Eating All the Things

I’m having a week full of days where I Eat All the Things, as my friend Lisa calls it. Days where little crackers and ice cream and donuts and raisin bread just find their way into my mouth without a plan. Although no food is forbidden on my eating plan, it’s been painful to watch how easily I succumb to old patterns and habits for no particular reason. As a result, every day for the last four days I’ve watched the scale nudge up. Oh, not that much, but losing even half a pound takes so much effort and care that it distresses me to see it go up. I’m walking a thin wire of controlled but satisfied, and out of control and overwhelmed. And guilty for not doing this perfectly.

Part of all of this is being on a new medicine, Otezla, for my psoriasis. One of the side effects (and there are many) is nausea, and to counter it, I’ve been nibbling carbs. Okay, not necessarily nibbling. But not bingeing and gorging the Old Way, either. And I’ll give myself enough credit to know that I needed to log whatever I ate even if it upset me to write it down. I have to be accountable to myself because to NOT do that, it’s a slippery slope to gaining it back so fast it makes my head spin. Been there, done that more times than I want to admit.

I’m disappointed in myself that I didn’t control the impulses to Eat All the Things. And that’s what it was. I stopped pre-planning my daily food and just went crazy. So today I’m back to drinking water at 5:30 a.m. and planning out almost everything for the day before I took my first bite. There was a little – but not much – wiggle room but there is great comfort for me in having the structure of knowing what I will do today. I planned a slider basket lunch from the club because I enjoy them and there’s lots of protein, which keeps me full and less likely to eat something I don’t need. And dinner will be simple but again, lots of protein and fiber with my rotisserie chicken from Sam’s and fresh steamed broccoli and carrots. Tomorrow will be something different, but that is today.

I think I’m going to need to do this tracking and planning for the rest of my life. It’s not that much of a burden, but NOT doing it leaves me without the control I need to just move on from those tempting carbs, and they’re always carbs. To make it easier, I dumped out everything that had been a temptation and got rid of it in yesterday’s garbage day. Only to have donuts in the office, which are deadly. I can do better. I’ve done better for months. But I’m not perfect and I have a lifetime of unrestrained eating. I’m the only one who can restrain me and it’s time to get back to work doing it.

I’m Not in a Very Good Place Now

Buddha on the rocksIt’s been hard for me to read most of the weight/diet/exercise blogs these last few weeks.  Although you are all writing about yourselves and your own lives, I read and feel judged and lacking – and realized today that it was because (duh) I was judging myself against your successes and ripping myself up inside for not measuring up.

I am morbidly obese.  I’ve gained and lost pounds so many times and am just so sad that I’ve gained back enough that I finally gave away four winter coats in smaller sizes – so that other people can stay warm and so there’s room in the closet for something that covers me.  My knees are bad and I drink too much diet soda.  I don’t exercise as much as I should.  I’m in reasonably good health, all things considered, but it could be better.  I don’t expect to live as long as the thin women my age, and frankly, that’s okay with me; but I want the kitty to be cared for, so that’s a motivator to take care of myself.

I’m not saying this because I want your pity, your sympathy, or most especially your advice.  I could write the book on how to lose weight because I’ve lost it so many times.  I just haven’t found the *click* inside that lets me keep it off.  I hold myself to ridiculously high standards of perfection that set me up to fail, then feed myself comfort food to feel better.  Yes, counseling is a good idea.  I know it, and you’ve told me a dozen times.  Please don’t tell me again; we’ll consider that advice already given.

My Christmas trip to visit family, which should bring joy, has me tied up in knots.  I know we’ll have the Weight Conversation, the Diet Conversation, the Health Conversation, and of course the Church Conversation – and, given the election results, probably the Political Conversation.  The morbidly obese non-churchgoing liberal Democrat is on her way, crying inside that the people who most understand me aren’t related to me and won’t be part of my celebration.

But it’s not just about me.  Christmas is about family and tradition and being there for them in their lives, even if being there stresses me out.  I can deal with it for a week and come home to my small world, my routine, my solitary-ness, my kitty.

I’m a good person, a good friend, an excellent librarian, a loving cat-mama.  I’m smart enough to work at Yale and if I’m old enough to belong to AARP, I’m old enough to make my own choices.  I just need to own them.

I don’t want to diet. I want to eat sensibly in moderation, to enjoy a variety of food, to ease the stress on my knees, to be comfortable in my body and with myself.  That may be mutually exclusive.  All I can do is try and take things one small step at a time.

I Want to Eat Everything

Emotional eatingLast week I quietly strung together almost seven days of eating carefully and relatively easily within my food plan. This week it’s very different. I want to eat everything in sight unless it is a vegetable or fruit. So I guess it’s not everything I want, it’s specific tastes. My basic comfort food pyramid of salt, sugar, and carbs.

I want to crunch things but not baby carrots because they are healthy. Potato chips or soy crisps or popcorn work because they are salty and meltingly crunchy instead of crispy crunchy, the way an apple or those stupid little carrots taste.

I want chocolate, good chocolate or crummy chocolate as long as it’s sweet and rich and creamy tasting. Okay, really crummy chocolate isn’t going to do it for me right now. I want good stuff and since Valentine’s Day is just days away, there is and will be chocolate everywhere within hand’s reach – and later this week it will be on sale for 50-75% off. Uh oh, now that’s scary.

But then there is the lure of bread. Ahh, I love bread. It is my ultimate comfort food, which is why I can’t buy loaves of it to have in the house because I’ll sit and eat it mindlessly, slice after slice. Potato rolls I seem to be able to more or less manage – but a friend mentioned breadmakers the other day and my mind has gone off into scary tangents of justification. No, no, I can’t go there.

