How Not To Fuel the Fire

I have been a plus-size woman for the majority of my adult life.  Some years bigger than others (ahem…some DECADES bigger than others), but with the exception of a few years here and there, I have carried quite a bit of extra weight.  I have been extremely lucky, in that I have developed very few medical problems this extra weight.

Yes, I have sleep apnea and slightly high blood pressure, but both are easily treatable — one with a CPAP machine that I am devoted to wearing every time I lie down, and the blood pressure with a tiny dose of medication.  I again say, I have been extremely lucky, and I don’t really lose sight of that.  I know things could be much worse for my physical health because of my size (oy, and the smoking), but thanks to good genetics or the moon pulling the tides or what-have-you, I don’t suffer much with physical ills.

When I first started this blog over seven years ago, I was quite overweight, although not nearly to the degree I am now, and I actually DID have some health problems.  I joined Weight Watchers, dropped a bunch of weight, and walked three to ten miles a day (every day).  Unfortunately, I had a knee energy when I (foolishly) decided I was skinny enough to start running, and the scale has been on the uptick ever since.

For the past few months I have been feeling quite miserable physically, and I finally went and saw my primary care provider, who ran a bunch of labs.  It turned out that my fasting glucose was quite high, and she immediately decided that I had diabetes and she needed to prescribe Metformin (a diabetic medication) and all would be well.

Well, hellz no, lady!  With the 19 pills I take every morning and 24 I take every night for mental health issues, I’m not going to just throw another pill on top of things, all willy nilly.  SO, I asked her to test my A1C (it is more of an average of your blood sugar levels over a much longer period of time, rather than just the one instance).

And my A1C was NORMAL and my mononucleosis test came back NEGATIVE and so I am celebrating because…yay…I haven’t totally screwed my body up yet!  Now, of course, this doesn’t explain why I feel so awful physically, but at least I know that most of my labs are normal, so this is great news.

I spoke with my provider’s nurse, and my provider would like me to mostly eliminate carbohydrates and eat more fruits and vegetables.  I am going to take this under consideration, but I don’t want to do anything too extreme as I have a history of eating disorder, including but not limited to extreme preoccupation with food and calories.

I have not participated in *hardly* any eating disorder activity since LarBear and I have been together, and I want to keep it that way.  I don’t want to get really focused on a certain diet that I need to keep, and end up back where I used to be — all-consumed by anything that went into my mouth (and, similarly, that which was purged).  BUT, I do want to be a healthier person and I really do want to feel better physically so I can do more things.

There is the push and pull, now, that I need to lose weight and exercise more, and I do know that.  I am grateful I have yet to eff up the one body that I have been given on this planet (although I have really put it through quite the cycles of abuse) and so I feel very thankful for that.  I don’t want to worsen things, and turn that next A1C that I have to have drawn in two months into a problem number, but as stated before, don’t want to restart the eating disorder cycle (because it is the biggest bitch ever to get out of).

Any constructive thoughts are welcomed, desired, hoped-for, et cetera, ad nauseum!  😀

My Guilty Pleasure (TW)

Today’s Daily Prompt begs the question:

What’s the one guilty pleasure you have that’s so good, you no longer feel guilty about it?

Guilt-Trip-Sticker

 

This is a good question, because I have many guilty pleasures.  Most of them are food-related.  A few are not.  I read several other blogs’ take on this question, and it seems that food or food-related items rank way up there as a guilty pleasure that they are making no apologies for.

It’s food and it’s fuel, right?  I know very few people who actually operate that way, although they claim they do.  It’s about taste and texture and comfort.  It’s about memories and celebrating and tradition.  Food can be art.  Can fuel be art?

Food can also be guilt.  Food can be a habit that is (seemingly) unbreakable.  Food can be a pattern, an imprint on our soul, a war that we constantly wage.  As a person who grew up dealing with bulimia, to an adult who constantly battles with Binge Eating Disorder, with very occasional purging thrown in for good measure, I cannot say that I am able, at this point, to have a relationship with food that mimics the “food is fuel” model.  As much as I would like, I’m not there.

I like food, actually LOVE food, but food is also the enemy.  Too little, while failing to try and eat in moderation, and I make up for that later with way too much food and a whole pot full of bad feelings about it.  If I eat an inordinate amount and am in a very bad place, I revert to old bulimic behaviors.  Why don’t I just stop already?

Food is my guilty pleasure.  But one that I do feel guilty about, which is not what the Daily Prompt really wants me to write about.  My relationship with food is better than it used to be.  I eat healthier, binge less, but it still happens.

