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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feeling Thankful

Current weight: 304.0 lbs.

I am feeling thankful for the success I have been able to manage so far. I am thankful that I am able to maintain my meal plan, and not feel physically hungry. Heck, I am thankful that I can distinguish between physical and mental hunger. That took years. As long as I stick to my schedule of three meals each day consisting of lean protein, a very large amount of vegetables, and some healthy fat I feel energized and capable. I also drink lots of water, watch the sodium (a huge trigger for me) and do 15 minutes on my elliptical each day...that's all my joints will tolerate at this weight, but I plan to expand my routine as I become fitter. While my body isn't terribly hungry, the food addicted part of my brain is reeling.

I believe that overcoming obesity and compulsive overeating is mostly a psychological endeavor. At first, the urge to eat came at me like waves crashing against a cliff. I found myself stopping whatever I was doing (for just a mini moment) and breathing through these intense urges. It sort of reminded me of childbirth. I feel the uncomfortable emotion coming on, it builds, peaks, and then subsides.

When the urges come at me like waves, and I feel the anxiety building I do several things.

I tell myself to feel the uncomfortableness of the emotion. I don't try to suppress it. In fact, I let it get as bad as it can...I even picture the food that I supposedly can't live without. I then remind myself that this is only an emotion. The urge to eat can only hurt me if I act on it. I have the choice. I am in control. I firmly believe this. Like I mentioned above, I do deep breathing exercises throughout this process. Then, it passes. Like a contraction. That's the best way I can describe it.

I've been doing a lot of this deep breathing lately...while I'm washing the dishes, playing with my daughter, taking a shower...whatever. At the outset, about a month ago, the urges were almost constant, but as time goes on they have become less frequent, definitely still there, but diminished to a point where they aren't the sole focus of my day.

What I am doing is is creating new and healthy neural pathways (I was a psych student before the birth of my In other words, I am building new habits.

The only way out is through. There is an end to the intense withdrawal stage. I've been through this before. I am getting stronger each day.      

Monday, August 16, 2010

My Mission Statement...

My Mission...

To love myself and let go of my guilt, anger, shame, and disgust over regaining 123 lbs. so that I can get healthy and be the best role model and care taker I can possibly be.

My husband frequently tells me that I am a wonderful mom. I know this to be true. Despite my weight, my daughter and I dance and play with pure joy and abandon. I get down on the floor with her countless times throughout the day. We have fun, and  I constantly marvel at how rapidly she changes. Even so, I cannot deny that it is a struggle. Mothering a 14 month old is a tiring endeavor for the fittest amongst us. I am giving my daughter every bit of my energy. It doesn't have to be that way.

A short history of extreme weight loss and relapse...

On May 1st, 2007 I weighed in at 350 lbs. My health was failing rapidly, I could no longer count on my body to carry me through my day, and I realized that I would never have the kind of life I wanted if I remained that size. I rose early (before the sun) for the first time in years on that day and went for a walk around the block...I barely made it. It was a start. I had finally taken action. One year later I was approximately 150 lbs. lighter, and in the best shape of my life. Exercise became my best friend, and a major coping mechanism for many of life's problem's, but I was still numbing out.

I began my weight loss journey with carefully planned moderation, making tiny changes in my food consumption and exercise. Along the way my methods became extreme. Eventually, my routine consisted of 800 calories of extremely healthy food (whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, and a lot of fresh vegetables), along with three hours of exercise each day (predominately cardio). I felt wonderful throughout, until near the very end of my weight loss when my one "free" day each week slowly but surely morphed into an eating frenzy.

I began to eat like a crazy person on the weekends, and diet to silly (and dangerous) proportions on weekdays. This opened the door to regaining the weight. Around this time I realized that I needed to slow down. Working that hard made bingeing on the weekends seem almost "reasonable". Easier said than done, but I kept working at it. During this process I became pregnant with my daughter. I immediately stopped "dieting" and shifted to eating 2,000 cals per day of reasonably healthy food.

This was a huge struggle for me.  Restriction was no longer a choice, but I was still battling the urge to eat to excess. After all was said and done, I had gained 20 extra pounds during my pregnancy. I felt ok with that and was looking forward to taking it off at a reasonable pace. After all, I was still 110 lbs. thinner than my highest weight.

Then, COLLICK HIT. It hit like a sledge hammer, and lasted for eight months. When I say collick I mean my daughter screeching for hours on end...and all through the night. Neither my husband or I communicate with our families, and I was new to Washington (a story for another time) so it was just the two of us. My husband and I are a team. He works very long hours outside of the home, and I take care of our home and baby. I found myself driving aimlessly all night long (night after night after night) so that he could get enough sleep to function at work.

This was a  very lonely existence, and I was the most exhausted I had ever been. I know many moms have been through similar situations. I turned back to food for comfort. It had been my old stand by since the age of three. It started with a trip to the grocery store at 3 a.m. I was sick and tired of driving, and thought that if I walked my baby up and down the aisles of the 24 hour grocery store, I could at least be near other human beings.

I remember driving around after that first stop at the store with a ridiculously large bag of dark chocolate raisenettes. I kept telling myself it would just be that one time. Well, over the next year I ballooned back up to 323 lbs.

Here is my mission statement once more...

To love myself and let go of my guilt, anger, shame, and disgust over regaining 123 lbs. so that I can get healthy and be the best role model and care taker I can possibly be.

It bears repeating.

After many false starts I began to slowly regain my health about four weeks ago. My efforts towards recovery are new and tenuous. It's a painful process, but I feel the tiniest bit stronger each day. I want to nurture this growth without losing my head in the process.