Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Daddy has dementia

It sounds like the title of a comedy, but it's no joke and it's breaking my heart. My brilliant father, 89 years old, one of the single best human beings I've ever known is losing his mind.

I feel honored to have a father like him: a gifted intellect, a talented scientist of world renown, a man with humor, compassion, kindness, a down to earth sensibility that made him always available, always ready with a helping hand, a listening ear. He's the man who held my tiny hands and "flew" me around on his feet, one of my earliest memories; he's the one who snatched me out of bed at 3 a.m., dashing outside to lift me up so I could suck the cool night air into my croupy lungs. This gentle man taught me to fish, to mix concrete, to plant a garden, to appreciate opera and classical and the old hymns of Martin Luther.

He is the one who stole out in pre-dawn hours to gas up my Toyota as a secret gift before I left for Texas, but who then saw fit to wake me and give me a heartfelt winners v. losers lecture related to the flat spare tire in my trunk. (In case you don't know, a winner ~ even a 19-year-old wild child ~ will always check her tire pressure and the pressure of the spare before embarking upon a 600 mile journey.) In those pre-cell-phone days, the thought of his baby daughter on the road without a spare gave this sweet man the shudders.

He called every morning the five years I lived in Texas, the years I was most commitedly on a path of self destruction and the years in which I ran completely wild. The one thing I did every day other than hit the bars was to make myself available for that phone call. I rolled out of countless strange beds, cut short many a night's party to be available for that critical conversation. The single time I missed it ~ in a four day blackout which began on New Year's Eve of 1976 ~ resulted in his insisting that I provide telephone numbers and names of others who might know where I was if I failed to answer the phone. It seemed almost laughable at the time to send him the names and addresses and phone numbers of a bunch of drunks and political radicals, but I did as he requested and thereafter my friends would occasionally report that my father had called looking for me and, as one said, "he seems like such a nice man, how could he be a Republican?"

I think the disappearance of my mother had a huge impact on his need to always be in touch. Was it codependency? craziness? I don't know and don't care: I do know that he came to get me the moment I called for help. He came without judgment, driving overnight to load me up and rescue me from what had become a very dangerous life. That loving response marked the beginning of a new life for me and I am still grateful. Odd that I think of this as his need, when that daily call and the continuing connection with family anchored me in those stormy years.

I miss so much our long and intense, often emotional, political discussions. That was something I shared with him to the exclusion of my two sisters and his personal history ~ living through the depression, World War II vet, working his way through college and the attainment of three degrees ~ played into our lively and sometimes angry discourse. I miss that, terribly. I miss, too, our unified concern for the environment, for the survival of animals everywhere, our joint rage over the absurdity of cutting the last old growth redwoods, of drilling in the Arctic wilderness. We both rooted for the project to bring back wolves in force to the lower 48 and the tallgrass prairie preserve in our state enchanted us equally.

Most of all I miss his gentle and wide-ranging sense of humor. He is a humble man who has never boasted of his many accomplishments, who diminished the excellence of his education, of his brilliance. He was always quick to note and mark the accomplishments of others, however, and I never saw in him a moment's envy or jealousy.

This daddy ~ southern girls always have daddies, until they die ~ is disappearing one moment, one day at a time. It's worsening now. He is sometimes confused by the television remote, punching buttons and unable to distinguish between that and the phone. He calls repeatedly and each time I answer, because he does not know he's already talked to me and I can't stand the thought that he might wonder why I don't answer. In concert with the diminishment of his memory, he is more emotionally sensitive: my oldest sister was testy with him when he called late one night; that is one thing he did not forget, not for days, and it wounded him deeply.

I want to protect him, I want to excise the calcifications, the white matter from his brain. I can't bear that he will lose his dignity, his sense of self. I. Cannot. Stand. It. I can't bear another call in which he tells me about his dog, the one that doesn't exist. I can hardly stand to look at the beautiful card he sent for my birthday: his formerly perfect, miniature penmanship is large and shaky, with numerous cross-outs and two misspellings. From a man whose grammar and spelling have been perfect all of his life, it's too heart-breaking to go back and read the sweet sentiment in that card. I am crying writing this because while my mother was gone in an instant, gone forever, my father is fading and it is worse, much worse, than her disappearance.

I can eat at this. A pint of ice cream and a half cup of chocolate syrup would ease the pain. I haven't wanted a drink in years, but the comfort that comes from consuming sugar eases the sadness for a moment. It's always there, though: when I wake in the night, it's there; when the phone rings at dawn, it's there; when I see someone on the street who reminds me of him, my heart aches again no matter the distraction of the moment. This underlying pain is a constant and so the need for comfort is always there.

I don't know how this will come out except that everyone dies and he will too. I wish, wish, wish he could die with some part of his essential self intact, I wish that more than anything. The day is soon coming when I will walk into the room and my sweet papa will not know me. There is no comfort for that, no amount of sugar, no drug, no quantity of vodka which will ease that agony. It is the height of selfishness to think of my pain at this time and so I will distract myself, but not with food, not today. I don't think I can bear this in the end, but I will bear it for today and do so without turning to a substance for comfort. Just for today.

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A whisper of fall

Opened the back door to let the puppy out this morning and was met with the crisp, cool air we normally associate with October. What a joy! I love fall, my favorite season of all, and this gift coming at the end of August is wholly unexpected.

I have wondered how much of my malaise has been due to the heat and misery of one of the hottest summers on record. Upon meeting the cool of the morning, I was instantly seized with the idea that I'd walk around the block a couple of times on the way to work, walk another trip or two around the block on the way home for lunch and again, going back. I suspect there's a strong association with feeling confined and out of sorts due to the heat and blazing sun and this affliction of blah.

I am renewed! Let's hope it lasts. There's always a psychological lift that comes on September 1, just to know that we've survived another bout in hell.

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Monday, August 28, 2006

Random thoughts for the day

Down 1.5-2 pounds this week; hard to tell on my big dial scale. Tired. Spending much time in my fantasy of running away from my life. Behind at work. Came across this quote at Existential Ramble:

“Beware the leader who bangs the drum of war,
In order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor,
for patriotism is indeed a double edged sword.

It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.
And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch
and the blood boils with hate
And the mind has closed,
the leader will have no need of seizing
the rights of the citizenry.

Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear
and blinded by patriotism,
will offer up all of their rights unto the leader,
and gladly so.

How do I know?
For this is what I have done.
And I am Caesar.”