My bingeing has been better since DSB left.  I am not keeping a lot of food around to binge on, and I had a better-than-usual experience my last grocery shopping trip in which the only real trigger item I bought was peanut butter.  Let’s just say that the peanut butter’s days were numbered and it is long gone.  And I feel really bad about that.  But there’s not much I can do now.

It will be interesting to see how my eating disorder moves along now that DSB is gone.  Already, I said, it has been better.  I want to know — will I be able to finally cure myself?  Given the right blend of vegetables and fruit and starch and protein, will I be able to banish those obsessive stuff-your-face thoughts out of my head?  I certainly hope so.

It’s certainly something I need to work on in therapy.  Something I haven’t mentioned in eons.  I’ve just been plugging away, not mentioning it because, well, I feel pretty guilty about it.

Which is why this is such a big post.  It is very hard to tell the world that you are overweight and have an eating disorder.  It is not well-understood.  “Well, just eat less!”  Right on.  All I have to comfort myself with right now, is that I am trying very hard, being extra vigilant, and hopefully with those two things and the help of my therapist, I can nip this life-long issue in the bud…forever.

 

The Last Glass of Milk

I was very fortunate to grow up in a home filled with plenty of food.  We never went without, and, to the best of my recollection, we always had a nice sit-down dinner every night (with everyone attending) often had hot breakfasts on the weekends.  We wanted for nothing.  It’s possible that my parents struggled to pull this off, but that’s how it felt.

There was always salsa and chips or carrots and ranch for snacks.  Often there was fresh fruit and vegetables that could be munched on.  Mom pulled that off with (seeming) ease.

It’s funny how one’s upbringing around food can change their attitude about it.  While there was always plenty of fo0d at home, I’d get in trouble constantly for “sneaking” food.  I don’t know why I did it.  If I had asked, it would likely have been given to me.  But there was a lot of sneaking around.

The Big Dawg had perhaps the worst habits when it came to food.  You didn’t eat anything out of the fridge or pantry that you thought he might possibly want.  He grew up hungry, and lived hungry for years, fighting with his brothers over food.  He seemed to have this almost paranoid idea that you were stealing food from him when something would go missing.  To this day, I still think he gets a little bent out of shape when Mom offers me leftovers.

I don’t fault him for this.  It’s how I grew up.  I grew up learning that everything in the kitchen was not to just be had.  We had to ask.  Maybe lots of kids grew up that way.  Maybe it kept me from blowing up into a little porker, I don’t know.  Even now, my mom (and occasionally the Big Dawg) will criticize the amount of food I put on my plate when I come over.  I know it’s “about health,” but it’s a bad, bad feeling to have your parent police your food intake like that when you are a grown-ass woman.

Sometimes it’s easier just to have Mom dish it up, put it on a plate, and put it in front of me.  The way I grew up with food has significantly affected DSB and mine’s relationship.  Where he grew up, there was also nothing lacking, but there was a more open relationship with food.  If you were hungry, take it, even if it’s the last one.

This has led to issues sometimes with us when say, for example, there’s not much milk left but I really want a glass.  In my mind, that’s DSB’s milk, because he’s the one that drinks the most of it and it’s “his thing.”  DSB wants me to just drink the friggin’ milk if I want a glass.  Drink the milk, eat the last piece of cake, just go for it.

I spend so much time trying to make sure everything is “fair” between us, that sometimes I go a little crazy.  I worry when I’m putting our plates together that I got a slightly bigger piece of chicken, so I will give him slightly more mac and cheese and so on and so forth.  DSB could really care less, as long as  he has a plate of food in front of him at suppertime.

The way I grew up with food influences my shopping habits today.  At home, there was (and still is!) a full stocked refrigerator, freezer, and pantry.  When we’re running low on supplies, I start freaking out.  DSB has to walk me through the fact that there are at least eight meals left in the house that could be had.  I just don’t see it like that.  If there’s not gobs of stuff to cook, I think we have nothing.  You would have thought I grew up in the Depression.

I’m not saying all this to make anyone feel bad, and certainly no one should.  But more to highlight how growing up around food affects how we view food as adults.  To me, food is comfort and  home and something to be cherished.  To DSB, it’s fuel.  And that’s it.  Maybe that’s why I’m so big, I don’t know.  There are a lot of answers to that question, I think, and it can’t all fall back on my childhood, other than some wicked stepmothers who warped my mind against my body and my appetite long, long ago.

