I Want to Stop Wanting

Posted May 20, 2013 by thejaneellen
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In recognition of my carb addiction I am now attacking it with a different approach, perhaps it is genetically manipulated wheat and wheat gluten which is ubiquitous in all things delicious which makes my craving heart beat faster.  I am experimenting on myself by eliminating wheat and wheat gluten for about a month to see if I notice a difference.

While shopping with my kids, getting them some pretzels in the gluten free aisle (which cost almost $6) they asked why the healthy stuff cost so much.

I told them that processed foods can be made cheaply.  They taste good but they don’t stay with you.  I have had my share of Fritos.  The first one is always glorious but the 20th, not so much.

You may find this article enlightening.  General Mills apparently said to make healthier food it would cost the company over $500 billion a year.  However, to live as an obese person, it costs roughly $8,000 a year.  And more than 80% of America is obese.  No wonder healthcare costs continue to rise.  So many diseases can be controlled or eliminated by maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2013/05/19/dear-american-consumers-please-dont-start-eating-healthfully-sincerely-the-food-industry/

For some time I’ve known that your more basic and healthiest foods are on the outside aisles of the grocery store.  The sneaky good stuff that has to tell you it’s healthy is on the interior aisles.

My kids are almost out of school for the summer.  I don’t want to give them a legacy of poor choices.  I don’t want them to ruled by their stomachs as they nosh their way into adulthood.  They are not going to be very happy with me.

But I’m not very happy with me.  I want to stop wanting.  I wish the food industry would help me on that but I think I have to go it alone.

Crisis and Conversation

Posted March 20, 2013 by thejaneellen
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I’m quite sure I’ve said this before, but I have written so many brilliant pieces for this blog.  And never posted them.  See I run through them in my head first.  Which makes me think I’ve written them.  I haven’t though.  Obviously.  Trust me, they were fantastic.

I get to see my bariatric surgeon twelve hours from now.  We catch up, do blood work, he tells me the surgery was a success, I say, but I’m not a size 4 (even though I know all about the size trickery), and so on.  Yet, I don’t want to go.

I don’t feel he’ll be proud of me.  I’m not, why should he be?  I’ve slacked on my vitamins which is, by the way, incredibly stupid and careless of me.  I’m blaming a mid-life crisis, only without the convertible (too much sun damage), the blonde (Clooney‘s not blonde), or the being 50, let me just say that again, I’m not 50.  But when I do turn 50, 50 will be the new 40.  So be prepared.

I mean really, do we ever learn?  I read a post of a friend and he decided to finally quit smoking, to admit it would be hard and to  be prepared for always wanting a smoke. I totally understand that   On particularly bad days I wonder what food can pass my way that will turn it all around.  Hey, you know what?  Food isn’t magical.  (Except for bacon.)

Those with food addiction love to say “you can give up drinking, but you can’t give up eating.”  I would like to tell my doctor that yes, I want to give up eating.  It’s never really done anything for me.  Sure, I.  Love.  It.  But if he could just do something to change it in some way.  That would be grand.

Think about all the time you spend eating.  If you did not eat, you would have so much more time.  And yet, I think I would miss the conversations the most  I remember times growing up when we had what I called Scratched Up Hamburger.  Sometimes it had onions in it.  I hated it.  That could be why I haven’t bought hamburger in three decades.  But no matter, if that was the dinner, or it was filet mignon from the finest restaurant, the conversation was still what made the meal for me.

I am not alone with my food and conversation thoughts.  You really should read a much better writer and incredible mind, film critic Roger Ebert.  He is now fed through a tube so he does not eat, drink, or speak.  Here’s what he had to say on the subject here

Tomorrow I’ll wake up and say “today I’m gonna be different” and that will last, oh, sometimes 15 minutes.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll think of Roger Ebert and really enjoy my yogurt while I have the option.  Live in the now and go to the gym for real (I have been going twice a day in my head for the past year).    I ‘ll let you know.


