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A Change Anything Activity

12 Aug

here is an activity I was asked to do that I hope will help me get over the problems of snacking at night.  It is my biggest biggest danger area by FAR.

Take a minute and write down all the behaviors you do during this crucial moment that you know you shouldn’t

  • I eat sweet or salty snacks available in the house.
  • I go out and purchase sweet or salty snacks if they are not available in the house.
  • I ask family members to go out and purchase snacks for me.
  • I take the snacks upstairs to bed and play on the computer while I eat them.
  • Sometimes i don’t keep perfect track of how much of it I have eaten.

– Then next to each one, jot down why they make you feel good (or why you do them)

I eat sweet or salty snacks available in the house.

I am honestly not sure why I want to eat the snacks. I’m rarely hungry. It satisfies my sweet (or salty) tooth.  It calms me down and relaxes me.  It gives me something to do.

I go out and purchase sweet or salty snacks if they are not available in the house.

I like planning and purchasing snacks. It gives me something to do.

I ask family members to go out and purchase snacks for me.

I like it if I don’t have to go out and buy them, I can just sit and watch TV or play on the computer until they come back.  Sometimes my husband likes to get his snacks too and then we eat together.

I take the snacks upstairs to bed and play on the computer while I eat them.

Its sort of like a slumber party.  I do something I like and eat the snacks.  Sometimes my husband eats his snacks too and we watch TV together.

Successful changers find alternate activities that also make them feel good, but are more healthy such as “going for a 15 minute walk” instead of “watching TV.”

– For the last step, brainstorm a list of things that might be better alternatives. Then tonight, when you are tempted to do an unhealthy normal behavior, try a new one.

I could eat a healthier snack.

I could knit or crochet to keep myself busy.

I could go on a walk, but often its hard with all the kids to get away, and right now its really hot outside still at night.

I could blog or get on twitter and talk about it and get support.

I could read a book that will encourage me to do something different.

I could do an activity with one of my kids.

I could get something done around the house (cleaning, prep)

 

So, I have not actually DONE this yet, tried alternate behaviors.  I have in the past, but have again fallen into the trap of this behavior.  It is like a bone-deep, soul deep behavior that I don’t understand. I like to eat snacks at night.  I don’t like to do some of the things other people might say, like take a bath (not a fan) and its like there are all sorts of behaviors and barriers are all tied up in this situation.  I’m probably making it more difficult than it really is.  Maybe I need to just try it and see.  Its like I just get this “itch” about an hour or two after dinner to get my snack on.  And my mind won’t let it go until I scratch the itch, either with eating or with shopping, my two go-to behaviors.

A bad day, low iron and identifying triggers

21 Mar

So this is all feeling rather like a big pile of spaghetti noodles to sort out.  Today was a really strange day.  It is the first day that I would say I willfully broke most of my eating guidelines and just kept going.  I also didn’t exercise.  I am trying to figure out why.  Possible reasons:

  • WLS Honeymoon is over?
  • Hubby was home and I just wanted to be like old days in having fun with him
  • Onederland is close and some part of me is not ready?
  • TOM?
  • Stress from some source I can’t really identify as a trigger?

What I can say is good about it is, despite how crap my eating was, I still logged it.  The temptation to just “skip” logging the bad stuff I ate and say I’ll start over tomorrow was very strong.  But I didn’t.  Its out there in all its shameful glory.

I know I recognize this sort of feeling.  I felt disconnected today, not with it.  I felt like I was somehow not a WLS post op.  I just wanted to do what I wanted to do, eat what i wanted to eat, and pretend like life was like it used to be.

So I can see I did this, but I can’t really FEEL that any of the reasons above is a legitimate “oh yes, that’s absolutely it” source for why I did what I did.

So I guess, more musing is required to see if I am ever able to overcome my “trigger blindness” that I seem to have.

I also got a call from the doc and learned that my iron level in my 3 month post op blood work was low, it was 24 and should have been in the range of 50-150.  So I had to go out tonight and get an iron supplement. I am not sure how soon it will help.

Well, I won’t say “back to it tomorrow” because really, its back to today.  In the next minute, i can choose to make better choices than I made in the last minute.

What is cheating?

23 Jan

A very thought provoking post on Vertical Sleeve Talk today has had me do a lot of thinking about my definitions of cheating.  The original thread is here. I’m on the odd man out side of this thread, with most posters prefer bluntness and a kick in the pants if they are cheating.  For me, that kind of treatment makes me shut down and DO.BAD.THINGS.  If someone really knows me and has earned my trust and knows my issues they may have the right to give me a come to jesus about something, but not a random stranger on the internet.  I think the original poster was not getting down to the fine line of definition I’m struggling with and in the end it may not matter, but it does make me curious.

