Posted tagged ‘Health’

Crisis and Conversation

March 20, 2013

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.

 

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C is for Clarity

June 18, 2011

Clarity arrived at 3am this morning as I was holding back my 6-year-old’s hair as she vomited.  You know, vomit is the ultimate truth serum.  As half of my brain focused on helping her, the other half gave me a stern talking to.  I have been a headache sufferer for most of my life.  The past year the pain finally knocked me on my ass and I’m in major treatment for TMJ.  But still, the pain has been, to put it politely, extreme.  As Anna Grace was calmly dealing with being sick, I came to the realization that I have been plying myself with comfort foods because I have not been dealing well with the pain I was experiencing.  I have been giving myself a free pass to eat foods I either would not normally eat, or not in such a volume, or just plain snack when, as every good bariatric patient knows you should never snack–all as a way to cope with the pain.  I believe this is called an Ah-ha moment (which is different from an A-Ha moment which compels you to listen to “Take On Me” over and over.)  And so today, when I poured out some cereal for my girls, I did not eat a bite from each bowl.  I’ve had my protein bar, and I’ve had a salad.  As I know it will take me about three weeks to get all this rampant food insanity and carb cravings under control, I am easing off.  If I feel I have to eat between meals, it will be vegetables.  I have almost convinced my palate that sugar snap peas and hummus are as good as Ruffles and French Onion Dip.  And much less greasy.  Having totally de-carbed before with Amy Cotta’s Six Weeks to Skinny Jeans program, I know it can be done.  And it can be done by me.  I also know that I don’t have clothes big enough to include this padding of self-loathing I have added.  Self-loathing cannot be contained.  Even by duct tape.

It lives

June 15, 2011

Yeah, it’s been awhile.  I would love to write that since I last posted that everything is under control and going great.  But then my nose would grow and that would be an unflattering look for me.  Oh, that horrific test I had to have?  Waste of time.  I can now block the entire experience out of my mind.   Oh wait, I can’t, because no one forgets an anal probe that lasts over half an hour.  Now I’m beginning to wonder if I was with actual human medical staff or aliens.  Huh.  Anyway, I have been very busy professionally.  And trying to get my eating back under control.  One of my doctors is delightful.  Really, it’s just me with a white coat and a medical degree.  Well, I assume he has a degree.  I haven’t asked to see it.  And frankly, I don’t care.   He’s hilarious.  I bring him cookies and we talk about how to get me to stop eating.  Eating what I shouldn’t that is.  But really, I kind of wish sometimes I could stop eating.  When I was moderating the bariatric support group last week I was looking at the shiny, hopeful faces (shiny because it’s hot out, and they’re morbidly obese, hey, I’ve been there).  Surgery, diets, pills, nothing short of wiring your jaw shut (does anyone know someone who does that?  I think I’m interested) will stop you from eating what you shouldn’t.  The desire lives.  It lives inside of me like a raging monster.  Yesterday I fed the monster.  With crackers.  Something I should never, ever do.  Even though crackers are like manna from heaven they are just carbs.  Crispy, delicious carbs.  And I have come to find out that I am not just a food addict, but a carbohydrate addict.  Refined sugars and carbs trigger something in my brain.  No, really.  I wouldn’t make this up.  If I can get off the good time carbo highway then the craving diminishes.  I mean, it never really goes away, does it?  No.  And it never will.  But anyone who has quit alcohol or nicotine knows it takes at least three weeks to get the craving to reach a level they can handle.  I continue to fail.  I can’t seem to get through the three weeks.  And I start over every day, every hour.  Now I’m not morbidly obese anymore.  Actually, I was super morbidly obese.  I’m not that either.  But I’m not where I want to be.  And anyone who has spent time with me knows I don’t like to be out of control.  As a matter of fact, everyone knows I am The Decider.  No matter what you heard from anyone else.  It’s me.  I make the decisions, I tell you what to wear, I tell you what to eat (but in a less threatening way than how all that just came out).  Yet, The Decider is cursed.  As a believer in fairy tales, I will continue to try to break this curse.  As of today, I have been carb free all day long.  The only problem is I’ve only been awake an hour.

