Monday, August 08, 2011
Those of you who are familiar with the language of the 12 steps and particularly with OA (Overeaters Anonymous) know that it is referred to as a disease of isolation. This is because when the disease is in charge, it encourages us to hide from others while it goes on its merry way... pulling us into binge eating.
This is why among the tools of OA are a lot of connections with other people: call someone (Sponsor or another OA member), write about it, go to a meeting, etc.
Compulsive eaters (like me) have physiological responses to certain foods, the way alcoholics have them to alcohol, or drug addicts to their own substances of abuse. In the case of food, it is a slippery slope.
All that said, regular followers rejoiced with me over my Friday evening behavior... not being attracted by the ice cream or the chips. I celebrated it on my blog. But you notice that I brought two foods that are weaknesses into my home. The Mounds bar disappeared that night. The peanut butter remained, to call my name from the cupboard.
Saturday morning, in the middle of the bike ride, I had "second breakfast"... in order to "make weight" for my annual maintenance. This included a healthy wrap. But it also included an icy sugary coconut mocha coffee drink.
I made weight. A finish line. Goal met... which brings in the celebratory mind-set.
The physiology of the extra sugar and fat, though, added to the downward slide. On Sunday I wasn't feeling so hot. Even after writing my "going forward from here" blog, even after my morning workout... in the afternoon, I caved to the craves. I recognize that I was eating partly in an attempt to make myself "feel better". I ate things I don't normally. It added up to maybe twice my daily norm, in terms of calories (yes, of course I tracked it).
The thing we don't often blog about but those of us who are subject to binge eating and compulsive eating live with is the fear of relapse. We know how easy it is to gain not the two pounds I needed to gain... but ten, twenty, or fifty or more... because once starting down this slide, if not arrested at once, if we cave to the crave for a longer period... it keeps on going, and going, and going. Fed not just by food, but by shame and feelings of unworthiness.
Today, that's not going to happen. Remember about kicking perfectionism to the curb? Essential!
Today, I shall treat myself gently, as a human being, not a monster. Today I will nurture me, with foods I love that are good for me, too. Today I will have my normal activity. Today I will rejoice in being alive and in a day of recovery.
Life IS good, even when we have rocky patches. Spark on!
Sunday, August 07, 2011
Having done the year of maintenance weigh-in yesterday, I might be tempted to think of that as a finish line. A new day has dawned, and with it the next phase of the journey called life.
Today I am contemplating how wonderful living consciously, mindfully, in the moment is. I've been thinking about the elements that make living this way possible. I hark back to the six elements of The Solution by Laurel Mellin.
This book has been on my shelf since 1997, and I have blogged about it before, but it is worthy of a recap. What popped it into my thinking was the break conversation in the middle of the ride with Becky's Bikers yesterday.
One of our number brought up how interesting it is that our various journeys in life tend to be wrapped up in one metaphor or another. She didn't use the word metaphor, but I will, as to me, the weight thing *has* been my metaphor of learning to live fully.
Hers, and her family's, she said, was wrapped up in cancer... and learning everything she could to combat the genetic tendencies through healthy behavior. As I go back over and review The Solution, I find that these elements really apply to life in general. Whether our journey is wrapped in food, in some other addiction... in relationship issues, or specific health issues... we are all on this journey.
I think of the six elements as being six journeys in and of themselves. The author divides the elements into three categories: Mind, Body, and Lifestyle.
1. From weak nurturing to strong nurturing. This is where we parent ourselves... figuring out what we really need, as opposed to "stuffing" discomfort with an avoidance behavior.
2. From ineffective limits to effective ones. This is where we take a stand to define ourselves, rather than letting others define us.
3. From body shame to body pride. Here is where we encourage in ourselves the recognition of how wonderful the one body we've been issued in life is, and treat it with respect and honor.
4. From poor vitality to good health. This is where we face the music, go see the doctor, get underlying health issues that may be getting in the way identified and hopefully resolved. We make and follow plans that will work around / work with those issues and allow us to live fully anyhow!
5. From unbalanced eating to balanced eating. Here's where the whole "doing it" of nutrition comes in. We know what we need to eat... this step supports how to do it... how to achieve balance in content, timing, appreciation of the bounty that is food. Binges disappear as we establish that balance.
6. From stalled living to mastery living. Living in the moment and living with our priorities comes here. Identifying activity that is MEANINGFUL to each of us, and making sure it is a part of our days. What are we waiting for? If not immediately masters, we can be working toward that mastery... reading, going to classes, joining a club, or working appreciatively can all be part of the journey to mastery.
