Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Not Dieting

Hey I hit 250 this week! Not miles on my bike... no, that would be zero... but 250 pounds. Yes, I got on the scale yesterday and that's what I saw. That is up 5 pounds from the last time I weighed (I think. I have not been writing it down). I also had to go out and buy a pair of size 20W jeans because the 18's got too tight. I figured I would share here because I do want to have some sort of record of my weight while I am healing from disordered eating. Speaking of which...

Here's some of the choices I have made recently. I did not make my eating choices based on weight *at all.* Sometimes I made them based on health. Sometimes I made them based on what I felt like eating. Other times I ate what was easiest, what was available, or what was offered. Occasionally I regretted eating something, but not because of weight/diet. Instead, I regretted it because it was not as good as I'd imagined and the health impact of that food was not worth the taste of it. But the best thing is I remained calm about my food, eating, and weight. I have had zero anxiety, stress, or obsessive thoughts about food and zero occasions of compulsive eating. That is my victory.

Breakfasts: some mornings I ate hearty meals. Other days I just had black coffee all morning. If I wasn't hungry, I just skipped it. Today I had leftover thin crust spinach Alfredo pizza for breakfast. Another day I had a bowl of vegetable soup. On a trip, we stayed in a hotel and I ate scrambled eggs with sausage gravy on top, and a fresh apple. Several days, I had a poached egg or two... with or without bacon, and with or without a piece of toast. One day I just had a protein shake for the morning.

Lunch and Dinner: I've cooked soups several times and included lots of vegetables and protein in those, but not pasta or rice. I've had some canned soups, too... mainly tomato or cream of mushroom. On our trip I had a dinner of chicken fried steak with gravy, a baked potato, green beans, and a salad with Ranch. I was only able to eat half of each part of that meal, but it was very good. I have let myself enjoy foods that I had crossed off the list years ago due to being fried or breaded or higher carb. But as you can see, all those years of cutting those things out didn't result in weight loss anyway. So I am enjoying what I want and making healthy choices for *most* meals... although I did have some sweet potato fries and a caramel fudge sundae this week too.

Snacks: I eat fruit for many of my snacks: apples, Clementines, pears, berries, melon. I had cucumbers dipped in Ranch a time or two. I also have raw almonds sometimes, or a string cheese. If I want crackers I have them, but I find I don't really want them very often.

Yeah, my old Diet Self would say I am indulging and making bad choices. But I am done being ruled by guilt and making food a moral issue. I firmly believe that after all these years of dieting, the only way I am going to get to a comfortable weight and be healthy for good is to let go of all of that and let my body naturally lead the way to where it wants to be.

Feeling good today, and looking forward to fall and the holidays! Hope you are too.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fatter and Fatter

A long time ago, before I started this blog, I saw a number on the scale that really freaked me out. That number was 283 pounds... the highest number I remember ever seeing on a scale. I don't remember what I went home and comforted myself with after that doctor's appointment, but I could guess it had something to do with Pizza Rolls, Ranch dressing, Coke, and my good pal Little Debbie. I wasn't ready back then to do the work of losing weight, because I could not imagine giving up those foods and the numbing relief I experienced when I shoved things in my mouth one after the other until it was all gone. I felt powerlessly compelled to binge eat huge amounts of junk, in volumes that seemed to defy physics. I still look back at my early blogging days in which I listed what I ate during those types of binges, and I am amazed. I remember eating all of that, but I have no understanding of how it all fit in my stomach and how my body did not reject it and puke it all back up. I can't eat large volumes anymore. It's been so long since I have eaten like that that I assume my stomach has shrunk back to a normal size. I'm full on a couple slices of pizza or one burger if I choose to eat those kinds of foods. I always have a to-go box with half my meal in it if we eat out. Physically things are very different after years of *not* binge eating.

Lots of people have expressed concern for me that I have "given up" dieting; one commenter even asked if I am just going to "get fatter and fatter." Well, no. I don't plan to take up binge eating again, or dive headfirst into junk food, or lay around eating all day gaining weight. That's not at all what this is about. Let me try to explain.

