Saturday, January 30, 2016

Why I've chosen Keto

Today is my first day of doing the Keto (ketogenic) diet again. I have been slowly weaning off carbs since the beginning of the year so that I could start Feb 1. Well, I'm a couple of days early. But according to my test strips, I'm already in Ketosis so just lowering carbs to 15% got me there. 

I have chosen this way of eating for several reasons.

1. It restores my sanity surrounding food. My cravings and hunger are gone. Eating this way helps me stay in control of what I eat.

2. I've successfully lost weight on this plan before.

3. Sugar makes me crazy, and I need to eliminate it from my diet totally if I'm ever going to be food sober.

4. Keto allows me to make this a lifestyle. There doesn't have to be an endgame. I CAN eat this way forever.

I have NO appetite. I haven't been hungry in days. Now, this may have a little to do with the fact I'm back on my Advocare supplements (I'm still in my 24-day Challenge). Or it may be because I'm already in Ketosis. 

I was going to check today just to see how close I was but I'm already there. I've been at about 15-20% carbs for the past week or so, and I'm guessing that was low enough. 

Today I made a big breakfast (that I couldn't finish 😳). I did our taxes this morning (which was very stressful btw) and afterwards I NEEDED the gym. I worked out, did a little shopping, and got a pedicure. It was while I was in the pedicure chair that I realized... I forgot to eat lunch before I left the house. 

I got home around 4:30 and put my soup in the microwave and proceeded to start dinner. Around 6 pm when Clyde got home, I went to the kitchen to check on the chicken in the oven and realized I FORGOT TO EAT THE SOUP AGAIN.

I ate a few bites, but I just didn't want it.  And I just decided to wait and eat dinner. And I was fine. No headache. No hunger. I was ok.

And it felt significant. That I was able to have a Saturday with no hunger, no cravings. Feeling totally satisfied. All I had to focus on was drinking my water quota.

This is how I want things to be. I'm tired of the struggle. This feels much easier.

My goal is to stick with this way of eating until my birthday on May 26. It's a big one. 40. I will give this my all because I desperately want to have some success with food recovery and weight loss before I turn 40. I want to reach my goal weight this year.

So Keto it is until then and I will reevaluate. But something tells me there will be no birthday cake involved! And that will be the ultimate victory.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

One size does NOT fit all...

This blog post has been swirling around in my mind for SEVERAL days now and I am simply unable to contain it any longer.

I have something to say. Because I'm annoyed. I'm offended, in a way.

And it's hard to politely state my opinion on this subject at times because it's not something that's ever really brought to me or stated in general in a snarky way. Most people are really only trying to help, or offer encouragement when they say things like,

"One cheat meal won't ruin your progress."
"If you eat on plan 80% of the time you're good!"
"There is no way you can live without your favorite treats."
"Moderation is key." (I particularly hate this one)
"It's ok to have cake on your birthday!"
"If you don't allow yourself a treat every now and then you will binge."
"I eat bread every day and still lose weight!"

Again, I hear these statements mostly from those offering encouragement and comfort on a wildly frustrating journey.

But what I would like to say, is that none of those statements apply to someone who is addicted to food.

Addiction is different. There is no "one size fits all" approach. The rules are different.

Would you tell an alcoholic to have a drink every Saturday for a 'treat'? Or a crack addict to hit an 8-ball every once in a while because who can live without crack!? What about inviting a gambling addict to a casino for "just one game" of roulette?

No, you wouldn't do that. That would be pretty shitty.

I am a food addict, who is ESPECIALLY in love with sugar and sweets. For the past several months I have come to terms with this addiction AGAIN and am really working the steps toward gaining recovery. Although it makes me very sad, I know that I CAN NOT have certain foods. Ever. Again. Because my recovery from this addiction depends on that discipline and resolve. My approach to this journey has to change if I will ever achieve a successful body weight and overall sense of wellness and health.

Honestly, when I get sad about not having cake or donuts or candy, I really have to evaluate if those treats are worth the sickening, shameful, hurt that they cause me. And they are not. Ever. Worth. It.

On this journey, I have had the pleasure of hearing so many stories of people who have found recovery from food addiction. And they all agree that at one point they made the shift into recovery by eliminating the foods that made them miserable. The foods they ate in secret. The foods that caused them uncontrollable cravings. I've even blogged about my emotional response surrounding certain foods that are now "off limits" to me.  It's not all about weight loss, but it's about having the freedom that is found from not being in food bondage anymore. And their freedom is so encouraging for someone like me.

Someone who is still trying to get it right. Who is in the first stages of 'getting clean' again. Who is just starting to feel the glory of not having intense cravings and the gift of increased energy and mental clarity.

Sugar (and refined white flour) was (is) killing me.

And all I want to do is live. And lose weight. And be healthy.

Now, before anyone comes back at me with the "well I eat sugar and flour and bread and fruit and I lose weight..." let me say this...