Not My Body

Posted February 4, 2013 by thejaneellen
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When I think back I realize I could not have been a more modest young woman.  That did not change until 2002 when I had my weight loss surgery.  It was my first surgery and I had some anesthesia issues.  I’ll save that story for another time.  I recall coming to on a respirator, unable to move my arms, completely naked.  Fat and naked.  Once I could speak again I said, “Hey, I’m still fat, let’s make with the surgery!”  I had it the next day.  I soon realized  just how many people got the luxury of seeing Mt. Jane.  It was at that point I thought, “this no longer matters.”

Many surgeries, two children, and reconstructive plastic surgery ten and a half years later I verge on exhibitionism.  For I am not my body.  I am not my job.  I am not my hair color.  Those things are just parts of me.  The me, the real me, is not physical.

Ooh, I just went all touchy-feely on you I know.  For those who are trapped within their bodies, those who cannot cross their legs, those who cannot walk through a grocery store, they still live inside their prisons.  Just because you lose weight and carve out a new physical self doesn’t mean the inside completely changes.

I often wrestle with the opposing thoughts of people can’t change vs.life is change.  I see it as people do change, to an extent, whether they know it or not.  Life is adaptation.  If you are becoming super morbidly obese you, by the nature of the disease, must change to survive.  If you are becoming a person of normal size again, you must adapt.  

And yet, the people around you may not adapt as readily.  So many times as support group moderator I hear of friends and family who resist the newly thinner member.  If you’re the “fat friend” once you lose that title in the group, how are you to interact?  You are not your body.  You may have always seen yourself that way, but you are wrong.

Yeah, I said it, you are wrong.  You are more than thighs that rub together, you are more than arms the size of canned hams, you are more than a grotesque profile due to that chin neck thing you’ve got going on there, you are more than your back fat.  

You have to adapt.  You have to change how you react to you.  It would be so much easier to blame someone else or have someone else change something for you.  But that’s not going to fix it.  If you’re unhealthy, for whatever reason, you have two choices.  Stay unhealthy and deal with the consequences or do what it takes to get healthy.  I saw myself as becoming incapacitated by the time I was 60.  I had a vision of being trapped in a body that no longer let me get around and it was all my own doing.  I wasn’t going to stand for it so I had weight loss surgery.  Now I am healthy.  For me, it was a very simple decision.

I know it’s not so simple for others.  And just because my decision was simple doesn’t mean my life since surgery has been simple.  I spend a few minutes every day looking for body flaws and, oddly enough, find several of them.  Every day.  For me to say something positive about myself is quite a trick.  And yet even I have to remind myself, I am not my body.  Maybe if I say it enough it will sink in.  

I remember when I heard people remark they had 20 pounds to lose and it was so heard and wa wa waaaaaa.  I hated them.  When you have 200 pounds to lose you can drop 20 and seriously, no one notices.  Drop 100 then they notice.  Now that I live in that weight fluctuating time space continuum I have transferred that disgust onto myself.  When, quite honestly, I could use the loathing time for my lack of housekeeping and cleaning skills.  

You are not your body.  However, your body is what you see and what everyone else sees. It’s easy to understand how so much importance is placed upon it.  I am not my body.  Yet it’s the only one I’ve got.  I guess I’d better get used to it.

Getting It Done

Posted October 28, 2012 by thejaneellen
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You know how people say that a person will do whatever, quit smoking, lose weight, straighten up, when they’re ready?  Of course, if you’ve read this blog at all, you already know I’ve lost a great deal of weight.  But this past year has not been as kind to me due to illness.  I’m all better now.  However, my waistline isn’t quite back to where it used to be.  And, even though I’m ten years out from bariatric surgery, I had slipped in my eating habits.

And then.  One day.  I changed.

Perhaps it was the threat of national television cameras.  Perhaps it was the loss of my favorite jeans.  Perhaps it was just time.  

I got back to basics.  What do I eat?  Exactly what a bariatric patient should.  I eat a reasonable amount of lean protein.  I eat some vegetables.  I don’t consume sugar unless it’s in fruit.  I’m all into sugar free, fat free plain Greek yogurt flavored with Mio.  I don’t eat anything with flour in it.  For the most part.  I will use bread crumbs sparingly to make turkey meatloaf or burgers.  But no buns, no sandwiches, no taco shells, no chips.  I don’t eat anything fried either.

