Oh, but I fall into excuses, even when I promise myself, and my world, that I won’t. There’s one more hot dog, because it’s the fourth. There’s the giant crab cake sandwich, because I’m sick and the prednisone makes me so hungry. There’s frozen yogurt because, well, because it’s Sunday and I’m with my daughter who loves fro-yo, and it has protein in it.
There’s an extra cup of coffee with cream, because I got up so damn early this morning, and I have a headache from the cough syrup. I can keep going, but I know what I sound like. My real personal truth is that I like food and I like coffee and I like doing things that I like. I don’t want to practice self-control because self-control isn’t fun. Self-control is like being mired in dog shit in the middle of an amusement park.
My shunning of self-control would be awesome if it didn’t conflict with other things that I adore; like cute clothing and my underlying desire to fit neatly in the same box as most other people. In essence, my secretive shallow nature is in constant disagreement with my lack of constraint.
So, I have “start-fresh-Mondays” where I get out my food journal and log every calorie and nibble until they are all I can think about. As I shower, 190 runs through my head. I vacuum with 370 and watch Friends reruns with 860 on my mind. Is it too many, is it enough? Can I just have a cheese stick? Always that damn careful balance! I pray I can go to bed with the gnawing. I can picture angry little flesh-colored “pac-men” eating away my fat as I run my hand flat against my torso. Are those my ribs sticking out? I’ll look great in that skirt; no one will know I’m a fat girl on the inside.
I know I’m wrong, and different, but maybe not. It’s simply a caper against myself. We all have secrets, some salacious some mundane. I’m hoping to be somewhere in the middle; in that place where I don’t bulge out.
This post is my trip to the confessional, and you, my readers, are the priest. Before my weight loss, I had a huge problem with bingeing. HUGE. My days were planned out by what I was going to eat, and my daily goal was to consume the food I was craving by any legal means. In comparison to the other high achievers in my life, my goals were by no means lofty or important, and they certainly weren’t creating any positive changes in my world or anyone else’s.
Hiding cans of Pringles and bags of Maple Nut Goodies, making trips to Taco Bell or Chik-Fil-A, and making enormous carb-laden meals that were destined to yield bingeing leftovers, were all features in my daily routine. Top my busy schedule off with a “healthy” dose of inactivity, and it’s easy to see how I topped the scales at 223 pounds.
I’ve made a plethora of positive changes in my life over these past seven months and I’ve come clean with my counselor, and family, about my secret food binges. I’ve come to recognize that my feeding frenzies were fueled by anxiety, something that I’ve lived with most of my life, and something that I’m finally learning to manage.
I know that food is my drug of choice, and like every addict on Earth, I am not impervious to “falling off the wagon.” Because of this, I’ve created a set of guidelines to keep myself safe.
Keep only healthy foods in the house
Shun all fast food establishments
Substitute cravings with crafting, blogging, exercising, and doing activities with family and friends.
Keep my anxiety from getting the best of me through seeing my counselor, as needed, taking my medicine, and talking to trusted family and friends.
Go no more than two days in a row without exercising.
Hold myself accountable to family, friends, my doctor, and counselor if I fall back into old habits and overindulge.
99.9% of the time I follow my rules and the 70 pounds I’ve lost is my proof that it works. However, a few times, I have broken my guidelines. This weekend is a prime example. I had a big birthday party for my younger daughter on Friday. Even though she suggested all healthy food items; Chicken Satay, fresh veggie and fruit trays, cheese, olives, popcorn, and flavored unsweetened seltzers, I went a little crazy. I mean, you can’t have a birthday without cake, and popcorn isn’t that exciting of a salty snack, and what’s a party without some sort of fruity drink? By the time guests arrived there was an enormous tray of cupcakes with multi-colored frosting and sprinkles, bowls of honey roasted chipotle nuts, gummy bears, guacamole and chips, and a big vat of homemade sparkling strawberry lemon/limeade filled with fruit and plenty of sugar. These extras were in addition to my daughter’s original requests.
