend!

  2. Did you pick a mantra? If not maybe "Enough IS Enough!" would be a good one.

    I hate to say it but when Mr. Helen gets the ivy like that it always ends up in steroids. Feel better soon!

  3. ok you have a free pass from swimming :)

    SO SORRY you are itchy.
    I know the sick and tired of being sick and tired bit. You are making better choices every year, month, week...really as you discover yourself and look at why.

  4. Anonymous21 May, 2010

    What a "full" post! Love the insights & the thought processes.

    First, the poison ivey--ack! I rarely get it anyplace than on the inside of my wrist & on one finger. shrug. But my hubby gets it BADLY and refuses to go to the MD for the shot that fixes it in a day. He tried the Ivy dry to no avail. There is a pink potion--not the old calamine stuff every one used to get--that did work. It was more expensive than the IvyDry & darned if I can remember the name. This may not be too helpful, huh? But, maybe you can scan the pharmacy shelf again & look for the pink stuff upgrade. Sorrry.

    Re: enough! I hear ya. I truly cannot understand how anyone can push away half-eaten cake. Really. Even if its not very good...

    As I've said before, tho, now that I'm off gluten, I really am able to have enough and stop-even if I love what I'm eating. It is an amazing feeling. I have a teensy desire to continue, just because it's so good and that's what I am used to doing, but I am able to easily talk myself down. Couldn't before. For me, it's the gluten that sets off the sweets cravings and binges.

    You'll find your key. Your willingness to think it thru will getit for you. It will.


  5. Wow, Leslie, that is a LOT! Hit some notes with me, for sure.

    "But it seems the less emphasis and joy I associate with eating, the easier it is for me to stay the course." I never thought if it that way, but I might be the same way!

    Really thought-provoking on what is "enough". All we know is what is enough for ourself (and sometimes not even that until we hit it), but we can't judge others by their "enough", if that makes any sense at all. I know there is no grammatical value to that statement.

    Ohhh, you poor thing with the itchy ivy! Been there, done steroids. Such misery is such misery.

    Do what you have to do to get by, in all scenarios. And check back with us in the morning.

  6. Aw honey. I hope your arm and your scale feel better. I hope the poison ivy dies and so does your need for more.

    Because you work hard, keep trudging away and are so darned persistent. May confidence strike you and may you never recover.

  7. Yesterday, I was offered half of a very decadent, caramel-centered homemade cookie, and tried to explain, as I turned it down, how it wasn't that I couldn't afford the calories in that half a cookie; it was that I couldn't afford the cravings it would trigger and the knowledge that I would either have to fight it off all evening (surrounded by tons of desserts) or give in...and either way, I wasn't going to be happy. In my case, one is too many and 100 is never enough.

    Hope your arm gets better - that itching would drive me batty!

  8. Lots to think about in this post Leslie.

    BTW, have you tried one of those epi pens? I hear they are like a miracle when you get poison ivy.

  9. I was thinking the same as Helen. Prednisone is E-V-I-L so hopefully you won't have to use it.

    Benedryl has a spray that is helpful to spray on the itchy spots. Also, Aveeno Oatmeal bath helps too.

    Signed your itchy sis!

  10. Prednisone adds 5 pounds to me just thinking about it.
    I like Helen's idea for your mantra.

    What a great post!

    I've never had poison ivy in my life. Hope you find some relief SOON!

  11. Hi Leslie. Anti-histamines totally knock me out too. Have you tried Benadryl cream? Or an ointment with local anesthetic like Savlon. I find both of these help with my itchy psorasis.

    It has been shown that repetitious food does indeed decrease appetite. At times when I've had things under strict control I have basically eaten the same stuff every day. Not that I don't enjoy the food - I do. But I think it definitely cuts off my desire for excess. Becasuse if your brain gets bored with it then you are eating only for nutrition and not for pleasure so much.

    It works for me.

    Hope you have a good weekend!

    Bearfriend xx

  12. oh no! Hope your itchiness goes away soon! :(

    *leaving cuz I am itchy.... lol

  13. Your discussion on Enough was full of thoughts. So true about it being relative.

    One thing I am certain... we were meant to be able to enjoy our food. But then, those of us with food issues get that all mixed up, out of balance.

    When I learn to have balance and peace with food, I know I can totally enjoy and appreciate it, yet remember it's highest purpose is nutrition, and so be able to stop at the right time. That is my ultimate goal... just a "normal" relationship with food!

    We'll get there!

  14. If you think about the evolution of food/cooking, I think you will agree this TO DIE FOR LEVEL of food is a very recent thing.

    The "over stimulated taste bud level of food as a constant" is not a natural part of our food chain.

    It is a product of modern technology and marketing.

    So I think it is actually 'normal' to respond in a reasonable way to food that is natural. Be able to eat in serving sizes and not lust after more, More, MORE.

    And for most of us here, it is also fairly normal (to us) to have a severe case of the WANTS when it is 'too good to be true food'.

    When having bread was based on raising/harvesting wheat and then grinding it into flour - people ate a pretty appropriate amount of carbs. And they worked off what they ate.

    when one had to churn the butter - it was precious and used in scant quantities.

    Having each food be a 'party' is not 'normal'.

    Food is nutrition not an event.

  15. I hope your poison ivy heals up soon. I agree with a good dinner wanting more and a not so good wanting less. I am still working hard on that one.


  16. Sorry about the poison ivy...I've never experienced it but it doesn't look like any fun.

    I've got the same problem with "enough" when it comes to food tasting "too good" as opposed to somewhat bland, boring or mediocre. You'll notice I sometimes eat egg white scrambles for dinner just for this reason....that's what I had last night because I knew if I started in on the noodles I'd fixed for Dwayne, I'd be in some serious trouble. I'm trying to break out of it though. I went through one of my recipe books the other night and am going to try to fix some new stuff this week while still keeping the calories under control. :)

  17. Anonymous23 May, 2010

    Nice post i like it, keep blogging and If you want too, kindly and please visit my blog thank you in advance.

    I would like also to share this to your reader,... The Succes and Opportunity Family:

    The father of succes is WORK,
    The mother of succes is AMBITION,
    The oldest son of succes is COMMON SENSE
    The oldest daughter of succes is CHARACTER,
    Some sisters of success are CHEERFULNESS, LOYALTY, CARE, ECONOMY, and SINCERITY,
    The baby is OPPORTUNITY.

  18. Anonymous24 May, 2010


  19. Very interesting post...

    Hope the rash clears up very soon - it looks so uncomfortable... :o( My one experience with Benadryl was the first time I visited the US. I had the most awful jetlag and couldn't sleep at all the first three nights I was there. A pharmacist recommended the stuff and I was out for the count about 30 minutes after I'd taken a dose! I can't believe you can buy it over the counter! (But then a friend of mine in MT can't believe you can buy codeine over the counter here!)

  20. Ouch! I'm itchy just looking at those pictures. Hope you feel better soon.