Rambling About Obsessions and Addictions

I come from a family of addicts. I can look at both sides of my family, at half-siblings from each of my parents, and see it. Alcohol. Drugs. Gambling. You name it, my family has a history of addiction in it. I wasn’t fortunate enough not to succumb. I’ve always been careful with drugs and alcohol, but I succumbed to caffeine and nicotine. And food.
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With the Forgetting

I used to have this thing where I’d literally forget to eat. A few years ago, I left work early on a Monday because I felt so awful I figured I was getting sick. It wasn’t until I was halfway home that I realized I hadn’t eaten since Friday afternoon. I didn’t make that mistake again, but I have in the recent past been notorious for forgetting to eat until nearly dinnertime. So notorious, in fact, that my husband would regularly poke at me about that. (I always found it so amusing, that the fatty forgot to eat–of course, I was drinking so much soda that my calorie count was still really obscenely high.)

Since I started this whole sweeping change, I’ve been amazing about eating regularly, but today not so much. I got distracted and wasn’t active due to rain keeping me from walking or doing my shopping, and at 5:30PM I realized–well, crap. I’m sure that part of the reason my stomach wasn’t yelling at me was because of the high calorie count from yesterday. But, still, I have to be more on top of eating regularly and not let my old habits reassert themselves.

Anyway, my calorie count is super low because there was no way I could get in all my calories after such a late point in the day when I had a half-dozen errands to run. *sigh*

Calories: 980
Exercise: 2 hours of meandering walking during errands
Overall: Disappointed with myself for being a dumbass

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Dear Loukoumades: You were worth it.

The thing about looking at my weight loss as a lifestyle change (and, wow, how cliche does it feel to say that; but it’s true so I will cringe and type it) rather than a diet is that it allows me to do things like, oh, say, go to a Greek Food Festival and have fun without freaking out over calories. That’s super important for me, because if I couldn’t do things like that, go out with friends in that manner, it would feel like deprivation. And me and deprivation? Yeah, that leads to binge eating.

So today wasn’t healthy, and I didn’t stay in my calorie count, but that’s okay.

Because the loukoumades were worth it, those beautiful fried dough balls of yum. :p

Calories: Not counting
Exercise: Minor walking through the festival
Fun: Off the charts

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Active and Happy

I did an hour of tennis with the husband this morning, followed by 3 hours wandering around an outlet store. I’d say I got my exercise in, that’s for sure. I also did really good with food and didn’t make poor choices, even though at one point I was starving at the outlet store and the husband went to a gas station to get some snacks. I stuck with a Diet Pepsi and ignored the cheese and peanut butter crackers, booyah!

Calories: 1313
Exercise: 1 hour tennis, 3 hours meandering
Treat to Myself: 3 Ghiradelli Squares, yum
Happy Moment: Neighbor noticed I lost weight and complimented me
Need to Improve: Did not get nearly enough veggies today

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Eat ALL the things!

Today has been one of those days–I’ve been craving food, bad food, and just want to eat myself sick on it. I’ve managed to not do that, but I’m not sure where the urge came from, or why. I just know that I want to buy a huge bag of chips and go to motherfucking TOWN on them! I’m ignoring the urge and hoping it goes away at some point. I did get strength from a weigh-in, which boosted my morale on account of menstrual weight coming off, yay!

Played tennis today, but didn’t walk because I ended up falling asleep mid-day. Since I didn’t do my planned walk, I was a bit high on my protein (11 gr), even though I skipped the turkey in my lunch sandwich. Tomorrow will make up for my slacking off today with the exercise, fortunately, as me and the husband have a busy, active day scheduled (and an early one, ugh, I hate getting up early).

Today’s Summary:
Calories – 1270
Exercise – 1 Hour of Tennis
Current Weight – 264.8 (18.2 pounds lost)

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An Introduction/Explanation of Sorts

Though I say my journey started on June 9, 2011, when I stepped on a scale in a doctor’s office, it started a little bit before that. In April/May, I told my husband that I was going to join a gym on June 1st and give up soda. I said I was tired of how I was. He encouraged me, but I think both of us knew that this attempt wouldn’t last much longer than any of my others.

In a stroke of something that might be luck, if you squint right, I got taken down by a truly nasty sinus infection on Memorial Day weekend, right before my June 1st deadline for my healthy changes. It turns out that suffering through a sinus infection that comes with constant fevers? Yeah, it’s the best time ever to ruthlessly cut down caffeine intake because you don’t even notice the withdrawal and headaches through the dazed agony of your sinuses. Who knew?

I went from 8-10 cans of soda a day to 1-2, which is far more reasonable. Again, it’s doubtful I would have been able to stick with it if I hadn’t accidentally seen my weight at the doctor’s office. But I did see it.

Once I recovered from the sinus infection, I found that I was starving all of the time since I’d been getting all my calories from soda. I began to eat 3 regular meals a day, when I’d used to eat 1, maybe 1.5, and I was suddenly full of energy! It was exciting and revelatory, and it gave me an enthusiasm for making changes that I had previously been lacking.

I didn’t want to become diabetic, or have my knees replaced, or suffer from any number of health issues I’d brought on myself with my horrible eating patterns. I started looking into nutrition to figure out how to eat well, because I honestly didn’t know how to. I looked at how many calories my body needed, how many I was taking in, and how many I should limit myself to in order to lose weight.

The first changes I made was to incorporate raw fruits and veggies into my day. Then I began paying attention to the portion sizes of what I was eating. Finally, I started tracking my food through myfitnesspal.com.

