Thursday, December 27, 2012

The best gift (155.8)

The best gift I received this year was abstinence.

I had no problem resisting desserts at my mom's or not eating sugar cookies that Sophie & I made on Christmas day (she likes to decorate more than eat... I think she's had 3 since Tuesday).

Funny story...  When we arrived at  my mom's on Christmas eve, I went straight to the kitchen to toss my salad.   Everyone had already started eating.  My sister came up to me and held a fork up to my mouth with a small bite of food.  I didn't pay any attention to it and I really couldn't see it that well since it was so close to my face & I have "old eyes" now that can't see that up close. 

I assumed it was dinner food, since everyone had just started eating--so I just took the bite. 

It was chocolate pie! 
Chocolate pie is THE dessert for me at my family's gatherings.  I loved it when I was a little kid and loved it as an adult.  I'd eat slice after slice, usually 2 slices after dinner and 2 slices a couple hours later.  Crystal made the pies this year, and she's a "food is love" person. 
As soon as I tasted the chocolate, I panicked and spit it out in the sink.  I'm pretty sure she knew I wasn't eating sugar, but I think she probably just forgot or didn't realize what I'm doing now with my food. It's not like I talk about it around her.  She's very overweight and very unhealthy and has no interest in me getting thinner.  

But after I spit it out and said I can't eat dessert, she said "you're weird.  You can't even have one bite?"  I said no, I wish I could have just one bite, but I can't stop at one bite.  She said "you're weird" again and let it drop. 

No one else even noticed when I didn't eat dessert.  I didn't notice that I didn't eat dessert.  There were too many other things going on with the kids and family conversations.  The food just didn't matter. 

I had a small serving of chicken and dumplins and a huge portion of my salad (it was the only green thing there). I skipped the rest of the food--chili, potato soup, rolls, ham, cheese slices. I was perfectly content and full enough.

Christmas day was just us four.  It was lovely.  The kids had a great Christmas and were happy campers.  I went for a five mile run that afternoon, which was another great gift I gave myself.

Yesterday was not so easy.  I kept myself busy with laundry and reading and movies.  I shoveled the drive way, which took about half an hour and was a butt load of work (I'm sore today in my back and arms and shoulders). 

I went outside with the kids and Mark and built a snowman. I rarely play in the snow with them.  I don't have snow pants, I don't like being cold and wet, and I usually crave the alone time.  But not this year.  This year I wanted to be with my kids and wanted to LIVE and not just exist.  It was fun.

But we were basically couped up for two days in a row, and I got a little stir crazy.  I did OK with food all day, but had a couple handfuls of peanuts around 8:30 pm.  Peanuts make me retain water (these are unsalted, unroasted, but there must be something in them that messes with my body).  I ate them because I wanted a snack and they don't trigger cravings for me.

But I still ate them out of boredom.   And out of the post-Christmas melancholy that set in after the snowman building.  It was a big AFTER.  And I think not being in front of my SAD light for 5 days caught up with me (it's at work). 

The peanuts were not the end of the world.  I'm aware of it. I need to start paying attention and redirect when it happens again.

Today I'm working a half day, then going grocery shopping and making au gratin potatoes for dinner with Mark's family tonight.  I am glad to get out of the house. 

And I'm ready for spring.  We've had Christmas. We had a good snow.  I hate January and February.  They are like one big AFTER.  Recouping from November and December.  Waiting for Spring.  Waiting for the sun.

I'm glad I have the half marathon at the end of February to keep me running and have something to look forward to. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The week of restaurant eating (154.8)

So I've been to more restaurants this week than I have in ages. 

Lunch on Sunday (Mexican) after church with my family (Sophie sang a solo at church and my parents & Mark's cousin came to see her, and so we all went out afterwards).

Lunch on Tuesday for business.

Dinner on Wednesday with girlfriends for a birthday party.

Lunch on Thursday with my sponsor.

Lunch today for our office Christmas party.

I'm truly, utterly amazed my weight hasn't gone off the charts. 

It was up a pound yesterday, after the Japanese hibachi dinner.  I had the veggies (no meat) with 1/2 portion of fried rice (a half portion is a really full portion--the quantity they serve is ridiculous), a small salad and about 1/3 of miso soup.  There is a lot of sodium in this type of food.  I didn't overeat--I only ate the broccoli and zucchini from the veggies (I don't like mushrooms or large onions).  And I left feeling full but comfortable.  I usually get chicken when we eat hibachi, but I am always already full by the time the meat is ready, and I feel better not eating meat on a regular basis. 