Everyone who is overweight does NOT suffer from food addiction. 

Some people just overeat. Or don't practice portion control. Or don't know about nutrition and just need some guidance and a food plan.

Just this weekend I was helping a friend come up with foods that would help stabilize her blood sugar as she was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. She had NO IDEA that rice, orange juice, or insane amounts of fruit were bad for her. She had no clue that white flour was pretty much the same as sugar in our bodies. Ignorance is bliss, right? But now she knows better, and hopefully will do better.

THIS is the reason I believe Weight Watchers and IIFYM and Veganism and 21-Day Fix and Shakeology and all the other popular plans on the market work for SO MANY PEOPLE.

Because they have the wonderful gift of just needing a plan. Some support. It's ok if they eat donuts after an intense workout. Or pasta once in a while. Or bananas in smoothies daily. 

I envy those people. I've tried to FIT IN with that group of people. Hoping, wishing, PRAYING for success that would not exclude my favorite comfort foods. And I have achieved success on some of those plans!

But it didn't last. I always gained the weight back. And more.

Because those plans could not fix my problem. The ROOT of my problem is just too deep. I require a different intervention. And so do so many others who are tired of being given a 'one size fits all' solution to a problem that goes beyond JUST doing this or that.

So please understand, we are all on our own journeys. The route is not always the same. We all have some of the same detours and roadblocks (emotional eating, donuts in the employee workroom, bread on the table at a restaurant, unsupportive spouses). But at the end of the day, ONE perspective does not speak to the whole problem of obesity.

Food addiction (and addiction in general) has to be handled in different way. So don't feel sorry for me because I can't have cake, or think it's silly that I'm on such a restrictive "diet" when all I have to do is count my WW points to have my bread and be happy like Oprah.

I will be just fine without sugar. It's not a pre-requisite for living a wonderful life and enjoying a meal when I am at dinner with my man. I'll be ok... great even. Because with sobriety, I am feeling a sense of happiness and success that can't be bought with a cupcake or donut or a slice of bread. Eating a roll at dinner just might throw me off the wagon for days. ONE donut has the potential of unraveling my progress for over a year (and yes, this has happened).

It's not ok for me to cheat. Because then I have to start over. And for an addict, starting over is hard. Because our minds convince us to have "one last" treat, or one last drink, or we might as well do this or that or something else that feeds the disease. This sentiment is expressed in very close friends of mine who have recovered (or are recovering) from drug and alcohol addictions. And this is why AA and NA and OA are so similar. Because addiction is addiction.

And I've decided to fight mine. My life is worth it.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

About the scale...

In our Facebook support group this week, one member suggested a 30-day scale fast after many were disappointed in small losses after weigh in on Monday. Although I absolutely agree that the scale is just a tool in this journey, and that any loss should be celebrated, and that it's a good idea to focus on non-scale victories, I do think that FOR ME, it is a necessity right now. I declined to participate in the scale fast. 

When we moved to Florida in June, I donated all three of my digital scales to Goodwill. I was in a good place in life. I had lost a good amount of weight on my Advocare 24-day challenge and felt like I needed freedom from that number. I was ready to just live and I was ready to let my clothes be the indicator of my weight loss.

Ummm... That really didn't happen. Several months later when I decided to purchase another scale, I had GAINED a good 30 lbs. and it was honestly a shock. I mean, I knew I had gained. Just not that damned much! 

Yes, the scale makes me crazy. Sometimes. But it is a tool. And I need it. 

This week has been awesome as far as being compliant and focused on this journey. I'm doing another 24-day challenge and this week has been a cleanse week. I have logged my food, met my water goal, and been within my calories DAILY! And, I went to the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday AND Saturday. What????!!!

I've made a few poor choices (like some corn tortilla chips out of the bag yesterday) but no sweets and no binge eating and no cheats. I'm proud of myself! 

But when I got on the scale this morning, I've pretty much lost NO WEIGHT. Maybe a pound since Monday... But that was coming off a terrible eating weekend!

So what does that mean? Well, one could use it as an excuse to binge all day. Or one could even get discouraged and quit.

But I am choosing to just re-evaluate and plan my next week accordingly. I know I am doing so many things RIGHT (tracking, water and exercise are HUGE for me). But my carbs are still pretty high on most days and I know my body doesn't love carbs. I also need to be drinking at least one green smoothie a day to get some veggies in and I'm not. 

So, there are still some changes that need to be made. And I know this because my scale pretty much told me so. At 300+ lbs, if I were doing everything right I should be losing at least 2-3 lbs of fat a week (not water). If I'm not, then I either need to give it more time or tweak something. 

This week, I will do both. 

And I will still be happy about this past week because I finally feel successful. And right now, that feeling is amazing.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Ending the binge cycle... And cake.

Earlier in the week, as I was reading (catching up on) some daily devotions in my OA book, I came across something that said that everyone's recovery from compulsive overeating is different. Our food plans are different because our "trigger" foods vary.