And you know what?  The first week almost killed me.  I’ve walked this road before.  It’s easier when you’re fresh out of surgery.  In a way.  See I know I can eat such things without being ill.  I also know I shouldn’t eat such things.  That, I believe, makes it harder.

My surgeon, Dr. Doug Olsen at Centennial in Nashville once said something alone the lines of: Many people who get this surgery think they will be able to eat like “normal people” and be thin.  You see someone in great shape, they’ve worked at it.  “Normal people” don’t eat just whatever they want.  Bariatric patients can’t either.

He’s right of course, but who wants to hear that?  No one.  That’s why America is oh so obese.  We all know what to do.  We have our addictions.  And we like them.

I am specifically a carbohydrate addict.  And recently I survived the ultimate test.  For me anyway.  I was in a Mexican restaurant.  And there I was, with warm, delicious tortilla chips in front of me.  And I didn’t eat them.  Oh sure, laugh.  But it was a big deal for me.  I was seriously thinking of not going to that restaurant just because of the chips.  I didn’t know if I could handle it, 

As it turns out, I could.  After almost three weeks of virtually no sugar, no flour, no potatoes, I am free of them.  I just don’t want them.  Do I still want pizza?  In theory, yes,  But I’d rather have the cheese.  I’m not rationalizing.–I’ll have it because today is whatever day.  I remove croutons from salads.  If my kids don’t finish their ice cream I, wait for it, throw it out.  Yeah, I don’t finish it for them.  

I’ve lost three pounds in almost three weeks.  That annoys me to no end.  That’s the same weight loss rate of a “normal person.”  My Vulcan physiology should’ve lost ten by now.  It hasn’t.  But it will.  

When it’s time.



Posted August 18, 2012 by thejaneellen
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There are no fat vampires.  Did you ever notice that?  No, you haven’t started reading the wrong blog, I’m here to talk about food addiction and self image, but think about it.  The vampire is one of the oldest archetypes known to us.  And what does it symbolize?  Or, should I say, what can this archetype represent?  Perfection, a hunger that is never sated, isolation.

Those are three things that addicts and people afflicted with food disorders have in common.  Which is why I think it worth pointing out that there are no fat vampires.  Nosferatu aside, many are sexy, they dress well, and have a dark secret.  What’s not to love?  Who isn’t drawn to a tortured soul?  Who doesn’t think they can be the one person to fix it?

If you’re an addict of any sort, you are actually the tortured soul.  Your addiction is your dark secret.  And no one else can fix it but you. However, you are not isolated except by your own choice.  What I found after ten years of moderating weight loss support groups is that people leave saying, “I thought I was the only one.”

You’re not.

Whatever tortures you can be dealt with.  Much like a vampire who is “made” addicts are also made.  They  may be born with tendencies toward one thing or another, and circumstance, all valid, may have driven them to their addictions.  And, like most vampires you read about, they did not become an addict by choice.  I certainly didn’t become fat by choice.  Every vampire story I read or watch has a vampire saying how horrible it was to be turned into a vampire.

I believe that being lost in your addiction is a lot like losing your soul, or at the very least, your sense of self.  That’s why when people who lose a dramatic amount of weight are told they act so different.  Not really.  They become who they always were inside.

It may seem to you that one day you just woke up fat.  Or drunk.  Or stupid.  But you didn’t really.  And you won’t wake up tomorrow thin and brilliant.  But you could wake up sober.  You could get through just one more hour, one more day.

For me of late, when it comes to food I look at it and think what is more important, how this will taste now or how will my jeans fit me later?  That works for me.  You need to find out what works for you.  Something will.  I promise you it will.  I don’t know what will work for you. I just know that something will.

Assess your life, your actions and reactions, your companions.  Somewhere in there you’ll find an answer for yourself.

In some stories (and I’m a Buffy fan by the way) there are vampires who remain as vampires but don’t harm people.  Whatever your addiction happens to be, you will always be an addict.  But you don’t have to act upon it.  You can regain control of your life.  You can get your soul back.


Drop It Like It’s Hot

Posted August 5, 2012 by thejaneellen
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If you want to get back on track or just lose a few pounds quickly, there are some healthy changes anyone can make.  By anyone I mean anyone, not just bariatric patients.  Many bariatric patients feel that once they have had their procedure they can eat “just like a thin person.”  Little do they know, most thin people work at it.  Very few people just randomly eat what they want when they want and look amazing.  

