H.A.L.T.

Sometimes I have trouble identifying when I need to eat. I will wait and then I get shaky and light-headed and sick to my stomach – low blood sugar – it sucks. The acronym H.A.L.T. stands for hungry, angry, lonely or tired. Besides wanting to eat when I am hungry, I also want to eat when I am angry (see earlier post Triggers), lonely and tired. The T could also stand for thirsty. So the saying, “Don’t get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired/thirsty” is important for me to remember. All of those things are detrimental to my well-being if I let them go too long.

I am in a new profession where I need to keep peoples’ secrets. At times that makes me feel lonely. I noticed this the other day when I was sitting alone in a make-shift office and realized that I haven’t talked to a friend in a few days. This is contrary for me because I am a very social person. In this new profession I also get up very early and that makes for early nights which is one of the times I used to socialize. The times that are most convenient to talk are early morning (7am to 7:45) or late afternoon. These times only work for people who are out of my time zone. So it is time to try a few things outside of my comfort zone.

I started a new way of eating on October 30, and as of today (November 17) I have lost 10.6 lbs. I can’t do any physical exercise right now because of a knee problem and I am waiting for approval for a treatment to help me. I am looking forward to being more active.

Surrender

I feel like I have been in an abusive relationship for 40 years and I don’t want it to end. I have tried thousands of times – cold turkey, tapering off, changing my perspective – and always I find myself right back in the grips of my obsession. You probably think I am talking about a person, but I am not. I am talking about food. This was two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago I went to the ortho doctor and he told me that my knee is a mess. I need lubricating shots because of the arthritis that has been getting worse and it has worn away the cartilage. He said that this is the only solution unless I get a knee replacement. I said I don’t want that, and he said, very kindly, more kindly than any doctor has ever said to me, “Lose weight”. I cried all the way home. I had to quit smoking years ago for health reasons and I said the “God help me” prayer. The one where you say you can’t, and that what ever is out there has to do it for you. I did that prayer again that day driving home from the doctor’s office.

Last week I completely surrendered. I started a new food plan that is not drastic, and that I can do for an infinite amount of time and not go crazy. I will not (I have to say it here so I stand by my word) weigh myself any more than once a month. I would like to say that I won’t weigh myself at all but I don’t think that is a realistic goal for myself. I want to see results. I may find that I don’t need to weigh myself, but at this point I am willing to commit to once a month.

What makes this time different? I know I am not alone, I am in it for the long haul, I love myself more than I ever have in my life. I want to live longer and have a better quality of life. Right now I can’t exercise or even move much. I would like that to change as well. If anyone is reading this, I welcome encouragement and loving support, which I will gladly return to you as well, in whatever endeavor you are pursuing. Happy Sunday!

Attention

I do not like being the center of attention. I feel uncomfortable if I have to walk in front of a crowd because I am sure that people are judging me or I will trip or something else will happen where I will look silly or stupid. When I was in my 20s I was thin (of course I thought I was fat) and tall and blond. When I walked into a room people would notice. I was either oblivious to it or thought they were staring for some other reason, like I had, with out knowing it, grown a third eye. The flip side of this coin was I craved attention. I wanted to be loved and adored. The problem was, I didn’t love and adore myself, which even though I have a ways to go, I am working on it, I do like who I am and love many things about myself.

Now it is no surprise to me that I have been anorexic and now I am fat, both of which have been described as “wanting to disappear” or in my words, not wanting to be seen. When I start losing weight and people start to notice it makes me uncomfortable, but once when I lost 60 pounds, my brother said nothing. I asked him later why he never said anything and he said I was his sister and he didn’t notice things like that with me. Interestingly enough, he has taken my husband aside and said he was worried about my health regarding my weight. In his defense, my mother died of a sudden heart attack at the age of 51.

I saw a picture that someone posted of me recently and I can’t believe how big I look – body dismorphia is something I have had my whole life, or at least since I was 7. When I was at my lowest weight I was considered 25 pounds underweight and I still thought I had to lose 20 pounds. Some of this comes from the media (when I was growing up, a model that I admired who was my height, weighed what I saw as my ideal weight, which was 20 pounds less than my lowest weight), family, and society. I often think if I wasn’t raised in Southern California, would I have a different idea of how it should be? It was suggested that I post a sticky on my mirror that says, “I accept myself unconditionally, right now”. Because of this poor body image I have trouble looking in the mirror, so I have made it a point to post that note and to say it everyday.

I am reading 3 books right now about food and weight and health. What I realized the other day is that they each address a different aspect of my dilemma: mind, body and spirit. There is overlap between the mind and spirit but overall, they really break down that way. These are the books and what I have gotten from each of them so far:

Mind/Body:  How to Make Almost Any Diet Work: Repair Your DIsordered Appetite and Finally

                           Lose Weight  by Anne Katherine

What this book is saying to me is that I don’t have an eating disorder but I have a disordered appetite which is different in the way I eat and how the reasons differ from person to person. She says that disordered appetite is not your fault, that it was a way to survive and that we were not given other tools. She says diets don’t work, and that there is no one way for every one to eat. Everyone needs to listen and pay attention to what their body is telling them and adjust what they eat to how they feel. She is very compassionate and I like that and she also says she knows that we all want the magic bullet and there isn’t one.

