Thursday, May 26, 2011

Truth (?) about "Diets"

Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is not a diet or calorie club and does not endorse or recommend any particular food plan. Each participant is free to choose whatever food plan they wish and can alter the plan any time. At least that's my understanding of OA.

The key to loosing weight in OA has nothing to do with typical diet plans and everything to do with accepting individual patterns of food addiction.

For some, this doesn't seem so easy... maybe they're addicted to everything, or at least everything loaded with fat, sugar and salt. To some being abstinent on these foods would, in their addictive mind, leave nothing for them to eat and a horrible sense of denial sets in even as they contemplate the possibility of change. I know because I talked a lot about OA today with a person very, very dear to me. She can not fathom being able to survive without all the "junk foods" (my term, not hers) that constitute most of her daily intake. I'm sad to admit that nothing I said changed anything for her although she says she is miserable. I am horrified by the understanding of what her life must be like (and her life expectancy).

We did talk a little about our past experiences with diets and about how quickly we both regained every pound we lost, plus more. I told her about my husband and I watching a college course on healthy lifestyle (which I wrote about here). Last night, watching lecture #19 on fads and diets, Dr./Prof. Goodman had an interesting story about diets.

He told about going to a large bookstore and counting over 300 books with the word "Diet" in the title. "Why are there so many diet books," he asked? "Because not one of them works!" He rationed that IF one diet actually worked it would be the only book for sale. Word would get around that it works; everyone would buy that book and nobody would buy any of the other books. By this reasoning, there is no diet that works.

I just thought that was kind of funny. I guess one could just as easily conclude that they all work equally well.

Anyway trying to explain today how OA is not about a diet, trying to explain abstinence, food plan and higher power, I found myself a bit tongue-tied as I looked into the eyes of an addict, an addict who looked back at me with aversion and denial in her eyes. How far is bottom? I ask my higher power to help her and to help me help her... not to give up...

* * * * * *

Gratitude for today: rain, 238 consecutive days of abstinence, our adorable cat, that miraculously bottom for me wasn't morbid obesity and related illnesses, our local OA community

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Weighed Myself.....

Well, thanks readers for the good tips on how to feel better. Your well wishes and all must be working... maybe the antibiotics too... anyway, except for coughing spells from time to time (not so often, thank goodness), I'm feeling a lot better after three hits of the Azithromycin, which is my new, favorite antibiotic!

This morning, after a reasonable night's sleep (that means only waking myself up with a coughing fit three or four times, as opposed to every 10 minutes), I woke up thinking about things... chores, how the day might play out, a friend I had hoped to talk with on the phone last night (but didn't), normal morning thoughts.

Then, suddenly, the thought struck me to get out of bed and weigh myself.

Probably doesn't sound too weird, until you realize I haven't been on the scale but one time in over a year, since early April of 2010, after our return from a trip to the South West, where I pigged out every day. That fateful day, I weighed in at 232... not my all time high, but a jeans-squeezing, foot-busting, chipmunk-cheeks, rotundus-abundus, hate-myself, yo-y0 high nevertheless. It was still two weeks, and probably a few pounds more, before I realized I can not control my eating/binging and turned myself over to the care of a higher power and the loving community of our local OA group.

Since then, the only time I weighed was when I had my annual physical and was weighed (fully clothed with shoes) at the Doctor's office. Although I closed my eyes, the nurse said the number out loud. I think it was 187. At the time, I had mixed feelings about the number... good because it was a significant loss from when I started... not so good because I've been around 187 many times before, a number where I seem to hit the wall, often the bottom of the yo-yo drop. Therefore, I vowed to continue my no scale policy.

Until this morning. Don't know what got into me. The results? !66 (with full bladder and flannel nightgown). I was surprised. Thought it would be around 180. Feeling good about it. However, I think this will be the last scale visit for a while.

