Monday, May 30, 2011

does it help to know why?

There are days, sometimes even weeks, where I have little to no trouble with cravings.  I eat healthfully, and sugar and junk food do not really tempt me.  Then, seemingly out of the blue, wham!  All I can think about is what I'd like to binge on.

Today, I was ok until I saw a picture on a pop up site of a cheesecake brownie.  I immediately thought of the cheesecake brownies that are sold at a local shop.  They are delish.  After that, I craved key lime pie.  Then I started craving M & M's. All of this started with a silly picture!

I texted my son so that I would have accountability.  Despite that, I very seriously considered stopping on my way home from work to buy a bunch of sugary stuff to eat.  The cravings had increased until I was almost at the point that I was ready to give in.  I knew that if I did, I would feel a sense of relief before the guilt occurred. Unless you have dealt with compulsive overeating, the feelings are probably difficulty to understand.

My son called me while I was out and asked how I was doing.  His call helped tremendously.  I'm proud to say that I did not succumb to the temptation.  I spent more money than I intended at Old Navy's Memorial Day sale, but I didn't binge!

Why does this happen?  Why do some people have such overwhelming cravings and have binge eating disorder?   My sugar intake was no higher today than usual.  I'm not particularly stressed.  It's not hormone related.

Does it even help if you can determine the exact reason for any one given "episode"?  I've done a bit of reading on the subject, and I don't think there is one exact cause for binge eating disorder.  The reasons for the cravings and binges are often complex.  I guess that is why it is so hard to treat.

While there is no certain cure for this, there are steps that can be taken to overcome.  I'm taking this day by day.  Sometimes minute by minute.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

improved attitude

I'm doing better now.  Once I changed my self talk to be more positive, the cravings lessened quite a bit.

I had a lot of fun with my daughter today.  We went to a thrift store, and I got a few fun things.  I probably don't go to the thrift store as often as I should - you can really find some great deals!  I got a Fossil purse for $2!!!  It still had the tag on it!!!  I also purchased a pair of jeans.  This may sound boring, but it's a big deal for me.  I don't feel like jeans flatter me at all, at least not at my highest weight.  Even at this weight, I don't love how they look.  However, I was shocked to find my size (finding a size that's on the larger end of plus sizes and is a petite length is challenging in retail stores.  At a thrift shop it's almost impossible)  They are a really nice dark wash too.

The look on my daughter's face when I asked her opinion made me instantly decide to buy the jeans.  "Mom, I've never seen you wear jeans!  They look great!"  That made me sad.  She doesn't remember that I often wore jeans when she was a baby, and she doesn't remember that I wore them all the time when I lost a tremendous amount of weight and spent a year or two at a normal weight when she was around 5 or 6.  I hope that there will come a time when I'm comfortable in most any style.

Thanks, Lorena ( for the thrift store recommendation!  I think that will become a smart option for buying clothes while I'm losing weight.

Struggling today

Today has been a rough day.  I've been craving everything imaginable.  Potatoes, potato chips, dip, chocolate, candy, cookies, ice cream.....anything full of fat and/or sugar.  I haven't been eating differently, so I can only attribute it to stress.

Sometimes I get so tired of struggling with this.  Then I realize that I really need to stop the "pity party" before it starts.  I am so blessed!!!  Despite being overweight, I am healthy.  I have a wonderful family, a job that I like, my family is healthy.....I could keep going.

It is so easy to focus on my struggles.  Everyone has at least one thing that they struggle with.  Compulsive overeating is the demon that I fight.  I will not let it define me.

I will overcome.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

learning to adapt

As you can probably tell from my previous posts, I don't really handle social events that involve food well. It causes me a fair amount of anxiety trying to decide whether to participate or not.  Then, if I decide to participate, there is stress over what to eat.

Last night, our church had a dinner at the pastor's house.  The menu consisted of hot dogs and the normal sides.  I can't eat beef, and I didn't really want to make a big deal of that by bringing turkey hot dogs or an alternate meal.  I also assumed that many of the side dishes would be full of fat and calories.  Due to this, my initial reaction was not to go.  As always, I didn't want to explain to anyone why I wasn't eating.

Since our pastor will be leaving our church soon, I decided that I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to spend time with him and his family and the rest of our church friends.  I ate my healthy dinner at home before going.  Guess what?  No one noticed that I didn't eat.  I can't seem to comprehend that no one is examining my actions.  Even if they are - so what?

Today, the company provided lunch for us.  I knew about it in advance, and decided to participate.  We ordered lunch from a local restaurant.  There were very few healthy lunch options.  I've eaten at this restaurant before, and their unhealthy items (fries, monte cristo sandwiches, chicken tenders) are good.  Of course, those weren't an option.  I chose a chef salad.   The salad consisted mostly of lettuce.  There were a few slices of cucumber, some tomatoes, a little bit of cheese and a bit of ham and turkey.  I chose low fat Italian dressing.  Perhaps it was a good thing that they were stingy with the ingredients - a lot of cheese could easily have raised the calories and fat content much higher than I'd like.

