Friday, November 5, 2010

Full Throttle Friday

I'm going to change my goals this week because I'm sick of them, or rather reporting on them.  I'll be getting more specific about a couple, and omitting a couple.  Here's week 6:
1) Limit cals to 1700/day.  I didn't track so have no idea.  I had no bingeing but don't think I stayed in range everyday.  This will be addressed in the changes.
2) Exercise at least 20 mins 6 out of 7 days.  This is staying.  I got in 5 of 7.  I always do more than the 20 minutes, but often it's knowing I only HAVE to do 20 that gets me out there.  For once I established a smart goal for moi-self.
3) 100% accountability and honesty.  Yes, yes, yes, but I'm tired of this one.  Not tired of doing it, which I am, but tired of reporting it.  It will be jettisoned out.
4) Weigh in Fridays only.  This is also going.  Sometimes I need to "step up" more often.  Today was 207.5.  Down 0.5 since last Friday.  In the past, I would have said "big whoop" to a measly half pound loss.  Not anymore.
5) Stay in Challenge to the end not matter what.  I am.  I will.  This one is 86'd.  Say bye bye.
6) Not Thursday dinners out before weigh in.  Also 86'd.  I ate at home last night.  But if George Clooney rings me up and wants to do dinner on a Thursday, it's happening.  Take note, George.

It was a decent week.  I'm learning from other Hotties about modifying goals to reflect progress, lack thereof, or just to breathe new life into Friday reporting.
Goals for week 7:
1)  Write down everything I eat.  If I have time I can tally calories.  I still haven't looked into the various on line calorie recording methods you all suggested.
2)  Exercise 20 mins 6/7 days.
3)  No eating after 8 p.m.
That's it.  #s 1 and 3 will give me plenty to work on. 
I have to report that I finally signed up on Twitter, and I want to offer a public thanks to Karen at Waisting Time for helping me.  I tried to sign on a couple years ago and apparently got further than I thought in the short and easy process, but I never followed through.  Every time I've tried to sign up since, it would tell me my email address was already in Twitter and wouldn't let me advance further.  This happened again yesterday, and because Karen had talked about tweeting the other day I decided to email her my dilemma.  She made a simple suggestion that I should have thought of, and voila!  Now I have to figure out the rest of it, but I feel like I made a giant leap in my social networking capacity.  Thanks, Karen.  Something brilliant is always brewing over at her blog.  I'm on Facebook, but don't want my blog to show there because then an awful lot of my peeps would know what I weigh, 'mongst other things.  Like recovery in aa.  It's anonymous for a reason!

Speaking of AA, I can do Part Deux of Pickled now that all the other stuff is out of the way, like yesterday's rant about anonymous commenters.  How weird that I'm claiming my anonymity in the Facebook realm above and then lambasting anonymous commenters.  Trust me - it's entirely different.  And it's an essential component of AA for good reasons.

So regarding the question that once we've crossed over into destructive eating in a compulsive and addictive manner, even for awhile, does that mean that we can never again successfully indulge in certain foods or special holiday meals with all the trimmings without triggering old addictive behaviors?  Does the concept of being "pickled" in AA regarding alcohol and not being able to return to moderate drinking if one is alcoholic apply to food addiction? 

I don't know the answer.  As noted on Wednesday, 12 step food programs like OA, FAA and others would say the concept does apply to overeating.  Generally, they attach it to certain food substances like white flour, sugar, wheat, whatever.  But also, they note that for some, just eating larger than normal volumes of food, say at a holiday meal, or having unplanned snacks during the day also can "trigger" a food sensitive person back to crazytown with eating.  From my own experience, I have had periods of solid weight loss with planned meals and not been triggered by something like a slice of birthday cake.  But the opposite has been true at other times.  I don't think it's as absolute a distinction as it is with alcohol or drugs.  And yes, food programs say food is also a drug, and when I use it for other than nutrition, it is a drug.  I've had enough food comas to vouch for this.  Anything that is used to alter our mindstate can be a drug - food, booze, sex, gambling, shopping, smoking, etc. 

