A New Direction

During the past few weeks I’ve been embarking in a new direction for my food plan and weight loss.  I’ve been reading up on the idea of “intentional eating” where I would slow down and savor what I’m eating, eat things that I truly like (I’m trying to concentrate on healthy things as much as I can), and recognize when I’m full.  No food is off limits, but there are some where I just can’t keep my hands off (Reeses peanut butter cups and Cumberland Farms’ whoopie cookies — those of you from areas in eastern and central NY know what I’m talking about).  They are my extreme downfall, and for now, I’m laying off of them.

The goal of intentional eating is listening to your body’s signals to tell you when you’re full.  In part, it is also a way to reset your metabolic thermostat ruined by years of yo-yo dieting.  I’m doing this to get my body to the healthy weight it’s meant to be.

I’m at the age where obesity can lead to some serious health problems very quickly.  I’m diabetic, my parents died of cardiovascular disease in their mid-fifties (and I’m real close to that); I understand obesity can lead to cancer as well.  I don’t want to spend the second half of my life with these health problems.  I’ve got enough to deal with my joints giving me problems (probably caused, in part, by obesity, as well).

So, we’ll see how this goes!



I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone on autopilot with my eating junk.   It’s like I black out and shovel it in like shoveling coal into a furnace (Wish I burned the junk like coal and give out heat instead it ending up as adipose tissue).

I sat with a group of ladies last night around a table chock full of snacks.  Mind you, some of them were healthy, like strawberries, apples, trail mix, crackers.  Noooooo…..I gravitated toward the cookies (the ones that were heavily frosted with the tasteless cookie — those are my favorite — I just eat the frosting and throw out the cookie when no one’s looking).  Experimenting with dipping peanut butter filled pretzels in caramel that’s meant for dipping apples.  Chowing down on praline-covered cashews.  All on autopilot while in conversation around the table.  Autopilot.

I think if I were to eat this stuff deliberately, enjoy it, and wash it down with coffee I think I would eat far less.  The undisciplined side of me says, “You were deprived during your childhood of this stuff.  It was your only comfort in your younger years (and truthfully it still is today), and I deserve this comforting high.  So, in it goes.

Today, as I write this, I think I’m hungover from all the crap I’ve been eating this weekend.  I don’t have much energy and I just want to stay in my room this morning.  I know I should go to worship, but I just want to be left alone.  Introverts are like that.  We can take people just so much, then we’ve got to get away from them.  Too much stimulus coming into the brain.  Maybe that’s another reason why I compulsively eat — as a temporary escape.  At least I’m not eating while I type this.  Maybe that’s it — when I get the urge to compulsively eat, I blog.  Now, I need to figure out when I’m on the go and I want to compulsively eat, a method of escape I can do on the run, or when I’m supposed to be doing something else.

What am I running away from, anyway?


Again, it’s been a while

I need to blog more often.  I am inspired the blogs I follow, and in reading them lately, they are helping me to stay aware of my eating and give me new insights on how I perceive life in general.

Since I’ve last blogged, I’ve become a grandmother.  I traveled out to Colorado to be with my daughter and son-in-law while she gave birth to my grandson.  Quite an experience, not only to see my new grandson (and his mom & dad!) but just the flying across the country to an area I’ve never been and taking it all in.  But, the experience did have it’s ill effects on my physically…

…namely on how my body reacts to high altitudes.  I am used to living at sea level and going to an area that’s literally more than a mile high can induce altitude sickness,  of which I had a mild case.  Never gave it a thought; I was all set with packing an ample supply of exercise gear, I made sure there was a Planet Fitness within a reasonable driving distance,  and when I got the opportunity, I went there.  After 1/2 hour, I thought I was going to die from fatigue.  Well, I thought — I hadn’t had much sleep in the three weeks in preparing for the trip (namely the paperwork I had to have ready in my absence at work) and in preparing for the flights, because I hadn’t flown in 26 years and was quite unfamiliar with the procedures.  Yeah, that’s what was going on — nerves and lack of sleep…

…or so I thought.  After a few nights of a relatively good night’s sleep, I went to the gym again.  This time I worked out for an hour.  Again, I thought I was going to die.  It was then I wondered if a change in altitude was a culprit as to how I was feeling.  Sure enough,  the symptoms I experienced were documented on Web MD and other places.  I found out it can become life-threatening if the symptoms progressed to things like brain swelling.  Okay….no more exercise for me until I get home.  My daughter doesn’t need a sick mom and a newborn at the same time.