I don't like the pressure I immediately felt, the panic that the number might be low because of being sick, the fear that being this low (still overweight for my 5 ft. 8 inch frame, but no longer obese) will make me think I can go back to my old ways of eating, some other more personal fears related to the past and my attractiveness to men. No problem, fears! Just cool your jets, because we're not getting on that thing again for a loooooong time! No scale and all's well with PB!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Waiting for Antibiotics to Kick In

Six days of coughing, frequent coughing fits that made my whole chest burn, feeling like my lungs are turning inside out, sleeping only a brief time between the fits, and fever causing alternating sweats and chills, six days and finally I gave up and got my husband to drive me to the Dr. yesterday. Dr. put me on Azithromycin, which already, after just the first dose, seems to be helping to calm the symptoms, and prescribed some codeine cough syrup, which gave me 4 consecutive, blissful, cough-free hours of healing sleep last night.

Today I have zero energy, barely enough to write this post. My hands are shaking, little tremors, and my legs too. Laundry, grocery shopping, preparations for studio tour, gardening chores and much else will have to wait a little longer. But... I am a little better than yesterday and for that I'm grateful. So far, crossing my fingers, my husband seems to be holding to steady health. Dr. said I'll stop being contagious 24 hours after first dose of antibiotic, so by later this afternoon.

My husband tried to find somewhere to get some good chicken soup in town yesterday (bless him), but being unsuccessful, he bought a piece of baked chicken and a can of Progresso chicken soup, which I ate last evening, my first "meal" in several days. Akkkkk, canned soup is sooooooooooo salty! I couldn't finish it. I hope to feel well enough to grocery shop tomorrow and will make a crock pot of decent chicken soup! I should make some to put in the freezer for future health emergencies like this.

Gratitude for today: having no pressing commitments for the next week, antibiotics, the promise of seeing Lunnette and Christy a week from today, and the hope of getting back to walking soon.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ah.... Home Again!!!

One day short of two weeks since I last wrote and now all of those stressful things are behind me, leaving me, however, with a respiratory infection (fever, chills, cough, aches everywhere) that kept me in bed for two whole days. Today I'm feeling better, although I'm still coughing my lungs inside out. (Hate that!)

The next stressful thing is two weekends from now, the Artists Studio Tour (which I posted about here, on my other blog). There will be snacks and treats for our guests and there will be times when there are no customers, when I'm bored and discouraged at the temporary lack of sales. Bored and discouraged... couldn't be two more aggressive triggers for binging and overeating.

However, I'm encouraged by the past two weeks, especially teaching a two-day class where the students brought the most delicious-looking treats, set out for all to share: M&Ms, candy shop chocolates and other special candies, home-made lemon bars and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Eeeeee-yike! That was a disaster waiting to happen. But I was good, sticking to my abstinence program and touching nary a crumb. True, I was neither bored nor discouraged while teaching this lively, talented group of women... so maybe I have nothing to crow about here.

By the way, thanks to readers who supported me with these stressful, back-to-back events, and who gave me great ideas and recipes for preparation of vegetarian meals. Our guest was very pleased and so was I!


My husband and I have been viewing several of The Great Courses recently and are now about 1/3 of the way into Lifelong Health: Achieving Optimum Well-Being at Any Age, by Professor Anthony Goodman. By the way, should anybody be interested in any of these courses, don't buy them from the website! Write or call to ask for a catalog and wait until they go on sale for 60 or 70% off.

Anyway, Prof Goodman has some excellent tips about health and change. Three that he repeats are:

  1. One Degree ~ change your course in one degree increments. Over a long period of time, even a one degree change will land you in a different place. I like this at lot. Nothing radical. For example, neither me nor my husband likes fish. So for our 13 years together, I have never cooked it for us. We recognize the need for fish oils in our diet, so we take supplements. The good Prof, doesn't recommend supplements, suggesting we get our vitamins, etc. from whole foods. Ugh... cooking fish. However, we don't need to do it every night. Just one night a week and a couple tuna salads for lunches will give us a 10 degree change. And that is significant over time!

  2. Goldilocks ~ choose the "bed" that fits you. Despite his recommendations about healthy lifestyle and foods, he suggests we always steer toward what fits us, our likes, dislikes, comfort zone. I like this too. He makes strong suggestions, but at the same time seems to understand and value that we know ourselves best.