For me, I know that I have to pay attention to myself with food all the time if I want to keep my food intake reasonable, nourishing and physically satisfying.  If I start eating mindlessly, which I often do, then dollars to donuts I'll end up eating donuts.  Or Tastycakes.  Name your poison.  I can have a tendency to "awfulize" my various issues, like the eating, and turn it into something that feels overwhelming and hopeless.  The black and white of that kind of thinking can render me screwed before I get out of bed in the morning, and that just isn't necessary or even accurate.  Again, the aforementioned Karen talked about this today - both the black and white thinking and the mindfulness piece.

The automatic nature of my mind/emotions/thoughts/feelings to turn to food is astonishing when I pay attention.  But if I'm in blindmind eating, I don't even notice how automatic and habitual my pull to food is.  That's why tools like tracking or calling someone can be so helpful.  They provide a PAUSE in the fast forward motion of mindless behaviors.  Maybe that's why tracking has been such an annoyance to me...when I want what I want, I want it.  Don't want to take the time to write it down.

And here is an example from my AA experience.  For my first few months in AA, I continued having drinking episodes and would call my sponsor to tell her.  She finally said, "Leslie, call me BEFORE you drink, not after.  Even if you know you're going to do it anyway, make the call, and maybe you'll change your mind about that drink."  It's the equivalent of writing down every morsel, even the Nestles chocolate ones.  Or emailing a blog buddy and saying I'm contemplating a food orgy.  These little tricks that AA suggests to help not pick up the first drink do in fact translate very well to negotiating food addiction.  Whatever little mind games work - do 'em.  Because you can't get sober drinking, and you can't lose weight overeating and bingeing. 

So - I guess I have to say that I think it's possible to introduce previous trigger foods into one's food inventory when done with careful attention to what happens afterward.  Self honesty is essential but easy to omit.  Denial of what our body or mind wants to do after the first bite is also easy and avails nothing but more bites, possibly into food oblivion.  Yet it doesn't seem as black and white to me as alcohol.  I'd have to be knocked unconscious and have alcohol administered IV in order to try it again.  Without question.  Unconditional abstinence.  But with food, I'm not so sure.  It may be different for some, and even within that - there will likely be certain foods I know I'll never be able to successful ingest without the trip to crazytown.

Lastly - here's a story I heard about 3 years ago at a meeting.  A guy told the story that when he was only a couple months sober, his father became ill and ended up on life support.  There were several siblings and his mom involved, all of whom There was incredible emotional chaos among the family at all times.  Being sober, clearheaded and a bright fellow, he became the spokesperson and ultimate decision maker regarding the father's status. 

Finally the excrutiating question of pulling the plug came up, and the family members were in constant contention and argument over the right decision, and trying to influence this sober family member.  He shared about it at a meeting, literally in tears not knowing what to do.  Right after the meeting, an AA oldtimer said to him, "I know the answer.  I know what you should do."  The man was relieved and asked for the guy to give him that answer.  The oldtimer said, "Let's go for coffee and we'll talk about it."  Frustrated but desperate, the man agreed, and when they were sitting at the restaurant he begged for the oldtimer to tell him what to do.
And the answer came, "Just don't drink." 
"What?  How will that help anything?"
"If you don't drink, you have a shot at listening, praying, hearing what the doctors are saying, respecting family members' needs to be heard...and the next right thing will be revealed.  If you drink, all bets are off."
The man understood.  He'd been coming to AA long enought to get it.  To know that this difficult situation would eventually end tragically.  But if he stayed present and sober, he could be a part of the solution and the healing, rather part of the pain and heartache.

Funny - I have no recollection of how the story ended, but I'll never forget what that oldtimer said to the new guy.  Just don't drink.  And for myself, when I'm feeling overwhelmed, overjoyed, confused, in pain...not matter what - I choose to not drink.  And I can also choose to not turn to food to do anything other than nourish my body and keep me feeling strong, healthy and present for whatever life, or my head tosses up for me to deal with.


  1. I sure do love this post Leslie! Not only the Hot 100 stuff which you are tearing up but the pickled stuff... I've been thinking a lot about it myself since your original post. Thank you for that. Because it MADE me think about it. For me, it's not a triggering food, it's emotions that fire off and I'm turning to food. Which is why sometimes, (as you so aptly said) I can have my cake and eat it too and other times I have my cake and then have someone else's cake and so forth and so on. Great, great insight here. Just superb.