Along with no exercise and being stuck in the house, more or less, I got bored.  There’s only so much one can do, and naturally I turned to food.  And it was quite high calorie and a lot of it.  I probably gained a good 7 lbs in those 3 weeks I was out there.

Out of routine, back home, readjusting, relationship problems, I was still in the food/exercise funk.

After reading other people’s weight loss blogs, I went back to what’s tried and true for me — counting my calories (with a high percentage of it being protein), at least 3 quarts of water, and an hour of cardio (to burn at least 400 calories).  So far, I’ve lost about a lb.

Every journey begins with a small step.  With that small step I’ve begun my journey again.


It’s been almost a month

I know I haven’t written lately.  Partly it’s out of laziness, part of it I’ve been studying my binging habits; my addictive habits with eating and an imagined relationship.  I still grieve over the friendship I lost; I can’t shake it.  This person was the world to me, even for those brief few months; since then (and it’s been about a year and a half), I still mourn the loss.  I can’t seem to let go.

The food.  I had one hell of a binge today — I downed about 1/4 of a chocolate/frosting “jelly” roll, 1/2 bag of Funyuns, a protein shake, 3/4 of a bag of sweetened mixed nuts, and a single serving box of chocolate pie.  And the funny thing is, the pie and shake were satisfying, the rest was not.  I was shoveling it into my mouth and it did nothing for me.  Why was I doing it?  Trying to recapture what I got with the first few bites of pie or the shake?

I feel anxious.  My thoughts and anxieties are swirling like the patterns motor oil  forms on top of water.  I have the physical remembrance of abstinence; I remember being successful at it and even feeling really good from it.  I can go back to it.  It feels like I can’t get back to it right now.  It’s like I have to wait for the shit to get out of my system before I can go on.

My biggest problem is trying to find constructive and satisfying ways to deal with my negative emotions.  I believe most people eat, smoke, drink, or sex their way though this stuff.  Mine is obviously eating.  Another one, for me, is relationships that don’t work out.  That’s the one I’m trying to get over.   I want this person’s friendship again.  This person is extremely insightful regarding weight loss and his personal experience on the subject.  We had a lot in common.  I wanted this person to be part of my everyday life.  And I tried to make it so, but I got fed up with little or no response when I tried to talk to him.  I had no understanding of what he was going through.  I was threatened to be dropped.  I was insistent on remaining friends, giving up my sense of self-respect for the “right” to remain friends.  I continued to be ignored.  I unfriended this person and this individual immediately blocked me.  This person now hates me.  I apologized for what I did, but this person let me back in on very tight conditional terms, which I accepted.  Then I got blocked again, and I don’t know what I did to deserve it.


On the edge….

I’m at a deciding point today.  Not really a “decision” point, but a place where I’ve got to do something.  I’ve been eating crap for a long time now.  I haven’t been sticking to my eating plan as closely as I should be, and I’m now beginning to feel it in my jeans.  I’d like to attribute it to belly bloat (because I’ve been eating a lot of salt and sugar), but the truth is, I think most of it is plain old fat.

