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!  😀

God Bless the Rice Steamer and my Crock-Pot

When DSB and I were together, we (or rather, I) would cook home-made dinner ever night.  There was always meat, there was always a starch, and there was usually a vegetable.  And nine times out of ten, I made gravy from scratch.  When we did actually eat breakfast (maybe twice a week), DSB would whip up pancakes or french toast or who-knew-what.  The point being, is that we cooked much much more often than we ate out.

Now here I am, single lady, and I don’t miss cooking one bit.  I do, however, miss the food.  When I’m not eating fast food (which is far too often), I’m eating pre-made meals and dinner at other people’s houses.  I need to stop eating fast food, for my health AND my pocketbook, so I’ve been scoping around the Internet today and realized that I have really, the only two tools you need to make a fine meal, with minimal effort:  rice steamer and crock-pot.

You also can’t put down the value of a good microwave.  And I’ve had friends say a toaster oven is the way to go.  I am working with what I have and will likely be trying to avoid the microwave, as the things I put in it are generally full of salt, and my lower appendages are swollen like melons.

I’m still having those durn stomach problems too, pretty much no matter whether I eat fast food or dinner at Mom’s or dinner at Dad’s or pre-packaged whatever.  Or even not eating at all.  Doesn’t seem to matter.

But I’m ready for winter-foods that I can put in my crock pots and for things I can steam in my rice cooker, as well as, yes, more rice!  I think I may be over Ramen, although it’s unclear, but I have been so tired and sleepy lately, I think I am vitamin deficient and I think changing the way I am eating could help my budget (definitely), my health (for sure), and my sanity (probably).

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And who doesn’t like a little buttered rice? 🙂

Eating Seven Weird Things

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Welcome to Mental Mama’s brainchild, wherein we discuss weird things about ourselves for seven weeks, starting today.  This week’s topic is about the weird food you like.  I think this is made for discussing one food, but how much can you say about just one?  Because I love food (and a nice, list blog post), I’m sticking with the number seven.

1) Putting plain potato chips inside a sandwich.  Let me tell ya, don’t knock it ’till you try it.  I will (but don’t always) do this with any sandwich, from a turkey on wheat to a PB&J.

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Makes me want sandwiches for dinner!

2) Spam salad.  Ok, now I’m off on a sandwich kick, but I really like Spam salad on crackers.  Take your Spam, mush it up, add sweet relish and mayo.  Easy AND cheap.

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3) Sardines or mackerel on crackers.  Crunch, crunch baby!  That’s a bunch of extra calcium for you and I!

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4) Fried and then chocolatized crickets.  Now I don’t obviously get around to this often, but we made them (more than once) science class in middle school.  Pretty tasty and high in protein!

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5)  Fried crappie eggs.  They take some getting used to, but it’s the caviar of the midwest!

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6) Mountain oysters.  Picture a big party with these after they pick and “select” which bulls will be breeders and which won’t.

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7) Kimchi, basically pickled cabbage.  Of Asian origin.  Stinks to high heaven, but is  pretty tasty, if you consider it an acquired taste.  My brother-in-law eats this stuff by the jar.

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Collection of Thoughts, Tobacco-Free Edition

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1) Started my first month’s free subscription to  Netflix today.  I don’t have cable and I like movies.  There are a lot of movies I would like to have seen, but DSB was not interested in much what I was.  Netflix also has back-episodes of shows I have always wanted to see (that again, DSB did not).  I am pleased to report that it is streaming well on my POS computer, so was pleasantly surprised, there.  I might keep it, might not.  I have a month to decide, so there’s the beauty!

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2) Day One of smoking cessation has me on my ass.  I remembered it as being easier, but I have been quite grumpy today and just very uncomfortable in my own skin.  I didn’t do anything wrong or bitch anyone out, but the Big Dawg let me leave 90 minutes early today.  I think he was worried that I WOULD end up bitching someone out.  Or he just felt sorry for me.  Either way, I was glad to come home to a nice air-conditioned house.  That reeks of smoke.  I’ll get it out, one way or another.  May I just say, though, that nicotine lozenges TOGETHER with the patch makes all the difference.  I remembered that from last time, so I made sure I had both.  ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

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3) I think it is possible that my dad and I have gone from not communicating to over-communicating.  Ya know, there’s some things I don’t need to know, things that just make me feel bad.  I know he’s trying to be helpful, but it’s not.  I haven’t told him yet, still might not.   Undecided.

