Friday, July 31, 2009

Climbing Back in the Saddle

A month ago, as I was bending over and shaving my legs, I felt a pop in my hip and a sudden, acute pain. Immediately it hurt to stand, bend, sit or walk.

I've spent most of the last month dealing with and avoiding the outcome of that Saturday morning.

Most of this month has been about pain and injury and healing and adaptation.

And I'm not gonna lie, friends: It's been about bingeing too.

I spent most of May and June fighting my lack of desire to cook and trying to figure out how to feed myself. Then this injury put me in a place where most movement hurt and I took the familiar, easy road for me. I started eating out again.

I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm not going to whine and moan and complain either. And I'm also not going to go all self-righteous and declare a moratorium on all treats and indulgences and allergy-ridden foods.

I'm just going to breathe through it and not go anal-retentive or perfectionist. The only place that has ever gotten me in the past is smack dab in the middle of another binge.

I'm just trying to own up to reality and deal with it differently than I have in the past.

So, in the spirit of good fun and because I love details, here are some of the things I have consumed the past few weeks that haven't been a part of my normal lifestyle for several months.

Chocolate: and by that I mean milk chocolate, candy bars, peanut m&ms--you know, the kind of stuff you pick up in the checkout line at the grocery store, not the good, expensive, dark chocolate that I tend to prefer when I'm eating clean.

Soda: I've never been a big pop drinker but I certainly have partaken of a few this past month. I think I really like to do this because pop has no redeeming nutritional value and when I indulge it is usually because I'm in the mood to flip the bird at myself and my sometime- sanctimonious attitude about all things health.

Candy: The stuff you buy at the convenience store. All high fructose corn syrup and air--you know what I'm talking about. The funny thing is that when I'm really miserable, this stuff provides some of the sweetness I am so craving out of life.

Chips: I go a bit crazy with the chips too. I start dreaming about Barbara's Cheese Puffs. I don't know what the deal is with those things but they are cheese on crack. And I want a bag a day of them. Fortunately, the bag says "all natural" which gives me a strange sort of comfort.

Bread: All things bread. All kinds of bread. White bread. Brown bread. Homemade bread. French bread. Any bread. Bread, bread, bread. Bread makes me happy. I just saw again that scene of Julia Roberts in America's Sweethearts where her character went off the low-carb bandwagon and ate a huge breakfast of waffles, toast, muffins--basically a pig out on all things bread. And I had to laugh because--been there. Done that.

Fast food: I'm going to clump all the neon-sign, drive-thru, caloric-killing wasteland that litters modern suburbia under this one heading. There are too many of them and sometimes I just can't fight their regime any more. At times I spend weeks there on the dark side. Hands down favorite? Wendy's or Carl's Jr. With the occasional jaunt to Taco Bell--you know, just for variety.

Somehow I have survived my wild plunge into Noshing Neverland and I've come out on the other side a bit war-torn and limping but still alive. Ready to fight the good fight again. I just have to remember--it isn't about attaining perfection but about making progress every day.

I'll do my best to keep that in mind.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Horror

I've been absolutely terrible at posting lately. Could it have anything to do with the fact that my clothes are getting tight and I have had two major three-day binges in the last two weeks? Or that I have not done a lick of exercise? Or that I want to lose weight without trying? Or that bariatric surgery is looking really, really good all of sudden?

Yes, I'm dragging in the healthy focus department lately. Anyone have any insight, advice, wisdom or motivation to share with me?

Anyone? Anyone?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Have You Always Been Fat?

I have always been fat.

My tendency now is to let this dip into a "Woe is me, look at my horrible life" kind of monologue. I'd like to stay away from that. Yet, I have been thinking a lot lately about men and women who spend childhood and significant portions of their adulthood with only a skinny or athletic body.

What is that kind of life like?

I don't even know. I've always been chubby. At least as long as I can remember. There were brief periods of forcefully imposed slenderness--6 months when I was 11 years old, another year when I was fifteen years old and a dip towards normal body proportions when I was 22 years old. Other than that I've always carried a tummy, meaty thighs and a round face.

I grew up with five brothers and two sisters. None of them have ever been a hundred pounds overweight. Some of them in adulthood have edged up the scale thirty or forty pounds but no one has ever approached morbid obesity like me. Why is that?

What is so different about my body, my habits or my chemistry so that my body stockpiled weight? I have asked myself similar questions most of my life.

Right now, my theory tends towards a disruption in my endocrine system, an insulin sensitivity and food allergies. All of these natural tendencies leant themselves to a chubbier frame which induced some emotional eating as a way to soothe myself from the negative attention that my looks presented. Like I said: just a theory and likely one that leans a bit too heavily on the "woe is me" category that I vowed to stay away from earlier.

I think why this has all come up is that I look at adults around me, ones who have never suffered with a weight problem and I wonder What happened to me? Why am I so different? Why didn't I ever have a skinny time in my youth?