So, like I’ve done many times before, I have the resolve that “I’m going to stick to this plan to a “T” and put in a lot of exercise”  Then around noontime, the food resolve is out the window with a piece of cake calling out my name, telling me lies of “It’s okay.  You’ll work it off.  C’mon, it’ll make you feel better”  And then, for a time, I will feel better.  Then comes later in the afternoon.  “I’d better eat something substantial before working out or I’m going to feel like shit afterwards”  Still behaving somewhat, at that point,  I’ve just about run out of calories for the day.  So, I’ll just have a few ounces of chicken and some low-sodium vegetable juice.  Then, it’s after dinner.  It’s time to go to the kitchen and pick at whatever’s in the cupboards.  I’ll make myself a little something out of baking mix and put in two tablespoons of chocolate chips.  Then I’ll break into a salty snack that I bought for my son to take to work.  The desire to pick just doesn’t quit until I go to bed, and then it’s time for a “nightcap” — another snack to go with my meds.  I do this every night.

And I’m feeling my weight creep up.

One thing I know will combat this is being deliberate with my calories.  Proportioning out just so much for each meal and for snacks.  Drinking more water (I’m really bad with that).  I’ve found that right now, I can’t eat like a normal person.  I just can’t control myself around the food unless I’m strict with it.  I guess that’s how the weight will have to come off.  I just can’t be experimenting with myself and researching why I eat the way I do right now.  I’ve got more work to do — I’ve got to get this weight off.

To possibly complicate things for me today, we’re supposed to go up to Albany to spend some time at a mall and then go to Red Lobster for supper (tomorrow’s my birthday — we’re celebrating it today while the three of us are off work at the same time).  Mall time means Starbucks time.  I can get away with a machiatto with skim milk.  However — the cookies, brownies and cheesecake — they call my name.  And then I feel entitled to eat them because I don’t get to Starbucks that often.  I can’t do that this time.

Red Lobster — I can go online to see how many calories the meals are and go from there.  I can behave somewhat with that.  I’m going the way of ordering a broiled seafood platter.

I also know another way of staying in line with the eating plan.  It’s accountability.  Mostly to one person (and it was with the person I ruined the friendship with — I was so into trying to make a good impression — I really liked this person) I was afraid of failing.  I don’t have that anymore.  Looking back, I realize it was an unhealthy approach to accountability, but it did work.  Now, I have to be accountable to myself, unless I can find someone that will work with me and stay with me, flaws and all.


Trying to figure out why I’m sabotaging my eating plan

I’m sitting here in the office.  I know darn well there are donated goodies in one of the classrooms.  I can’t help myself — I’ve got to go get a few donuts.  Always the frosted with filling.  They are 380 calories each; 720 for two of them.  I take bites out of two other donuts — they are stale, and I throw them out (I guess that’s a small victory, right?)  But the frosted ones.  Heaven….nirvana….even if just for those few seconds they are in my mouth and being swallowed.  To look at what I just wrote, it seems like utter nonsense.  Why would I do this?  A moment on the lips means a lifetime on the hips.  Whoever came up with that hit the nail right on the head.  What substitute can I get that can be just as satisfying without the added calories?  I don’t think it exists.

Dieting, to me, is an “all-or-nothing” endeavor.  Either I’m perfect with the eating plan (and can thus stay on it) or if I screw up, it’s like, “oh, what the hell?”  I see a lot of us have that “all-or-nothing” mentality.  I guess, “it’s picking up and continuing on” is how we’re supposed to recover from these slip-ups.

If only the slip-ups can be satisfactorily avoided.

There is some kind of pain I’m trying to soothe or avoid.  The pain of being overwhelmed is a biggie for me.  I have to step back, take things in bite-sized chunks (not talking about the food), and deal with them one at a time.  Right now, I’m formatting two annual reports and bulletins for 3 churches.  I have to get people together to plan an event  (I’ve never coordinated anything like that before).  I just found out that I have more surgeries in my future (diverticulosis and now knee and possible shoulder surgery).  My daughter, who’s expecting her first child (and also a high-risk pregnancy), lives across the country and wants me out there at the end of March, when they induce her.  After 31 years of ministry, my pastor (also my supervisor) will be retiring, and there’s no one there yet to replace him.  That will add more administrative responsibility on my plate.  And that’s not including the everyday stuff of running the household and finances.