I am drinking lots of water, keeping my other meals small(ish).  I haven't run once this week--because I've have had zero energy, I think due to the low pressure systems, hormones, and seasonal affective disorder popping up. Even though I'm using my SAD light in the mornings and had acupuncture a week ago, I think I still may have some issues with SAD, but nowhere near as bad as in the past. 

I went to Sears last night before choir to return some things, and ended up buying a pair of Levi's (on sale.  Also got two Land's End long sleeve tshirts for $10 each.  Sears is awesome).  I only have one pair of jeans that fit, and they are getting baggy and faded.  The new jeans are size 10s!  They have 1% spandex, which is all I could find and is OK with me, even though I'd prefer 100% cotton.  If there is more than 1%, the jeans don't hold in my behind tight enough.  Saddle bags look better if there is something holding them in place so they aren't all misshapen (ah, the story of my fat butt!  ha).  I always wear Assets under my dress pants and skirts (the high waisted kind so there's also no muffin top).  I love their black tights for this time of year. God Bless Sarah Blakely!

So I feel really good about how I look today. And the sun is shining and the high pressure system has arrived. My hormones have mostly run their course, so happiness abounds for the moment. 

Busy, busy, busy weekend.  Tomorrow is my long run (10 miles if I can swing it; I'll do at least 8).  I have all the kids' presents to wrap and three presents for a child we "adopted" for Christmas at church.  Mark will help with wrapping.  Kids are going to Grandmas for the day. Then Sunday is our Nicholson family dinner (another meal at a restaurant...I have no idea what I'm going eat.  It's at the Log Inn, and they only serve country style, carb & sugar laden, food-coma food.  I will probably eat before I go).  And then a going away party for our good friends who are moving to Iowa.

Then Monday is Christmas at my mom's and Christmas Eve service at church.  Thankfully Tuesday & Wednesday it is just us four and we have no commitments.  I'll be working Thursday and Friday, at least part of each day.

I doubt if I post again until next week.  So MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cheese sticks & tater tots (155.0)

I had a really bad day yesterday.  It was cloudy, I was starting to feel sick (Luke fought off a virus this weekend & I was getting it), and I was extremely hormonal. 

It was a walking through mud, ready to cry at the drop of a hat, everything is wrong with my world kind of day.

I had lunch with a business contact and chose my food well, with no desires for food to comfort me.  It was a nice conversation but my heart wasn't in it and the extrovert interaction took a lot out of me.

Tuesdays are when the kids have acting class and I run 3 miles between 4-5 pm.  The sun came out & the temps came up to around 50 by 4 pm, but I had no ability to overcome the sludge feelings, so instead I chose to sit on the couch in the studio and play Words with Friends and catch up on Facebook.

After acting class, I drove to Sonic for mozzarella cheese sticks & tater tots.  These aren't sugar; they aren't (weren't) on my trigger food/binge list.  But I wanted them for emotional reasons and for comfort.

My sponsor said when you attach emotions to a food, it's time to look at that food and probably add it to the trigger food list. 

I had a handful of peanuts around 7 pm and a cup of decaf coffee, but that was it for the rest of the night.

I didn't binge. I didn't eat sugar.  But I deliberately ate foods that aren't good for me (oh, the fat & sodium count!).  And I ate them to comfort myself and to soothe my raging hormones.  I'm not beating myself up over it.  I'm learning a lesson.

After the kids went to bed, I started reading my OA book of stories from members on my kindle.  The chapter I was on was about defining abstinence.  OA defines abstinence as refraining from compulsive overeating.  OA does not define what compulsive overeating is.  Everyone gets to define their own abstinence and what compulsive overeating means for them.

The story that stood out to me was this: Abstinence is eating food to fuel my body.  Compulsive eating is feeding my disease.

It is possible to feed my disease even if I'm not eating sugar. I'm adding Sonic to my list of foods to stay away from.  I have an emotional attachment to that type of food, and so it will feed my disease if I let it in.

These kinds of days are going to happen, probably countless times over the rest of my life.  I still have a lot to learn about how to handle these feelings.  I feel like I've taken a small step to learn how to cope without food.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

My work chair (154.8)

Last year when I was having problems with my left arm nerve damage and neck/shoulder pain and went to Physical Therapy, one of the things I did was get a new chair.  Along with other ergonomic changes, it fixed my problems. 