I had vowed to eat only the healthy offerings, and I started out doing pretty well. I even avoided the delicious homemade peanut sauce that went with the chicken. Then, I made the decision to pop just one lemony yellow gummy bear into my mouth, my first sugar in months. I wanted it to be too sweet so I’d hate it, but it wasn’t. It was magically delicious. Soon, that damn gummy bear was like a psychedelic Grateful Dead Bear swirling me into the land of gluttony. I ate a chipotle peanut; then I ate ten. I grabbed a tortilla and scooped up a mound of guacamole. I filled a 16 oz. cup to the brim with icy lemon/limeade and gulped the sugary liquid down as fast as my throat muscles would allow. Before long, I was undressing a cupcake with lovely teal frosting and shoving it into my mouth like Honey Boo Boo at a pie eating contest. By the end of the evening, I’d consumed three cupcakes, a handful of nuts and gummy bears, several servings of guac and chips, and another glass of punch. I went to bed Friday night vowing that I’d hit the gym first thing in the morning.
Saturday morning, I was exhausted. My head and joints ached and my stomach was killing me. I felt far too bad to go to the gym, and spent the first part of my day parked in front of my laptop. I attempted to eat healthy and began my day with a bowl of high fiber cereal topped with fresh blueberries and almond milk. However, an hour after I ate, I began craving the leftover treats from the day before. I began working on my glass crafting and tried to ignore the bag of gummy “gateway drug” bears tucked away in the pantry. I drank water, made a shake for lunch and popped some Tylenol for my headache and drank more water. I retreated to the patio to cut glass rings from bottles with acetone, string, fire and water. This was not a successful venture and I ended up feeding broken glass to the recycling bin and then feeding myself another cupcake. This led to a whole new binge and by the end of the evening, I’d messed up my eating plan, again.
Confession is good for the body and soul, and today is a new day. I’ve had a healthy breakfast, drank a bunch of water, and am about to go put my workout clothes on to head to the gym once my daughter gets ready. During this journey, I’ve learned that messing up isn’t permanent. I can stay on track and hold myself accountable for my choices. I’ll probably always struggle with food, but I also have tools and guidelines that give me some measure of control over it. Today, I will:
Drink plenty of water and plain green tea
Eat healthy lean protein, veggies, and fruits
Forgive myself for bingeing this weekend
Feel proud of myself for being in control
Enjoy the company of my family and friends
Stay away from the scale (far, far away!)
Do you ever binge? How do you recover after a weekend of overeating?
The mental storms have subsided and after talking to the doctor and dietician yesterday, I’m feeling more stoked about my transition to food. I was assured by my doctor that my fears of returning to my old ways of thinking and eating are pretty standard among her patients. She said she would be more concerned if I wasn’t worried. Her only concern right now is my continually low blood pressure. I’ve been slowly going off of my beta blocker and am down to 12.5 mgs per day. By next week, I should be fully off of it and will be praying to not feel the annoying pre-ventricular contractions that my heart so loves to do! On, or off of, the beta blocker, my heart still does its flip-flops; the beta blocker just aids in masking the feeling, which triggers my anxiety.
The dietician reviewed my food journal, and was pleased with how well I was managing with adding protein and vegetables to my diet. We also went through the rest of the transition plan. This week I’m adding ½ cup, or 60 calories, of fruit to my diet each day. I love apples, so ½ cup of gala apple slices was my first addition. They were delicious! Next week, is the addition of dairy. I have to be careful about that one with my lactose intolerance! After that, I add an additional protein and vegetable, and finally a carbohydrate. By the time I’m finished, I’ll be having only two Optifast products per day and the rest real food. All total, it will be about 1,000-1,100 calories per day with everything.
I think the thing that made me feel the best this week was the loss of another three pounds!! That proves to me that I can eat real food and still lose weight. The formula of portion control and exercise doesn’t fail me. (Thank goodness!) Another amazing thing about exercise is the number of inches that I’m losing. They actually make my body look smaller than the number on the scale reads. Anyone out there trying to lose weight-don’t dismiss the wonderful benefits of physical activity!!