Besides going across the country, I want to go to the Adirondacks for a retreat at the end of April.  Then two weeks later, I want to go to Grand Rapids to meet up with friends for a 5k.  Depending on how my knee is doing will decide whether or not I will be participating.

I’m definitely overwhelmed.  But I have to find a way to turn a deaf ear to the food.

Well, this was not a binge….

…but I didn’t make very smart choices in my food today.  It was one of those days where stuff just started to happen at work, one by one, and before you know it I began to feel woozy.  That is the signal for me to get something in my system QUICK because my blood sugar was starting to nosedive.  When I get to that point, the “good choice” button is deactivated.  It’s a Tuesday, and we have free dinners here at the church.  Donations in the form of bakery items were calling my name…..”here we are..we’ll rescue you…”  So I let a box of mini cannolis and 3/4 of a cupcake rescue me.  There were also fruit donations, too.  I didn’t hear them.

I use low blood sugar as a valid excuse to eat that stuff.  I don’t need to do that.  There are healthier choices out there.  Junk food is fun.  I need to find a way to lessen it’s appeal.  I have to unlearn 50+ years of lies.

It happened again….

…another binge.  And I’m in the process of trying to figure out everything about it.  What started it.  What continued it.  What ended it.  And how I felt during each of those steps.

I’ve been good for two days.  Accurately tracking my food, drinking lots of liquids.  Went to the gym Friday; Saturday, my knee was really bothering me, so after 5 days of upper body weight training, I decided to give it a rest.

Then…yesterday.  Breakfast was great — accurate, nutritious, and on track.  Lunch.  We went out to dinner.  I ordered chicken parmesan, thinking that I’ll just eat 1/2 of it and save the other 1/2 for another meal.  Yeah, I did that.  Then we came home…

I was doing fine until I had to talk to someone about a missing part of a generator we just bought and was trying to put together.  Talking to store personnel and managers at two stores (one much closer than the other one — and it’s a corporation — so basically all customer service policies should be more or less the same). All we wanted to do was to grab an axle from one of their stock instead of packing up all 250 lbs of generator and bringing it back for an exchange.  Of course, the store that was closer gave me a hard time.  It all eventually worked out (the store farther away was cooperative), but before that,  I was getting more and more frustrated at being bounced back and forth between the two stores, with one of them having snotty personnel to boot.  I don’t deal well with rude people, and for all my trouble, I decided to put away a bag of Cracker Jack popcorn.  1080 calories inhaled in less than 10 minutes.  Well, I thought, to conclude my day I will just have a small snack to take my meds with and that will be my damage control.

I figured out the first binge — it was out of frustration and I wanted a the sugar high as compensation for the bullshit I had to put up with.

The second binge a few hours later was a lot harder to figure out and it was more characteristic of a full-blown binge.  I got this urge to eat.  I wasn’t really hungry, upset, or bored.  I was watching football with my husband and son, and my team won.  Yippee.  (that was a very low-toned “yippee” — I don’t care much for sports, but I will occasionally watch football).  During the game I finished the other half of the dinner I brought home.

Then, I snapped.  I went into this surreal oblivion and asked where the other bag of Cracker Jack was.  I got the bag and my son and I finished it off.  I think I had maybe 1/2 of that one.  540 more calories.  I felt a binge coming.  I went back into the kitchen and grabbed a box of animal crackers and squeeze frosting and polished that off.  About 260 more calories, plus 720 in frosting (I figure about 6 tablespoons).  Still wasn’t satisfied (whatever satisfaction I was looking for — that still eluded me at that point in time).  I then went after the graham crackers and ate probably about 3 sheets (130 cal each — so that’s 390 cals).  And I put margarine on them — probably about 4 tablespoonfuls at 45 cal per tablespoon — 180 more calories.  And I sprinkled large-crystal sugar on it; maybe 1 tablespoonful altogether?  About 50 more calories.  By this time, a sense of satiety crept in.  I felt physically full and lazily high from all the carb I just ingested.  Time to conclude the binge with coffee and a protein drink.  The satiety had turned into bloat, and I was tired, shaky, cold, and disappointed in myself.