I have lost large amounts of weight a couple of times with a few different methods. I lost as much as 103 pounds before but regained most of that weight. All along the way, people here have told me things like, "you will never keep the weight off unless you fix the mental stuff first" or "weight loss surgery won't work if you don't address the root cause." And "you have to get your head straight before you can succeed at keeping the weight off." I knew all of that, of course, that there are emotional reasons, mental triggers that were the bottom line cause of my obesity. It's not a lack of knowledge or laziness driving this weight... it's something deeper. I spent a lot of time addressing those things as I lost weight before. I learned to feel my feelings instead of avoiding them with food. I dealt with old emotional scars that were eating me up inside and made peace with many people and circumstances that had been the source of inner pain. I healed much of what was driving the disordered eating, to the point I was able to completely stop binge eating. Later while on AIP after a regain, I found more things that were driving obsessive food thoughts and leading to compulsive eating (which is not the same as binge eating. For example, a binge might be 3, 4 or more candy bars eaten in rapid succession with a sense of panic and feeling out of control, but obsessive food thoughts might lead me to drive to the store and buy ONE candy bar and eat it, or even just a few bites of it, out of feeling compelled to do so.) But now, I think I've finally gotten to a new level of discovery about this whole eating thing.

When I recently started to count calories again, which involved a lot of attention to food (weighing, counting, measuring, logging, adding, planning, etc) I began to see a resurrection of obsessive food thoughts, desire to "diet," and desires to compulsively eat. I did not like that at ALL. It was destroying my peace and I felt like I was feeding the eating disorder monster... waking it back up from its hibernation. But when I stopped, I *really* stopped. Since that day I have not weighed, measured, counted, tracked ANY of my food. I have not restricted any food groups. I stopped weighing and stopped feeling guilty about what and when I eat and when or how long I do or don't exercise. And I felt a peace. I got off the Diet train and let go of all the shoulds, as I wrote in my last post.

This does not mean I am just giving up. Far from it! This means... get this... that I have finally done what everyone told me needed to be done: fix your head before you can fix the weight. It has taken a long time to keep healing this eating disorder. It's complicated. Even people who get professional help with this kind of thing often take years to fully recover. And it has taken me years (meanwhile going up and down the scale several times) but I feel like this is the place I needed to get to all this time. If I can be calm and have no angst about food, weight, diet, etc... THAT is a healing from disordered eating and a return to mental and emotional *peace* that I believe WILL lead to better health and even a natural return to a healthy weight over time.

In other words, no. I don't believe anymore that weight loss requires "a lot of work" or "focus" or any of the things I did before to lose weight. In fact, I think letting go of all the drama and just having peace about all of it is THE key to healing the whole shebang: compulsive eating, obsessive food thoughts, and yes, obesity.

I am done shoving a round peg into a square hole. I am choosing to eat well because I want to, most of the time, and when I don't, I eat the bowl of Cheetos. Fine. I no longer feel like I HAVE to drive to the store RIGHT NOW to buy some random food, and eat it right now, because I know it'll be there later or tomorrow and really I don't care about it that much, and if I want it I can have it and so what? I am still a good person.

So I am fixing the last of the mental and emotional stuff. The triggers are going away. I am happy and content with how things are right now. And in no way do I believe that getting my head straight in this regard will lead to me getting "fatter and fatter."

Thursday, October 6, 2016

No More Drama

I am happy. I feel content. For the first time in a lot of years, I actually think the whole "issue" of eating, weight, diet, and being upset at how I look is gone. I mean it is *really* gone. I can't remember ever feeling this way before, going back to when I first developed disordered eating... which was probably about 20 years ago. All this time, all of it, I have had that nagging feeling that I am not good enough, that my body needs something about it changed, that there is something wrong with my eating or my activity level or just something wrong with *me.* I always wanted to be something I wasn't. I was always trying to be something else: thinner, more active, less obsessed, smaller. Even when I got 103 pounds off I was not content. Yes I was happy about the weight loss... thrilled about it... but I was still wanting to lose MORE weight and was horrified about the loose skin situation. I was never really just content with the place I was *right then.*

I have had the voice of food obsession nagging me from the back of my mind over most of the past 15 years. I was a binge eater for a long time. Compulsive eating destroyed my inner peace. And when all of that was quieted, usually by a change in diet over months (like when I was on Medifast or AIP), I *still* had the edgy feeling that I was not enough, I needed to be doing more, be more perfect. I should move more, take more steps per day. I should strength train. I should bike, I should walk, I should eat less carbs, more protein, less calories... I should, I should, I should... all the way into a feeling of never quite being content.