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4)  I always feel a little bit bad when I do it, but I unsubscribe emails from bloggers who do not answer comments.  As in, EVER.  I’m not unf0llowing.  There is a slight chance in hell I might come across them in Reader.  I just feel like, if someone leaves you a comment, then you should probably respond.  Even just a “thanks” will do it.  What do you think about this issue?  Leave it in the comments, I’d really like to know.  (and I’m not talking about being tardy with comments — I’m saying NEVER responding)

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5) And my brain power is pretty much gone.  I am eating salmon and lima beans for dinner (my most favorite dinner ever) to treat myself to a day gone without smoking, so there’s some brain food.  Here’s hoping you are having a stress-free day full of Cheezits, the third  most perfect food (below salmon and lima beans, of course).

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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?

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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.

 

Grocery Shopping Issues Come Full Circle

For as long as I have been adult, living out on my own, my biggest fear and most dreaded chore has always been going to the grocery store.  At certain points in my life, I have been almost phobic.  During those times, QoB would take my list and do the shopping for me.  Those were the times when the phobia was at it’s worst.  Other times, and oftentimes, she would simply go with me and help me find what I needed in the most efficient manner.

For the past long while, I’ve been able to do my own grocery shopping.  Or rather, I’ve been able to do all the grocery shopping for DSB and myself.  I relied heavily on Dollar General and a tiny IGA in a bad part of town, because they’re small, not crowded, and not very big.  There’s also almost no selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, and the prices of everything except meat are almost robbery.

When DSB and I were together, I cooked rich, fatty meals that were often cheap and, more importantly, things  he liked.  There were rarely vegetables, mostly because DSB would eat only green beans, corn, and broccoli, and I was an idiot who didn’t just wise up and buy  herself some vegetables, even if he wouldn’t eat them.

There was also the issue of the ginormous amounts of food that DSB would eat.  It would be nothing to buy two pounds of lunch meat, cheese, and a loaf of bread, and for it to be gone in 24 hours.  Without me having eaten a sandwich.  It is almost incomprehensible, looking back.

So, I stopped buying a lot of things because it was too expensive, at the rate that DSB ate things.  We relied heavily on meat and starch.  And gravy.  Good Lord, there was always gravy.  And there were a ton of things that I liked to eat that DSB didn’t.  We didn’t have enough money to cook two different meals each night, so I just went ahead with whatever he wanted.  Total idiocy.

Ok, this was supposed to be a positive post, and here I’ve been ranting for 400 words.  My ap0logies, but I’m not deleting it, because I mean every word of it, and I think you  have to read that part to understand the true beauty of what is to follow.

As a side-note, my emergency visit to the pdoc is tomorrow @ 2:30pm, for those of you who read yesterday’s post.  Hopefully all will be well soon.

Now, here at Day 8 with no DSB, it’s come time to grocery shop.  For the first time since March of 2012, I am shopping just for myself.  I’ve been pumping myself up about it for the past few days, thinking of things I’ll be able to buy, meals I’ll be able to cook, money I’ll be able to save.  It’s actually been on my mind quite a bit.

I’ve been talking things over at work today with Catfish, about grocery shopping, and commented how much I hate the monstrosity of a grocery store that serves the North side of town.  I mentioned that I missed the smaller Dillons’ that was out southwest.  He pointed out that it’s only a five mile difference, and maybe I should just go to that Dillons’.  Catfish can be mighty smart, sometimes.

So, I heeded his advice.  I parked in the smaller parking lot (ya know, one smaller than the size of a football field, like up North) and readied my list.  It wasn’t too busy and I hit the produce aisle first.

I shopped like a woman who has been without fresh fruit and vegetables for two years (close to the truth).  I have apples (Honeycrisp!!) and celery and carrots and bananas and strawberries.