Here are some of my thoughts pulled out from that thread.  I want to grab them here because they represent a lot of thought i have about cheating, shame and failure.

This is an interesting thread. The immediate post op time period isn’t a time for cheating for sure. But I know I have made choices in the past month that were mistakes.
This may be a bunny trail, but, the word cheating is one I have issues with. Anyone reading or read Beck Diet Solution? It talks about mistakes versus cheating. I think the majority of folks in here who talk about cheating on their post op diets make mistakes, they don’t cheat. In all likelihood, a few bites too much or the wrong thing are not going to be the undoing of our sleeve. But when we attach words like cheating to it, there is such a message of immorality and failure to it..I dunno.
I guess apart from the extreme posts like eating a burger and popcorn a couple of days post op, I’d rather see us encourage each other in getting back to doing the right thing. Many many of us got here because of emotional eating and black and white thinking, so I’d rather us offer each other support to do the right behaviors.
While we did have extreme surgery, for many of us the ability to be perfectly compliant doesn’t magically occur just because we had the surgery. Maybe I shouldn’t have been approved, dunno, but I think I am doing a helluva lot better, even with mistakes, now, than preop!! But by my former harsh use of the word cheating , I definitely have done so many times in the past month. But each time I eat I have a chance to do it better.
Eta–not upset by original post, just challenging us to think about what cheating really is and encourage us to help each other out of black and white thinking!!!!

And a second response later in the thread:

Posted Yesterday, 11:54 PM

View Post<usernamedeleted>, on January 22, 2012 – 11:13 PM, said:

Blunt is good. This is a support site right? Maybe some people need a different kind of way of support. I’m
Yeah, I think that is what I am thinking about. I have struggled with this a lot over the last year, thinking about this.  I guess i’ve found that I react a lot better with encouragement rather than bluntness, and that is me.  I don’t need someone to sugar coat it for me, I just dont’ need someone judging me, because I already do it a lot worse to myself.
A lot of people got here through denial, very true and no doubt. Denial probably plays a role in most emotional eating issues. but it may not be the biggest issue for all of us.
I got here not by denial as my primary problem, I’ve always been painfully aware of how bad what I was doing was, but unable to stop.  I’ve spent years continually beating myself up and being way more blunt and over critical with myself than anyone else could ever be. For me, using language that represents a judgement on an action, is very black and white when I talk to myself or someone else, and is something I’m really trying to change. So a word like “cheating” is just a super loaded word to me. Which for those of us who have this particular flaw in thinking, cheating leads to feeling I’m a failure, and then that leads to thinking why bother and more failure. But saying I made a mistake, helps me know I can do better next time.
Think of it this way….if you forget to take a dose of a medication you need to take, do you consider that you have cheated? I don’t. I don’t think I’m a failure or that I’ve completely blown it.
Taking the emotions and judgement out of things is helping me a lot in getting to a new normal.
The other thing that is interesting is how we define  cheating. The original poster, Indymom, said:

View Post<username deleted>, on January 21, 2012 – 11:18 PM, said:

… the term “cheating” to me makes me think of being on Weight Watchers and deciding to eat a medium pizza by myself with breadsticks and a 2-liter of Pepsi, and not count the points.
which is a way different definition of cheating than I have.  I think that if I have eaten one more bite than I should have, or a type of food I shouldn’t have, that I have cheated.  And I’m trying to beat that kind of judgemental feeling out of myself, because when I feel that way I feel like a failure.
I’m encouraged by this kind of discussion about what works for us.
If useful, here is a coverage on this from Beck Diet Solution, which is the cognitive behavioral based therapy approach to eating issues developed by Judith Beck, who’s father actually developed CBT.

