Archives for posts with tag: Successful Moments

Well, somehow I’ve reached my first goal which was (as I remember it) to get under 200 lbs.

As of this morning I am officially in “One-derland”! I weighed in at 199.5 pounds. Just under the wire, but I’ll take it!

Honestly, since I’ve gone back to eating carbs the weight has been coming off more slowly. Especially since I had my period last week. I was hovering at 201.5 lbs for a couple of weeks and didn’t have much to say other than, “I have to eat carbs because if I don’t I get so dizzy and nauseated I get nervous to drive and have to lie down every day.” Not fun.

But I think I’ve discovered that if I just don’t eat crappy junk food, processed food, cookies, sweets, etc. while I’m taking this medicine and eating normally I can do fine.

I’ve been thinking what to call this type of eating… and although this might be too filled with judgement for many people who struggle with food, for now I’m calling it “eating like a grown up”. Let’s face it, my kids eat a ton of stuff that I would love to eat, but just shouldn’t. They are still growing and I’m not. Their bodies and metabolisms can handle daily ice cream and cookies. Mine can’t.

My parents, my in-laws, most of my friends, all of whom are at a normal weight, don’t eat that crap except on special occasions. So, that’s what I’m trying to do. It’s what I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks and I’ve lost 3 pounds since starting so that’s ok by me.

I lost 10 pounds the first month on this medicine and seriously dieting. But I felt like crap all of the time and it was not sustainable.

I lost 5 pounds the second month on this medicine and just eating like “a grown-up”. I feel basically healthy and fine and much less tortured by food.

We’ll see how month three goes.

One caveat to the eating plan… I’m generally not eating wheat. I’ve realized that it really does give me a headache. I say things like this all the time after I stop eating wheat. I must sound like a moron now for “realizing” the same things over and over again. But it’s true. Wheat makes my head hurt. But, I’m not interested in feeling massive amounts of deprivation or frustration right now. (We’ve got enough going on with my son.) So, if I’m at home, I stick with gluten free. If I’m in a restaurant I try to avoid it, but if I have a little of it out I’m not going to panic about it or feel guilty.

For today, that’s the plan

 

After four days of being on this new plan of eating I decided that I needed to know what was going on. So, I weighed myself on Saturday morning, two days earlier than I had planned.

I stepped on the scale and thought to myself, well, this is it.

I lost 1 pound in those 4 days.

So, now, I’m committed to this new plan.

For now.

For as long as it works.

But this new medication has made me say something I never thought I would: I need the carbs.

Not junk food carbs… just some occasional slices of gluten free bread for a sandwich or an apple in the afternoon. Itkeeps my blod sugar up which keeps me from feeling dizzy, nauseated, and exhausted. I consider this a win.

So, I’ll wait until Wednesday for my next weigh in and be hopeful that the loss continues.

201.5 and counting.

I weighed myself on Wednesday, but the week was so hectic I forgot to log it.

I weighed 159 pounds.

I have no idea why I was up two pounds.

Right now, I kind of don’t care as I don’t have the brain space to analyze it. There’s just too much going on to obsess right now.

But, I had a moment that those of us who’ve lost a seriously significant amount of weight call a “non-scale victory”.

We got hit with a lot of rain the past two days and one of the gutters was basically just hurling down water and it was clear that there was something blocking it. So, this morning, I went out and cleaned my gutters.

Climbing up and down the ladder wasn’t really a big deal. I’ve spent a lot of time up and down ladders in my life.

What was remarkable for me was that in order to reach two of the gutters I had to climb around on the roof of the first floor of the house. I actually had the thought of, thank goodness I don’t weigh as much as I used to.

I felt that way for two reasons: 1. I wasn’t as worried about the roof caving in from my weight. and 2. I was able to actually get up and down from there without killing myself.

Small wonders. Small victories.

Sunday night my mother slept over at my house while my husband was out of town. After the kids went to bed she and I folded laundry and had a conversation about the concerns we each have about the ramifications of our moving plans. (My husband and me moving to a larger house that would have rooms for her and my father to stay in when they visit rather than them maintaining a house here anymore.)

