Tag Archives: cravings

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.

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The danger of quiet #wls #cbt #addiction

23 Apr

There is something deep within me, that cannot stand peace, quiet, sameness.  This little beast within me lives to incite change, shake things up, stir the pot.  Why is this?  What is the deep rooted part of me that at my heart can’t sit still?  Can’t enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon at home without anything to do?  Needs to eat, buy, go, move, do?  I do not understand this need, and I do not know how to stop it or what causes it.

Ironically, I’m incredibly lazy.  Its my mind that seems to need the activity, not my body.  My body gets unwillingly dragged along for the ride, used to the pull and draw of something new, something sparkly to keep my brain happy.

If I have food, I eat it.

If I don’t have food, I go get some.

If I have money, I spend it.

If I don’t have money, I figure out how to get some.

If I’m bored at work, I plot a change.

If I am worried at work, I play out all the scenarios to be prepared for any eventuality.

I’m like a CPU that is always running a bunch of unnecessary background processes and programs, keeping the computer running high and hot, without anything productive to show for it.

I don’t know what caused the patterns to form.  I don’t know what will satisfy this truly, because clearly food, money and upheaval aren’t doing it.

Why?  What will help?  I know I’m not the only one.  Whatever is beneath all these symptoms and behaviors won’t stop until I fix whatever “it” is.

I am musing all this as I try to consider the true motivations under a current change I’m considering.  Am I considering this change because of the monster within, or because there is a truly legitimate need for change?

How do I figure out WHY I behave this way?  Do I need to figure out why? How do I tell what is a legitimate need versus what is a need created by the monster?

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.

6 week post op, Groundhog day, awash in behavior change options

2 Feb

Well, yesterday I was officially six weeks post-op. I am really surprised how fast the time went. The time sure CRAWLED to get to the surgery date and through the liquids phases of the post-op diet. At this point, I basically feel like me again. I don’t have any tenderness in my tummy, my energy level is pretty much back to normal, and I am allowed to have a full range of diet options. What does all that mean? It means I feel like I am teetering on the edge of my own personal possibility of groundhog day, of either spring coming early, or an interminable stretch of time ahead of me where I continue to battle darkness, personal choices and challenges. I want spring to come early for myself, and with it the possibility of change, new behaviors and new hope. I want spring to come and bring me new confidence, increased self-esteem and higher belief in myself that I can change my behaviors, tiny steps at at time, to develop a new normal.

This surgery is sooo not about the physical and mechanical aspects of all of this. I keep thinking of other analogies in life and none of them quite work but have parts that resonate. At first I thought, its like declaring bankruptcy. But that is long before I realized the truth of the matter about weight loss surgery, about how the day of surgery is really just the beginning of hard work. Up until the last while, I realized that even a part of me felt I was taking “the easy way” out. But this is not the easy way out. Just because my stomach is smaller doesn’t change my personality, my habits, my behaviors. It is easier to stick to the post-op diet in the early phases, ironically. Honest to god, I do think its like the “rehab” equivalent for a drug or alcohol addict. The radical change in behavior, supervised medically, to ensure you don’t hurt yourself and have a chance at a do over. You don’t feel like yourself, you feel very “medical”, you fear complications if you choose the wrong behavior. But I can see that as the medicalness fades, and the risk of complications decreases over time, its just me out there. Me and the things I choose to do next to make my life different than it was before.

I started with a therapist locally last week, and I was given two homework assignments. “Stay in Today” and think about what triggers me to eat. The first assignment is better for me right now, because I can do that. I know that I have the tendency to spend my life thinking about everything but the day in front of me, and making today the best day I can make it. Imagine what the world would be like if you lived each day just focused on today? Trying to do what I can, just in the day, to make it good. After many of those days, the past starts to become easier to look back on, and the future starts to potentially become something less to worry about, if you’re taking care of each day, one at a time. I know this cognitively, but it is hard to change the behavior of daydreaming about tomorrow, in particular. When I pay off this bill I can….when I get my tax refund I can….when I weigh 199 I will….when I am a size 14 I will….What a shame that I have been living my life in suspended animation, always holding off the good stuff for later. What is going to be good about today? What is going to be good about today for you? Think about that. Because that is at the core of this thing, I think.