I hope that dealing with events will gradually get easier.  I'd love to learn to be confidant in making healthy choices when the majority of people aren't, while also learning what foods I can occasionally "splurge" on without having lots of cravings for days afterward.  I'd also love to get to the point where I see all of the decisions involved as being simple.  I have too much emotion and history involved with food, so it's difficult.

Friday, May 20, 2011

new clothes

I went shopping today.  Mainly because I had a few coupons that were too good to pass up, but I could also use a few things since some of my clothes are too big now.  That is a good thing, but shopping while you are losing weight can be challenging!

I have a lot of weight to lose, so it's not cost effective to buy an entire wardrobe for each size.  I purchased a pair of pants today in a smaller size than I expected.  However, rather than being excited I was disgusted at my image in the dressing room mirror.

I was reminded of how far I have to go.  I was also reminded of the many pounds that I have lost, regained, lost again, regained again.  You know the drill.

This negative self talk could have easily ended with a binge.  But it didn't!!!!  It was hard, but I tried to turn the negative self talk into positive.  I've been working hard, and the results show on the scale.  Regardless of what weight I am, I am worth spending time on my appearance.  I enjoy dressing fashionably, and I can do that as I'm losing weight.  It's challenging, but I can do it.

I am worth it!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Party all the time

We had a party at work today - AGAIN - two of my co-workers are transferring to a different location at the end of the month.  This party was harder than some of the others, because it was basically an all day food fest rather than us having lunch at a specific time.

I planned ahead.  My contribution to the party was paper products.  I knew in advance that most of the foods weren't going to be healthy, so I decided that I wouldn't eat anything.  I ate oatmeal and raisins for breakfast, which is always very filling.  For lunch, I had Amy's tofu lasagna and some grapes.  This was also very filing and satisfying.

There were some tempting foods there, but I wasn't really hungry so that helped.  The emotional aspect of the day was the tough part.  When you're in a department of about 12 people, and everyone else is spending the day eating cupcakes, cake, taco dip, enchiladas and yummy stuff like that it's easy to fall into the "pity party" trap.

I find consolation in the fact that by mid-afternoon everyone else was stuffed and feeling awful and I wasn't.  I need to be proud of my choices and see this as a way of taking good care of myself rather than feeling deprived.  It's hard though.

Overall, the day went well.  I wasn't overwhelmed by the desire to eat all of the unhealthy food present.  Oh - I almost forgot.  Another way that I planned in advance is that I told my son that the party was today so that I would have accountability.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

59 pounds lost!!

As of today, I've lost 59 pounds!!!  It's great to see the results of eating healthy and exercising.  If I'm not careful, the self defeating thoughts creep in.  You know the ones - "I've got so much more to lose."   "Even if I lose all of the weight that I need to, I'll gain it back like I always have."

I'm not going to let those thoughts overcome my determination to lead a healthy lifestyle forever!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day (a little late) to all you mom's out there!

Mother's Day was really nice.  What was even better, is that I ate healthy!  I was slightly concerned about dinner, but it went well.  I ate grilled chicken, lots of veggies and some delicious strawberries.

On another note, I was going through some pictures last night and got a little down.  I very, very seldom allow my picture to be taken.  I've never liked having my picture taken, and it just got worse as my weight climbed.  In looking through some pictures my mom had from about 2006 to present, there were a few pictures of me.  It was awful.  Most of the pictures I think I was about the same weight I am, perhaps a little heavier.  Even though I know I have a very large amount of weight to lose, I don't focus on that.  I take things day by day.  Seeing pictures was hard.

I'm going to get past that, though.  I am working on getting healthier, and I need to focus on long term not short term.  What difference does it make if it could realistically take 2 years to lose what I need to?  Those 2 years are going to happen anyway, right?

I will look at the bigger picture.  I will try harder to avoid the "when I've lost all this weight I will____________" trap.

I will overcome!!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

true confessions

I binged today.  There.  I said it.  I started this blog as sort of a journal, hoping that it would help me overcome compulsive overeating.  My hope is that writing my thoughts, journaling my progress, and being able to look back at all of this will be therapeutic.  So....I must be honest about my failures and successes.

Over the years, I've done quite a bit of reading about binge eating disorder and compulsive overeating.  While it is a disorder that is multifaceted, one of the main components that most would agree on is that binge eating is very much related to emotions.  I've seen is summed up several times in the sentence "It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you."

I have some mild issues with anxiety and depression, so there is a part of me that completely believes that compulsive overeating is largely driven by emotion.  There is also a large part of me (no pun intended) that is either still in denial, disagrees somewhat, or perhaps feels that I'm the exception to the rule.

The thoughts that come to mind when debating that this eating disorder is all about feelings and emotions are something like this:  "I just really love food and can't control myself."  "I'm addicted to sugar."  "I have an addictive personality."  "It's hormone related."
"Being overweight is in my genes."

I suppose that the reason that it is so difficult to overcome binge eating disorder is that it is so complex.
Back to emotions, though.  Am I fooling myself to think that emotions don't have much, if anything, to do with my tendency to binge?