Julius Caesar

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Saturday, August 26, 2006

In Commu Ni Ca Do

Geeeze it's hard to get along without a computer when you've had one for a while. I remember not 10 years ago Mike and I were working in the garden and a friend stopped by to tell one of those stories about a happy couple rent asunder by one hooking up with a new love in a chat room online, abandoning hearth, home and children to move around the world. Those awful stories were oft repeated in the early days of the internet, and we all shuddered with horror, Mike and I affirming that we would never ever get a computer, never.

We had a great life together ~ active, great friends, loving families, madly in love with each other, working in recovery, to grow spiritually, fiendish gardeners. Why on earth would we want to mess it up? We would not. We did not and we haven't.

Nevertheless, a computer came to live in our home as the result of my developing an online business after Mike became ill. His medical expenses, even with insurance, were astronomical and he could no longer work. My first efforts to sell antiques were accomplished with a borrowed computer and a camera. I hauled portions of my own collections to the child abuse network where I worked, snapping photos on the exam tables with the camera normally used to document the injuries of children. I operated that way for about three months until it seemed there really was a possibility of growing a business online and I was duly convinced to fork over the cash for a fine little $300 e-machines and a $200 camera to go with it.

For a year after we moved into our warehouse, I continued to do everything on the computer at home. For a couple of Luddite/technophobes, the concept of two computers was unfathomable, but we ultimately acquired another and so it goes.

We are people who just hooked up a DVD player six months ago with the help of one of the kids who works for us. There's no call waiting on the home phone, none of that extra stuff that becomes an annoyance and just another expense. I just cancelled my cell phone contract because I don't want to be that in touch, despite the occasional convenience of having a phone in my pocket. I had accumulated 6000 rollover minutes and was losing them at the rate of 500 a month because I only used the wretched thing once every 3-4 months. Crazy, yes?

So all of that is simply to say that I have been unable to get online at home and it feels as if I've lost an arm. I haven't been able to check email, write here, read others, deal with my business from the house. It feels bizarre. I feel out of touch and that makes me wonder about being so dependent on a piece of machinery. What would I be doing if I were not online? If I did not write here would I actually go out to an OA meeting?

I am not certain and I'm not certain how I feel about all of this. On one hand, an internet connection is a stunning convenience and this from the woman who said she could never imagine not wanting to go to the library for research. I still go the library ~ 2-3 times a week ~ but it's to pick up the books I've ordered through the library's website. All of my research is done at home. I find books I want to read all over the internet, then just let the library know. So incredibly simple. I found a silly thing called "The Family Dog" we'd been looking for for years. I was able to find a recipe I'd lost 10 years ago in an instant. There's a way to connect with family members who'd normally be out of touch. My nephew just got a job in the US Patent Office and never had a face to face interview. My husband's obscure collections have burgeoned in number and quality thanks to our ability to trade with collectors around the world.

These things amaze me and I also find them troubling. I am afraid that what television started ~ an increasing isolation within the home and a separation from community with others ~ the internet may finish. Will we become a people who can only communicate at a remove, through a piece of equipment? Will I care as much about the neighbors I never see, the people in my community who suffer, if I never interact with them?

All of this occurs to me on this Saturday afternoon in my warehouse. I have been at loose ends at home, not quite knowing what to do with myself, not being able to look up the schedule for the old movies Mike and I love, knowing I should be tending a bit to business and being trapped by the fact of not having a computer at the house, when I've been "connected" for years now.

Feeling at odds with myself is unpleasant and I've wanted to eat for entertainment. I don't understand it, because 98% of the time when I have the option of being online at home, I am not. I'm in the garden, talking with my sweetheart, reading and drinking coffee. I am disconnected, incommunicado, out of touch, offline.

Were it not for my business, I think I'd have to leave it this way. I feel as if I've lost something, some self sufficiency that I had prior to the 'net. I don't like it. I don't like dependency on things. I don't like wanting to eat in the face of an open day, full of possibilities.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

The day's stats

1180 calories
360 burned through exercise
not enough water

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A momentary lapse

Although I started writing here to get my focus off of what's happening in our country for a bit, and to direct my energies toward something I can impact, I was so heartened by an interview with North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan that I just had to post a link for others who are concerned about corporate greed and the turning over of our government to the interests of big business.

The interview is at Buzzflash, here, and I used to write about this type of thing at another blog here. Just a brief digression from food and eating and weight and working out, but an important one, in my humble opinion. We need more folks like Senator Dorgan looking out for the interests of average folks in this country.

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I am always on the lookout for sources of inspiration: books, magazines, essays, movies, television programming (though I am easily convinced to watch my life away and so limit that severely). I find inspiration in nature ~ moonlight, the tender green of my perennial garden in the spring, the feel of the air on my skin as the seasons change. Anything at all that connects me to this moment in time and makes me aware of what a glorious life this is lifts me up. I have come to crave that feeling and it seems in the presence of that exhilarating aliveness, the urge to overeat recedes.

The most recent inspiration I've found ~ and so readily accessible! ~ comes from Inspired: The Movie. The opening words on the website are: "The first step in unlocking your limitless potential is the willingness to change everything . . . open your mind." Yes indeedy.

I have explored every corner of this site and am so touched by the interviews with people who are struggling with weight and food. I can't wait until this is released in, I believe, 2007. Meanwhile, check it out and gain some strength and inspiration. It's wonderful.

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Yesterday's stats

1125 calories
none burned through exercise
100+ ounces of water

Met with my trainer this morning and kicked it up a notch. Nothing like someone standing over me forcing that little extra push that takes it from a great workout to one that's absolutely kickass. I love it.

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I left work early yesterday afternoon, playing hooky from myself. It doesn't have quite the same gloss of joy it did when I worked for someone else. No computer at home and no chance to catch up with any of y'all, so wanted to thank you here for your thoughtful comments and support from yesterday. I means so much to me, thank you.

I was reading the other day something Michele wrote at Fat Girl Camp and it reminded me of how much making a gratitude list impacted my life in my younger years. When my husband got sick several years ago, I put aside that lifetime habit and . . . well, hell, I gained 100 pounds, so that should tell me something. Obviously that massive weight gain wasn't simply the letting go of one good habit. I know that in times of tremendous stress, we'll go back to what works as comfort, even if that thing is as destructive as excess food. I did, it's over, so why have I not picked up again that healing habit of making a list of all that is good in my life?