I talked about my concerns about carrying the costs of a larger house and the strain it will have on our budget.

I talked about my concerns that she feel at home in my house and yet needing to maintain it as my house, not hers.

I talked about my concerns about everyone feeling as though they are being treated fairly.

I talked about my concerns that we not sell our house before we know where we are going since I have two small kids and we need something really specific that there aren’t a lot of out there on the market.

Some of the concerns she brought up I agreed with, some I thought were a bit unnecessary, but one brought me up short in light of my own issues. She said she was worried about the fact that “we eat differently” and that she’s afraid I “won’t let her have her food”. I asked her to clarify and realized that she was talking primarily about my son’s food allergy but she also said, “will you let me have chocolate covered almonds in the house”?

I immediately responded that of course she could have chocolate covered almonds in the house and I even made a joke about dedicating an entire shelf in the pantry to her cereal and crackers. I also reassured her that I have a ton of stuff in the house that I don’t eat; whole cabinets dedicated to snacks both my kids eat, other cabinets dedicated to snacks my daughter can have but my son can’t, other sets of things my husband and daughter eat but my son and I don’t. It’s kind of a hodgepodge of stuff here.

But in the days since our conversation I have been thinking a lot about this interaction and realized two important things that have both helped my sense of self and my feelings of success in my war with my eating disorder, and shed some major light on the three pointed relationship of my mother, food, and me.

The first is that I really do have a house full of food that I can’t eat and that I don’t even really think about it ever. I even handle it on a daily basis while filling my kids’ lunchboxes and serving them dinner and dessert. It passes through my hands and I never for a second think of it stopping in my hands or heading towards my mouth. The jar of Easter candy is still, as ever, untouched by me. I don’t think of it as “my food” and I can tune it out as easily as choosing which picture to look at on a crowded museum wall.

That feels good.

The second is realizing the extent to which I am now the one in the driver’s seat when it comes to food and my mother. I no longer worry about what I eat in front of her because I no longer worry about what I eat. I don’t doubt myself in my food choices anymore and so when she is there with me I don’t care what she sees me eat. I know I’m making the choice that are best for me. I’ve essentially elbowed her out of my relationship with food.

Thank Goodness!!

It feels great.

It also feels a bit weird to think that on some level she is looking to me to allow her to eat what she wants.

Seriously, I have to type that again because it feels so weird.

She is looking to me to allow her to eat what she wants.

Good lord, that is liberating!

I think the most wonderful part of it is that because I have finally come to terms with my food plan and my body I can accept her food choices as being separate from mine and not some sort of weird and convoluted judgement on mine. Which means I can simply be gracious and tell her, “you can eat whatever you want in my house”, and I can mean it.

I used to have to struggle to feel like an adult. I don’t any more. The years have granted me the victory of knowing in my bones who I am. Being able to apply this to my struggles with food and with the role my mother played in the development of my relationship with food makes me feel free.

It’s not been easy getting this monkey from my back. But it’s a relief every time I see a new way that I’ve been liberated by it being gone.

It was innocuous enough at time time, but in retrospect I realize I may have had something of a break through the other day on that field trip.

I was diving to the site with five other mothers and was sitting next to the one I have gotten to know the best. We text nearly every day as our daughters have become the best of friends and we’re constantly coordinating activities and visits.

Since we had all packed our own lunches, and it was a group of women, it was inevitable that we would start talking about food and dieting and weight.

I’ve spent most of my life ashamed of my weight. I’ve spent the past eight years trying to pretend that I had never been fat enough to need weight loss surgery and hidden from most everyone the fact that I had it. I also hide the fact that I have an eating disorder and when people offer me my trigger foods I dodge and hedge and know that I wind up looking awkward and weird and no one understands why I won’t just take a piece of birthday cake already! I’m self-conscious about my food plan and try to pretend that I’m a “normal eater”. I’ve never been able to stand having to explain my food choices to well meaning people who just end up confused.

But I’ve been thinking lately about the fact that when I was at my thinnest as an adult, the two years between having my surgery and getting pregnant with my son, I was still stressing about my weight. Then, I spent the past five years since my son was born struggling to get the weight back off. On any day of the past five years I probably would have traded my little toes just to weigh what I weighed then.