To sum up, childhood experience plays a huge role in how you view food, grocery shopping, the division of food between family members, and so on.  I wish I could get it a little more scientific, but I know that my mom and stepdad didn’t create my eating disorders.  I KNOW where that came from — evil stepmothers.  And hey, my own doing, too.  I can own up to that.  I hope at some point I can be at a healthier weight, but it has to be on my own time, at my own choosing.

Sam has made these before.  Divine.  No butter or syrup needed!

banana-pancakes3

Banana Pancakes — great recipe!

Name-calling and More

The food saga continues.  I don’t ever want to look at it that way, but it does.  My life revolves around food.  A lot more than I would like to admit.  Apparently most people don’t give it nearly as much thought as I do.

When I wake up  at 4:00 a.m., I think, “What’s in the fridge and can I eat it quietly enough to keep Dr. Love from hearing me?”  After eating, I’ll pass out on the couch for fear of being found out, and fall quickly into a carbohydrate-induced slumber.  When I wake up for the day, I start looking for food again.  I sit and I drink coffee and consider what I could eat for lunch and snacks at work that day.

I think about it quite a bit.  Sometimes I am nearly late to work because I decide I need to fire up the stove and cook something.  Or, I can get caught in the trap of knowing I didn’t pack a lunch, but I have a few bucks and I can stop at Casey’s and get a snack to get me through until I can get back home and make myself a “proper” lunch.

Sometimes I’ll come home and make a proper lunch, sometimes I’ll just go to the grocery store and get a salad, and then sometimes I’ll go fast food.  Whichever way I go, it isn’t pretty.  And once I start that thought in the morning that there is nothing to eat at the house, there is nothing that can keep me from going out and buying something.

Spending money and eating compulsively.  It’s what I do.

QoB manages my finances to cut back on the catastrophe that I used to do to my banking account.  I appreciate it and I know it can be a real PITA for her.  I stole one of my checkbooks from her desk drawer the other day.  Feeling desperate, so low and desperate.  It’s hard to explain.  I felt like that was the only answer.

I can’t stop eating.  I am eating and eating and eating and I can’t stop.  I don’t know what hunger feels like anymore.  I can’t control my portions and I can’t stop heading back to the fridge/grocery/fast food place.  Nothing is satisfying me and it is really at a bad point now.

I stopped showering about a month ago, maybe a little longer.  My body disgusts me and I can’t stand to touch it or see it.  Can’t stand to be naked for even a little bit.  I worry about Dr. Love seeing me without clothes on and know for certain that he is disgusted by me, as well, even though he says this is not the case.  I know the truth.

I see how people look at me.  The token fat girl walking around work (waddle waddle), going to the store (hmmmm, what’s in her cart?), going through the fast food line (supersize it!), people are staring.  They might even be pointing, but I wouldn’t know because I can’t stand to lift my head up to look.

This is becoming a real problem.  I know it’s a problem because I have no energy to do anything, all I want to do is eat and think about eating and lay on the couch.  All I can think about is food, and, alternately, how disgusting I am.  I can’t take a shower.  I wash my hair in the sink every other day, and am down to showering probably once a week, maybe a little more.

It’s just not good.

This whole idea of going lactose-free has really compounded everything, too.  As you can only imagine.  Probably more than you can imagine.  Maybe I will be able to blog about that tomorrow but right now I’m completely disgusted and am going to lie on the couch and stare at the wall.  Ponder what’s for lunch tomorrow.

Ugh.

Sarah McLachlan, Answer

Pass the Lactaid, Please

Up and at ’em bright and early, for numerous reasons.  Numero uno is because my eating habits have turned to shit.  I keep eating junk food and junk food and more junk food.  I really need to go to the grocery store, but at the same time am totally uninspired and kind of depressed about my new lactose-free life.  I think that’s why I have been rebelling with french fries and chips.  I miss my yogurt and cheese, dammit!

Previous to my current lactose-free status, I consumed probably four or five dairy servings each day.  Mostly in healthy snack-form…yogurt, sugar free pudding, string cheese.  Without those staples, I am stumped.  Literally stumped.  There are not many convenience foods I can eat without getting sick, and, being so unmotivated and lazy and despairing, I keep eating chips.  And french fries.  And hamburgers.  And ridiculously expensive salads.  Now it’s the grease, salt, and sugar that’s killing me.

Something else I’ve pinpointed that I can’t eat without a great deal of discomfort — almonds.  That used to be a “go-to” snack as well, but now kills my stomach.  And microwave popcorn, although that is likely due to the butter in it.