I’m taking a rest from the gym today and staying home to clean my house and get an oil change for my car. My stepson is coming for a visit this weekend and I need to get things in order and go to the grocery store to get his favorite foods. I’ll have a happy, full house this weekend.
I hope everyone has some great adventures planned for their upcoming weekend. Tell me about them in the comments. 🙂
Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m usually a speeding ball of energy, however, for the past week, or so, I’ve been running at low speed. Something just hasn’t felt right. Yesterday, I skipped the gym and the day before, I felt like I was going to pass out after two miles on the track. I thought perhaps my low consumption of calories was finally being overtaken by my higher level of activity.
Yesterday’s doctor visit at my bariatric center confirmed for me the enormous importance of using Optifast only under the care of a physician. Several blood pressure checks confirmed that my average blood pressure was 100/59. No wonder I’ve felt like the Energizer Bunny short of one battery! I’ve been on a beta blocker for a rapid heart rate, PVCs, and slightly elevated blood pressure. Now that I’ve lost over 20% of my body weight and become significantly more active, my body no longer needs the same amount of medication that it once did, so my doc has began cutting back my dose. Being able to reduce the number of medications that I take was one of my original weight loss goals. Yay!
Speaking of weight loss, my weigh in revealed that I’ve lost 2.5 pounds this week! It’s coming off slowly, but surely!
Later today, I’m having my fitness review for my weight loss program at the wellness center. My trainer has already warned me that she’s going to make me do push-ups, so keep me in your thoughts, dear blogging buddies!
Last week’s Friday Fixes shared suggestions on how to combat emotional eating, food cravings, and overeating by using your sense of sight. Thisweek’s installment is all about using your sense of hearing as a way to soothe yourself when the desire for unnecessary eating occurs.A huge way that I soothe myself with sound is through listening to music. I love all genres of tunes, but it turns out that I could be even more relaxed and mindfully aware if I listened to music in the correct frequencies. Most of you know that our brains produce five different wave frequencies that are measured in Hertz (Hz).
Delta Waves (0.5 – 4Hz) are produced when you’re deeply sleeping.
Theta Waves (4 – 8 Hz) are produced in the early stages of sleep, a during the REM stage of sleep, during guided imagery and during deep meditation.
Alpha Waves (8 – 12 Hz) are produced when you’re in the process of doing mindless, passive activities.
Beta Waves (12 – 25 Hz) are produced when you’re in a state of mindfulness, or awareness.
Gamma Waves (25-100 Hz) are produced during periods of high concentration or consolidation of large amounts of information.
It’s possible to stimulate the brain to reach a state of enhanced awareness or relaxation through the use of music that has frequencies within the Hertz range of alpha, beta, or theta waves. Here are some examples of each type of music. Many examples like these can be found for free on YouTube.
Here’s an example of Alpha Wave music: (There’s a bit of an introduction before the music begins.)
Here’s an example of Beta:
And finally, an example of Theta Wave music:
Another way to achieve a deep sense of relaxation is through guided imagery. Guided imagery is a program of directed thoughts and suggestions that guide your imagination toward a relaxed and focused state. An instructor, script, or recorded session is used to lead you through the process. Often you’ll be asked to imagine a relaxing, natural environment ,like the beach or mountains. Throughout the script, positive messages are often repeated. When participating in guided imagery, it’s very important to make yourself physically comfortable. Some people recline, while others prefer to sit with their feet touching the floor. Guided imagery should never be listened to while driving
This example of guided imagery is also from YouTube.
In addition to taking advantage of your brainwaves in order to self-soothe, relax, or focus, here are several other ways you can use your sense of hearing to thwart cravings:
Listen to your favorite music
Head outdoors and find a quiet spot to sit and listen to the sounds of nature around you
Listen to recorded nature sounds
Hum a soothing tune or sing a beautiful song
If you’re able, play an instrument
Call a family member or friend ( I read a study a few years ago about how the sound of your mother’s voice can lower your blood pressure. This explains why my daughter called me six times a day her first year of medical school!)