We have focus on different parts of these journeys at different times. Choose your focus.
Life's good. Spark on!
Friday, August 05, 2011
OK, so I posted a strange status. And you're getting a "two-fer" blog while I explain something that happened in my brain.
Some of you know that I'm a Jenny Craig maintenance client. The program / contract I signed with them had a provision that if I was within five pounds (up or down) from my goal weight on their scale, one year after having attained it... I get half my sign-up fee back. Any of you who has ever paid the freight on one of these "premium" weight loss plans knows that half your sign up fee is a significant bonus.
When I weighed in last month, I was 7 pounds under my "goal" on their scale. And tomorrow is that one-year of maintenance weigh-in. And as I am a daily weigh-er, I know what I was on my own scale that morning, and this morning. I have not gained those two pounds in the intervening month.
My consultant at the JC center is on my side, and made the suggestion to make my weigh in appointment later in the day than usual and make sure to eat lunch right before, and be well hydrated. If this does not do the trick, I have another friend who has actually done the experiment: two rolls of quarters makes a pound on the scale. There are pockets in my jeans, folks.
Still, being a compulsive eater, I found myself at the grocery store tonight thinking of deliberate ways of eating to gain. This is the tricky bit... you'd think this would be an ideal spot to be in. It's not.
Standing there staring at the ice cream, NONE OF IT APPEALED TO ME! I envisioned myself eating the way I used to, the way I did almost daily to gain the weight in the first place... and I just said to myself, "I wouldn't enjoy it. I would be eating it for entirely the wrong reason. I'm not hungry for it, I'm not craving it... why would I put myself through that?"
I went to the chips aisle. And the same thing happened! I looked at my old favorites, sour cream and onion flavored chips, and caramel corn and cheese popcorn... and I found myself reading the labels and saying... nope, it just does not call to me tonight.
I did end up with two "treats" in my cart. Natural peanut butter. And a Mounds bar. Both of which I've indulged in: 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter, spread on a wheat tortilla for supper... it was heavenly and the whole Mounds bar for dessert! I am still in the same boat on the scale, fully clothed... I may just have to put those rolls of quarters in my pocket and call it good.
The real surprise (to me) is that at least for today... I'm eating like a naturally thin person: if I am not hungry for it, if it doesn't appeal... it's not going into my mouth. I'm worth more to me than that. And hopefully, that means, "I'll take both my money AND my life, thank you!"
Will update after the fact, and let you know what happened at the scale.
Life's good... Spark on!
Friday, August 05, 2011
I spent the first several decades of my life in denial about the connection between the physical world around me and my health. My behavior? Pshaw! Nothing to do with my weight. Certainly nothing to do with an illness!
You'd think it would be obvious: lilacs in bloom? Sneeze, drippy nose, headaches! Iris in the house? Similar.
When I first went on a serious weight loss program, a healthy one... it showed me the clear link of calories in/calories out. That was the basis for all further learning. It took a while even after that to bring in the "allergy" connection.
You might think I was really, really stupid or ignorant. What I was was religious. I was raised in a faith of pure idealism, where your thought / prayers controlled your physical health. It "seemed to work" for me as a child. What it really did was calm me and enable me to wait out whatever it was that ailed me. No drugs, no diagnoses... I lived to adulthood, married, even bore a child with this faith intact. Until I first lost the weight, I didn't have the recognition of the connection... I buried it deep.
Bottom line, I learned that the rules of the physical world work. No matter that my parents "exempted" me from biology for religious reasons. The rules work. I'm obviously blessed with a strong enough genetic makeup to have survived, and in fact some studies show that letting your kids eat dirt (to use a metaphor of my mom's) makes them stronger. However, now, as an "over 50", having shed the religion that encouraged me into denial... I pay more attention to what's going on around me when I start to see symptoms.
This week, I'm noticing things. The kittens have been here since last Friday after work. I have started to notice more sneezing and drippy nose, scratchy throat at times. Not as pronounced as my sister's (who swelled up in a matter of minutes). It has taken a more prolonged exposure. Not horribly severe to the point of taking my Zyrtek. I will have to observe for a while, because there are always multiple factors: weather fronts do things to me, too.
When I go to work, I'm fine there. I keep the kitties out of my bedroom (perhaps this was prescient on my part) and I wake up clear. I am washing my hands more (I always do when handling animals, this is not new).
Will I have to give them up? Unless things become markedly worse, no. But I will continue to alter my behavior. This much I have learned... "the rules work"... therefore, follow the rules.
Life's still good... Spark on!
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