This chair is the best chair I've ever owned.  I've had very little stiff neck issues or anything else relating to sitting at a computer 7-8 hours a day.

I didn't realize how much the chair made a difference until I had to give it up.

I gave it to my husband and now I'm sitting in his old chair.  Within a couple of hours my neck and trapezius muscles are tense and hurting.  This is not good.

Mark has chronic back pain.  It's so serious that he had a radio frequency procedure a couple months ago to burn the nerve in his spine to stop the pain signals.  He's missed days and sometimes weeks of work because the pain has been so bad. 

Sitting is what aggravates his pain. 

He recently started using an exercise ball to sit on and it seemed to help.  I warned him that studies had shown those caused more harm than good when used for long periods of time, because your core muscles have to be super strong to support your lower back.  Well, he rarely listens or believes me when it comes to that kind of thing.  He had to figure it out himself.

When he did, he went back to sitting in his chair.  It's an old Herman Miller aeron chair.  It may have been a good chair 6 years ago, or it may not have been, but it's not good now, because as soon as he switched to it again, his back started hurting after sitting at work for a few hours.

Last week I told him to take mine and just try it and see if it helped. After only a few hours he said he felt much better.  It is a fabulous chair. 

After a few hours, I could tell I was no longer in my fabulous chair.

Here's the thing.  I'm willing to sacrifice short term because if Mark doesn't work, we don't make money.  I am not in the kind of pain he is in.  It's not that big  a deal for me (yet).   Mark is not happy about me hurting in any way, and while I did complain at first and told him I could tell a difference right away, I'm not going to make a big deal of it and make him feel bad.

I will eventually get the same chair when we can afford it again (it's $300 and we don't have that kind of extra money right now). 

In the mean time, I'm hoping my back and neck don't get too jacked up.  I'll never underestimate the power of a good chair again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is it amazing? And info on addiction (155.8)

Vickie asked "Is it absolutely amazing to you how easily your weight is coming off? Does it feel easy/quick to you?"

YES and YES.

It is also very humbling. I am working hard to view the quick loss as a GIFT and not something that *I* am doing. Part of the "I am powerless over food" idea. I am following a program, and the program is taking care of the weight.

I don't know if that's how it's supposed to be in OA or not, but it's helping to take my EGO out of the process.

Does that mean I have no responsibility? Absolutely not.

I am responsible for calling my sponsor if I'm struggling, and calling her on a regular basis just to check in. 

I am responsible for going to meetings. 

I am responsible for reading literature. 

I am responsible for writing and answering the 30 Questions (part of the OA process). 

I am responsible for physical activity.

I am responsible for not eating the foods on my binge list. 

I am responsible for eating 3 healthy meals a day.

Everything else is left up to God.

Long time OA members talk about relooking at their food when their weight starts to get wonky. I think that has to do with getting older and metabolism changing, or letting foods creep in that aren't triggers but might be a weight-gain issue. It's never, ever about being on a diet.

The first 15 minutes of a meeting is the same thing every time...several readings including the steps and traditions. One part says "many of us find that the obsession with food is lifted as a result of working the program." That is what has happened for me. I have had a brief longing for a treat when my family has had ice cream, but it has been fleeting and not a pull on me.

I know in my bones that it is also a result of not eating sugar/fat/flour foods, which for me are a drug. A sugar addicted brain has no shot at overcoming food obsession if it's being fed a continuous diet of sugar/flour/fat foods.

At my last appointment with my therapist, she talked to me about how addiction works.  How a person can be reasonable, in control, driven, motivated, conscientious, intelligent, thoughtful, and whatever other descriptors fit an emotionally healthy human being.

But when their addictive brain takes over, those things go out the window.

She said doctors have studied addicts' brains, and when the addiction area of the brain lights up--and it lights up like wild fire when the addictive substance is consumed--the other, rational, "emotionally healthy" part of the brain DOES NOT FUNCTION as it should. 

It doesn't stand a chance of contradicting the raging demon of the addiction.

I haven't read the studies, and I don't know the science.  But I know from my own experience that THIS explains why, when I'm in the sugar, I can't stop myself from eating more sugar.  The experience of walking into the kitchen and eating sugary foods and the whole time I'm thinking "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?! WHY CAN'T YOU STOP?!" 

Like I'm watching myself from outside my body, not in control and not able to regain control.

Utterly powerless.

That description of how the brain works also helps me accept that my sugar addiction is a disease that I am powerless over. And if I want to get better, make the disease not make me sicker, I have to stop feeding the disease.

