A Lesson Learned…

First off…I want to thank all of you for your continued support. As of this morning, I’ve had over 3,020 visitors to my site and the number keeps growing! All the support, comments and encouragement I’ve received have me incredibly humbled. I feel like I’ve got over 3000 therapists out there waiting for me to spill my guts.  I may not always reply to each message I receive – but trust me, I read and reread them often. Thank you again for making this journey so worthwhile.

And now…a few mistakes I’ve made and lessons learned…

  • For some reason, almost all overweight African-American women get upset when you call them “Precious”
  • Only one person to a treadmill at the gym
  • It doesn’t help to get salad dressing on the side if you get three cups of it and use it all
  • All your clothes didn’t suddenly shrink in the wash
  • Brushing your teeth with Dr. Pepper isn’t such a good idea
  • A caramel apple a day doesn’t necessarily keep the doctor away
  • If you eat a meal replacement bar, you need to NOT eat a meal
  • There is no such thing as one bite of movie theater popcorn
  • Wheatgrass is a superfood; Peanut M&M’s are not
  • Personal trainers generally don’t like to be paid with a bucket of loose change
  • Playing on Facebook for eight hours is not the same as sleeping for eight hours
  • You’re probably supposed to eat 2,000 calories per day, not 20,000
  • Free samples aren’t necessarily free
  • Most employers don’t recognize a “Vitamin D break,” so I guess you need to take up smoking in order to get a little sunlight during the day
  • Despite the word Diet in its name – the Hot Dog Diet is not effective
  • Standing up while eating does not make your food digest faster – it makes you look stupid at dinner parties
  • Even though hemorrhoid/hydrocortisone cream is often used by body builders and fitness models to tighten up their abs before a photo shoot – it does not work if there are no abs to rub it on…But it does relieve itching
  • Fun-size candy bars = No-fun-size thighs

I did lose weight this week…a little bit anyway. So close to the 30 pound mark!

But this week was extremely tough for me. I am in the midst of severe meltdowns. Yes, I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m so pissed off that I my convenient life is gone. I’m ticked off that I have to be so OCD about everywhere I go – questioning what idiot line cook might have touched my food immediately after grabbing a hamburger bun. I’m feeling like I’m going to have to be a hermit. Feeling like family functions are going to be impossible unless I’ve sat every family member down for a 2-week seminar on what I can and can’t eat and ways to avoid cross-contamination. So yes, I am pouting. I just want a freaking Ritz cracker!!!

In the back of my mind, I know I need to get over it. I know this could be much worse. (Thank you Wx DA for reminding me of that this weekend.) I can still live my life with relative ease. There are soldiers back from Afghanistan who have lost limbs. Their lives will never be the same. I can eat rice crackers to get over my poutiness about gluten…they don’t have an alternative option. Cutting gluten out of a diet has not killed anyone (that I know of anyway). Time to put my big girl panties (ugh – can’t believe I just used that word) on and keep going. Bitching about it night and day is certainly not going to change the diagnosis. And thus…another lesson learned.

Despite being accidentally gluten’d on Friday night – I have found that going places where I’ve got a personal relationship with the cooking staff makes a huge difference. I’d like to give props to one chef in particular, who despite thinking I was doing this gluten-free diet for fun at first (not sure who the hell does this for fun), has since made me some amazing gluten-free treats.  If you’re ever in Greensboro – Alex at Natty Greene’s makes some amazing dishes on the fly. Favorite so far: Greek chicken, homemade cucumber sauce (best I’ve ever had), and sliced cherry tomatoes on top of a cucumber slice…you will seriously want to slap your momma!

Ok…so after reading that last paragraph…maybe this isn’t so bad after all. Despite my occasional Dorthea Dix worthy tantrums, I’m being forced to eat better…my weight is dropping…I’m at the receiving end of a few amazing test dishes at a restaurant…and I still feel more amazing than I have in a long time. So Celiac…Bring. It. On.

“Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” ~Unknown

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I’m not hungry…

That’s right – I’m not hungry…and I ate way, way too little last week. Whether it was stress from the 107 page report I’ve been working on for the last few weeks or the fear of gaining weight, who knows. And when I say I’m not hungry…I mean if I didn’t eat for 2 days I don’t think I’d notice. So, you may ask…why in the hell is a fat girl worried about eating too little?!

Well…for one – I know that I absolutely killed my metabolism this week.  I’m sure everything I did eat is being stored in some pocket on my hips like a squirrel in winter, since my body has no clue when I’m going to feed it again. With that being said, I do want to mention – I did not intentionally starve myself. Trust me – I have this scary relationship with food so any time I even think that I might be hungry I’ll eat.

Aside from a metabolism that’s now as slow as a herd of turtles stampeding through a sea of peanut butter, why is my under-eating a big deal…well (confession time)…I have been fighting a battle with a Compulsive Overeating Disorder for the last 10 years. Food is my nemesis. It is my greatest enemy, my greatest fear, the apparition that has haunted my life and stolen my serenity, that taught me to hate myself – something I have treated as a “friend” for the last decade without realizing how much I was betraying myself by continuing the “friendship.”  Compulsive overeating is like bulimia without the puking. There is quite a difference in being stuffed after Thanksgiving Dinner and the hell I experienced.

Food consumed my every thought. When I was eating breakfast, I was thinking about what I was going to have for lunch…When I was eating lunch, I was thinking about what I was going to have for dinner.

I would polish off an entire box (yes that’s right, I said box) of popcorn. I’d go to McDonalds and be undecided between a #1, 2 or 3 so I’d get all 3 of them and eat every bite. If I thought I might like Taco Bell for dinner, I would not stop thinking about it until I had eaten it…often times despite the fact that I had already gone out to dinner with others.  I would purposefully wrap all of the containers and bags up as small as I could and stop where no one knew me and throw the “evidence” away. I’ve even snuck food into the bathroom before, turning the fan on so no one could hear the food wrappers rattling. I’d eat until I felt ill. I was like a meth addict with a less deadly substance. Well…maybe not less deadly…but instead of killing myself quickly I was doing it one forkful at a time.

At its worst, I was probably consuming 10,000 calories a day. I had lost the ability to determine what full felt like…I didn’t even know what hungry felt like. When I lived alone, it only fueled the disease, allowing me a safe haven to eat as much as I wanted without anyone being able to judge me.  I felt guilty for not being “good enough,” shame for being overweight, and had a very low self-esteem… Needing approval and validation I turned to obsessive episodes of binging and eating as a way to forget the pain and the desire for affection.  As sick as it sounds, I used to pray that I would somehow have the willpower to be anorexic…I wanted so badly to be able to just stop eating altogether. I was on a train going 500 miles an hour that wouldn’t stop.

Through some intense therapy, the very worst of the disorder has been behind me for a few years – but it still rears its ugly head every once in a while. I’ve very conscious of it now, and conscious of some of  my triggers. I even had to completely stop watching the Food Network for a while (wow that sounds really stupid to type) because watching food made me think I needed to eat, which in turn led to binging.

So, the fact that I am not hungry right now is somewhat of an unusual sensation. Unusual as it may be, it’s a godsend. It’s such an amazing feeling to not be thinking about food 24/7…Yes I need to get my calorie intake to a metabolically appropriate level, but for the moment, I’m relishing in the fact that, despite consciously watching my diet, I haven’t eaten myself from here to Winston-Salem.

Oh yeah…and as for the progress this week…here’s where I stand…

Another 3 pounds gone! Still ahead of schedule! After only 2 weeks of eating natural, unprocessed food, I feel so much better. My complexion is better, my sleep has been better, and I don’t feel as puffy and bloated.

I finally feel like I’m starting to eat to live instead of living to eat. Making better choices is becoming second nature. I even stuck to my guns while watching the Superbowl and made sure to have some really healthy options available.

I’ve still got a long road ahead of me, but I’m well on my way. Thank you for your continual support. I’ll see you at the finish line!

“You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.”