So I’m an addict

February 24, 2011

I never knew food addiction was a real thing until about ten years ago when a friend of mine, who happens to be a psychologist, was a guest on my morning radio show.  I had been given what appeared to be a gorgeous, and large, piece of chocolate that had alcohol on the inside.  I couldn’t have it (of course that amount of alcohol in my gastric bypassed system would have hilarious consequences), as I was at work at the time.  He didn’t want the candy, so he watched me try to give it away.  Eventually, he told me to just throw it away.  I couldn’t.  I said that it deserved a home where someone would give it the love it deserved.  And that’s when my friend told me I was an addict.  He was right.  Last week I was chatting with my bariatric surgeon who said my real problem was carbohydrate addiction.  Well, they are delicious.  Those carbs.  I get high watching butter pooling up on steaming hot Italian bread.  I went to see him because, well, I’ve been feeling craptacular.  The carb addiction was getting the better of me.  When you eat crackers, do you really think of them turning into sugar in your system?  Insulin coverts starch and sugar into energy.  You eat carbs, your insulin gets higher and your blood sugar gets lower.  In turn, this results in a craving for, hey, guess what?  More carbs.  And, even better, it  only occurs in some people.  Had I really thought about it, I would’ve figured this out without studies, without the American Heart Association, without, oh, my doctors telling me this.  It’s obvious, a can of Pringle’s is a single serving.  Now, the actual information may say there’s more than one serving in that can.  But if you’ve ever been alone with a can of Pringle’s, you know as well as I do, it’s just one serving.  I can go for months without eating potato chips.  Put one bag in front of me and the desire kicks in.  And I can’t leave it alone.  On the subtle side, the crackers have been sneaking in.  I have two young children.  I tend to survive on coffee and crackers.  Of course, coffee and crackers do not meet my needs of 60 grams of protein a day.  So I went back to what I never should’ve drifted away from, Amy Cotta’s 6 Weeks to Skinny Jeans program.  Eating that way is how I’m supposed to eat and it makes me feel better.  However.  HOWEVER.  The first few days are a bitch.   Monday I was waiting in line to pick up my oldest from kindergarten.  I had the car in park.  And I was wildly reaching around behind me to search the floor, yes, the floor of the van for a snack (you can usually feed a family of eight off of what you find in the seats and the floor of cars with toddlers, just a theory).  I was crazed.  I found a bite of a pretzel.  I ate it.  (I’m still glad I did it.)  You may find my behaviour revolting.  Eating food off a car floor.  Well, be rational.  Pretzels taste stale even when they’re fresh.  Yet, that’s what addicts do.  There’s always someone digging through trash cans for something in every single crime drama you’ve ever seen.  I asked my doctor if I did meth or smoked if I would be much thinner.  He said yes.  But he was not advising that course of action.  He is a fine man.  And, either way, meth and smoking really do a number on your teeth and skin so, no worries there.  I’m much too vain for that.  As a sidenote, you might like to know that the most popular addiction transference that bariatric patients have is from food to shopping.  My surgeon told me that was more popular than drinking or sex.  I looked at him and said yes, yes I know.  And I would enjoy it even more with the use of his credit card.  I’m still waiting for him to loan it to me.  I’m sure it will happen soon.  I have faith.  Well, how shall I attack this carbohydrate addiction?  I’ve just about eliminated them.  Again.  I know, as I once did with candy, I have to cut them out or I will dream of them, obsesses over them, and eventually binge on them– inasmuch as I am physically capable of binging that is.  The thing is, this really has nothing to do with my bariatric surgery.  I always was a carbohydrate addict.  I just didn’t realize it.  They say knowing is half the battle.  They don’t know the joys of well made French fry.  Sigh.

Feed a fever

February 12, 2011

The flu.  Flu-imus sucks-imus.  I haven’t had it in years.  Except for now.  And yesterday.  And the week prior to that.  What a rare delight.  Did you ever have that fantasy that, as an overweight person, you would wake up from some illness and be suddenly 20lbs. lighter?  Seriously?  Oh, that cannot have been just me.  Well, I didn’t sleep for my two-week or so visit with the flu.  And I didn’t lose 20lbs.  What I find so odd is that I ascribe the same despair to 20 as I did to 200.  It seems so insurmountable.  And why didn’t I lose weight whilst I was sick?  Well, you see, my stomach isn’t attached because of the gastric bypass and I’m very rarely nauseous so vomiting, I know, I know, but you deserve to know the truth, rarely happens.  Shit happens.  Vomit doesn’t.  Consequently, illness hardly ever removes my desire to eat.  Because my throat had been torn asunder by a wolverine, I felt compelled to constantly pour things down it, tacks, razor blades, horrific sugar-free ice cream, really, it all felt the same to me.  So I was sick, yet ate a lot.  Except one day I think all I had was coffee and NyQuil.  Not in the same cup, even I am repulsed by that.  Here I am, on the mend, and ticked off that the least I could’ve done was waste away.  So annoying.  I just don’t think I was meant to be a waif.  Or a serf.  Just in case you were curious.  Sad part is, all I can think about is I’m out of eggs so I can’t bake brownies tomorrow.  God help me if I go to the store hungry.

You’ve got to have faith

September 9, 2010

Hope.  That’s why you’ve turned to 6 Weeks to Skinny Jeans.  In the hope that this time it will work.  Hope is very powerful.  It’s all we’ve got.  But with hope, you’ve got to have faith.  And all that faith has to reside in yourself.  I had my bariatric surgery in 2002 and since then I have moderated my local support group for all those who have had or who are considering weight loss surgery.  And hope is what is in the eyes of the ones who are about to have surgery.  Especially the ones who have seen my before photo. 