In summary, I ate about 400 calories for breakfast.  The chicken parmesan dinner I estimate to be around 1200.  1080 for binge #1. That, and the rest of what I consumed came to almost 5000 calories.  I need about 1800 calories to keep my weight steady.  That means I overate by 3200 calories.  I almost took in the caloric equivalent to a pound of body fat.  Do that a few times a week, and it’s no wonder I have weight problems.

In retrospect to yesterday, I think the second binge had to do with watching TV with the family.  The three of us were together, sort of a celebratory thing, since the three of us watching TV together is a rarity.  Celebrations, in whatever form you may define it, call for food.  Next time, I’ll come armed with air-popped pop corn and celery sticks with fat-free cream cheese (flavored with some kind of dry soup mix).  Maybe that will stave off the desire for the sugar high.  If not, maybe I’ll have a clear-enough mind to just have my coffee with the protein drink and that will be enough for something sweet without the additional unhealthy calories.  And, most of all, I have to budget all that into my eating plan.  Maybe I’ll still go over my calories, but hopefully these substitutions will lessen the damage.






Exploring the inner working of a binge: part 1


Yesterday was not an unusual event.  I’ve been here before.  At least I know the full cycle; now I just have to remember to tweak a few things.  I’m talking about a binge.  I know the precipitating factors.

About 4 hours after I had breakfast, I started to feel weak; I felt the color draining out of my face.  Generally, at 4 hours, even with exercising, I don’t get that way (from low blood sugar).  Recalling that this could be one of my symptoms of an impending stomach virus (my son had a nasty one earlier this week) I attributed the symptoms to that.  But, I was also thinking, “well, what if it is just low blood sugar?”  I took a few glucose tabs; then thought to myself, “that’s not enough.  I’ll go to Cumby’s (local convenience store) and get a veggie burger and a little treat (which was a 330 calorie snack of chocolate cupcakes)”.  Of course I ate the cupcakes first, then the veggie burger.  With the beginnings of fatigue, I started dozing off at my desk (I usually don’t do that).  It was then that I realized that it was indeed the start of some kind of illness.  I went home a little early.  That that’s when the binge began.

I was craving animal crackers and frosting.  Ate one box, where I squirted decorator’s frosting on the crackers and systematically shoved them in my mouth.  Apparently that was not enough.  I then remembered that I had some powdered sugar, butter, and cocoa left over from Christmas baking.  I made myself a bowl of chocolate frosting and dipped honey pretzel braids in it and systematically shoved those in my mouth.  A little afterward I was eating only the frosting by the spoonful.  It was then that I came to my senses and threw the rest of the frosting away.

Why did I let the binge take place?  I had my lunch; I was not wanting for nourishment at that point in time (at least I didn’t think so).  At this point, I’m thinking that I wanted a “reward” for putting up with some kind of BS I couldn’t readily identify.  I wanted comforting.  In retrospect, maybe I was experiencing some underlying anxiety about upcoming meetings at work as well as some upcoming big changes at work (a merger of 8 churches in 3 counties, of which I’m the only administrator).  Maybe it’s because I need to pay bills.  Maybe it’s because I’m dealing with some possible surgeries in my future (for diverticulitis and a bad shoulder).  That’s a lot.  But I have to put each of them in their perspective and take each of them one moment at a time.  I’m also finding that I binge because I’m thirsty and/or I don’t feel physically full.  I’ve got to remember to keep drinking my water.

Apparently, I was coming down with something.  I spent the entire afternoon napping on the couch.  I even went to bed early and slept most of the night.  My body needed rest to fight off whatever was going on.

I’ve got to remember to pay attention to what my mind and body are telling me.  Keep up with the water.  Lots of protein (since part of my workout is with weight machines).  Keep the nutritious food coming; easy on the carbs, stay away from the sugar.  Rest when I need to.  And find a healthier way to cope with my anxieties.