My first list started out of an effort to work Step 10 of the 12 steps of AA/OA/NA/GA/EA/every A in the world. "Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it." This was early on in my recovery life, some time around 1980-82. I couldn't get that Step 10. I could only see myself as wrong in totality, I was wrong, wrong, wrong and it kept me mired in a negativity that drove the urge to eat and drink and left me always in a position one step down from the rest of the world.

At a conference in Albuquerque, I heard a man tell a story he called "rape the nun." I can't tell it as he did; folks always get that odd deer in the headlights I can't believe you said that look when I try to relate it, but the gist of it was that focusing on what's positive in life can change us in ways that are impossible through sheer force of will. His example was that if a nun comes to the door collecting for charity and he gives her a dollar and rapes her, he should report to his sponsor the next day that he gave a dollar to charity. Ugh. Doesn't it sound hideous? But the concept ~ focusing on what's right instead of what's wrong ~ is a good one and can form the foundation of a happy life. Even AA's Big Book talks about getting a new pair of glasses, that whatever we focus on grows, and we can choose to focus on the positive or on the negative.

I have to say that through all of my time in 12 step programs, it has become clear that there are two types of addicts: those who pretend they think they're perfect and those who think they suck in every way. Rape the nun does not work for the first group. I was in the second. So I did this. I did it with a sponsor for 10-11 years. Every morning I'd call her with my list of 10 things that went right the day before. There was nothing negative on the list even if the day before had been abysmal. My early lists were pitiful: "got out of bed," "brushed my teeth," "went to a meeting." It is so bizarre to me that having had a wonderful family life (until I didn't) and a wholesome and positive upbringing, I so lost any clue as to how to live on a daily basis. I was working from the very basics, taking teensy baby steps to a new life.

Over the years, my list changed. "I prayed and felt a connection," "met with X and worked the steps," "felt absolutely filled up on the inside," "experienced real serenity for just a moment," "was mesmerized by the slant of the afternoon sunlight on the oak floors, felt at peace," "was free of the obsession to eat for an entire day." Over the years, after I quit actually calling my sponsor with the list, it was transformed into something that was actually a part of me. This intentional practice of focusing on the positive changed my focus in life. I went from being angst-ridden and miserable 90% of the time to being happy and free and filled with that most addictive and magical feeling of joy 80-90% of the time. It was heaven.

It. Was. Heaven. Why is it so hard to return to a habit that was so incredibly rewarding, that actually changed my world view? Why is that? I still don't understand it, I just know that I've started several times to return to this list and have failed. Accountability is a huge part of success in any venture, so my task and my commitment for the day is to make this list, one day at a time, and see what happens. I am, this morning, feeling thankful and grateful just to be alive. I think I'll seize the moment and write it down.

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Yesterday's stats

Still struggling with a computer virus at home; hope to have it resolved today, so no way to keep track of calories once I'm gone from the shop. Estimated . . .

calories 2000
exercise (gasp!) none
water ~ lots

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Comfort eating

I think I've always had a food addiction, but as with so many things in life, a tragedy tipped it over the edge into something else entirely. Among my three sisters, I was the only one who took an interest in my mother's efforts to teach us all of the "needful arts" of homemaking that were taught good little girls in the early '60s (before they became wild little hippie girls, but that's another tale). Embroidery? I was on it. Sewing, cooking, even darning socks, if you can imagine. I loved them all or, perhaps, I just loved the time with her. We cooked and baked and she, being a perfect 1950s housewife, met us every day after school with cookies and milk and an eagerness to hear her babies tell about their days at the parochial school we attended.

When she disappeared in 1969, my grief and sadness were boundless. It didn't seem I'd ever even be able to breathe again. It was the loss of a mother and the loss of a world I'd thought inviolate and forever safe. I have long suspected that, had we not had this singular tragedy to deal with, my family would have continued as usual, producing good citizens, good works, good times. We are not folks who talk about how we feel. Strong German Lutherans, we are (actually, they are) reserved, stoic, bearing all things in silence and with dignity. An oft-quoted adage of my grandfather is "you've got to eat a peck of dirt before you die," and that dirt eating is simply accepted as the way life is and should be foreverafter amen.

In my mother's absence, I began making cookies at night after everyone was asleep. I'd make enormous batches of chocolate chip cookies, my mother's recipe and exquisite treats the likes of which I've never yet equalled and mine are superb. I would then sit down and just eat them all, seeking a sort of numbness, a relief from the pain in my heart and the emptiness inside. The food filled it up, filled me to the brim and provided relief, comfort, a taste of my mother and a sense of her presence with me still, late into the night. The grief and the drug of sugar combined to produce a sort of fog that lasted until August of 1970, eight months after she vanished.

I shook off the fog to find myself having gained 80 pounds. Eighty pounds!! At 12 I weighed 193 and it was devastating. The solution was to go to a doctor and get the first of many prescriptions for diet pills. Of course they worked, being real amphetamines and providing that amphetamine magic I love so well. The weight peeled off and so it goes. I developed other loves, other addictions out of that which worked to keep the food addiction at bay and filled up that gaping hole in my heart.

It was not until I was 27, wholly eating disordered and two years sober, that I actually experienced and let wash through me the grief I had over the loss of my mother. By that time I had pursued comfort eating to the point of insanity. Any mood, feeling, discomfort, anything at all resulted in self medicating with foods that would take away the unpleasantness and provide, at least for a moment or two, freedom from feeling.

As it turned out, it was freedom from feeling anything at all: I can't selectively stuff my feelings. It doesn't work that way. If I stuff anger, depression and sadness, I also stuff love, happiness and joy. Stuff all or stuff none, that's really the way it works and the other trick was, of course, that once stuffed they did not simply disappear. Pushed down inside, balled up and held tight in my gut, they were ever-present, providing a tension and anxiety that affected every waking moment and even my dreams.

When I first quit eating, through OA's old grey sheet food plan, I was stunned by the eruption of violent emotions regarding every aspect of my past life and affecting, in the most absurd ways, my daily interactions with others. I once pursued a man 10 miles ~ 10 miles! ~ down Riverside Drive, finally boxing him in at a stoplight, only to leap from my car and pound on his window, shrieking like a banshee that he was a bastard for drinking and driving. He was drinking and driving, admittedly not a good combination, but I was a raving lunatic, free of excess carbs and sugar and stark raving mad. I once told a daytime meeting room full of gray-haired women at an OA meeting that I felt like a scream with skin on. With my always black dress, the spiked purple hair, angry affect and intense manner of speaking, I thought at first I'd frightened them to the point they'd boot me out. Evidencing that gentle kindness and love of 12 step people everywhere, these sweet ladies patted my hand and whispered "keep coming back."