See?  There I am, the manatee.  By the way, I can call myself that, you can’t.  I was at Sea World too, so it’s even more true.  I also call myself that because, in the 4th grade, my friend, Mary Elizabeth Tinsley held up a cover of National Geographic with a manatee on the cover and said, “Look! There’s Jane.”  Now, I wasn’t one of those, “she needs to go to fat camp” kids.  I was maybe 15 lbs. overweight in 4th grade.  That was way out of line.  And it clearly didn’t stay with me at all.  That being said, back to hope.  (Manatee my ass.  Which I’ve since had lifted.  but I digress.)  When you have people who look like I did in the before photo looking at you with hope in their eyes, it’s something I don’t take lightly.  No pun intended.  They’re afraid.  What if this surgery doesn’t work?  What if I wake up fat again?  What if I die?  What if I can’t give up my best friend food?  What if I get my life back and I find out that being fat wasn’t my problem after all?  That’s where faith comes in.  When you have the balls to change your life, you have to have hope and faith.  You will see  it works this time.  And for my support group I tell them it really will.  Because I’ll be there to help them.  That’s what Amy’s doing with 6 Weeks.  For everyone with the book it’s as if she’s there with you.  She couldn’t be any more supportive.  And if you think I’ve been Sister Mary Sunshine for her to deal with, you’ve got another think coming.  It’s true that every journey begins with one little step.  But you have to keep making those steps.  You don’t just take two steps and then throw yourself on the couch.  I recently had to explain to my 5-year-old how to believe in something she couldn’t see.  Your new healthy body and lifestyle is the same thing.  You don’t have it the first day you start the program.  You don’t have it the second week.  But if you have faith and you keep with it one day you wake up, and you’re fat.  No, that’s a cruel joke. Hilarious on my part, but no.  It was just sooooo easy to write that 🙂  You wake up and you are what you wanted to be.  Your new habits have become old habits.  I now go to restaurants and just tell the server I want something that’s all protein, on greens, no carbs, make it happen, then I clap my hands twice.  But when I do it, it comes out funny and not quite so bitchy.  I don’t recommend anyone just trying that, especially the hand clapping business.  I can’t imagine your food coming back to you unscathed if you pull that stunt.  So, are you afraid to change?  Probably.  Everyone’s afraid of change.  Old habits are comfortable.  We like them.  They’re cozy.  That’s why we keep doing them.  But you look at before and after pictures and suddenly you have hope.  Yes, you can do it.  And I believe it.  I believe anyone can change.  A before and after picture won’t make the difference though.  You have to have faith in yourself.  You can do it.  Now make it happen.  Clap clap.

Filling the empty hole

September 6, 2010

Why do we eat?  We’re supposed to eat because it’s the fuel upon which our bodies run.  We don’t eat right, we don’t run well.  Our bodies break down and we can’t think clearly.  I could bring in some science here, but then I’d be off on another tangent.  However, many of you may have noticed that food is delicious.  Some more so than others.  Food is always there for you too.  It doesn’t call you names, judge you, or talk back.   Food doesn’t laugh at you, or with you for that matter.  It’s culturally there in vast amounts at every gathering of joy and sorrow you can name.  You’re engaged?  That’s great, here’s a cookie.  Your mom die?  That’s so very sad.  Eat this casserole.  And this cake.  For the food addict, life is a constant battle.  Will the entire box of Better Cheddars win?  Or the overwhelming desire to stay in the clothes you already own.  I consider myself a recovering food addict, I assume much like a recovering alcoholic would.  The 6 Weeks to Skinny Jeans program has really helped me with my carbohydrate addiction, which is separate from the food addiction and not as strong.  Much like candy, if I don’t eat it I don’t want it, unless I dwell upon it.  But once I have a taste of it, like an alcoholic falling off the wagon, it triggers something in my brain and my desire for it is virtually uncontrollable.  Sometimes, it takes a few hours for the desire to eat these things to pass.  Exercise switches it off, or eating something I should be eating.  Years ago I remember “stop the insanity” Susan Powter saying something along the lines of full is full.  Whether you got full on pizza or full on something healthy.  I had never thought of it that way.  At the time it didn’t help me, but it did make logical sense to me.  Since my bariatric surgery, it does help me.  Because once I’m full, I’m full.  And thankfully, I can’t physically eat any more.  With the 6 Weeks plan, which, by the way, with minor modifications, I don’t plan to veer off of after the 6 weeks because it is how I am supposed to be eating, I am in control and so are my cravings.  Most of the time.  But it doesn’t mean I don’t have my moments.  The other day I wanted something.  Just something to fill the empty hole inside of me.  That’s just one reason why I over ate.  That and because I never felt full.  I had a visual of a recovering alcoholic sitting in a bar surrounded by bottles knowing they were not supposed to drink.  And they didn’t.  And I didn’t eat anything I wasn’t supposed to either.  I just had the “wannas.”  I will live with  the wannas for the rest of my life.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  And every minute of every day I will have to make that choice.  Which is more important to me?  The instant gratification of that food I shouldn’t eat in my mouth?  Or the ultimate satisfaction that I am healthy?  You’d think it would be obvious.  You’d think it would be easy.  For me, it’s a battle I fight every day.  Luckily for my health, I am vain enough that I want to wear a certain style of clothes without being an embarrassment to myself.  As far as the battle is concerned, so far, I’m winning.  And I don’t like to lose.