Body: It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole 30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways

by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig

This book is filled with great facts about how our food source has been altered so that we have gotten hooked on certain things, and our brain chemistry has been altered to make us want more. There is a resource section that gives the research findings as well for the academics who want to question the validity. It says that most people have physical ailments that are due to a systemic inflammation caused by many of the foods we eat.

Spirit: Eating in the Light of the Moon: How Women Can Transform Their Relationships with Food

                      Through Myths, Metaphors & Storytelling by Anita Johnston, PhD.

This one really spoke to me. In the preface the author talks about her practice of working with women with eating disorders and she said that there was no consistency in their background but she did find a commonality. Here is a portion of her preface:

“The common thread seemed to be a pervasive sense of not quite fitting in, of not quite seeing things the way others did, of being a ‘misfit’.

I learned that as very young girls, these women were bright and gifted and had exceptional ability to perceive subtle realities. More often than not, a woman who struggled with disordered eating was once a girl who saw the invisible, who read between the lines, who sensed when things were not right. She noticed when people said one thing and did another. She could discern certain patterns of behavior and anticipate what was to come next. She knew when someone was being insincere or dishonest.

Her family, for one reason or another, did not appreciate her gift. They did not want to be confronted with discrepancies in their behavior or to address what seemed to be odd concerns or avant-garde ideas. They did not want to deal with her ultra-sensitivity to emotional undercurrents… Since this child’s survival depended on fitting into the family, she had to find a way to dim her light so her parents wouldn’t be overwhelmed, so her brothers and sisters wouldn’t feel jealous and reject her… She collaborated with the other family members by taking a position that something was wrong with her perception, that something was wrong with her.”

Sick

I wish I could quit FaceBook. Most of the time it is a great source of info, way to keep in touch with people and laughs. I use it a lot for inspirational quotes and encouragement. On occasion, it is a reminder that I am: left out, not a part of, omitted. I am feeling  unwanted, unloved and alone. It sounds like I am being whinny, but that is not the purpose here. The purpose is to get it out of my head and on paper (screen) to see if I can get some relief from somewhere other than food.  I know that feelings aren’t fact and I am glad that most of the time it doesn’t matter to me. On certain occasions it makes me sick. What I mean by that is that I get a feeling in my stomach like I want to throw up. The only thing that seems to make that feeling go away is comfort food. As I mentioned in a previous post, (Triggers) wanting comfort food is an indication that I want/need some comfort. Not rocket science, right?

My husband is on a health kick and he is saying things to me that I have been saying to him for years. Things like, “White flour turns to sugar and sugar turns to fat,” and “High fructose corn syrup is poison” and “when things are low fat they are loaded with sugar” and “diet drinks make you crave more food”. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is hearing it – but it can be a little irritating when he says it with such excitement, like it is the best thing he has every heard.

I watched a documentary called “Hungry for Change” that is streaming on Netflix and it is in line with all the things I have been reading about how the media and manufacturers have modified the food source so that we have become addicted to certain things – sugar, carbs, gluten, etc. So the message is – we have been duped. But now that we know, it is time to take responsibility. This is where the 15 year-old rebellious brat inside me wants to scream and throw a temper tantrum. The problem is that I am unhealthy – unhealthy in so many ways.  I once got a postcard in the mail and it was sent anonymously. It had a picture of an old lady in bed – she looked like she was 100 – and they wrote on the opposite side, “If not now, when?” I was so offended by that postcard. I was offended because I didn’t understand why it was sent anonymously. I am sure it was because they were afraid to say something to me. But I guess what I am saying is, “If not now, when?”

Grief

It was pointed out to me, by two different people, that I have had a lot of loss in the last few months. Somehow, it always seems more true when someone else points it out, at least for me it does. I accomplished a major goal that I had wanted for most of my adult life, and now that it is done, I am feeling a bit lost. When you have had a focus for so long, when it is done, it feels like a rudderless boat.