The good news was that the eruption eventually subsided into a steady drip and, ultimately, just the occasional little spray of mist. I learned that my feelings will not kill me; that the only way out is through. I can't go over, around or under my emotions ~ they're part of life, good and bad. The past relieved, I could get down to the business of connecting my feelings with events in my daily life, with only the occasional nod to history. I let go of the loss of my mother and moved beyond it. I can now look at that with gratitude because I'm not certain I'd have ever been able to develop the relationship I have with my father had she been present. And so it goes, lose one thing, gain another. I will always have "abandonment issues" to a degree, but so what? We've all got issues, it's part of being human.

I am still a big proponent of submitting to the discipline of a food plan in order to see what's behind the driving urge to overeat or binge. I don't know what's there until I quit medicating it away. Food has been my drug of choice all of my life. I'd not have used it if it had not worked so well.

So, all of this to say that I have an urge to eat in the evenings and I am not sure what's behind it. Not hunger, for certain. I'm not exceeding my calorie allotment, but I don't like it. It smacks of hiding out from my life. It's just a kind of mindless eating that I never want to do again. So here's my plan: I will stick to supper and a snack and that's it for the evening. Not a big deal, but a commitment nonetheless. I'll do this for a week and reevaluate; see what pops up, if anything. I never again want to eat at feelings and though I can't figure out what's behind this, if anything, a week of not doing it should be enough to reveal either an empty stage or more players from my past needing to be put to rest.

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Monday, August 21, 2006

The day's stats

Still sniffling with a computer virus, so here's an early evening report of the day:

2084 calories
849 burned through exercise
120 ounces of water

Workout tonight felt like the old me ~ couldn't get enough, looking around for more to do, pushing it, sweating like a . . . well, like a not-so-dainty southern belle. Growing up, I always heard "horses sweat, men perspire, women glow." Well, folks, I was glowing like a mother tonight. It felt fabulous.

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This from Obesity Help, the website which used to be for recovery from this affliction of obesity and compulsive eating through various means, but which has turned into a surgical forum:

"I am 3 years post open RNY tommorow as a matter of fact. I started at 267 lbs and lost down to 133. I weighed Tuesday, and I have gained 20 lbs. . . . My friends just don't understand. They say, well just quit eating. Well, if it were that simple, I wouldn't have had my gut cut open in the first place. "

"I did great the first year. Dropping 110 pounds I went from 349 pounds to 235. Somehow once I stalled , I couldn't keep going. I have gone back to eating sweets and junk. Eating large portions. I'm hungry all the time and feel out of control. I've already gained back up to 250 pounds. . . . I started out with a lap-band and converted to gastric bypass which got me down to 250 thank god but I can't budge.. I can eat too much and I don't know when to stop. I never had that feeling that everyone described of feeling full off of a little bit of food. . . . I feel helpless and out of control."

"Well last months I made 5 years post-op but I am seriously stressed out over gaining more weight... I went down from my starting weight of 330 lbs to 187 lbs but I have now gained back 53 lbs all together sense June 21, 2001...Due to a ton of stress, my old eating habits of food being my friend and comfort zone have returned. I don't know what to do anymore and I am wondering if anyone gained back a ton of weight and perhaps had the surgery done again?"

These stories break my heart. I know how hopeless it feels to be enormous and unable to control what goes in my mouth. I don't know how or what or which set of circumstances combines to create that window of opportunity for a lasting recovery. It's almost as if desire for a better life, willingness to put down the food, acceptance that it may be difficult, and being sick of the way things are have to come together in one moment with a little hope and a frosting of fear to provide the beginning. And I can and surely have disrupted that beginning by waiting until this meal is done or until tomorrow or until after vacation or or or or . . . .

Weight loss is no big secret and in every instance the suggestion to these desperate souls has been to "go back to basics." Writing down every morsel that goes into my mouth, exercising, drinking lots of water, getting problem foods out of the house. Whichever means we choose to attack this problem, the bottom line is that it's all the same: less input and more output = weight loss. There is no magic except the magic that happens in us to make us aware that the only day we have to start is today. Tomorrow never comes, it is this day, this minute, this very second in time that I will change my life or not.

Some crusty old men in AA used to tell me, when I was fretting about the future or agonizing over the past, "ya got one foot in tomorrow and one foot in yesterday, and you're just pissin' all over today, little girl." I have pissed away many, many todays thinking of what I'll do tomorrow. When I live fully present in this life, the moment I'm in instead of fretting about the future, I am given an amazing peace which inevitably leads to joy. This moment, today, I can eat right, exercise, drink water, make healthy food choices, get enough rest. These are the building blocks of a new life and I'm grateful to be well on the way in my own construction project. I very much hope that you are as well.

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Yesterday's stats

Yesterday's record keeping was interrupted by a virus on the computer at the house. I did burn around 700 calories in exercise, went into grazing mode in the afternoon and probably hit my maintenance caloric intake of around 2400 calories. Nice day other than the virus. Lots of water.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006

One week results

One week on my corrective action plan and six pounds gone. Yippee.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

The day's stats

2054 calories
871 burned through exercise
100+ ounces of water
lots of veggies

It's raining! Yippee!!

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Getting perfect

Thank you to those folks who visited yesterday and posted notes. I very much appreciate it. It got me thinking along the lines of emotional eating, something at which I am a past master. This eating/food/weight thing is so complex I don't think it will ever boil down to one driving force, one "aha! that's it!" moment after which I'll eliminate/become aware of/deal with the thing and be forever well.

I fear that it is a process and also a bit like throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. The things that have stuck and have caused major improvements in my life have been Overeaters Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, leaving out certain foods that continually cause trouble, being gentle with myself rather than cracking a whip, eliminating the internal hateful dialogue I tortured myself with for so many years, practicing acceptance, refusing to compare, affirmations, pursuing a spiritual life which takes me beyond the obsession in this culture with physical appearance, an obsession I made my own and which made me miserable for years. Even when thin. And young. Isn't that sad?