Now I do. And I’m still stressing about my weight planning to make another push to lose another 10-12 pounds!

It struck me that I’m never allowing myself to enjoy my success.

It’s important to clarify that by “enjoying my success” I don’t mean “eat what I want and pretend it can’t hurt me anymore” which is what it would have meant for most of my life.

By “enjoying my success” I mean being proud of myself for my accomplishment and being proud of my imperfect body.

Back to the drive to the field trip on Thursday… I don’t recall how the conversation began, but at some point my companion was complaining about her weight and how she knows she should cut out the carbs but just won’t do it because she loves them too much. Keep in mind this is a woman who appears to be a tad overweight, but you’d never consider fat. She wasn’t espousing a desire to be thin so much as back to the weight she had been before having children. A common theme.

I joked that it had taken me five years to get the “baby weight” off and that it was only by making some radical changes, and making them permanent, that I was able to succeed. She acknowledged this, but I could see she wasn’t really sold because I only met her in October and she’s never seen me heavier than I am right now in my size 6 clothes. So, I chuckled and said, “I could show you pictures”. She was seems genuinely interested so I pulled out my phone, where I keep two photos of me at my absolute heaviest, and showed them to her.

The shock on her face, in her voice, and permeating her reaction was so intense it was actually funny.

And suddenly, I was really freaking proud of myself. In that instant I saw all of this through her eyes and really felt for the first time how freaking amazing what I’ve done is and what a super accomplishment it is. It felt really good. She laughed a bit and said, in a knowing way, “you keep them on your phone,” and I said, “yep, that way whenever I feel tempted to eat a bagel or pasta or something that I know will harm me I just have to look at it and remember that it’s not harmless for me, it’s too easy to get back to that and I don’t ever want to get back to that again”.

The amazing part was…

I.

Meant.

It.

Suddenly, I was liberated from all the shame, guilt, embarrassment, and doubt of hiding where I’ve come from and why I eat the way I do. Holy cow, it felt good.

So now, my perspective has shifted and my answer, when unknowing people politely push me to take some sort of food that I can’t eat, is going to be simply, “you know, I don’t eat [fill in the blank]” and if they press I’ll say, “thank you, but after losing 90 pounds it’s just not worth it”.

The best part will be saying it with pride.

Monday and Tuesday I was ravenous. All. Day. Long.

Yesterday morning I weighed myself and was up 1/2 pound.

Yesterday I tried to go shopping for summer clothes that fit and was unable to find anything I liked and came home empty handed and discouraged.

Last night I lost my temper with my daughter because she was being a whiny complainer.

This morning I got my period.

Good lord, you’d think I’d be able to put the pieces of the puzzle together by now, right?

But, no, it’s still a mystery and no matter how I chart my cycle it always seems to come early. Except when it doesn’t. And then I panic that my tubal ligation stopped working after four years and I’m magically pregnant. Which is it’s own brand of delusional catastrophic thinking that even if I didn’t invent I sure as heck have perfected!

So right now I’m having a glass of water and just breathing and allowing myself to slow down and relax. Yes, I have a busy day running all over hill and dale. Yes, I won’t get home until late and I’ll be exhausted. Yes, I have my period and I hate how it makes me feel.

But, this too shall pass.

I’m packing my lunch and dinner and taking them with me. I’m packing some snacks and an extra thermos of water. No doubt I’m over packing but that is better than under packing in my opinion because it will keep me well insulated from temptation.

I will not give into any cravings that might arise for either junk or convenience foods today. At dinner time I will sit in Panera with my daughter as she eats her carb laden dinner (God bless her little body for being able to handle it) and I’ll eat my yogurt and ham & asparagus wraps and be just fine. I will.

I am prepared to take care of myself and that is what I shall do.

And, again, this too shall pass.

Thank goodness.

I haven’t written anything since last Thursday because the wedding was a monster that consumed my life for several days, and now getting back to my normal life and getting my house in order is taking a bit of time.

But I just have to say how beautifully everything went and how happy and proud of myself I am.