I have come to the realization that *those* inner voices... the ones telling me I should be doing xyz or I should fit into a size 8 or I should be smaller... those are just as disordered and just as unhealthy as the obsessive eating voices. I did not know how to make it stop, or even that it was possible for it to stop, or healthy for it to stop. I thought that this drive to change was *good* because it would make me do whatever I needed to do to get healthy, lose weight. Obviously that is not true. Somehow over the past couple of weeks, after my trial with calorie counting and then letting that go, I also let everything else go. I don't mean I went back to chowing down on junk or binge eating or just not caring about myself. I mean I let go of all those expectations and demands and *shoulds* I have been putting on myself for so long. I didn't let it go consciously; it just happened. Gradually over the past couple weeks as I stopped fighting myself, let the obsessiveness fade, ALL of that inner dialogue stopped. And just today, I noticed the silence. I suddenly *heard* the silence... the lack of inner drama about my weight and what I "should" be doing and about food and exercise and all of it. And in its place, there is this beautiful peace. I can't even describe it. I haven't "heard" it in almost two decades. But I hear it now.

I am very much soaking in the peacefulness of this state of mind. There is a self acceptance and calm I have longed for. I wish I could tell you how this happened, but it just did. I guess I stopped trying to force myself into things, without stopping trying to just do nice things for myself. I made some soup last night from many healthful things... vegetables, grass fed beef... and I did it because I love myself and I wanted to make something good. It had nothing to do with any weight program or diet or shoulds. If I had wanted to make a cheesecake I would have made that instead. I had a really great vegetable panini today for lunch and it had nothing to do with cravings or inner drama or weight or any of that. I walked today for the joy of walking and to see the leaves changing and smell the fall air, and it had nothing to do with fitness or weight loss or shoulds. Does that make sense? I am living to live. I am doing to do. There are no goals or shoulds and as a result, no more guilt. This is the best I have felt in a very long time. I know true contentment and happiness.

Where this takes me, I don't know. It will take me somewhere. I hope I always feel like this and never get caught up in the drama of food and diet obsession again.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Just a Little Update

This weekend was not the relaxing days off I expected it to be! But it was enjoyable anyway... embrace the unexpected, right?? My daughter was invited to a last minute party AND a sleepover. One of the dogs got sick and there was a chat with a vet and a lot of cleaning up vomit in the house, on the deck, and in my car! (You're welcome for the appetite suppressant!) Then a home check for one of my fosters went very well and I ended up doing the whole transport myself, which was a lot of hours in the car but it was SO worth it to see this dog in her forever home, running and playing in her new yard and getting love from her new family. The joy of seeing a dog or cat who was neglected or abused when they go into a loving, doting home is very rewarding. Their eyes tell the story.

Yesterday I only had time to eat twice. I had coffee and bacon and eggs in the morning, and then around 4 I was on my way back home so I stopped at Panera on the road. I have never eaten there before, and it was not a low carb choice (I was really not feeling it for a salad) but so tasty and nourishing: a cup of winter squash soup topped with toasted pumpkin seeds, a half sandwich (roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, and lettuce) and an unsweetened iced green tea. Today I had a protein shake for breakfast, then went to the dentist to have a new crown put on one tooth (I hate dental work) so now my face is numb. I stopped and got some soup on the way home and I'll have that for lunch.

Not much else to report on the weight front, since I didn't weigh this week and haven't been biking. Maybe someday. :)

Friday, September 30, 2016


Happy Friday! It's finally the weekend (at least for me) and I am happy to have a little down time tonight and hopefully tomorrow. It's been a busy couple of weeks, but that doesn't mean I am neglecting my healthy eating. I have done much better with that since stopping the tracking. Using a more relaxed method is so much better for me, as I explained in my last post. I'm still enjoying my CSA box but that is coming to a close next week. I'll have to start hitting the produce section in the grocery store more often. I am really glad to have fresh locally grown squash available right now! We not only got the last of the summer squash, but we are getting delicious winter squash now, too. Zucchini, yellow squash, delicata, acorn squash, spaghetti squash and butternut squash are all in my pantry and I am roasting, baking and steaming them nearly every day. I hope to make some winter squash soup this week, too. I got a heck of a deal on grass fed beef and lamb (about $3 a pound!) so bought a bunch of that to stick in the freezer along with the pastured pork and free range chicken. Good stuff!