  2. I just love your brilliance. I'm going to say that to myself from now on when it gets bad...."Just don't eat".

  3. First, you are very welcome. And it served my own selfish interests too since I am looking forward to having a friend on Twitter with me:) I actually just sent you an email about this stuff.

    Second, I have to say that I love the humor you always inject into whatever you write. It makes me smile.

    Third, I get the anonymity thing. I have a separate FB profile. And wish the few people I knew were not reading my blog because every now and again I do censor myself because of them. Sigh.

    Now, pickled... I am laughing because I was soooo thinking how you sound like me and then I just got to my name. Yep, we are a lot alike. And I have certainly wondered in this past year if I am officially a food addict. Just one of many questions I have asked myself and been unable to answer. I think a key difference with food addiction and alcohol is that, like in your story, it is possible to stop drinking. But it is not possible to stop eating. So then we have to find a way to manage what we eat instead of just abstaining totally. Which brings you and me both back to that concept of moderation. Sigh.

    This was a great post. And you made me think of a few things that I had not thought about before. Like... maybe it is time for me to journal what I eat. I have not done that in ages. And maybe I need to reach out more for support either sharing that journal for accountability or to keep myself from starting when I feel a craving. Thinking.

    Sorry so long...

  4. Great post Leslie! I love how open and honest you are, not only with yourself, but with us!

    Okay, you are once step ahead of my on Twitter - I still can't figure out exactly what it even is! :D

    Hugs and happy weekend!


  5. Sigh. I'm like the new guy who wants an answer from the oldtimer.

    so, how can I be effortlessly superhuman about eating well--and then ridiculously weak about eating 'un'well--within days or hours?

    I'm tired of this whole food thing stewingin my head or ending up in my ouoth--I just want to be normal.

    That's the one answer I have down: I am NOT normal when it comes to food. Just not



  6. Holy cow. I need this.


    Thank you.

  7. I love that story about the drinking, or not drinking. It really does apply to other things in life than just drinking. Whatever is your weakness or your downfall, Just. Don't. Do. It. Very nice and well said!!

    Like the new goals! I've tweaked mine too. You're down weight, yea! Take it!!

  8. Things make a little more sense now with the sugar thing and the balance we need. It takes discipline. I must have realized that I might have a problem with desserts and sweets and that's why I have been avoiding them. Come to think of it most people when they binge, go for those type of things, so we learn something every day and thanks for being my teacher today, Leslie.


  9. I've admired your honest approach to blogging since I read your first post.

    It would seem to me (please correct me if I'm wrong) that abstaining from food is tougher than abstaining from liquor. The reason being that it is socially acceptable, at least in my circles, to decline liquor but food is everywhere. And you still have to eat ... something. Food is connected with love, reward, celebration and fellowship. You can go out to dinner and have an iced tea and no one bats an eye. The booze is always optional; the food is not.

    Hey, I'm still an anonymous blogger. I have a facebook and lots of "friends." Even Mr. Splurge has no clue. It's really just for me. I would censor myself too much if I thought others were reading.

  10. This was an excellent post. Thanks for thinking deep fro all of us tired out buy our comings and goings of the week.

    I have only been at this for 4 months, so I do not have enough new history, yet. But, I can say that I think you can indulge in the things that you enjoy. SO far I am able to do this. But, it is in limited in moderation and I budget them (whatever they are) into my daily calories. So far, I have not been tempted to binge. Or overindulge. I think I am over the overindulging part. I think.

  11. What a valuable post, esp the part two of Pickled.. So much to think about... so many questions... not really many firm answers.
    I guess we all have to wrestle with it and come up with our own answers, that fit us personally.

    Just. Don't. Eat.
    Well... I've been saying I wanted a tattoo.... ;-)


  12. Anything that is used to alter our mindstate can be a drug - food, booze, sex, gambling, shopping, smoking, etc. - SO TRUE!

    What is it about the human condition that we seek these distractions? So many deep questions....

    All we can do is answer for ourselves, and I admire you because you always have your head in the game, trying to find your answers. Go, Leslie!

  13. Great post. I think you had a pretty good week too! You know me, I am all in favor of chaning goals if they are getting too easy or too frustrating. Goals should motivate you to improve. If they aren't doing that, something is wrong.

    ~South Beach Steve