I can’t believe that I pulled that off from afar and it went off without a hitch.

I took care of myself in advance, packing a good healthy lunch for the car ride. Then I made sure to take breaks on the day of the wedding to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch so I could stay sane and focused. I stayed on plan the whole weekend and never even felt a desire to veer off the path.

The cake was a smash hit. It was beautiful and I impressed even myself with how professional it looked. Also, it was, apparently, delicious and people kept coming up to me an effusively complimenting me on it. The truth is, it didn’t even tempt me.

Now, I’m not so foolish to think that I have somehow triumphed and am therefore cured. Nope. I just passed in, out, and through this challenge in my path and I did it to the best of my abilities.

It feels great.

Hopefully, I’ll have time to write more tomorrow. But for today… well, today is good.

Today was a good day. Even though I spent about 10 hours working on the wedding cake doing fillings and frostings.

The truth is that I think those days of panic and anxiety from the cake sort of flushed it out of me and I don’t really care about it anymore.

It is enormous. I mean, it’s 4 cakes, each of which is about 8 inches high! They are so heavy I’m frankly more worried about the lower tiers collapsing once it assembled than I am worried about wanting to eat it!

Oddly enough, I’m feeling really proud of myself. Not in some sanctimonious self-aggrandizing way where I’m so fantastically superior for being able to survive this close encounter with my trigger.

No, I’m proud of myself for not trying to muscle my way through it on willpower alone. I would have failed if I’d tried to do that.

No, I’m proud of myself for continuing with my plan and not tinkering and messing with things to manipulate the situation. That would have lead to failure also.

No, each day I just ate what was on plan for me, as I had planned, and didn’t try to satisfy some emotional need with food.

I wrote about what I was feeling instead of denying it or allowing it to stay in my head where it could fester and undermine me.

On another level I’m also proud of myself because I’m realizing how truly difficult this task itself is for a home cook/baker. I’ve never made anything on this scale before. I’ve cooked for crowds before. I’ve even prepared a 4 course sit down dinner for 18 people. It was a lot of work, and it took a couple of days to put together, but cooking is essentially creative and I love being able to tinker with recipes and alter them to conform to my food plan.

But baking is different. It’s an exact science and there are so many many things that could go wrong. The cake is not perfect, but so far it’s pretty awesome and it’s nice that after suffering through this I’m at least feeling good about what I’ve accomplished. Of course, I still have to see if I can transport it 300 miles without disaster, if the tiers stand up, if I succeed in decorating it sufficiently, and if people actually like eating it. But I’m feeling good about what I’ve accomplished so far.

Best of all, I’m back to feeling good about me.

I’ve learned something: that cake doesn’t own me.

It’s in my garage because I chose to put it there. It’s not haunting me. I’ve banished it.

I’ve banished it because I don’t need it.

It’s pretty liberating to realize that.

I guess this kryponite needs a buy-in from me to work and, for today at least, I’ve not buying.

It’s hard for me not to notice the behavior of others when it comes to food. Frankly, it’s hard for me not to observe others intensely in general, in part because I’m an observant person, but also because it’s my field of study and work. But, noticing people’s relationship to food happens so naturally for me because I am constantly trying to observe my own relationship to food.

I try not to be judgmental in my observations  I try to use what I observe in others to help me figure out things about my own dysfunctions with food. Often times those observations lead me to reflect and develop insights about myself I might not have been able to come to otherwise.

Last Thanksgiving we were with my mother-in-law and her husband, and their blended family. I’ve believed for years and years that my husband’s step-father (let’s call him Harry because that’s way shorter to type!) has a binge eating disorder. He’s admitted as much to me in the past, but he doesn’t seem to want to do anything about it. In fact, last summer, he told me that while I’ve always fought my addiction he just gives into it. This makes me sad.

