Saturday, August 29, 2009

First Goal Met!

I'm still shocked that I am now below 300. Again I'll say it - Do you know how long I've been "trying" to reach that goal??? And it's so much easier now to do this whole "diet" thing. I say "diet" even though I now see that this is how I will be eating from now on. I still have my moments of wanting to eat for reasons other than nourishment, but I can pretty much talk myself through those situations. I ate off program a little bit on the way to the beach last week - I had a few bites of refried beans w/ my fajitas - & I felt horrible the next day. I felt bloated & sluggish. I'm sure it wasn't just the beans but probably the lard that they put in it. It reminded me how much I don't want to wake up feeling horrible every day. I would eat food knowing that it was going to make me sick the next day - that definitely seems a bit insane! But I felt it was too hard to eat correctly & I wasn't willing to make the sacrifice of yummy food - so I would eat.

I do wonder though, how I will cope with "yummy" food once I reach my goal. Will I never eat ice cream again? Will I choose it only occasionally? But then occasionally becomes weekly which then becomes every other day. So I'm happy with where I am but I'm still scared about reaching my goal. Of course I have a long way to go before I'm there.

Some of the other amazing benefits of losing this weight - my back went out last weekend & for the first time ever it went back in within a few minutes of stretching! That has NEVER happened before. And this weekend I had a Bug Party for my kids & I can't believe how well my body coped! I did need a few advil every night, but I can't believe that I'm still walking & functioning. And that's just 24 lbs. I really can't wait to see how I feel with another 50 off. That's my new goal - 250. When I reach 250 I can drop off Kurt's insurance, which costs us $400/month & go on my own.

This is good people - this is good!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Try to Lift That Pencil

So this is was Kurt & my argument for years - TRY! To me it's a dirty word. Should be stricken from the English language. Or at least taught to children in school what it actually means. To me, try means to put forth effort to do something without a clearly defined goal. To Kurt, it used to mean (maybe still does) to put forth effort to do something with the goal of successful accomplishment.

So "TRY" to lift that pencil. Most people LIFT the pencil - no, that's lifting - I said "TRY". To "TRY" to do something is not accomplishing it, it's merely trying. And when we get in the mode of "trying" it somehow clicks in our head that we don't have to accomplish the goal because "at least we tried". But the truth is, most things that we "try" to get done, could get done if we PLANNED!!! Now to Kurt, the word "planned" use to be an ugly word - I think with 3 kids, he has resigned to the fact that it's necessary now to plan.

So here's how a typical pattern works - "I'm trying to lose weight", I say as I'm eating a frosty. "I tried to finish the laundry", I say as I'm watching TV. "I tried to make it in service", but I didn't set my alarm & figured I would miraculously wake up on time. "I tried to get my work done" but I didn't go to bed at a decent hour & ate food that made me feel horrible the next day. The technical answer is, YES, try would be the right word, but not as I am using it. I did try without any plan for success. But when most of us use the word "TRY" as above, we think it means we should get credit for "trying".

So what do you think??

Saturday, August 15, 2009


It's been a struggle. There have been the moments that I just miss normalcy. I miss the old life. A few days ago it was just the horribleness of watching everyone eat homemade fresh peach pie & homemade mini pizzas made in the outdoor pizza oven. Those aren't fun moments but having lost almost 20 lbs is AMAZING!!

The other night I just needed to go out with Kurt & have a night away so I decided I could modify a meal at a restaurant and stay on program - so that's what I did. And it was great. I had to eat a hamburger with a knife & fork but I did well & besides feeling a bit bloated the next morning, I still have lost weight. I certainly can't do that every week, but I am retraining my brain that it's not all or nothing. It's just less often & modified. I'm sure people that quit drinking think they'll never have fun again on a Sat. night - but they will, it just won't be like it was.