It took me a few weeks to find a way to balance everything I needed so that I wasn’t too low on calories/high on carbs/lacking in enough protein, etc. Once I got that settled, I replaced all of my grains with whole grains and actually stopped with the soda altogether. And, let me tell you, it was a heinous three days after giving up my 2 cans of soda per day.

I switched from recipe based cooking to using the proportions of the USDA’s My Plate guidelines. It was simpler and, on the whole, cheaper than buying for specific recipes.

But that first month was so damn hard. I was withdrawing from sugar, caffeine, processed foods and fat/grease. There were times when I would drive past a fast food place and shake with the desire to go in.

Someone brought up cheat days, and my husband suggested I have one since he thought it might help with the problems I was having, but given that I used to binge eat, I didn’t want to open myself up to that. Instead, I decided that, if I wanted to, I’d have one meal a week in which I didn’t count calories. .

I didn’t take advantage of that for long, though, because found that I feel, relatively speaking, awful if I have a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich or, god-forbid-never-again, a DQ shake. (Seriously awful; I can’t imagine how I subsisted on that kind of stuff for years and didn’t realize how terrible it was draining me.) Instead, my husband and I will treat ourselves to a homemade hamburger once a week, while still eating healthily around it in the meal (whole grain bread as a bun, a salad, and some fruit).

Another huge hurdle for me was that drinking water all the time was a bit boring. I didn’t want to drink diet soda because, hey, I suffered to give up the last of the caffeine. Also, both my husband and I have had bad experiences with artificial sweeteners, specifically aspartame. Fortunately, I stumbled on Crystal Light Pure, which uses a combination of sugar and stevia. It only has 30 calories and 6 grams of sugar per packet, and I have one packet a day. It breaks up the water and keeps me from getting tempted to drink something with a load of sugar.

My next goal was to get a scale. I didn’t realize scales were serious business until I started looking at reviews. In the end, I splurged and about a reliable one from Eat Smart. It came on July 14, and for the first time in almost 20 years, I weighed myself in my own home.

I’d lost 8 pounds.

In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t have the scale right away because I think that only seeing my weight go down only 1-2 pounds a week would have been disheartening for me given the monumental changes I was making (even though it’s a healthy and optimal weekly weight loss). But getting on there after 5 weeks of struggling to figure everything out and seeing 8 pounds shaving off my starting number? That felt fucking amazing!

I kept up eating well, with a few slip ups here and there, and I’ve added more activity and exercise. I walk every day for 30 minutes, outside, and if there’s nothing else active happening that day I also do another 30 minutes on the treadmill. My husband and I have started going to the tennis court in the local park. We’re absolutely awful at tennis, and I’m not all that light on my feet, but we have a blast. We’re going to do some geo cacheing on Monday, which he’s really into. I’m not, but it’s another way to get some activity in that is interesting, so I’m up for it.

It’s not always easy. I’m now unemployed and while sometimes that makes it easier for me to go out and be active, it also makes it easier to just slog around my house in my pajamas all day. Sometimes I want to bye a 2 liter of soda, shut myself in a room and drink the whole damn thing. Sometimes I get bored and want to shove all sorts of unhealthy things in my mouth. Sometimes, like this week, I’m premenstrual and my hormones and reasoning are off kilter and I wonder what the hell the point is of making these changes when it’s more work, more effort, and more expensive. Sometimes I miss the high I’d get from eating terrible things until my stomach feels like it’ll bust.

I do my best to work through those things. I look at my progress, I remember how much better I feel, I remind myself that part of this journey is breaking down those unhealthy mental and emotional connotations that food has. And I keep a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate squares in the house because the point isn’t to deny myself, or punish myself, but to make a wholistic change that incorporates things like chocolate, and a goodbye lunch from my coworkers, and dinner at a friend’s house.

On June 9, 2011 I stepped on a scale in a doctor’s office and weighed 283 pounds–today I weigh 266 lbs.

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So it Begins

On June 9, 2011, I stepped on a scale at a doctor’s office. I told the nurse I didn’t want to know my weight and she accommodated me. She also accidentally left the slip of paper she’d written it down on in my view when she left the room for a moment.

I was 35 years old, 5’4” tall, and weighed 283 pounds.

I had to use both handrails on staircases to take my weight on my arms so that I could make it up or down them without my knees screaming at me.

I couldn’t walk for more than ten minutes without becoming exhausted.

I was drinking between 8-10 cans of regular soda a day.

I was hardly eating actual food, and what food I did eat tended to be fast food and take out, with huge calorie counts and filled with crap like trans fat.

I was 99% sedentary because it felt damn near impossible to be active.

As much as I’m a proponent of fat acceptance, I was unhealthy and my ability to do things was limited by my size.

It was time to sit down and think about what I was doing to my body, what the short and long term consequences could be, and whether I was willing to pay them. It turns out, I wasn’t, so I started to make some lifestyle changes. Then I enacted them, tweaked them, and made smart, informed, healthy and maintainable goals.

It’s not a diet, it’s not even just a lifestyle change. It’s a journey in which I’m going to be kinder to myself, exorcise damaging mental and emotional demons, and take control of habits that have controlled me for far too long.

On June 9, 2011 I stepped on a scale in a doctor’s office and weighed 283 pounds.

The end of my journey is set at 140 lbs, almost exactly half of my starting weight–around the middle of it, you might say.

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