When I was young and relatively skinny, a juicy sexy little 23 year old, lovely as women in their '20s always are, all I could see were my faults. Not tall enough. Not enough chest. Hair too fine. Why brown eyes instead of green? I had many beaux and each affirmed what was good but I could only see what I thought was not. I couldn't see myself as a whole human being; I was a collection of bits and pieces, divided along the lines of okay and not okay. Crazy days and I don't miss them.

But it is odd to find myself in my forties with a good chunk of weight still to lose, feeling as I probably should have in my twenties. That is purely the result of my internal dialogue and I am grateful. It has nothing to do with outward circumstances, appearance, nothing. Just as my agonizing over the way I looked in those younger years was not based in reality, this feeling of being flat out kickass and frisky and happy as a clam and a little bit pretty may not be based in reality either.

Or maybe we make our own reality? I can objectively look at photos of my younger years and see a reality very different from what I experienced at the time. Why could that pretty young woman not see herself with clarity? On the other hand, I tend to avoid photos these days, though I'm not horrified when I get captured by the camera's lens, but my view of myself comes from somewhere else. It is as if the reflection in the mirror is created by what's inside of me.

And as I'm writing this I'm getting it. That is precisely the thing. My internal life, my emotions, my spiritual nature, the way I speak to myself, how I care for myself as a human being, being able to accept and love myself as I am ~ that's what affects the reflection in the mirror.

I think it is also what drives recovery from this plague of compulsive eating. It's not that I can't get better before the inside changes, but it is so much easier to be consistent in healthy eating habits, exercise, all of the things that go into maintaining a healthy body when I am free from the whirlpool of negativity that used to try to drown me.

When they told me in OA that I had to come to accept and love myself, I laughed. Of course, I would do that, but not until I weighed 135 pounds again. Then I would accept myself as I was. I tortured myself for many, many years over my perceived imperfections. Any accomplishment or success could always be diminished or negated entirely by "but you weigh . . . whatever so it really doesn't count."

Since I am a long term emotional eater, expecting that I could keep up the negative, hateful, critical tirade in my head and eat healthy, work on fitness, work the 12 steps, was insane. I created, from the inside, the very thing that drives my eating. Feelings of sadness, anger, not measuring up, isolation, self hatred ~ these are things I ate at all my life and I had a sad-mad-not-good-enough-all-alone-hate-you factory in my brain.

Working through that, changing the inside of me, was a long process. It began in OA and lasted for 12 years in that wonderful 12 step program. I continued the work in AA and finally reached a point where all of the things I used to intentionally do became a part of me. Rather than having to write about, think through, talk about things that happened, my internal responses were the healthy ones I used to have to work at. For the most part, that bitch who used to live in my head has withered and died. Every now and then she'll rise up and shout out some nastiness, but I can smack her down, weak and dessicated thing that she is, in a heartbeat.

These days I can connect events with my feelings. I can rationally look at the way things are and the way I'm feeling and consciously change direction. I can have a less than stellar food day and not beat myself bloody. It is a gentleness, a soft and generous way of looking at myself and tending to my spirit. In doing this, I repair the damage done by years of criticism and self hatred and all of the ugliness that comes along with not being precisely as perfect as society would want us. I am perfect today, just the way I am and I love it.

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Yesterday's stats

Fell asleep last night, probably in a carb fog. Eating Mexican food from a restaurant will take a bit more planning than I put into it yesterday. A quick look at the menu and the decision to have fish! it's healthy! low fat! ha! Another option is to have these occasional splurges on the days I do weights when I burn up a lot more calories in exercise which, actually, I didn't get in at all yesterday so the calories went up. Yikes!

MyFoodDiary gave me four red frownies: too many calories, "your dinner contained 1801 calories," too much sodium, blah blah blah. Oh well, here it is:

2749 (yep) calories
0 calories burned in exercise
75 ounces of water

Mama said there'd be days like this.

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Friday, August 18, 2006

The M&M Diet

In one of my many efforts to deal with this food/weight plague, I consulted with a shrink at a local clinic. At that time, somewhere around 1982, there really was not much help available for folks with eating disorders. There were dozens of diet programs, of course, but nothing for people like me for whom the relationship with eating / weight / not eating / no exercise / over exercise / blah blah blah had crossed the line into addictive, obsessive, destructive.

I had about six months of Overeaters Anonymous under my belt and as is typical, I wanted more, faster. I was convinced I had an addiction to sugar; allergy to sugar in the OA sense, as an unnatural reaction to a substance. My unnatural reaction was that I could not seem to eat just a little like regular folks or if I did, I obsessed about it while I was not eating it. It sounds like lunacy and if you're reading this and you've never experienced it, lucky you. If you are, like me, an addict in every sense of the word, you know the uncomfortable experience of feeling split in two. One part of me wanted so much to just be normal, eat like everyone else, have a cookie and move on. The other part of me made it a goal to subvert every positive action of the other, while pursuing every last morsel of sugar in her vicinity.

So off I went to the shrink because a highly paid doc can fix anything, right? She was pretty fresh, a teensy slender petite thing, very kind and caring. As with 99% of the shrinks and docs and medical people of every ilk I've met in my life, she discounted the possibility of an addiction to sugar and insisted it was merely a choice. Just briefly, I have to say that I don't understand the insistence of the medical community that sugar cannot be addictive. Sugar is a white crystalline or powdery substance refined from a plant. Cocaine is a white crystalline or powdery substance refined from a plant. Heroin . . . well, it just seems so obvious to me, especially in light of my (yes, anecdotal) experience.

Long story short, we ended up trying what she called "the M&M diet." My obsession of that time ~ my food obsessions are usually pretty long-running ~ was hot M&Ms. Don't even ask and I'm not going to tell. Anyway, I would go days without them and then go on an M&M run, just like a junkie, with the result being weight gain and a demoralizing sense of failure. I was in OA, attempting to abstain, working the old Grey Sheet food plan. These periodic binges were disheartening. It is a little startling to me in writing this to realize that at that point, I wanted to lose 50 pounds so I could weigh 135 again. The fact of not having a top weight and the progressive nature of this thing is the subject of a future post.

The M&M diet consisted of normal food throughout the day and permission to have one regular sized bag of M&Ms daily. The theory was that if I gave myself permission and was not deprived of these little nuggets of goodness, the binges would stop. It worked! It worked for a day, two days, it worked for eight whole days! I was so on to something that I added another bag to the day. Why not? I was losing weight, young, active, working out with the big boys at Mike Moguin's gym. Then one day I ate three, the next I ate none, then one, then five and so it goes.