I bought a little tray of sushi for a dinner treat and almost jumped up and down when I realized that YES, I can afford this!  I bought salmon and edamame and the fixins’ for salad and sandwich stuff.  I bought a box of granola bars and it was like I’d been set free.

I bought all those condiments that DSB would  use up in a week, like mayonaisse and BBQ sauce and Ranch dressing and red wine vinegar and soy sauce.

I bought a box of frozen taquitos, because they were on sale and I haven’t had them in a million years.  It was almost more exciting than finding cash in your pocket.

I bought several other things, but those were the highlights.  The bottom line is that I will be eating MUCH healthier, and I will be eating things that I want to eat, and the food will be there when I’m ready to eat it (unlike before when shit disappeared like a Grizzly bear had stalked the fridge).

So, I’ll just say that I’m a little bitter about my food life for the past two years.  I gained a significant amount of weight, living the lifestyle we did, and really did feel stuck in it due to constraints like trying to feed two people on only my weekly money (because DSB rarely bought groceries, and then, only on the 1st) and also just not wanting to argue.

But it’s OVER!  And I am CELEBRATING!

And eating sushi and edamame for dinner.  Because I can.

I feel like this was a big victory, and maybe it seems small to others, but this really is a big huge deal for me.  Go Team Rose!

 

Ten Things of Thankful, Sixth Edition

You know when you’re feeling bad, it’s kinda hard to identify the positives in your life?  I always enjoy TToT, but I’m having difficulty pinpointing what exactly it is I am thankful for right at the moment.  Sure, there’s things I’m thankful for.  I know there are.  It’s just that this part of my brain is fuzzy at the moment.  I’m gonna give ‘er a go, though.  You should, too.  Just write the damn list already, and then link up over at Considerings.  You’ll be glad  you did, once you get it all out on paper.  I know I always feel better.

1) I am thankful for my new-found brother, Rock.  My family has adopted all 21 years of him and he has truly been a lifesaver during this hard time.  I blogged more about him yesterday, but I think he needs to be numero uno on this week’s TToT, because having him around has made things just a little easier.

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2)  Of course, the next shout out goes to my parents, QoB and the Big Dawg.  I am thankful for them every week, but they have been especially kind and gentle and loving with me over the past several days.  I have seen a wealth of understanding and compassion, especially in the Big Dawg, that I didn’t know ran so deeply.  I don’t know what I expected, but they are coming through just like they always have.  I don’t know why I expected any less, possibly because I feel like the most foolish, biggest pile of dog poo, and that I would possibly to be blamed for stuff that has happened, but that’s not how it is.

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3) I am thankful I have four people by my side who are helping  me take care of the practical details that have come up in this whole mess.  The Big Dawg especially is taking charge, getting my lawnmower fixed and when that failed, bringing his own mower over to mow.  Getting rid of the boat.  Dad helping me take all of DSB’s medical supplies to the hospital to be donated so I’m not swimming in cardboard boxes.  Mom feeding me and raking and burning leaves.  Rock helping out with yardwork.  Mom’s promise to help me get my house in order and revamp a couple of rooms.  Without them, it is all so overwhelming.  With help though, it can be done and I believe that.

 

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4) I am exceptionally grateful to all the wonderful blogs I read for keeping me entertained over the past couple of days.  I love them all, but find two especially inspiring, positive, and full of light.  Cynthia Reyes fills her blog with beautiful  homes, renovation projects she is following, lovely pictures of her garden, and just a little bit of magic.  I thank her for inspiring me to keep going when the world is getting to me, and I know I can always take refuge in one of her posts.  The other blog, written by my friend Marilyn Armstrong, can always be counted on to have several posts a day, containing anything from historical anecdotes to amazing photos to funny insights to rants about important things, like the lack of plug-ins in her home to the trend of not including user manuals in electronics purchases.  I hold Marilyn’s blog in high esteem, not only because her written word and photos are lovely, but because she remains so positive in the face of so many difficult challenges.  Marilyn and Cynthia are both beautiful people, wonderful bloggers, and if you haven’t already, you should go check them out.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Cynthia’s memoir. It has received amazing reviews and I just downloaded it to my Kindle. I have no doubt that it will be fabulous.