Quote from Beck Diet Solution

No more “cheating”
The word cheat doesn’t appear again in this book outside of this box. I’ve omitted it intentionally because too many unsuccessful dieters have all-or-nothing thoughts about their eating:  Either I’m perfect on this diet or I’ve cheated…If I’ve cheated, I’ve blown it–I may as well continue to cheat for the rest of the [day/week/month/year]/  I’ve found that people who view themselves as having cheated usually feel demoralized and even “bad.” which makes it even more difficult for them to get back on track.  Instead of cheat, I’ve used the words unplanned eating and overeating.  These terms are less negatively charged.  People who use them are able to take a more benign view and say Okay, so I ate something I didn’t plan to eat or I ate more than I was supposed to. But they’re also able to then add, It was just a mistake, no big deal…I’ll get back on track for the rest of the day.
The other thing that I think about, is in post-op diet, what really IS cheating?  I mean with the super wide variation of advice on the post-op diet, those of us who research and see all this variation, you realize that there is a WIDE definition of what is considered ok during the immediate post-op diet phase.  My single surgeon and his plan is not the definitive be-all end-all of advice.  I don’t take one person’s plan and advice as my absolute truth.  If there were a gold standard out there, or if all of their advice was remarkably similar, then I’d say the choices i’ve made since surgery that deviated from my doc’s handout would be something to think more about why I’ve made other choices.
Example there — the Cornell VSG post op guidelines say we can have oatmeal, grits, farina.    My doc’s guidelines say no.  Am I cheating if I have thinned oatmeal?
All very interesting.
I *think* the original post was targeted at folks that are blatantly doing really major things that are not good for them in the post-op phase, which I support, but where is the line?  This really triggered me to do a lot of thinking! Thanks!

Psych eval passed, Exploring behavior change, qotw thoughts

11 Oct

So first off, I had my required psych eval for weight loss surgery. I was worried about this not because of any extreme psych issues,addictions or inability to demonstrate that I understand what I am getting myself into, rather, where the line gets drawn between eating behaviors that would preclude me from being able to pursue weight loss surgery at this time. I did a lot of thinking prior to this appt and realized that I have changed a lot in the past year to get to this point. More engagement in good behaviors, more mindfulness of bad choices, attempting meditation, tracking my steps almost all year long with my fitbit, and in the last two months, fairly decent eating behavior change. Not perfect, but enough to result in about 16 lbs of weight loss in the last two months.

In case you are pre-op and want to know what the psych eval might be like, here is what mine was like. I was told to prepare to be there for 3 hours, I was there for 1 hr and 50 min. When I arrived, they gave mea first test called an eating inventory that was maybe 40-50 questions, mostly true/false. I didn’t like it, because it used the word hungry a lot, and was hard to answer with that word in there for me. It listed lots of circumstances in which I might be hungry, and I know that what I do is not hunger. It’s want, desire, not hunger. So that was hard. But quick.the second test was the MMPI2, and had over 300 questions. I actually thought it would be longer. It was easy.some weird questions, some of which made me chuckle…but not bad. Then there was something called BDI, I think, again fine. And a final one I can’t remember, but it was quick. I think that was all. I waited a bit, then got called back with the psychologist. He set expectations, and started in on interview, asking me about the procedure I wanted. We then discussed through all the typical areas, motivation, support, family composition and history, my existing gad and depression, etc. It was fine. He told me my Tests confirmed what we discussed, no major issues, confirmation of anxiety and mild social avoidance. Which of course I know. He also tried to probe more in my ADHD diagnosis to confirm, not sure if he agrees I have it or not.I am not sure I do or not, either. In the end he told me he saw nothing that would prevent me from moving forward, that he would be reporting back that I could move forward, assuming I stay on my meds and would recommend the bariatric centers support groups. He said it would take about a week to get back to my doc.

Why I hate flying…or, a lesson in humiliation

5 Oct

I need to write this out instead of eat in response to it.  There, finally, I think I wonder.  I say I eat more when I travel because i’m bored, but I sorta wonder.  Do I eat because the act of plane travel is so humiliating that I seek some sort of reward for going through it?  I don’t know, its some of both, trying to keep myself busy, trying not to be lonely in a new city, what have you.

So the backstory….

I moved to a new employer (I work in high tech, I’m a geek) in May.  With the job change came an expectation of fairly regular travel.  My husband and I talked through the impact of this on our family, what we would need to do to make 25% travel ok for him.  With 4 kids, this was a serious consideration.  Ultimately, while I don’t often ask for permission in much of anything in my life, I knew that this was a choice that we had to be together on, lest it cause big problems.  Anyway, we are.  So fastforward to all of this traveling.  Through the course of the first 3 months on the job, I put on 15 lbs.  I attribute this to two things — onsite cafeteria and travel eating.   This gain of 15 lbs finally put me at a point this summer where I had my first experience of a plane seat belt not fitting.  And that began my journey toward weight loss surgery.

Fastforward to today.

Travel, travel, what do I hate about thee? Absolutely fucking everything.  It begins just mobilizing to get ready.  As a representative of my company, I need to look put together going into client’s offices.  Do you know how hard it is to look put together on a budget when you are plus size between size 24/26? Things look fucking shitty on you.  You either look like an old lady, or you look like a plus sized slut. Just going through the possible combinations of clothing that might be suitable actually, physically makes me sweat.  I am not joking.  So I finally get the bag packed and set my alarm for the crack of dawn this morning.