It also explains why this feels so easy. 

I am not fighting the raging demon any longer. 

The addiction is always there.  That part of my brain didn't get cut out.  I can't feed it what it wants if I want the healthy part of my brain to stay in control.

I am still and will always be addicted to sugar, and I am still and will always be powerless over food. 

But I am not powerless.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I'm doing well (155.6)

Work & home are crazy busy right now, so here are the highlights.

*I ran 8 miles Saturday afternoon and they were glorious!  It was cool but not cold; rather damp actually, but not windy.  My time was 1:33:30, which is an average pace of 11:41.  For a long run, that's a great pace for me.  At least 2 minutes faster per mile than the half I ran in February.

*I ran 3 miles yesterday after work and they were great, too.  I am running at around 10:30-10:45, but can't keep that pace up for miles, so I take walk breaks.  That is the pace my body settles into and wants to run.  I don't fight it.  I just go with it and soon enough I'll be holding that pace for longer distances.

*Food is good, still abstinent.  The scale reflects that.

*Kids are wonderful.  They performed their short plays for their acting classes on Saturday.  Luke was wonderful!  It was his first time on stage, and he loved it.  He wasn't nervous, and he delivered his lines and stayed in character perfectly.  Sophie's part was smaller, but she was still fabulous.  She's been on stage so much, I can't even keep track.  Luke's play was the Rainbow Fish and Sophie's was the Lion King.

*Christmas--ugh.  I am so not ready.  I have been buying small gifts for the kids here & there, and have just stuck them in the closet.  I don't have a handle on how much I have for each of them yet--that's the weekend's project.  I'm hoping everything else I can buy online.  I don't want to think about how awful the stores will be this weekend. 

We have Christmas eve lunch at mom's house, then have church that night at 7 pm (I sing in the choir so I'll have to be there early--an also serves as an excuse to leave mom's at an early hour).  Christmas day we have NOTHING!  Just the four of us.  Since Mark's sister moved to Indy last year, we now have that day free.  Last year was so stress, no where we had to go. 

We have two events on Sunday 12/23.  At 1 pm, our Nicholson family reunion is at an historic restaurant near us. This is the whole Nicholson clan. There were 10 kids in Mark's dad's family, and they have been getting together at Christmas for 50 or 60 years.  Probably about 100 people still come.  Then after that at 3 pm, we have a going away party for some of our close friends.  We have known them for 17 years, went to St. John with them in 2009, and Paula has been a rock for me when I've been at my lowest.  They are moving to Des Moines for his job.  I've been in denial that she is leaving.  It's going to be really hard.  Their families are still here, so I'm sure we'll see them a couple times a year. But it's going to be hard.

That's it for now.  I'm happy things are trucking along & hope they stay that way.

Friday, December 07, 2012

My son is sugar sensitive (157.4)

I've suspected that Luke has sugar issues for a while now.  But Sunday night we got solid confirmation.

We were at a church Advent dinner, and cake was for dessert.  Luke had a good-sized piece (chocolate with icing) and as soon as he was finished he wanted more.  I said no, of course.

We worked on an ornament project for about 20 minutes, and he was squirmy the whole time (he's squirmy a lot, so this wasn't necessarily out of the ordinary).  At 7:30, we left for home.

In the car, he was a total monster.  He & Sophie fought and by the time we got home, Luke was in a rage & had a total meltdown.  He went to his room and screamed and pitched a fit for about 10 minutes before we went in and talked to him and he got calmed down.

I knew as soon as he asked for a second piece of cake that he probably has the same issue I do with sugar.  The sugar rage afterwards just confirmed it.

I talked with him about it the next day.  I asked if he liked how he felt the night before, and he said no.  I said the cake was why it happened.  We talked about how he reacts to other junk food & sugar he eats, and he understood what I meant when I said his behavior changes after he eats sugar.

Luke is a very intelligent 7 year old. We talk about everything--including his ADHD, which he's taking medication for.  He asks questions and we give him truthful answers.  He knows I don't eat sugar anymore and why I don't eat sugar.

So this week we've limited the junk he eats.  It is helping his moods at night tremendously.
Enteman's Little Bites (which is basically cake) and chocolate granola bars are what he often snacks on when he wants a treat.  He's not eating cookies or ice cream or candy every night.
He ate a Z bar the other night (Cliff bars make these for kids--organic, lower sugar than candy, but still has around 14 grams of sugar), and within about 10 minutes he went from normal kid to -bouncing off the walls couldn't control his body- kid.  So Z bars (alone, without a source of protein) are now out.