I know there's a whole psychology of deprivation related to food intake and eating and weight loss. I'm aware of that and actually using it in my food plan today. But here's what I think about the M&M diet and every other diet I've been on that includes sugar as a regular thing: they are doomed to failure. I have eaten sugar and I have eaten it "successfully" if a couple of days of white knuckle sane eating following a piece of pie is successful. I suppose if I were truly an addict, I'd not be able to white knuckle through it and get past the effect of sugar on my body. But I know people in AA who "go out" for a night and come back and stay. They're miserable until the craving again subsides as the alcohol leaves their bodies, and they're at tremendous risk of a repeat until the obsession goes into remission.

I'm not saying I'll never eat sugar again, I probably will. But I will do it with a healthy awareness of its effect on my body and the realization that in my history, one bite has often led to a binge which has many times turned into a series of binges and weight gain. When I feel like I feel today: clear headed, happy, joyful, free, I don't even want to take the chance.

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Thursday, August 17, 2006

The day's stats

1713 calories
683 burned through exercise
85 ounces water

My trainer abandoned me mid-June to go on vacation. She was gone for three weeks and just about the time she was to return, I got into my hormonal homicidal whatever-the-hell-it-was whackiness that added 10 pounds and took away the desire to do anything besides vegetate.

I got back with her for the first time this morning at (gasp) 7 a.m. and it was fabulous. I may become an early morning exercise convert. I felt energetic and it went well and my legs and arms feel like rubber. I've lost a lot, muscle-wise, which she assures me will come back quickly, more so than the lost aerobic capacity. Another fitness lesson learned: what comes on slowly departs with rapidity.

But the really cool thing is at 9:00 this morning, I'd already burned 682 calories for the day. Thursdays are my busiest day at work, and the longest; always a struggle to get to the gym on Thursdays. Very nice to have had it done and not hanging over my head.

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Do something now

I am once again inspired by Allan at Almost Gastric Bypass. He's on the 4th day of his plan to eat the post-op bypass diet without having had surgery. This morning, he wrote about the frustrating fact that everyone's got an opinion on weight loss and eating, especially when we're trying to do something about it. Why is that?

Allan: "Then there are the people that really piss me off. They read the plan, they read my blog and then they write that the Doctors are wrong and that there is a better way. Invariably, these are fat people. Not 350 and under, but the big folks. Out of fear of missing a meal, or of the trauma of not eating 10,000 calories a day, they attack the plan. Newsflash fatties, put the forks down, stop thinking about losing weight tomorrow and do something. If you believe in lo-fat, go lo-fat. If you believe in lo-cal or lo-carb, do that. If you want to be a Vegan do that. Do something, I approve and we will all support you. Dont bash what I am doing or what surgery patients have done, because you are scared or hungry. You don't need all the food and you will not drop dead from not eating for a couple of weeks."

Aside from the fact that I thought this was very cute ~ "these are fat people. Not 350 and under" ~ why do we try to discourage one another? Obesity, morbid obesity, they're life-threatening problems. One would think we'd all be excited and inspired by the prospects of someone else defeating this problem, but for the most part, we're not unless we're in a losing mode too. I think there may be a bit of "oh dear, if they can do it I can too and that means I'm going to have to put away this bag of chips and these donuts and take some action."

I remember with shame my own behavior with a very chubby woman living across the hall from me in my first apartment in Tulsa. On the rare occasions she'd get it together to eat right, I would make every effort to sabotage her. I was thin, but still food obsessed, still in the bulimic phase of this plague of food addiction. I wish I could take it back. At 23, I had no idea what was really going on or how my addiction would progress. My thought was that thinness = being okay. It took a while before I got it: that a life spent obsessing, planning, eating, trying to control, and dealing with the after-effects of food is no life at all.

I remember another epiphany/moment of clarity which occurred when I heard an acquaintance behind me at a meeting telling someone else that she'd lost 65 pounds. I turned to look at her and admire the results and to ask the eternal question of the compulsive eater: "how did you do it." Still waiting, of course, for the truth, the magic, the switch that will turn this off, the overnight shrinking fat-carving pill, drink, tape, book, class, whatever that will just make this go away. She said "oh, I went to a doctor and got these pills, phentermine." My heart sank and my first thought was "I can't do that." Instantly thereafter, my thought was "yes I can." I did, lost 80 pounds, did nothing beyond taking the pills and starving and then my husband got sick and I ate at the sorrow and the stress of it for two years.

For me, the only answer has been the intervention I took last July of a liquid diet which lasted for seven months and exercise and now paying attention to what I eat and making myself accountable by writing it down. I believe we'll each find our own plan if we want this thing ~ a healthy, fit lifestyle free of excess food and the obsession that comes along with eating and weight gain and wanting to be thinner and still eating. I refuse to criticize the plan of another whether it's Weight Watchers or gentle eating or pills or surgery or Allan's creative and fascinating plan. The key is to do something, to take Step Zero of OA and put the food down. Do something. Do it today.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The day's stats

I thought this evening about how I could just skip this. Then I could eat some . . . something. Figured out that this is accountability for me. So here it is:

2093 calories
20 (!) burned through exercise
80 ounces of water
6 servings of veggies (yea)

meeting with my trainer in the a.m. at 7 so did not go to the gym tonight.

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Laughing and crying

The best days are those in which I can laugh a lot and be moved to tears at least once. This morning's tears came early from the post Ricky Loved Madonna at Joe.My.God. Joe writes beautifully and this post is about loss and remembrance and death and living.

So what has this to do with food? weight? all of that? I think I've used food for years as a way to escape feelings of various kinds. It's been a drug for sadness, pain, those lonesome feelings that will hit on a Sunday afternoon at 4 pm or a Friday at midnight. That I can feel this is magic and I love it. Being clean and free and wholly alive is a blessing.

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Hit the ground running

Until about six months ago, I leapt from my bed each morning, dashed into the shower, jumped into my clothes, ran out the door and worked 12-14 hours before stopping. I had a hard time finding committed time to go to the gym, though I was still on my liquid diet. Part of it was an enormous amount of energy that came from being clean, clean, clean and free of excess carbs. I was in a losing mode and felt fantastic.

The lack of quiet time weighed on me, though, and I reached a point of feeling really frustrated with work, hating the long days, wanting to have some time to be able to sit and be quiet and think without my brain dashing off in all directions.