This little passage got me thinking about my binge foods. Those foods that I am absolutely unable to have in moderation. The foods that I eat in the privacy of my car. The foods that I discard the wrappers to so no one will know I've had them. The foods that I eat until I'm sick. The foods that I feel guilty about afterwards. The foods that I obsess over in the grocery store. The foods that make me cry. The foods that soothe me after a bad day.

And I decided to make a list of those things. And add to it if necessary.

Because I can never have those foods again.

There is no moderation. There are no "treats". Forget special occasions.

If I am to obtain and maintain lasting recovery I can't have them.

And I admit, even typing that makes me sad. Because I will miss those foods. They are a part of who I am. Deep down. Since childhood.

1. cake and/or icing (major trigger)
2. donuts (major trigger)
3. Cadbury eggs (major trigger)
4. holiday candy (Russell Stover)
5. cinnamon toast crunch cereal
6. milk shakes (fast food)
7. fast food (from McDonald's, Burger King, Sonic)

As I just typed that out I realize how deeply in-bedded my pain and addiction goes with some of these foods.

When I was a child, we always seemed to be extra poor (not just the regular kind) when it come to my birthday (May 26). My mom (also a food addict, she just didn't know it) LOVED cake icing, so whenever there was a birthday she like to buy these really pretty cakes (lots of flowers and icing) from Sweet and Sassy Bakery (no longer there) in Nashville. But I know of several birthdays that I didn't get my cake because there was no money. But my younger (skinny) sister on the other hand, she seemed to always get her cake in November. In my mind, as a CHILD, I sometimes associated not getting my cake with me being fat (because I was always the fat one and she was the skinny one, and that was always a good teasing topic in my family).

So as soon as I was 15 and had a job, I made sure that every birthday after that I had a cake for my birthday. I bought it myself! But somewhere down the line, cake became a binge food. When the kids had birthdays, I would sit down at night and get sick on eating leftover cake. I would shop the bakery mark-downs in our grocery store for cake. Kroger used to sell individual slices of cake that had a plastic spork taped to the package... I think I've even blogged about this. I used to love to get two slices and eat them in the privacy of my car. Kroger was even nice enough to have a fuel center near the exit that I could drive through and throw away my trash!

Cake is definitely an issue. On Tuesday I bought four gourmet cupcakes for Mister's birthday. I got chocolate cake with chocolate icing because that is not my PREFERRED cake (I like white cake, white icing the best... maybe a red velvet). The plan was for each kid to have a cupcake, then Mister could have two. Well, that asshole didn't eat his cupcakes! So I obsessed over them all night. I wanted them so bad! I even brought them upstairs to our bedroom, because I thought if I could coax him into eating one of them, I could have the other.

I didn't eat them. They sat on my dresser another day and I gave them to my kids for breakfast just to get rid of them. But that is when I had the clarity... I can't have cake anymore.

I could go on and on about all of those binge foods. It was actually therapeutic just now to type out the cake story (I guess that's why I used to love to blog!). But the bottom line, that's the start. I will put a note in my phone in case I need to remind myself. But those foods are officially off limits.

Because 2015 was the end of compulsive overeating. The end of the binge-cycle. The end of food addiction.

2016 is a new beginning.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! I hate to be negative, but I am glad to see 2015 go! Although it's been one of the most transformational years I've had in a long time, I am READY to keep going and make even more huge changes in the new year!

I have so many hopes and dreams for 2016. For work, for my personal life, and especially my body and health. I had a lot of excuses... real ones... in 2015. Besides moving from Tennessee to Florida, I had major surgery, changed jobs, sent two kids to college, and began and maintained a happy relationship with my ex-husband! Somewhere along the way I pushed my health/weightloss to the back burner and gained a lot of weight. According to MyFitnessPal, I weighed in at 280.2 last new years. Today, I weighed 309.2. That's 29 lbs gained in 2015. On top of the 18 lbs I gained in 2014, that's about 50 lbs up from my smallest weight in 2013. 

I did a lot of things right in 2013, but I still didn't truly embrace my food addiction. I still had a DIET mindset. Maybe that's what I've finally had to learn all these years. That this journey must be about HEALTH - inside and out. I'm in a good place. I'm moving forward. 

And I truly believe I can do anything. This WILL be the year I reach my goal weight. My promise to myself for 2016 is to make this journey a LIFESTYLE. I am so over the diet - binge - feel like shit cycle that I've been on for a lifetime. I have to face my demons. SEE my food addiction for what it is. And overcome it like I know I can. No more extremes. No more DIETS. Just healthy, sane choices. I will have to eliminate sugar and white flour because they are deadly drugs in my body. But like I have proven over and over again this past week... There are PLENTY of tasty options that don't include those ingredients. No more feeling like crap after I eat. More fruit and veggies and water. More exercise. More energy. I'm stepping out of my comfort zone. I can do this.