Start with liquid calories.  Drink water.  I’m talking 100 fluid ounces a day.  Track it too.  I prefer www.myfitnesspal.com but there are many options that are just as free and just as easy to use.  Drink your water.  If you’re a coffee drinker, drink even more water.  And, if you’re a coffee drinker, drink some about a half hour before you work out.  It will help you work harder and longer without you realizing it.  

Ban white pasta and white bread.  If your goal is something like five pounds in a week or so, drop all pasta and bread.  If you’re going for more, start with a white bread and pasta ban, then you can add back in some wheat.  Much like vegetables, the darker the bread or the pasta, the more nutrients it has for you.  

Do 30 minutes of cardio every day for a week.  It would be great if you did it every day forever.  It would be great if I did it every day forever.  Think of your goal.  Is it long term or short term?  If you want to make it a habit then 21 days of 30 minutes of cardio every day will have you missing it on the days you don’t do it.

Besides the white stuff, come on, you already knew French fries weren’t good for you, stop eating one thing.  Baked potato chips every day, one cookie every day, something like that.  A little sacrifice.  It will add up.  

And find a way to add some super foods to your menu.  If you don’t like salmon, try it every possible way because it’s just that good for you.  If you had that twice a week, that would be spectacular.  Blueberries, strawberries, pumpkin, spinach, tomatoes, turkey, and walnuts are some other super foods.  Make sure you’re taking whatever vitamins are appropriate for your bariatric surgery, for your age, for your health.  Have your blood tested.  Seems everyone is low on vitamin D these days.  

All in all, these are simple and straight forward changes you can make.  Just a few tips to shave off some pounds or jump start a major weight loss.  Remember, you didn’t put the pounds on overnight, it just seems like you did.  They won’t be off by the time you finish reading this.  You have to start somewhere.  Start today.  Start now.  You’re not in it alone.



Posted July 31, 2012 by thejaneellen
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There are many great quotes/cliches regarding forgiveness. Phrases such as:

“To err is human, to forgive, divine.” ― Alexander Pope

“It is surely better to pardon too much, than to condemn too much.” ― George Eliot

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.” ― Lewis B. Smedes

And that’s the point I’m getting to, really, sometimes you make yourself a prisoner.  Everyone walks their own path.  Or, in my case, I used to lumber along my own path.  Weight gain has been something that I was never able to forgive myself for.  

Is there something about you that you have not forgiven?  For those of the Catholic faith, as I am, I have gone to confession and received absolution.  Yet I still cannot forgive myself.  As I am writing this I realize that is ridiculous.  Why do I need to hold on to self-inflicted pain?  I gained weight throughout my life for various reasons, I lost a great deal of it, and still I am weighted down.  Why was I not strong enough to not do that to myself in the first place?  Seems to me this is wasted worrying.  I won’t get those years back.  It’s done.  It’s like saying something you wish you hadn’t.  Once it’s out there, it’s out there.  I ate things I wished I hadn’t (later, at the time they were delicious.)  Eating, speaking, writing, hitting, drinking, whatever it was or is that haunts you now, you can’t take it back.  If you read the Big Book from Alcoholics Anonymous it is suggested that you contact those you feel you have wronged and basically try to right it.  If food is your devil, I do not suggest you whisper to your favorite jeans that your sorry you ate so many M&M’s you can no longer wear them.  There are things you can do to change your behavior.

I have realized today that I have had bariatric surgery to help me control my super morbid obesity.  I face every day as a challenge to keep my eating habits healthy and in check.  But I have never, ever forgiven myself for being fat in the first place.  It’s something I need to do.  I’m not going to live forever.  No one is.  Self-loathing and anger at yourself for your addiction is not going to help you help yourself.  

I have been lucky to have had many hands reach out to me as I deal with my food issues.  They are welcome, appreciated, and needed.  However, I also have two capable ones.  I know I can’t move forward without forgiveness first.  And it all starts with me.  (By the way, I didn’t write this as a free pass to skip down the candy aisle merrily tossing chocolates in my mouth.  Mmmmm chocolates.)