I still feel overwhelmed by how far I have to go. I try not to think about that - but it's hard not to. My next big milestone is 299 & I should see that within 2 weeks, which I still can't believe. You have no idea how long I've been "trying" to do this. It's amazing when the pieces come together in your mind that allows a success. Thank you to EVERYONE that has been helping me and supporting me (or Kurt ignoring my horrible moods). And I owe a HUGE THANK YOU to NITA for your support last weekend. It was only by having your support that I got through the torture of watching everyone enjoy your food. It's like going to Ina Garten's house & bringing your own Costco chicken - but we did it & look - it's paying off!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Aspartame, Aspartame Everywhere but not a drop to drink!

So I'm going to kick the Aspartame habit for good. I know that it is horrible poison but I SOOOOO love my diet pepsi. And it's frustrating that the other no calorie drinks that are available just aren't available at convenience stores or drive thrus. So I have to drink coffee or ice tea or WATER, heaven forbid! But whenever I go back on Aspartame drinks I hang onto my weight. Kurt went of diet soda & lost 8 lbs. without even trying. And it's such a bad example for the kids. I don't want them to grow up on diet soda either. At least I grew up on Tab - that wasn't so bad now that we're looking back on things. Actually I saw it the other day @ Winco. Maybe I should stock up & go back to the good old saccharine days.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Great Epiphany

The week before I started this new eating plan I was saying, "I just want to get this over with." Someone asked me what I meant. I meant that I didn't expect this process to be fun & I wanted to be on the other side. What I didn't realize is that even when I reach my goal, I won't be on the other side. The problem with people on diets is that exact thinking - that there will be an end to this new & improved eating program - that once you reach your goal, you can go back to the enjoyable lifestyle to which you had been accustomed. "Oh I know I can't eat like I did before, but I can eat a lot more than what I'm eating." But in reality, that will only put the weight back on.

The truth is, right now I need to eat 2700 calories a day to maintain my weight. Once I reach my goal I'll need to eat about 1800. But if I was honest, I was eating around 4000 calories on many days. I mean a Chipotle burrito alone is about 1000 calories & 98g of carbs. But I often had breakfast meetings and then Kurt & I often ate out for dinner. So when you're eating out all the time it's easy to eat 4000 calories in a day without even trying. Add a beer or wine & you've eaten 3 days' worth of calories.

So my horrible epiphany the other day was that THIS IS the other side. Right now I might be eating around 1100 calories a day but I won't be going back to my old life. I will be only adding a small lunch to what I'm doing now. THIS IS the reality - even when I reach my goal. It was actually a bit depressing. I'm hoping that when I'm thin it's less depressing, but we'll see. The days of wine & roses (beer & burritos) is behind me.

I Conquered the Weekend!

I thought about writing that I survived the weekend at the beach, but I feel like it was more like conquering it. It was a BIG deal to me to stick 100% to the food plan & not eat off plan at all & that's what I did. We did eat out twice but I allowed myself to be out of my comfort zone & became the picky orderer (Sally in "When Harry Met Sally") & even sent my salad back because they put the corn strips on it - I thought later I could have just picked them out. Whatever - I was on a mission.

What I was surprised at was what I missed the most - I missed eating all the way home. The drive home from any trip is torture. I'm SO waiting for them to figure out the transporter. Even with the warnings we received in the movie "The Fly", I'm willing to take the risk. Drive 3 hours home from the beach or become a fly - hmmmmm.

And Kurt & I had a date morning today & I missed going out to breakfast. It felt strange to not get up early with the anticipation of going out to breakfast. We both had the brilliant idea to go for a bike ride but I laid down until the feeling past. I'm not that salubrious yet!

How Could You Let This Happen?

I have a theory. I believe during the time it takes to gain the first 30 lbs., on your way to being totally unrecognizable as your former self, you have a part of you screaming, “What are you doing to us?!!!” This is probably true of most addictions or compulsions – like gambling or binge drinking. There is a part of yourself that knows this isn’t going to turn out well. But the reason why you’re doing what you’re doing – stress, sickness, sadness, escapism – whatever it is, it feels necessary to continue. But after those first 30 lbs. that voice tends to be drowned out quite a bit. You become numb to the voice & you have succumb to the numbing sensation of food as comfort.