It’s hard to be careful about what I eat, so I just end up in misery sometimes.  I am generally good about avoiding lactose, but then I just replace it with grease, salt, and sugar.  And am still unsatisfied.  I have tried soy cheese, soy yogurt, and both are disgusting.  I have found a “buttery spread” that I like, but no more spray butter kind of sucks.  I really do like soy milk, as long as it is the Silk brand, and due to that, I don’t really miss drinking regular milk.  Soy ice cream is also not bad.

In an attempt to save myself from a heart attack or diabetes, I am trying to work on eating better.  I am awake this morning so I could fix a few things to eat for the week.  I have some vegetables to cut up to dip in dressing, edamame is on the stove, and I’m hard-boiling some eggs.  I think part of the problem I have is that I feel like I have to have a “main dish” and that just isn’t so, dearies.

I don’t much care for lunchmeat sandwiches, especially without cheese.  And the bread I really like is loaded with dairy.  I tried doing wraps last week, but need something to replace the cheese.  I am thinking maybe some guac would be good?  Not really sure.

I know that I just need some ideas, and it really shouldn’t be so hard, but it’s such a lifestyle change that I’m trying to make (and failing horribly at, substituting junk for dairy products) and I am finding it really difficult.  I didn’t have too many problems at first, but as previously stated, I would kill for some yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, pudding, so on and so forth.

I realize I have about two readers, but I would really appreciate any suggestions.  I have hit a wall and am despairing, throwing myself instead at the mercy of chips from Casey’s and fries from just about any fast-food place you can think of.

Oh, and Lactaid.  Don’t even get me started.  That stuff does NOT work for me.  I think perhaps I need to take my doctor’s advice and start taking that live bacteria capsule, forgetting what it is called at the moment, but I’m sure that QoB knows what I’m talking about.

Paul Simon, Crazy Love Vol. II

 

The Will to Carry On

I sure am up bright and early today.  I think that’s what happens when you go to bed at 9:15 p.m.  I am on “Plan A” of QoB’s model for healthy living.  “Plan A” consists of taking medication as prescribed, AKA taking meds twice a day instead of once.  It has really made a difference, it seems.  I am less agitated in the evening and more pleasant to be around (at least I think so).

I have also started taking Cymbalta again and it is amazing how wonderful I feel.  Back to where I was before I decided to go off it, really.  Apparently the withdrawal effects from going off Cymbalta suddenly include depression and irritability.  Hah!  Who would’ve known?  I was obviously not in my right mind when I went off it in the first place or I would have Googled everything.

Dr. Love’s parents were in town yesterday and I was able to spend a few hours in the evening with them.  We get along pretty well and it is always nice to see them.  They brought Matt’s nephew with them and he is getting SO big and is starting to say really funny things.  I think is he around 4 years old.  What a crack-up and what an age for repeating what he hears.  We went out for Chinese and he kept talking about the “damn Mexicans” and how we should “ship ’em home.”  Apparently he has been overhearing some rather racist conversations somewhere.

While at the restaurant, I ran into a co-worker from when I worked at the community mental health center.  It was really nice to see her and I think we are going to have lunch to catch up.  She has become a supervisor and I can totally see her in that role, kicking butt and taking names.  I told her I am loving corrections and that I had always thought I was not nice enough to work in straight-out mental health.  She says, “Hah!  Do ya think?!?”  I can remember giving people “pep talks” and co-workers coming out of their offices to see who is giving the “nice litle old lady” (aka, the 60 year old meth-head) a hard time.  Oh those were the days!

I have been cheating a little bit on my Paleo diet and have really been experiencing some serious gastrointestinal problems as a result.  Why do I do this to myself when I know it will make me sick?!?!?  Oh wait, it might be that eating disorder kicking in, as QoB reminded me.  I do tend to forget about it.  It’s just normal to me.  I don’t think about how other people eat and just assume that what I am doing is what anyone else would do.  Well, apparently it’s not.

So, to counteract urges to go to Casey’s and buy chips and cheese, I have cooked myself some good things for lunch today — edamame, zuccini stir fry with brown rice, grapes, apple with PB.  Should be a much better day for my stomach.  I also gave Dr. Love my debit card to hold onto.  My lack of self-control never fails to amaze me.

My car has been in the shop this week and it will finally be done today.  I’m pretty excited, as I have been driving Gav’s mini-van and it is very different from driving my car.  Definitely not as cool, but it has been great to have something to drive while my car has been out of commission.  It is hard to live in Topeka without a car and depend on the kindness of others to sneak you out of the facility for a smoke break!

Keep on keepin’ on.

Queen, The Show Must Go On