Then comes the airport.  The first offronts come at security.  First is needing to pull out that stupid  CPAP machine, one more stupid thing to do at security and one more reminder of the impact that my weight has on my life.  then I go through that stupid total body scanner, just trying to pretend not to imagine what my body image must look like to someone looking at that screen.  Then try to hustle myself through repacking everything all up, and rush to the gate.  By the time I get to the gate, I’m sweating, because, that is how it is for me, anyway.  I can’t bear to travel in work appropriate attire because of comfort, so I dress like a slob and feel like that fat slob that everyone is just hoping they don’t have to sit next to.

I actually pay extra to buy “Choice seats” to have more room to maneuver on the plane, because i’ve learned that if I don’t buy those seats, the stupid tray doesn’t even come down all the over my gut, or else I have to shove it under my belly so it is cutting into me.  Everything about the airport and standing in lines and getting on planes makes me feel my size.  Spaces are small, people in close proximity. I worry that I smell bad, despite having taken a shower this AM.

I get on the plane, thankful for my 360 rolling bag, because that, at least, has made getting on the plane a little easier.  Its bad enough when you are wider than the walkway, but when you are wider and your bag is constantly getting caught on things, it only adds to the spectacle you feel like you are creating.

Get to my seat, and think, well this isn’t right, on the plane seat map choice it didn’t show this as a bulk head seat.  But indeed it is.  I had to settle for a window seat, which i typically hate because I feel so big in them.  I usually try to go for aisle.  The exit door actually juts out about 8 inches, so I have a difficult time getting into my seat.  I have a few instances of having to get up and get things that I will need on the flight because I don’t have storage under the seat in front of me.  Grr.  I grab out my brand new seat belt extender, happy I have it and don’t have to ask for one, but just spend the whole flight vastly uncomfortable. I twist myself around funny to try to be smaller and not overlap into the guy next to me.  Everytime I move my arms, I worry I’m annoying him.  When I get up (and in this case its actually better I guess because of bulkhead, they don’t all have to get up, but (and this is TMI) I worry about whether my butt is in their face and whether I stink.  All the sweating to get to the planes, the tension caused by getting seated got me overheated and sweaty again, I feel gross and imagine I must smell. Not sure that is true, but that is how I feel.

Get off the planes finally, relieved to have some breathing room.  Get down to book a shuttle, and realize that I have left my fucking brand new extender on the fucking plane.  Fuckity fuck fuck.

Shuttle is another exercise in embarrassment.  All the front seats are filled have to try to squeeze my way into the far back.  I am of course, the one who has to get out first, too, and shove past everyone again.  And then the step down from the shuttle, I have to do some weird maneuvering because I am big and also because my knees are unstable and its hard for me to bend them…hard to explain, but getting out higher up vehicles with multiple running boards = awkward.

Get to the hotel, relieved to be able to relax.  Realize that I have left one of my standard toiletry bags at home. Fuckity fuck fuck again.  Have to figure out where the nearest drug store is,  walk .3 miles down there, buy $50 worth of stuff I already have, and then find a place to have dinner.  End up going to subway because the places I had scoped out to go into look all intimate and I feel like everyone in the whole place would look up when I walk in all alone.  So instead I go to subway, and have a shitty 6″ sub and sun chips.   Definitely not the worst thing I could have done, but also has bread (a nono for me at this point) and the chips.  I seriously debate with myself to go back to the drug store a few stores down and get some chocolate and snacks to take back to the hotel room with me, which is my normal modus operandi.  I seriously waver at the door, wanting desperately to turn toward the store, but instead point myself in the direction of the hotel, feeling pissy the whole way.

Get back to the hotel and try to clean up, because the rest of my team has arrived and we are meeting at the bar.  I feel obligated to have some wine and “fit in” so I have two glasses.  I come back up to the hotel room at 10:30, and want desperately to go get some snacks again.  And so I started writing this instead.  I still want snacks. I still am not sure I won’t go get my clothes back on and go get something.  😦

 

ETA:  So lets try to turn this around….so MAYBE next year this time, I won’t feel this way?  Maybe I will be more fit and won’t work up a sweat just getting myself on an airplane.  maybe I’ll be able to sit comfortably in a plane seat, and not need an extender.  Maybe I will be able to make better food choices when I travel.  I DID actually make some better choices today than I normally would.  A normal day would start out with a full breakfast at McDs at the home airport (sausage mcgriddle, hashbrown, diet coke.)  I did still have mcd’s, but i had the egg mcmuffin and no hashbrown and a diet coke.  Normally, then, at the layover, I would get a snack.  I didn’t.  On the plane, I would take the box with all the chips and cookies.  I didn’t, I chose the fruit/cheese plate and water.  Normally, when I get to the hotel, I would pick out a restaurant and “treat” myself to something decadent.  I didn’t.  I had subways.  Normally, I would find snacks to eat for late night.  I didn’t.  I am sitting here pissy instead.  😀

Am I an emotional eater?