But here’s where my theory takes a turn – I believe the result of this is the “not wanting to be alone with oneself”. In some that becomes almost another persona – someone larger than life. Someone over the top. Someone with really big hair. You know the girl – too much jewelry, too much makeup – this is an end result of drowning out the sane person hidden deep inside. The other extreme is the “I give up” persona, the thoroughly unkempt girl – this is more the direction I have gone. No makeup, cheap ugly clothes, not caring about one’s appearance. It’s the same thing – not being alone with your true self. I don’t believe you’ll find a lot of fat people that are in touch with their ‘authentic selves’.

And the most amazing thing happens when you give up using food as comfort, you have to be alone with yourself & your thoughts & feelings for the first time in quite a while. I found it uncomfortable. I even wondered why I didn’t like myself anymore. I know I didn’t like what I had allowed to happen, but I actually had to get to know myself again. I had to determine what was important to me and what I was going to care about and what relationships really meant something to me. The truth is, as I sit here writing this, I still don’t have a clear picture of who I am now. My life has become something foreign to me and I often feel as if I’m living someone else’s life. It’s not in any way a bad life, but it’s so different than what I thought my life would look like. I don’t relate to my life or know what I think of the person living it. I guess after one has been numb to life for so long, when you “come to” you don’t recognize where you’ve gone.

The truth is, I think it doesn’t matter too much, as long as you haven’t thoroughly destroyed yourself or your family. I mean, we’re all on the rat’s wheel anyway so, in the end, we’re all in the same place after 20 years – it just has different wallpaper. But it is an odd sensation to wake up to yourself and your life not knowing yourself or knowing who you are anymore. Maybe this is just a result of getting older. Maybe we all wake up & don’t recognize ourselves anymore. Maybe allowing myself to get so large is just a small element in a process that was going to happen eventually.

But to answer the question – it’s quite easy to allow this to happen - after the first 30 pounds, that is.

Monday, August 10, 2009

$4.50 for Water!

I just went to the movies (The Proposal - better than I expected) & I paid $4.50 for water. I actually debated in my head to buy a pop instead because it seemed so wrong to pay $4.50 for a bottle of water. Of course, I could have had nothing but I kind of wanted something. I find it amazing how I have actually made poor food choices because I didn't want to pay the money for a better food choice. Salads or fresh fish is always more expensive than a hamburger. Or to eat at a fast food joint is always cheaper than to go to Subway. And pop is usually less expensive than a bottle of water. I guess all those years of being brought up by the thrift store queen have sunk down into my being. I need to shake off those genes & pay the darn $4.50 for a bottle of water & feel good about it! How else am I ever going to look as good naked as Sandra Bullock?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

"And the woman saw that it was good . . ."

Gen. 3:6, "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat."

This helped me figure out another inexplicable behavior of mine. I couldn't understand why I would eat food that I knew I didn't like or that I took a bite & found that I didn't like, but I still would eat the whole thing. For example, I was at a gathering and the hostess had made apple pie. I don't like apple pie. I have never liked apple pie. When I have company I often make apple pie because I know I won't be tempted to eat it. But everyone was going on & on about how good the pie was so I had a piece. I took one bite &, yes, it was indeed apple pie. I didn't care for it. But I ate the whole thing. I felt crazy. Why would I do this? I contemplated this for days & finally the scripture above came to me. Eve saw the fruit, didn't know what it tasted like, but saw that it looked good. And with that limited knowledge alone, she ruined the next thousand years of mankind's history. She was the first emotional eater.