I don't know the answer to this and many other questions. I also don't know if the answers are really that important. I just know that these thoughts have occurred to me more and more often over the past few months.

Likely because right now, the fat thing seems patently unfair to me. It is unfair that I am still dealing with, working on, and learning the whys and hows of living in a fat body. I'm still uncomfortable in it, I still wish I didn't have to go down this road, I still wish things had turned out differently for me.

But the reality is, this is my life. This is my body. This is the hand that was dealt to me. And none of my whining or crying or pleading is going to change that. I can't change the past, the future is unknown, and all I have is today.

So, yes, I've always been fat. Even today. And some days it feels harder than others. And some days I barely notice it. Mostly, it is a topic that fills my mind constantly like a bad rerun. But I refuse to believe that it won't change. I've always felt like a big change is just around the corner.

At least that belief keeps me hoping and smiling through the ups and downs.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Why I Didn't Weigh In the First Saturday in July

I realized that the weekend had passed me by and I entirely forgot to do a weigh in on Saturday. Nice. I'd like to blame it firmly on the fact that it was a holiday and I had been sick the day before and call it good. But the whole story is that I've had my first major binge in the last week and even though I did forget to weigh in on Saturday, I think it had to do more with the fact that I didn't want to see what the scale had to say rather than that I was ill and busy.

Before I left for our family reunion the last weekend of June, I weighed 295 lbs. I was fitting into a size 20 (yeesh!) and I was feeling svelte and spectacular. While the reunion itself was just fine, the post-reunion binge I indulged in wasn't so fine. Then I got a phlegm-filled cold and wanted to sit in my misery for a few days and get nursed back to health.

Friday morning when I was in the throes of the headachey, runny-nosed misery, I thought "I'm supposed to do my monthly weigh in tomorrow" and that was the last time it occurred to me.

Here it is Tuesday and no weigh in. I guess I will postpone it until this coming Saturday and see what 7 extra days will buy me. Between the binge and the cold, I was 304 this weekend. My pants are tighter all of sudden. My stomach is pooching more. I even felt like my face was rounder and fuller. All in all not my most productive week. (Seriously, sometimes I wonder if "productive" can even be paired in the same sentence with my name.)

So, we shall see. This month might have a net gain or I might even out. Whatever happens, I've got to start taking my food and exercise a little more seriously if I want to see more drastic changes around here. But really after a week like last week, I might just settle for slow and steady wins the race. After all, as long as I'm headed in a downward trend on the scales, something is going right.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Confession Session: The Bingeing is Back

I really am a recovering binge eater. It's been six months since my last experience. I've had a treat here and a splurge there in the past six months but I finally fell head long into a binge the other night.

It happened right on target for me too.

Usually when I start to feel really good about how I am doing or what kind of progress I am making I head straight into a binge. That is because the minute I realize things are going well or I am handling the pressure of my life I also simultaneously start to sense that now everyone is going to expect me to perform at this higher level of functionality from now until eternity. That puts a lot of pressure on me. Who wants to perform well all the time? Certainly not me. And I certainly don't want anyone to expect me to perform that well all the time.

Hence, the binge.

Bingeing gives me a headache. Literally. It plunges me into a place where darkness descends and I feel muddied and ill and terrible. It puts me in a place where all bets are off and I can't expect myself to perform because I feel so yucky, hence, no one else can expect me to perform either. At least that seems to be the nonsensical logic behind my binge. So, I get myself off the hook by bingeing. I get to step out of the racing current of life and check out.

The problem is that I have become the unmitigated master of checking out. I'm so good at it now that it nearly happens automatically. I live half a life, at half-speed, only doing things halfway. Otherwise I experience the shock, horror, pain and terror of having do things well on a consistent basis.

Bingeing gives me a chance to wrap myself in a little cocoon of oblivion and let go of the pain and the anxiety of living life at full speed and fully engaged.

It is a nasty little habit born of my unending love of avoiding all things anxiety-inducing. It is a coping mechanism that makes my life more miserable instead of better.

Yet, I went back to it this week. With all the anxiety in my gut, the terror of choices ahead of me, the pain of mistakes behind of me, this allowed me to try to disconnect from it all for the night.

It certainly gave me empathy for anyone who deals with alcoholism. Yikes! What a scary, hard place that would be. I felt like I needed to call my own sponsor last night and talk to her. Not have her judge me or flagellate me or even coax me away from my binge. But just someone to talk to about the knot in my stomach and the ache in my heart and see if they could go away without the assistance of the candy and chocolate and junk food that puts me in a state of semi-consciousness.

The truth is the binge has been coming on at least since Sunday and part of it happened Monday night and again a bit more on Tuesday and finally, finally, I did a full out binge last night.

Now, the question is: What am I going to do about it?


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