It has been said that when you are grieving for one thing, you also grieve a bit more for all of your past losses as well. I really feel that these days. I have a lot of time on my hands which isn’t necessarily a good thing. I grieve the loss of my mother (mostly, what I had wished her to be, but I do miss a lot about her). I never had children and even though I didn’t want any, especially after raising someone else’s kids, I think I would have liked to experience pregnancy and child birth. I am grieving all the years I lost wishing I was thinner, and missing out on things because I was not. I never wanted to look stupid or to have anyone think, “Who does she think she is?” I am grieving that my health is not what I would like it to be. I am grieving that the kids I raised were so damaged by the time I got them that I probably couldn’t have done any more for them but I grieve that none of them had real weddings, none of them went to college, they all married someone just like their birth mother, and they really aren’t very nice people. They are also raising children and that scares me the most. The oldest daughter who was HORRIBLE as a kid is visiting. She has an 8 year old who is the most spoiled brat and sneaky and mean. Her mother sees none of it (or chooses not to see it). The middle daughter is emotionally stunted and she had to move in with us when her poor excuse for a husband left her and her two kids. She will never live on her own without some sort of assistance. Her kids I love so much, but the younger one had something happen and now he is emotionally shut down, so much so that he has been diagnosed as autistic. He might be but I am still so sad for him. My granddaughter who has been the light of my life for the past 11 years is showing signs of anger and rebellion and it breaks my heart.

I have lost the friendship of one of my closest friends over the last few months and I have lost some other women that I thought I was close to also. I was part of a community that I thought would take care of our own, but I found that the people in that community are conditional with who they help. My path is getting narrower. I guess I needed to cry because that is what I have been doing since I started writing this. And I guess with all this disclosure, I really have to keep this an anonymous blog.

 

Expectations

I am realizing that I have a lot of expectations of people – specifically my friends – but people in general. When I go to the market and people park their cart in the middle of the aisle, so that no one can pass, it makes me angry. I usually stand there looking at them. When they notice they might say, “Oh sorry” and I might say something like, “No problem” and smile, but inside I am indignant. Thoughts like, “I would never do that” and “who do they think they are” and “do they think the world is supposed to stop and wait for them?” go through my head so fast, that I don’t even realize how I sound and how much that negative thinking effects my mood. As I type this, I wonder if this irritation has anything to do with me being in a grocery store (a stressful place for me to be in the best of circumstances). It bothers me in Target too but their aisles are wider and I can usually go around.

My expectations of my friends have cost me friendships. Some of the expectations are reasonable; don’t talk about me behind my back, don’t flirt with my husband, don’t steal from me, treat me with respect. The ones that get me in trouble are; expecting others to think like I do, to respond to a situation like I would, to be willing to do for others like I am. Someone thanked me for doing something for her once and I said, “well you would do it for me” and she said, “I don’t know if I would. You are a nicer person than I am.” I do not say this to say I am so great, just an example to make my point.

Another expectation that I have is that when I speak to someone, they listen. One big problem with this is that most people are thinking about themselves when anyone is speaking, or thinking about how they will respond. Or if the have attention issues, they are off thinking about something different or they are interrupting to say the thought that just ran through their head that they will lose if they don’t blurt it out right now (this is my husband). The biggest problem with all of these situations is that I think the way they are acting has something to do with me. It doesn’t – it has everything to do with who they are, not who I am. As I step back from my most recent episode of “Expectations Gone Awry”, I see how I have drawn some negative people into my life and they tend to be a bit selfish as well so this is a disaster waiting to happen. I will never get what I want and need from these people. Another aspect of this particular chapter, is that I thought I belonged to a group of people who have a sense of community – but I don’t. Someone is in need and when you ask them to help out, they don’t have the time. I was talking to an older friend about it the other day and she said, “They are the ‘me’ generation”.

All of this makes me want to eat – crunchy, salty stuff.

Bathing Suits

I have always felt that I need to apologize to people when I wear a bathing suit out in public. I can’t remember a time that I didn’t feel this way. Besides growing up self conscious and aware of my body, I have always been aware of the bodies of other women. I am usually comparing my body to theirs, sometimes asking my husband, “Is that how I look?” I have always had a distorted concept of my body image. I have trouble looking in the mirror at my whole self. I can look at my eyes, my face, my hair, and my clothes separately, but the whole picture, I am unable to take in. I always am surprised when I see a picture of myself because I always look fatter than I do in my head – and that picture in my head is HUGE! I don’t even like my husband to see me naked. I do not feel sexy, and I definitely do not act sexy. When I was younger, I counted a lot on my sexiness, feeling like that was all I had to offer (another lesson modeled by my mother), so being sexy had a purpose.

I love seeing beautiful women who are sexy, and I do not mean the Barbie doll types. I mean real women with curves and adventurous spirits. To me that is sexy. I do not see these women using their sexiness as a purpose – that was something I attributed only to my younger self and my mother. I see these women possessing something that I have never had – self confidence. I follow a blog called Hope on Heels that I am in complete awe of. The person who writes it is a participant of something called Yoga Flirt. This is a program that empowers women to be sexy at any size, shape or age. They do pole dancing using the concepts of yoga. I have seen demonstrations and videos and the performances are beautiful. These women (only women are allowed in the studio and there are no mirrors) have sexiness and self confidence. It is amazing. That is added to my list of things I want to do “When I lose weight” which is another post for another day.