I started getting up an hour earlier and sitting on the deck, back when the air was breathable and refreshing. It was a pleasure. I continued the practice on the living room sofa, looking over the front garden, once it became too hot to live. I took that hour, just for me, and the result was that I found other hours in the day, just for me.

It helped immensely not to go straight from the cocoon of my feather bed to frenzied activity in an instant. I found my thoughts slowing down in general. I developed a plan to reduce my business so I could spend more time living. Started remembering that my real goal is to work less and live more.

Much progress has been made in finding balance in this life and in filling up my reserves of peace and serenity, those reserves that vanish in the face of 60 hour weeks and constant stress. On this morning, though, I got up at 6:30 and felt stiff and sore.

I've been back at the gym this week and am loving it. Went last night though I did not want to and I love that. But this morning I got up and I was pretty stiff. Went right to the kitchen to start the coffee, then was joined by my little dog Bill.

When Billy gets out of bed, he stops and shakes himself. He then stretches his back side up all the way, while reaching forward with his front legs. He streeeeetches this way as far as he can, taking all the time he needs. Then he reverses the process and lowers his rear end, raising his head and shoulders high, stretching his back as far as possible. He sits, looks around, licks something. He finds one of us and presents himself for scratching by making eye contact, then turning around and backing up while looking over his shoulder. He invites a moment of scratching, a little massage, then he collapses and relaxes.

This is how Billy naturally starts his day. He didn't have to learn this; he knew it from puppyhood. I tried it. It felt fantastic. My stiffness was instantly cured. How have I missed this? In the rush to do more more more, I've missed taking care of my body in so many ways. I've made up for exhaustion by eating to excess, I've treated every physical symptom with food. I think of all of the years I've spent missing out on this life by working too much, thinking about work too much, being so tired from work that I live in a fog. It occurs to me that this day I am closer to living like Bill and I'm happier for it. Life feels full of possibilities this morning.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Did it anyway

Power went out last night, ceiling fan went off, house started to heat up. Power was on and off, buzzing and lights flickering, computer beeping. Didn't sleep well and was tired all day. Did. Not. Want. To. Go. To. The. Gym. Did it anyway. Happy about that.

The day

2126 calories
400 burned through exercise
85 ounces of water +
not enough vegetables
gotta get to the grocery store

Little Miss Fix It

I am such a little fixer. Have been all of my life. Even made a career out of it. Have problem? I've got a solution. I think there's probably a diagnosis for this, but I choose to ignore it. I get a little out of sorts with every kind interaction between humans being labeled codependency, but I do recognize that my desire to make you feel okay and happy about yourself is, at times, a little extreme.

That being said, I've spent a number of months recently digging deep into the politics of our country. I don't believe in doing things in a half-assed fashion; I live passionately and like it that way. So I have been drilling down, investigating, reading, reading, reading, writing, talking with others and I have become a little crazy as a result.

I want to be a good citizen. I am one. But at this point in my life, there being nothing I can really contribute to the political scene, I think I'm safer and will become healthier taking a step back. Because I'm a little fixer, I want to make it right. I want to help, add to, control, make better. I'm just a little antiques dealer with a happy life and a garden in Tulsa. I've had long periods of some serious political activity in the past, but this is not the time for it. Maybe in the future.

This day all I can do is manage myself and my health. I am going to go to the gym after a little nap to make up for last night's lack of sleep due to a power outage. I am going to be "hopeful, helpful and cheerful" ~ a sweet reminder that hangs over my desk on a little wooden plaque from the turn of the century ~ and I'm going to focus on me. Selfish? Maybe, but I have spent many, many years focusing on others so I think it's okay.

I'm going to finish this job I started a year ago. The Weight Control Registry assures me that folks who lose a lot of weight often do it in stages. I'm ready for Stage II and a refocusing of my energy and creativity and passion on changing my life for the even better.

Permanent Weight Loss

Much of what I read about weight loss maintenance is discouraging. I am only encouraged when looking beyond the initial stats ~ something like 4% maintain a loss beyond 2-3 years. That unhappy news was derived from a population that's unusual among the overweight. The initial study was done on a group of folks who were seeking help in a hospital-based weight loss program. That's actually a rarity, most people finding other methods to lose weight and hospital programs generally accessed by only the most hopeless.

The good news is contained in the book Thin for Life by Anne M. Fletcher. Anne is a great writer who determined to find out the secrets of what she calls "weight loss masters" ~ folks who have lost weight and maintained it for a number of years. It's a great book, a handbook, actually, for getting over being fat.

Another great resources for encouragement is The National Weight Control Registry. It's a service of some folks at Brown Medical School who've compiled data on 5,000 long-term maintainers. It's pretty kickass stuff in this world where the party line is "you won't keep it off."

When I read about folks who have lost weight and kept it off, it gives me hope. It also allows me to develop my own master plan for success. If successful people tell me what they did, I can do it too. Accountability is one critical tool for this journey; support is another. Anne's book and the Weight Control Registry website are great support for me as I'm changing my life.

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Getting Better

Anne Lamott is an enormously talented woman who writes on a variety of topics. She is a recovering alcoholic and compulsive eater and bulimic. One of her essays on how she first learned to eat and to pay attention to her body has always touched me. The entire piece is here, and these are some of my favorite paragraphs.

"This is the story of how, at the age of 33, I learned to feed myself.

"To begin with, here's what I did until then: I ate, starved, binged, purged, grew fat, grew thin, grew fat, grew thin, binged, purged, dieted, was good, was bad, grew fat, grew thin, grew thinner.

"I had been a lean, coltish girl, energetic, always hungry, always eating, always thin. But I weighed 100 pounds at 13, 130 at l4. For the next 10 years, I dieted. It is a long, dull story. I had lots of secrets about me and my food and my body. It was very scary and obsessive, the way it must feel for someone secretly and entirely illiterate. . .

"I never wet another bag of cookies. One day I woke up and discovered that I also felt like having some oranges, then rice, then sautéed bell peppers. Maybe also some days the random pound of M&M's. But from then on I was always able to at least keep whatever I ate down -- or, rather, in my case, up.

"I went from feeling like a Diane Arbus character, seen through that lens of her self-contempt, to someone filmed by a friendly cousin, someone who gently noted the concentration on my face as I washed a colander of tiny new potatoes; each potato holy, each action tender.