Someone asked about my schedule on the last post, and I've often gotten comments or emails asking whether I work outside the home and what I do with my time. I have posted about that in the past but things have changed a lot over the past few years. I no longer have little kids and teens taking up most of my time, so that has freed up my day for other things. I know I am very blessed to be able to spend much of my time as I wish; for most of my life, that was not the case, as I was either in school or working full time. I did have some great years when the boys were little, being a stay at home mom to 4+, homemaker, and farmer's wife (and that was a LOT of work, but joyous work!). My husband and I have chosen to have me stay home since our daughter was born, and even though she is in middle school now I am able to keep working part time from home and keep my priorities on home and family.

One of the passions of my heart is animal rescue. Ever since I was a child, I wanted to work with animals and help the less fortunate. I love all of God's creatures and it breaks my heart to see any animal suffering, neglected, or abused. So I spend a part of every day volunteering in rescue. My kids and I used to just go and walk dogs at the shelter; eventually it evolved into being even more involved. I do transports when a dog or cat needs to go to a different rescue or home, take animals to the vet when needed, do home checks on potential adopters, and foster dogs and cats in my home. I had planned to cut back and stop fostering for awhile to give myself more time to focus on my health, but we had an emergency foster come in last night who was in danger of being euthanized if I did not take her. Once she is adopted, and my other foster goes to her new home, I am not taking any more animals for awhile. I'd say I spend an average of 3 hours a day on rescue, plus 1-2 hours more in pet and foster care (just feeding, walking, exercising, grooming, etc). I also spend an hour or two a week working my Therapy dog, which is lots of fun, and 2-3 hours a week training my other dog. Having time to do what I love is amazing and not for one second do I take this for granted.  It's a hobby that I find very rewarding and fulfilling and it just downright makes me happy that I can give of myself in this way. And the animals give back 100 fold. They know when they have been helped and they love you for it.

So aside from that, I do the typical homemaker stuff, keeping up the house, shopping, cooking, laundry, yard work, help with homework and fundraisers, all the usual things all stay-at-home-moms do. On weekends and after school, I spend time with my family. We try to have dinner together most nights. I spend an hour or two most weekdays taking my daughter to her after-school sports and groups, and we're part of an active church family with regular church service and activities two or three days a week. (I have to say I never thought I would enjoy church as much as I do!) I take my two youngest kids to various appointments (doctors, dentist, orthodontist, specialists) and sometimes get together with other Moms to visit and have fun. Sometimes we take the kids to a movie together, or to a big park to play. Last week we went to a fall festival and the kids had a blast! We have dinner with friends about twice a week. I go to meetings related to my science career twice a month (trying to stay in the loop for when I do go back to work). Right now, as I type, I am listening to my daughter practice the violin and I'm pausing to play tug with my dog every so often. Multi-tasking at its best! I also do still work from home but spend less time on that than I used to (just a few hours a week). Plus, you know, I blog once in awhile and sometimes, when everyone is in bed, I just sit down and read or watch reality TV and drink decaf coffee! I love the quiet at night.

Anyway, it's not very weight-loss related, but if you wanted to get to know me better there you have it. I like a simple life. I like sleeping with the windows open and listening to the crickets chirp at night in the summer. I love the seven trees I planted around my house over a decade ago and the huge, mature maples that were already here when I moved in. I love sitting on my porch in a rocking chair and watching the birds and the squirrels in the yard. I love having children (even the adult ones!) and being with family. I do know that all of this will only get better and more sweet as I get to a healthier weight, so I am making time for that, too.  I have given a lot of thought to a comment I got some time ago, stating that the commenter looks at weight loss/better health as her "job" and so commits a certain number of hours a day specifically to that; this resonates with me, and when my fosters are adopted, I would like to take those hours I am now using on rescue and spend them specifically on bettering my health. Seems like a great idea to me!