He is getting peanuts for snacks now, and when he asks for something sugary I say no, you can have peanuts or a PB sandwich.  He's been ok with it so far.

He is very limited in what he can eat as far as fruits & veggies because of his oral allergy syndrome.  His mouth itches when he eats most fruits--apples, bananas, pitted fruits like peaches, melons--and veggies--celery and carrots.  Basically he will eat strawberries, grapes, and broccoli and that's it.

We also have to watch his milk intake.  He LOVES milk.  But more than one cup of milk at night and he has the same reaction as he does to cake--bounces off the walls and can't control his body.  I started limiting milk several weeks ago.

It's interesting that Sophie does not have this issue.  She's self-monitoring when it comes to sugar, and doesn't even like a lot of sugary foods (for example, she skipped the cake on Sunday night). 

He's a lucky kid, I think, that I am aware of this issue NOW while he's young and we can direct him to healthier choice for his brain and his body. 

As far as fruits and veggies go, he will either grow out of his allergy or we will have to start allergy shots when he's older.  We had him tested by an allergist the first part of this year; she told us the mouth itching thing is fairly common in kids that have tree allergies.  He's highly allergic to every single tree and grass they tested him for. Spring time is brutal for him.

Hopefully he won't develop a peanut allergy!  I will have to find other alternatives for him, too.

Hope you all have a great weekend.  8 mile long run on the training calendar.  Not sure when that's going to fit in, but it WILL get done.  I'll report back next week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Feeling blessed and at peace--today (156.0)

So this place I'm in.  I haven't been here in a realllly long time. 

Feeling more comfortable about how I look and fit into clothes. 

Not being a slave to food. 

Able to handle difficult emotional situations without thinking of food as a solution. 

Able to run--really run, not just "wog." (Not that there's anything wrong with a wog--walk/jog--but when you know what it feels like to "run," you miss it when you can't and it's exciting when you can again.)

Not yelling at my kids or husband on a regular basis because I'm steeped in sugar anger.

Sleeping well and not eating at 2 am.

Waking up in the morning hungry and without a sugar hangover.

Keeping food in it's proper place--as fuel, not as a companion.

I am working hard on living in TODAY and not thinking about tomorrow or the future.  12 step programs teach "one day at a time." 

It's ridiculous and sometimes daunting to think I will never eat chocolate again.  And while that is a fact--if I want to stay abstinent--it is not my business to think of the "never agains."  All I have to worry about is today. 

The strength of the program I'm working is in my weakness.  I don't have to hold on with tight fists, trying to control my every action or reaction.  I can open my hands and be weak, and let God's strength carry me.

I know this might be a turn off to a lot of people.  But it's what works for me, and it's working better than anything I've done before.

Random book/music stuff.

I re-read the book Divergent.  If you liked the Hunger Games or Matched series, you will love this book (I like it better than The Hunger Games).  I rarely re-read anything.  But I was talking to Jen on FB about it, and decided I wanted to relive that story.  There is a second book, Insurgent, that I'm reading now.  Even though I know what happens (although I do not remember detail, so it's still enjoyable), I couldn't put it down last night.  The third book comes out late next year.  The author is in her early 20s.  I hope she gets a movie deal.  These would make excellent movies. 

I cannot stop listening to Mumford and Sons.  Seriously.  It's been a month and I have to listen to them every day.  Sometimes it's all I listen to.  I listen to them when I run.  I listen to them at work.  I listen to them in the car.  I listen to them when I get ready in the morning.  I know this is an addiction issue.  Mark & I talked about it.  It feels good, makes me feel good, and I want to hang on to that feeling all. the. time. 

I do listen to other music, too.  It's just that 90% of the time, it's M&S.

I'm not really worried about it.  I'm not hurting myself or anyone else.  It's just an oddity.  I've gone through periods similar to this with other bands--recently it's been Gotye, Muse, and Eminem (Spotify makes it really easy to listen to new music)--but not for this length of time.

I did this with Dave Matthews Band when I trained for my first half marathon.  I only listened to DMB while training, and it had a Pavlov's dog affect on me.  I'd listen to DMB when not running, and I'd want to run.  Same thing now.  I hear M&S and want to go running.  I want to go running so I can listen to M&S without distraction.  So that's actually not a bad thing at all.