His weight has always been an issue for him. He’s suffered from a heart attack about 10 years ago and he has diabetes. The number of medications he takes daily is startling and he often forgets to take them which makes us all very nervous. The thing that makes us the most nervous is his diet because he’s constantly making excuses as to why he can eat what he wants instead of what’s good for him. But last Thanksgiving he’d seen my weight loss success, and my husband’s, and he decided he wanted to give our diet a chance. But, he didn’t consult his doctor first, which is a must when you have health problems like he does, and he dove in head first. He lost 6 pounds in the first 5 days and was feeling great. Then in the middle of the second week his blood sugar started to plummet because the low-carb diet mixed with the medications he takes to lower his blood sugar combined in a terrible way. (See this is why you MUST see a doctor before starting any new diet plan! Especially when you have health problems!)

He had an appointment to see his doctor but decided to postpone it so he could get some blood work done. It was postponed by more than a month. So, in the intervening time, he went completely off the wagon. Again.

They were visiting us in January and while his wife was out with my kids he went and got himself a cheese-steak for lunch, with french fries on the sandwich, and a bag of chips, and a soda. When he walked in the door to my house with that and started eating it I confess I couldn’t hold my tongue. I asked him why he was eating that when he knows how bad it is for him. His answer was, “I can’t get these where I live.”

Ok, so long long long background to get me to my point. Sorry about that. But that sentence that he uttered there tells me so much. It tells me that he will never succeed in trying to lose weight and keep it off for the simple reason that he sees any attempt to lose weight as a temporary change in his eating habits that he will not sustain if and when he gets to his goal.

When I was thinking about this earlier today I realized that this is exactly how I’ve thought about my food plan my whole life. Even in the years after getting into Overeaters Anonymous part of me still looked at it as a weight loss plan, especially in these years since our son was born. But it can’t be temporary. It can’t be just about losing weight for it to work. It has to be for life.

The post-op plan my WLS surgeon’s office promoted is called “The Program For Life”. There’s a double entendre there: it’s the program that will give you back your life. It’s also the program you have to follow for life.

It took a while for this to get through my head and into my stomach. This is how I have to eat forever.

To keep me at a healthy weight.

To keep me sane.

To keep me loving myself.

To keep me caring for myself.

To keep me capable of being present for my loved ones.

To keep me feeling alive.

At anytime before I think that would have bummed me out. But right now, it’s just a relief to know that I get it.

Finally.

And I’m not giving it up.

At least, not today.

I was listening to a radio program the other day and the host was interviewing a psychologist. They were discussing habits and techniques people can use to make changes to their habits, for the better.

This is not a subject that is totally new to me, after all, I am a psychologist and I’ve worked with many many people suffering from addictions. I’ve also spent a lot of time struggling with my own food addiction.

In the program the psychologist stated that study after study show that the best way to lose weight isn’t a particular diet, but rather, it’s the practice of keeping a food log or journal. His argument was that by writing down what you eat you change the habits around eating which in turn forcibly change how and what you eat, usually resulting in losing weight.

My first response was to chime in with my own hearty “yes”. In the past 9 months of my weight loss and maintenance I have kept a food log everyday. It helps in both known and unknown ways.

At the same time, I’m also reminded of a conversation I had with my husband a long time ago when he asked me about what diets “worked” for me. We got into a discussion of what it means for a diet to “work”. I acknowledged that every diet I’d ever been on had “worked” for a time in so far as it helped me to lose weight for a while. However, no diet had ever “worked” for me in the sense that each was time limited and when I eventually broke the diet (usually out of an inability to continue) I gained back all the lost weight.

What I’ve been doing for the past 9 months has resulted in weight loss for me. More importantly it has resulted in an emotional stability and sanity for me. Most importantly, I have learned that this way that I have been eating, isn’t a “diet” in terms of a way of eating for a finite period of time in order to lose weight. No, this is a “diet” for me in terms of this is my food plan, how I eat, by the more general definition of the word.

Yes, keeping a food log probably did help and continues to help me immeasurably. But had I been on “low-fat high-carb diet”  no food log could have kept me on track. I know. I’ve done that. Most recently, in the fall of 2011. For 7 weeks. I kept a daily food journal. I lost about 10 pounds. I fell off the wagon, never went back, and bounced back up the scale 20 pounds.

Finding out what my normal diet should be was what was truly essential to my success.

That said, I’m still keeping the food journal.

It really does help.