  3. Whole Foods ~ Yep, I always knew it. But now with the Prof's persuasive language backed by scientific studies he sites, I see the whole value of whole foods. Again, just by making a shift a couple of nights a week, we can lean that way more with our diet.
So with our new vegetable garden and wisdom gleaned from Prof Goodman, I'm pretty sure my husband and I are headed toward a course change for the better with our eating!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mixed Bag o' Feelings

Some guilt remorse about not posting or reading in this realm for too many days. Like the hummingbird drawn to the newest blooming flower, I've been ghost-writing a blog for my husband. Ha. That's not the truth. I'm writing it for me; he's not the least interested in it or in doing it. He calls it identity theft. He seems to be joking when he says that, but maybe there's a grain of truth in it.

We he started a garden. Truth is, I've never liked or been interested in or been good at growing plants. Parents did and next down brother is quite the purple thumb. Not me. So when we first talked about a garden, I basically said, "Count me out." He didn't particularly like my attitude, so we discussed it in counseling and agreed that I'd contribute 10% financially and in labor.

Behold and lo... Who is out there every day looking at the plants? Who is buying the plants and seeds? Who shoveled dirt and gravel and cleaned up after the workers? Who drilled the PVC pipes for the water reservoir? Who started the new blog (Rain Barrel Garden)? Me. Go figure. This I do not understand. Garden = fun? Does not compute, but somehow it mostly is. That's why the new blog I guess.

Challenges for eating. Last Saturday I had to be one of several hosts at a big community art function with a gigantic lavish of foods and snacks. I'm so shy and uncomfortable in situations like that. Akkkk... I went with the thought that I'd be abstinent on all edibles for the three hours. Didn't make it. Ate some fruit and a few crackers with cheese. Not too bad and none of my binge foods. That's good. Felt miserable there. Couldn't find the least little comfort zone. Just white-knuckled my way through the time and departed the second it was officially over. Maybe that's just how it is for me in social situations like that. Maybe I could learn to just say "no" when asked to do stuff like that...

Challenges causing stress. Friend from college visiting us me Wed-Fri. He and I were fairly close for 4 years, but have only seen each other one time since graduating in '64. He's vegetarian; we're not. Anybody got a good, easy to fix vegetarian main dish to recommend? My husband has no interest in meeting him and is already acting pissy toward me. Oh for fun! This is the last guest I will invite to our home. It just isn't worth the worry and stress that my husband might be unpleasant and rude to the guest; plus irritated with me. Why do I always forget how it goes down, and invite someone else?

Next on the list is a slide lecture that I have to do on Saturday, meaning I'll miss my OA meeting. Right now, I have need of my OA meetings, big need. Missing Saturday is not a good thing.

Then I'm home for one day, madly preparing to teach a two-day workshop a day's drive away. I'll leave Monday for that, teach Tuesday and Wednesday, drive back on Thursday. More stress; more temptation to handle stress with food; more anxiety about my husband's attitude. He doesn't like it when I'm gone. He doesn't like it when he's not the center of my attention.

I may have been guilty of playing into that in some sort of co-dependent way for many years. But it has worn very thin lately. Even with counseling, I'm still thinking about divorce, something I promised I wouldn't do for a year... a year that we would work on our relationship. Today it doesn't feel like it's working. Today I feel sad... and mad... and hopeless... and lonely.

There it is. I just named my feelings, for whatever it's worth.

Now, is there any good news to report? Yes, there is... I've been continuing to work on my clutter problem. THAT makes me feel good. I've got several boxes and bags ready for a garage sale (or maybe I'll just take them to the thrift store), lots of bags of recycling and lots of bags of garbage. The keepers are organized. Whohoooo! Not even half way done yet, but keeping at it and seeing light at the end of the tunnel! Also I put some of my bead art for sale on my website, posted about it on my art blog and have sold all but two of the pieces. This is really a good thing and makes me feel happy, satisfied, worthwhile.

So, it's a mixed bag o' feelings today. I probably won't post again until I return from teaching. Supportive cyber hugs and anti-binge vibes are appreciated!