 

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Marilyn’s memoir that I HAVE read and loved, loved, loved. It changed the way I was currently looking at spirituality dramatically. Definitely worth a read.

 

5)  I am grateful for rededicating myself to taking better care of the Kizz.  I have always shown her a a lot of attention, but Rascal (Mr. Neurotic) always wound up taking center stage.  Mom bought her a honking armadillo toy and hooked her up with some new treats (that DSB would not allow…didn’t believe in bones or rawhide) and also a new leash and collar.  She is looking snazzy and seems to be very content to be the only dog again.  I am getting her groomed next Friday (which DSB always discouraged for some reason) and have her up to date on shots as of yesterday.  Kizz has been with me through thick and thin and deserves to be first, instead of playing second fiddle to another pup.  She doesn’t even really seem to miss DSB or Rascal, but seems rather happy to be ruling the roost again.  Oh, and without Rascal here, there is none of the constant barking from her.  She peeks through the fence at the neighbor with interest, but no barking.  Hmmph!  What a good dog, and DSB always said how she wasn’t very well behaved or smart.  Wrong!

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6) I am grateful that I am going to be able to change my eating habits dramatically.  When you live with someone who likes fatty, rich food and mostly refuses to eat vegetables, you become limited in what you cook.  When you live with someone who eats everything in sight as soon as it is purchased, you stop buying certain things because it’s like throwing money down the toilet.  I am looking forward to more fish, more soup, occasional ice cream, 2% milk, soy and almond milk, cereal, fresh fruit and veggies, and being able to keep my pantry and fridge stocked.  If I ever have to eat biscuits and gravy again in the near future, I may puke.  Actually, no more gravy period for quite some time.

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7) I am thankful there will be no more whining or complaining about how much time I spend blogging or looking at other blogs or emailing.  Talk about jealousy.  I can do as I please, in my own home again.  I can have soup for dinner and ramen noodles for breakfast, if I feel like it.  I can keep my house cleaner.  I don’t have to ask for permission to do things.  I could go on and on with the things I am grateful for that I will be able to do now, and just can’t  help but kicking myself that I didn’t figure all this out sooner.

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8) I am thankful that the anxiety monster seems to have passed with the leaving of DSB.  So much stress and anxiety tied up into that relationship — totally unreal.  It has been two days since I have taken a Klonopin, and in those two days, I didn’t even really think about needing one.  There is so much less tension, so much more laughter, and almost nothing to worry about.  I attribute that to my awesome Team ‘o Four (Big Dawg, QoB, Rock, and Dad) for helping me to simplify, solve problems, and make life easier.  I know I already listed being thankful for them above, but they are all a post in and of themselves.  Love you guys!

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9) I am thankful for having a good, great, awesome therapist.  I sent her a list, a four-page list at that, last night about all the things that were better  now that DSB and I aren’t together.  Not only did she read it on her day off, she responded.  And told me she’d always want to read anything I sent.  She reads my blog.  I feel like she is very invested in my mental health and, most importantly, like she genuinely cares about how I am doing and feeling.  I don’t think it’s often that you find a therapist that gets you like that, but we’ve had a lot of practice together.  I’ve seen her for the past nine years pretty much solid (other than a year spent fiddling with mental health center therapists) and then she was also my therapist for a couple of years when I was 16.  She is amazing, totally deserving of her Goddess of Mindfulness status, and I hope she  knows how much she helps me.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without her support and guidance.

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10) I am thankful for the outpouring of support over the last week.  It is amazing to me how many people commented, wishing me well, offering advice, sharing their story, saying a prayer for me.  A lot of people came out of the woodwork, because I was having a rough time, and I can’t say thank you enough for that.  It has meant the world to me to know I have so much support out here on the Interwebs.  I appreciate the reading, the liking, the commenting, the emails.  Everything.  You have all touched me deeply and I am immensely grateful.

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