Read aloud your favorite poems, stories, or affirmations
Listen to an audio book
How do you use your sense of hearing to relax? Is there anything else that could be added to the list?
Yesterday, was my weigh-in day at the bariatric center. They surprised me by taking my measurements, as well. I lost another 2.5 pounds and I’ve lost four inches from my chest, six inches from my waist five inches from my hips, and three inches from my upper arms. Woo Hoo!!!
I also met with the dietician and we decided that I’ll make my transition back to food in six weeks. This makes me really nervous, but she assures me that I’ll still lose weight even though I’ll be slowly adding additional calories to my diet.
Transition is a four-week process and it’s stressed to follow it to the letter, as to avoid any stall in weight loss. Week 1 involves eliminating 1 shake for 1 serving of a lean protein and a non starch vegetable.
Week 2 still has 4 Optifast products per day, but adds one serving of fruit to be eaten in addition to the existing lean protein and non starch vegetable.
Week 3 includes 3 Optifast products per day, 1 meal that includes 1 serving of lean protein, and 1-2 servings of non starchy vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, and 1 serving of dairy. The fruit and dairy can be as a snack or part of a meal.
Week 4 features 2 Optifast products per day and 2 meals that include lean proteins and non starchy vegetables, 1 serving of fruit, 1 serving of dairy, and one starch per day. Like with week 3, the fruit and dairy can be used as snacks. Week 4 is the eating plan that I’ll stick with for as long as I want to lose weight. Once I’m just wanting to maintain my weight, I’ll add 1-2 additional servings of starch.
Transition will bring my caloric intake up to 1000-1100 calories per day. This is a little scary! Even more daunting, is that my husband and I will be on vacation during weeks 2 and 3 of my transition. I’m going armed with my food scale and measuring cups, and luckily, I have access to a kitchen both weeks, so I can cook for myself. Unfortunately, there may be a few times that I have to eat at a restaurant, but I know some good tricks to keep me out of trouble, and I won’t be shy about bringing my scale and measuring cups to the restaurant with me!
Of course, exercise will still be a very important part of my weight loss regime. Though my program with the personal trainers will end in four weeks, they’ve educated me in how to use the equipment at the wellness center and have given me a variety of routines to do.
As frightening as transition may seem for me, I know I’ll be ready. I’ve learned so much about exercise and eating properly. I’ve also learned to replace my desire to overeat with healthier things like exercising, blogging, crafting, or hanging out with friends and family. These next weeks will be spent continuing to mentally and physically prepare myself to succeed once transition begins.
I want to thank all of my blogging buddies for your continued love & support. You have no idea how much connecting with all of you means to me! ❤
Yesterday, I attended an amazing behavioral modification class at the bariatric center. The topic was Self-Soothing, and I know many of you who suffer from food addictions, emotional eating, or just general stress in your life, will be interested in tips and techniques to combat stress, as well as the desire to eat when you’re not really hungry.
Food provides a series of sensory experiences. We hear it sizzling, bubbling, or simmering on the stove and smell it’s tempting aroma as it’s prepared. We see its glorious shapes and colors and taste its sweet, sour, salty, bitter, or savory flavors. We experience its consistency and texture as we move it in our mouths. Temporarily, it fills a need. Momentarily its a panacea that soothes out anxiety or makes us forget something in our lives that’s missing. Then, like most fleeting fixes, it leaves us guilt-ridden and hungry for more. Because of the sensory nature of food, replacing it with another pleasurable sensory experience as a remedy for cravings when you’re full or when your daily nutritional needs have been met, is often very effective.
Over the next two months, I’m going to offer a series of well-researched posts each Friday that I’ll call Friday Fixes. These posts will focus on sensory techniques to combat overeating, as well as mindful eating techniques and general stress busters. As always, I welcome your topic ideas, suggestions, or feedback!
******Next week’s topic will be Self-Soothing through Visual Sensory Input.******
Disclaimer (as I have no desire to incite trouble 🙂 ):I am not an expert on behavioral modification or weight loss. However, as a licensed teacher and public relations specialist, I am research savvy and able to provide information from reliable, scholarly sources.