This morning, I visited my grandmother.  She is currently in a rehab facility after breaking her hip.  Right before I left, she said something that really made me sad.   When I left the facility, I considered stopping by a nearby grocery store for "binge foods".  I thought about texting or calling someone to help prevent this.  Honestly, I didn't want to.  I decided against stopping.  After I'd already passed the grocery store, I took another exit to go back.

I purchased corn chips, a 12 oz. container of french onion dip, a piece of Reese cup pie, and 2 slices of key lime pie.  Oh - and don't forget the Diet Dr. Pepper.  Oh, the irony.  While I was shopping, I was hoping that I wouldn't see anyone that I knew, especially anyone that knows that I'm trying to eat healthy.  As I was standing in line, I considered  putting it all back.  Or I could buy it then throw it away.  Who am I kidding?

That junk was $9.  If I'm going to waste $9 on something harmful to me, why not spend it on something good instead?!  I'm a bargain shopper - I could probably have bought a new shirt.  Or some costume jewelry.  Perhaps a new shade of nail polish.  I could have donated an additional $9 to the Children's Miracle Network instead of the measly $2 that I donated when the check out clerk at Wal-Mart asked about it a few days ago.  I could have spent $9 more on my mom's Mother's Day gift.  The list is endless.

Of course, I couldn't go home and binge since my daughter was there.  I parked my car in a remote corner of the grocery store parking lot and ate.  How pathetic is that?  I ate almost all of the dip, a good portion of the corn chips, and 2 pieces of pie.  Since I'm being honest, I will say that I enjoyed it for a while.  The dip was good, and the pie was heavenly.  Of course, as I began to get full and feel sick I continued to eat.

Oddly enough, I didn't immediately feel quite the amount of guilt and anxiety that I expected.  In a weird way that kind of worries me.  Perhaps the sugar high is too blame? I did almost immediately feel the irrational, overwhelming urge to weight myself to see what damage I'd done.  After all, I probably ate at least 1200 calories worth of food in one sitting.  Ugh.

I suppose I should be sort of proud of myself for throwing away what was left of the corn chips and the piece of pie that I didn't eat.  There's balance between taking responsibility for what I've done, ending it now and moving on, and being so harsh on myself that I figure "why bother?" and allow this binge to lead into another, and know the story.

So all of this rambling is an attempt to figure out what caused this binge.  Was it the discussion with my grandmother? Was it the anger I felt toward someone last night?  Was it the instance where a loved one unintentionally hurt my feelings a few days ago?  Is it because depriving myself of foods I enjoy ultimately leads to a binge?  Was it hormones?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

put in my place

Today, I was "put in my place".  It was painful and humbling.  Since I've spent so much of adulthood being obese, I feel as if I have absolutely no right to judge others who are overweight.  

There is a lady at work who is rather overweight.  We'll call her Marie.

I've never really thought about it, but if I had I would have assumed that she is heavier than I am.  Though I know that it can be hard to guess someone else's weight.

Marie  has recently been in the hospital.   She came back to work today, and she is now on oxygen.

One of my co-workers asked her how long she would need to use portable oxygen, and Marie responded "the rest of my life, unless I lose 100 pounds.  I know that won't happen"

Different thoughts came to mind at about the same time.  "That's so sad."  "I'm glad I'm working on getting healthy so I won't face this issue"  But the one that I'm ashamed of is....."100 pounds??!!!  I have more than that to lose - do I look as bad as she does?"

I'm not proud of that thought.  I'm quite embarrassed.  I've always consider myself to be a relatively non-judgemental sort of person.  I need to take a harder look at this.  I did judge Marie.  I judged her because she doesn't bother to dress nicely, fix her hair and wear make-up like I do.  I judged her because she dresses in a manner that I feel that many normal weight people find awful.  Knit tops that don't fit well or flatter.  Stretchy knit pants.  I judged her because I thought that I looked better than her and am not as heavy as her.

I will work harder on this.

What is that old quote?   Never judge a man until you've walked a mile in his moccasins?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mowing the grass

I've been walking every day for a few weeks now, and I'm enjoying it!  I've worked my way from 20 minutes to about 40 almost every day.  My husband has been going with me most evenings, so it has really been a great opportunity for us to spend some time together.  Isn't it amazing how we can be home with our family  but not really interacting?  So many distractions.  When we're walking, we have good quality time together.

Yesterday, my husband needed to mow the grass.  Since he doesn't usually get home until 7:00 p.m. he didn't really have time to walk and mow.

Most of our lawn can be done with the riding mower, but there are parts that have to be done with the push mower.

Guess what?  I mowed the grass.  I know this probably sounds extremely boring and uninteresting, but I couldn't even tell you the last time I did this.  It was good exercise, and I didn't really get tired and winded!  Not all of the areas were flat, either.  I didn't really pay attention to the time, but I'm pretty sure it took me at least 30 minutes.

Things many active folks consider normal are difficult when you're extremely overweight.  I'm grateful that I'm slowly but steadily becoming more active.