As I thought about this I thought of how many decisions we make with our eyes. In fact, I saw a test of people that ate a hearty breakfast with a blindfold vs. eating without a blindfold & the people that couldn't see said they were done LONG before those that could see. The other test was similar. They had people fill their plate & as they went to pay, the cashier sneezed on their food - so they said, "We'll take this one, go make yourself another plate." What the people didn't know is that when they went back, they gave them larger plates. They then weighed the food on the first plate & the second & saw that people took MUCH more with the larger plates. Put these two tests together & you can see why we eat entirely TOO much.

Lesson learned? Use a smaller plate, eat with a blindfold & don't decide what to eat based on what it looks like.

Hallmark Food Moments

One of the fascinating things that I discovered is that I couldn't resist a Hallmark Food Moment. I would wonder, "Why did I just eat when I wasn't at all hungry?" or "Why didn't I just tell my friend that called to go out to lunch and that I had already eaten?" Well, it came down to not wanting to miss out on a Hallmark Food Moment. Picture a cheesy Lifetime drama - the people are always in the perfect circumstance to find each other & find true love - their car breaks down, they find themselves in a rain storm, they get into the same elevator - you know. Well, I made eating food into the same cheesy drama. For example, I had already eaten lunch but when I ran an errand, I had locked my keys in the car. While I had to wait for the guy, there was a deli right across from the parking lot - "Hallmark Food Moment" - had to go in, get something to eat & wait for the guy. The more experienced counselor would recognize this as emotional eating - eating to escape boredom and stress. But at the time I coined the phrase, "Hallmark Food Moment". Another example, I had already eaten and a friend calls to see what I'm doing for lunch, "Nothing, where do you want to go?". I'm not going to turn down going out with a friend & I don't want her to eat alone . . . I still find it hard to tell someone that I have already eaten or that I can't join them. I still find it hard to wait in my car without something to eat when there's a Starbucks right over there (you know, they are ALWAYS right over there). But now at least I recognize why I'm so tempted and can pigeon hole the thought instead of feeling compelled to act on it.

1st Challenging Weekend

So I've been following the Take Shape for Life food program which is paired with Medifast. I eat 5 Meal Replacements and 1 Lean & Green meal a day. It's a simple program to follow - very little thinking about food. After you get over the 'being hungry' phase, it's actually quite easy. But this is my first challenging weekend. We are visiting my in-laws in Long Beach, WA & I have quite the food history with this peninsula. Of course, following the program outside of the luxury of my own home makes it a bit more difficult - smelling & watching the family eat fresh blueberry pancakes this morning wasn't fun (at least she didn't make bacon!) - and going to the picnic (that I'm now avoiding) to watch everyone eat hamburgers & hot dogs & all the fixins' won't be fun. But we've been coming here for 15 years & I know the best ice cream shop, the best sandwich shop, the best Chinese food restaurant, the best clam chowder, the best breakfast restaurant - I know them all. You know what it's like - you look forward to eating at your favorite restaurants on your favorite vacations. I've made it my habit to value the "Hallmark Food Moment". I'll describe that later - but basically I make the event revolve around food instead of anything else. I'm sure there are other fun things to focus on, but I haven't been looking for so long, it's a whole new experience. So I'm off to the picnic. I'll let you know how it goes!

Car Analogy

We don't fill our car's tank with gas when we are depressed, lonely, bored or have a date with friends. We fill it when it is near empty. We need to view eating in the same manner & stop eating for reasons other than hunger and energy.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I Miss Food

I miss food. I'm thrilled at how well this program is working but I miss food. I miss the social aspect, I miss the entertainment aspect, I miss the flavor aspect & the feeling of being full. I miss the smells & textures. I miss the being waited on.

What I don't miss is the confusion of "What program am I doing today?" "What am I allowing myself to eat today?" "How do I not eat everything on my plate?" I don't miss the feeling of being stuffed, the feeling of beating myself up for having done that to myself again, the feeling of low blood sugar or being hungry while not having enough room in my stomach to eat more (when I've eaten totally the wrong thing.) I don't miss yo-yoing up & down every day because of water weight. I don't miss my huge pants being too snug. I don't miss being lethargic int he morning or the horrible feeling I feel after eating ice cream.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Food Addiction? Really?