"Over these years, my body has not gotten firmer. Just the opposite in fact. But when I feel fattest and flabbiest and most repulsive, I try to remember that gravity speaks; also, that no one needs that plastic body perfection from women of age and substance. Also, that I do not live in my thighs or in my droopy butt. I live in joy and motion and cover-ups. I live in the nourishment of food and the sun and the warmth of the people who love me.

"I tell you, it feels like a small miracle, to have learned to eat, to taste and love what slips down my throat, padding me, filling me up, and it is the most radical thing I've ever done. "

I look every day for guides and scouts on this journey to health and recovery from eating disorders. Anne's beautiful words sustain me at times when I think it can't be done.

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Monday, August 14, 2006

Today's stats

1798 calories
406 burned through exercise
70 ounces of water
not enough vegetables

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I spend an hour or so each morning reading and drinking coffee before going to work. I work for myself in a business I started in desperation five years ago when my husband became ill. I was still employed as a child abuse investigator (read overworked and underpaid) and he could no longer work; thus a business was born. It's been a success and I was able to leave that very sad and stressful full time work 18 months ago. The blessing has been vastly improved finances and a greater degree of freedom.

And yet I am drawn to living simply. I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, even come close to doing it. But at my age, I am entirely done with the acquisitional urges which drove me in my younger years. I am drowning in stuff, made worse by the fact of being an antiques dealer. Ten years ago I read a book called Your Money or Your Life and was filled with longing for a different kind of life. It's complicated by the fact of my being a collector, though I feel completely done with that, and my husband being one too, and definitely not done. We collect, amass, gather, fill up ~ the house is so lovely and so full. I have a warehouse packed to the rafters and we've expanded the space three times. It just feels like too much and I want desperately to clear out the stuff so I can feed my soul.

Kathy Mattea has a song called Standing Knee Deep in a River and the lyrics touched me deeply when I first read them:

Friends I could count on

I could count on one hand
With a left over finger or two

I let them all slip away
Where they are I wish I knew
They roll by just like water

And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river dying of thirst

Sometimes I remember
Sweethearts I've known
Some I've forgotten I suppose
One or two still linger
Oh and I wonder now
Why I ever let them go
They roll by just like water

And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river dying of thirst

The sidewalk is crowded
The city rolls by
And I rush through another day
In a world full of strangers
Turn there eyes to me
And just look the other way
They roll by just like water

And I guess we never learn
Go through life parched and empty
Standing knee deep in a river dying of thirst

There is, for me, more to this eating thing than just eating. It is about finding what's real in this life and connecting to it. I think I've skipped over feeding my soul in favor of feeding my body to excess. When I am too busy, too tired, too too too just too, I can grab a bunch of cookies or a candy bar or three and find the strength to go beyond where I ought to stop. Too much work is too much work. Too busy is too busy. It sounds trite and silly, but I am coming from a life where I've often worked two jobs, had a professional career that demanded 60 hours a week and untold hours of worrying and fretting over decisions made. I grew my business from a little extra money made in my kitchen to this huge enterprise in this enormous space and it's too much.

These are the thoughts of the day, this Monday when I'm feeling enthusiastic and excited about the prospect of not only changing my physical being, but of finding a way to live that feeds my spirit and fills me up on the inside so I don't have to do it from the outside. It's a work in progress, but I think I can do it.

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Sunday, August 13, 2006

The day's stats

1969 calories consumed
569 burned in exercise
85 oz. water

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Things that make a life besides food

I am a food addict, no question. I have had more periods of freedom from the addiction in the last 15 years than ever before in my life. This addiction started as early as 5-6 years of age. It's touched every area of my life and was especially virulent in my '20s and early '30s. That was, oddly enough, when I was at my thinnest. Fat does not a food addict make, and thin doesn't cure one. I have been more closely cured of the obsessive addictive aspect of eating at my fattest than I ever was when I was thinner.

When I started my final weight loss journey last July, I felt that I was very much different on the inside and that this decision to lose weight would be my last. That has proven to be true, to a degree, but I didn't count on the habits of eating having such power over me. Nor did I really accept that there is no alternative to physical movement, that a life on the sofa will not be a healthy one and I'll never maintain a weight loss without exercise. With my ever increasing weight came less activity and more weight gain and so on and on and on. Past 300 pounds, the downhill slide of my physical condition picked up speed and by 368, I was in constant pain just walking, and standing for more than 10 minutes was impossible.

My eating habits have, for forty years, been wretched. Despite being on a diet virtually every day of my life, the subject of a future post, I have consumed as much fatty and sugary foods as a dozen people could eat in a lifetime. Getting a grasp on reasonable portion sizes has been a major eye opener. Today I keep track of my food intake every day and it is amazing to look at this very satisfying quantity of food I eat and think of how it used to be. It's no wonder at all why I have struggled with weight much of my life.

When the food is in its place, as it is today, I am reminded of the things that truly make a life worth living. I never found it inside of a package of cookies or a carton of ice cream: the only thing I found in those black holes was weight gain and despair. On this day, eating a moderate amount of healthy food and working out at the gym, I'm able to find time for and enjoy just being quiet, reading, spending time with my husband and our animals, talking to family on the phone, making plans for a trip, watching the birds out my window. Even more importantly, I'm able to feel a sense of well being, of peace and serenity and a modicum of joy. It's a good life and it's these small things that make up, for me, a life well lived. I am very grateful today.

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Free workout music! It works!

The best thing to happen to me on my way to fitness was the iPod. Who knew? But beyond that, once the same ol' same ol' songs became tiresome, I found the kickass DJ Steve Boy, an LA DJ who creates a new music mix each week just for workouts. They're great and they're free and you can download them through iTunes' Podcasts or through Steve's website.

My favorites run around 130-135 beats per minute, and my top two thus far are That Gets My Heart and Come Into My House. I'm downloading One Tribe before I head out to the gym this afternoon. New music keeps me inspired and motivated and these techno/disco/mix combos are great.

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Banana Shake:
1 c. nonfat milk
1/2 medium-sized banana
8-10 ice cubes
Blend until smooth, creamy and luscious. Add Splenda to taste. About 170 calories. Delightful for a hot summer day.

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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Sunday morning

Down a pound on my handy little house scale. This feeling of excitement I have is exquisite: very much like when I first started this journey last summer. I know that any urge to make changes can be fleeting and soon lost, so I need to work hard to protect this and make it stronger. I'm going to have coffee and read until noon or a little after; then go to the shop and work a little. My absolute for the day is to go back to the gym for cardio. Even that feels exciting. I feel very thankful this morning.

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