So I sit here with a stomach ache from eating too much of all the wrong things today. Fritos in the morning when I wasn’t even hungry, just wanting something with crunch and salt. Small meatball sub at lunch with extra marinara sauce. Little vanilla creme sandwich cookies – 2 packs of them, for no particular reason except they are addictive and were there when I was feeling squirrely. Mrs. Prindables chocolate covered caramels that were supposed to go to the office. Ha ha ha.

I managed to eat a balanced breakfast and a reasonable salad with layers and flavors and – blech – vegetables. I drank lots of water. But somehow that got overwhelmed by the other stuff. I knew what I was doing and did it anyway.

So what’s going on? I’m squirrely. I hate being cold with my toes turning into little ice cubes. I hate the gray and drear and sameness of the days. I’m tired of it being dark so early, even though it’s better than it was. I want long weekends when I can get out and explore and take pictures without taking off my insulated gloves and freezing my fingers.

I want to not have to worry that tomorrow is my weigh in day and it’s not going to be pretty. I’ll go anyway, but I don’t want to. I’m tired of doing a daily (private) inventory and have been blowing it off instead of doing it because it feels like work now and not a helpful tool.

I want a change. I want to be warm. I want to be planning a great vacation without having to worry about money. I want to be satisfied with healthy foods and not just the things that all the experts tell me will kill me. I want to not have the attitude that I’m going to die of something anyway so why not enjoy myself while I go. I want my tummy to stop hurting.

I want to feel better about myself. Maybe tomorrow I will.

Let’s Get Real

Wakeup ButtonWhen I eat too much and exercise too little, the inevitable results will be weight gain. With a few rare exceptions, that’s what’s been happening to me since I moved in June. As of tonight’s weigh in, I’m higher than I’ve been in a long, long time. Something about recracking a particular ‘decade’ number made me wake up and pay attention.

I haven’t been working hard at weight loss or taking it very seriously and it shows. I’ve let the portions get sloppy, my food choices become unbalanced, and my exercise practically disappeared. What did I think would happen? That I had some invincibility and could eat whatever I want and have it not show up attached to my hips with superglue?

I was actually pretty shocked tonight when I got on the WW scale because the scale at home, which usually at least lets me have a heads up on the official weigh in, didn’t indicate that this was coming. I stayed for my meeting and we talked about winning outcomes. Specifically, how to manage to get through December and reach January having achieved the outcome we want – whatever it is.

I have no illusions that I will lose weight between now and New Years. My real goal is to lose one pound and break back through this unhappy place where I find myself. Frankly, staying basically in one place will be an accomplishment.

Losing weight takes a lot of energy and I haven’t put much into my process since I moved. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important; I do, and I know that I would both feel and look better with even 10% of my current weight gone. But I haven’t cared enough about it to do the work that’s felt more like punishment at a time when I was already scrambling to learn a new place and establish a new life.

I’m not giving myself permission to be lax. Being “kind of on program” shows me that just letting go completely would mean regaining it all, as I’ve done before. I just can’t go there again. I’d rather stay fat but smaller than risk gaining it all back and then some, which is my usual pattern.

For now I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve planned my food for tomorrow and will try to get in some extra walking, though my knee gets very unhappy when I do that. I haven’t been to water aerobics in six weeks “because the water was too cold” which is a pretty stupid reason, although the water really was freezing. I don’t promise that I will go to class tomorrow but I will be back at the pool within the next two weeks because the water exercises were the only things that helped without pain.

Winter is Coming – What Can I Fit Into?

ShoppingI don’t know what the weather is like in your part of the world, but up here in New England we’re into cool temperatures with the word “frost” mentioned in the weather forecast.  Winter isn’t that far away and the the Farmers Almanac warns that it will be colder and snowier winter than usual up here.

My problem is that I don’t know what to wear. This isn’t a Stacy/Clinton type of question about what’s in style, although I am fashion challenged.  It’s much more practical:  I don’t know if I can fit into my winter clothes.

For the last months I’ve been wearing lightweight summery clothes – loose cotton dresses, jersey pants, shorts, simple knit tops, and my beloved pink Birkenstock sandals.  This is not going to work as a winter wardrobe and my morning walks in to work from the parking lot already show that I need to work on the clothes thing.

But my cold weather clothes from last year don’t fit the way they did when I put them away, plus I weeded pretty heavily before I moved, further limiting my options.  I don’t want to go buy more clothes in a bigger size and I also don’t want to be wearing clothes that look as though they’re painted on.  It’s a dilemma.

I didn’t think last spring that I would need the clothes in the bigger size going into this winter and it’s a bit depressing to realize that I do because it’s an acknowledgment that my plan to lose weight didn’t work.  In fact, I gained 13 lbs in the first weeks of the move and have yet to take them off.  I lose slowly these days so I have to be realistic about what I can change before it’s time to actually wear this stuff.

The answer is, not much.  The smart thing to do is to have a “try on day” soon, before I need to actually bundle up, so I can realistically assess what I have. Being afraid of having no clothes is not a reason to not deal with it and in fact, it’s probably not as bad as I’m afraid of.

Tight clothes can be a trigger in two directions.  They can be a wake up call to get serious about working the food plan and exercising so that the clothes fit again.  Or they can be a signal to buy something bigger because, let’s face it, we have to wear something.  Buying up feels like a sign of failure and can open the floodgates to giving up and just filling out the larger sizes until there’s a whole new wardrobe again.

I want to avoid the latter but I also don’t want to look like a What Not to Wear candidate, either.  I need at least a few pieces that will fit well and look good so I feel good about myself going into the winter.  I hope I can do that with clothes that I already have.  Keep your fingers crossed.