So as I was listening to James Frey on Oprah (while she was still a believer) he was talking about addiction & listed food addiction right along side drugs & alcohol. Up until this point I didn't believe there was such a thing as food addiction but as he said what addiction was - as I recall he said it was a means of escape, a way to avoid feeling your stuff - I began to think about it. I certainly felt addicted, I had withdrawal symptoms when I didn't eat "treats", I literally felt the "AHHHHHH" feeling the moment I swallowed my first bite of something, when I was totally stressed out or overwhelmed I HAD to go get something to eat, I had to eat a "treat" before I balanced the checkbook or paying bills. "Yes" I thought, "I think I have an addiction to food." So now what? Do I check into a food rehab place? I looked it up and found that those places are for people with the opposite problem with food. So I eventually found Ellen Shuman & began working with her. She calls it Emotional Eating instead of food addiction but it looks & feels the same to me.

The first thing she had me do was ask myself before I ate, "What am I asking food to do for me at this moment?" I began making that my habit & found that most of the time the answer was entertain me or calm me down - it was rarely about feeling hungry. Even though this was enlightening, it didn't stop me from eating. The next step was allowing myself to feel the feelings that I was trying to escape by eating. This took a while but eventually I found those feelings bubbling to the surface & coming out at the most inappropriate times. As someone once described to me, holding down your feelings is like holding a large bouncy ball under the water. It will eventually come up & trying to hold it down is exhausting.

One evening I was sitting in a meeting holding my sleeping twins when someone started giving a talk about endurance. It was very much what I needed to hear but found myself crying with no way to get up & hide myself or wipe my nose. I slowly had to take one sock off at a time from the boys & use them for my nose until Kurt, my husband, came back to help. I found that I had to cry a lot for about 1 year before it got better. I had to journal (which I usually hate) & continue working with Ellen to get more clear about things. She kept telling me to trust myself that I can handle my feelings without food. Sometimes I could & sometimes I couldn't & just "needed" to eat to feel better & calm down.

It's now been about 3 years since I began working on my emotional eating & I still cry a lot more than before. Sometimes I find myself crying in the car for no reason at all except that I'm feeling stressed or I need to release all the pent up frustration. Not for "no reason" because letting out my emotions is actually much more healthy than bottling them up with food. I also had to work with Ellen to find out how to better communicate with Kurt so we dealt with things right away instead of fighting about dirty dishes for 3 weeks until the real reason revealed itself. Now we fight about dirty dishes for about a 1/2 hr before we take a break & then discuss the real issues.

And, the most amazing thing - I am not eating to deal with my emotions now. Especially now on this new food plan I am eating when I'm hungry & for no other reason. This would have been IMPOSSIBLE a few years ago. I can watch someone eat something amazing looking or go to a party with sweets & not even have a bite. Again, something I'm still amazed at. From feeling like had NO control over my actions & feeling as if I was being controlled by some other person to feeling totally in control of my actions is a very powerful feeling.

What I do still have are the thoughts - "Oh, there's a Starbucks, I can get a scone" "I'm close to the Teriyaki place" "A frosty sounds good". A drive through town elicits about 25 food thoughts. But now I don't act on them. I feel frustrated that I still have the thoughts but I'm sure in time even those will go away or diminish considerably. I have learned to immediately say to myself, "It's just a thought. Thoughts have no power or will on their own - they are merely a thought."

I'm sure like all addicts, I still miss the feeling that food would give me for a few minutes. Addiction is a strange thing - such a wonderful rush with such long lasting remorse. And I still question whether I'm really past it or whether this is a temporary control. I guess nothing is forever so if I don't use the skills that I learned, I guess I can easily go back to my old patterns. I feel the pang of fear every so often but then I remind myself how far I've come.