28 Sep

I saw a great post on emotional eating today shared by a twitter friend and really felt like I identified with it, but then I started thinking about it.  I clearly have a problem with food, but I was not able to identify any emotions that I felt like I was stuffing.  Is that denial?  I mainly use food as an anecdote to boredom, as entertainment and as a reward.  I know these are bad things indeed, but  its not like I can dig to identify a stressor and see that I ate in response to that stressor.  I am having difficulty trying to sort out if any feelings beyond boredom and entertainment are involved.  I break my behaviors around eating into habits/rituals and boredom relief.

A request of my my non morbidly obese friends who may read this, please don’t hate me. I put all of this out there with great trepidation.

First -habits.

For a long long time, I had a terrible ingrained habit of stopping through the McDonalds drive through every morning for a sausage mcgriddle or egg mcmuffin and hash browns and a large diet coke.  since I’ve changed where I work, the mcdonalds is no longer on my way, and because I’m ultimately a huge lazy ass, my morning visits have been minimal.  While my kids were out of school for the summer, we did go into mcds on days I worked from home, but now that they are back in school, my visits to McD’s this month might have been 1-2, when up through May, I typically ate breakfast and lunch at McDs (I know, horrible…).  In summer, I went twice a week, sometimes still breakfast and lunch, but still dramatically less.  I think it was toward the end of the summer when the cashier innocently mentioned about me being one of her “regulars.”  She of course meant that in a nice way, but it hit me in the stomach.  Yuck, I don’t want to be known as a regular at McDonalds.   Now in the last month, only 1-2 times total.  I have a cafeteria where I work now, so its a lot easier for me to either get two hardboiled eggs and maybe some ham or bacon and be good.

2nd habit — Dinner out.  I get done with work, and have run out of steam.  Dinner out is a soothing ritual where I get to sit down and have someone else take care of me and wait on me.  That is a huge part of the appeal.  I don’t have to clean up, I don’t have to come up with ideas for what to eat.  This is still an active habit.  In the last month, I’ve changed where and what I am eating, but I am still eating out.  I have had a couple of really shitty eating out experiences since I’ve changed what I’m trying to eat.  I’ve learned that at some places, it is incredibly difficult to find low carb choices.  I also have found out that some of the places I considered my nemesis (buffets) are actually easier for me right now when doing low carb.  They offer a wide variety of choices, still a lot of shit, but at one local place, I can get a steak made to order, have roasted chicken, have fish, have seafood with no sauce.  A huge salad bar.  As long as I can keep myself from eating the bad shit, I walk away a lot happier.   Places that SUCK to me are breakfast restaurants, particularly when everyone else in your family is enjoying a nice stack o’ flapjacks. 

Bedtime binges

I would say that at bedtime is the time I am most susceptible to a binge. The kids are all in bed, honey and I have some alone time….and you think this is going to get dirty?  Not the way you think.   I don’t binge like I used to when younger, but this bedtime dangerous hour is when I do if I am going to do it.  Pre all this, it would not be unusual for me or hubby to go out and get an assortment of snacks, fun size candy bars, pringles, nuts, chips, etc.  We ‘d stack them between us and graze on this stuff while watching tv, downing a couple of diet cokes with it.  DH is of normal size and quite active, and he really would eat less than I do during those sessions. In the lats month, those sessions have dwindled, and if there is one, they are comprised of different things — turkey jerky and almonds have been popular, or a couple of nights ago I made kind of an trailer trash antipasti plate with salami, cheese, pickles and pepperoncinis.  Portions are a lot more limited.

2nd category — rewards and boredom

One example of reward eating I can think of, i guess maybe does relate to stress. maybe, but I still link it more to boredom.  When I am travelling, which is a lot more frequently now, on the plane or at the layover airport, it has been a common practice for me to eat my way through the flight to keep myself entertained.  I buy the snack box on the plane, (the cheese/fruit/cracker plate being my favorite)  Then at the airport, I find the food court and get a meal to help pass the time. 

Another example might be the afternoon vending machine run.  This often would result in a candy bar purchase (or sometimes even two).  Lately, I’ve cut down my runs to 1-2 a week, and when I go, I will get jerky or nuts. 

So is eating for boredom, entertainment/relief of duty, and reward emotional eating?

I will report for the last month, I have generally stayed within my weight watchers points, so things are doing a lot better.

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