The thinking about what triggers me to eat is much harder, particularly because I’m post-op and everything just feels kind of different right now, if that makes any sense. I think because i have gone through my six week rehab, whatever triggers there are aren’t working the same way on me, so its hard to pinpoint what they are. I did identify the ones about travel back in October or whenever that was, for sure. So that was good, but in day to day life, I’m not necessarily seeing it. I know that at the end of a work day, I can feel pretty mentally wiped out and lazy, and that its easy just to succumb to going out. That is still true, and we eat out a lot, even now, post-op, but I am able to make good choices still when I am out. It is easier now that I have a wider choice on the menu. When i was in liquids or softs, I felt pretty pissy about eating only what I could eat. Now I feel pretty happy that I can eat a good portion of protein and try some tastes of other things. My worry is, its a slippery slope? Do I valiantly NOT have any tastes of other things, to avoid sliding down the slope, or is it better to have the tastes and get some joy out of it, so that I don’t take a nosedive off the top of the slope at some point? My guess is, that answer is different for everyone, and we have to find that truth within ourselves. Shit, I hate that answer. 🙂

Another thing we talked about was fear being at the base of a lot of behaviors like addictions (and i consider that I have a food addiction) And she mentioned that for a lot of people with issues with food and money, that fear of lack is at the core of it. I haven’t been magically been able to put my finger on the reasons I am the way I am. Its like an elephant in the room that I truly can’t see. I know certain truths about my past that I can logically see have probably influenced my life, but I haven’t had that big “a-ha” moment that I feel like I should have.

I am working so hard right now on amassing my knowledge around behavior change. I am a researcher my nature, I love to know about stuff, and why it works. So that is pretty time consuming. I can’t blindly follow one methodology either, so I am in the midst of learning about several, including The Beck Diet Solution, Change Anything, and Tiny Habits. Honestly they all support each other, and have different steps to approaching the same thing, which is behavior change. I like comparing them and taking different ideas from them, but at the moment I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by it all. I wish God would just knock on my head and say, “here, this is the way, you’re making this way too complicated.” But honestly, I feel that I have to practice some critical new skills that come out of these methods to get to the other side and see it get easier. One of the things I liked hearing about in Change Anything is this idea of “being a scientist” — to try different approaches and after you try them, look at them to see why they worked or did not work. This is something that honestly happens in my work life all the time, so why this should be so novel to me in my personal life is kind of ridiculous, but I like the idea of framing that way. Because again, it takes out the “that was a failure, therefore, I am a failure.” thought process. It makes all of this an experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, and then a matter of assembling those things that work and figuring out how to hang them together to make a total program of change.

I have joined an accountability group for six weeks with Tracy from mytinytank.net and some other lovely ladies that hopefully will join us as we go along. The idea is to commit to a single thing we want to make a change around and be accountable to each other to report our progress, our successes and our challenges. We have a once a week brief call to report on this, and are free to reach out to the other members durign the week to ask for support at crucial moments or victories. I like this! I think two elements I’ve avoided in past attempts to change behavior is social support and exercise. So therefore, these are two areas I am focusing on the most right now to help with setting in new habits.

Phew. That was soapboxy. Thanks for reading.

1 Week Post Op, How did I get so fat musings?

30 Dec

Well, I had my first week post op visit, it was pretty uneventful.  I had my staples removed, and the PA put on steri-strips.  Got a prescription for actigall, which I am supposed to start taking one month post op to protect my gallbladder.  Wish he had just pulled the darn thing at the same time 🙂  I only lost 2 lbs according to them, but my my home scale says I lost 6.  I think its somewhere inbetween.  I was wearing jeans and a sweater because I was cold, and that is a lot more than I’ve had on at past weigh ins.  Not exactly the huge amount I would have hoped for for having spent a whole week on clear liquids consuming less than 250 calories a day.  Hmm.  But I know it will start coming off.

So how am I feeling?  Pretty good!  I’m off the heavy duty pain meds, as of yesterday.  I still have twinges and pulls in my incisions, particularly when getting up, but I am walking about 5k steps a day so that is probably ok.  I need to gradually start increasing the walking.  I have not experienced any nausea or acid issues or vomiting or any of that stuff <knock wood>  I have had some things that kind of didn’t like going down, but the feeling passed quickly.  I do have a headache this afternoon, but all in all, not bad.  I miss my friend Advil, because that works so much better for me than Tylenol.  Boo.  My incisions all look good.  One was getting irritated, the top middle one, from my bra rubbing against the staples, but its much better now that all the staples are out.  The worst one is on the far right side, which is opposite of what most people say.  My doc said he does all the hard work through the one on the right because he gets a better angle on the stapler.

I was telling a fellow VSG buddy, FavoredOne, that I have this little stinkin’ thinkin’ thought that I will be the one person for whom sleeve doesn’t work, right?  Doesn’t everyone have these thoughts?   I have to step back and look at it and try to break it down.  I came home from the hospital having lost a bit, so its not that.  I spent a week on clear liquids with less than 250 calories a day.  I got in all my fluids and protein each day.  I did what I was supposed to do.  So I just have to wait and see, the weight has to come off sometime, right?

I started full liquids yesterday, and it is a lot better.  first day out, I went to P.F. Changs and got my favorite, hot and sour soup, and they blended it for me.  1 7 oz serving has 80 calories, 3 g fat, 9 g carbs and 7 g protein.  I love it.  I got the large bowl, and just measure myself out a small portion for lunch and dinner. One bowl that cost $5.95 will last me about….6-8 meals?  Amazing.  It fills me up really quickly.

I will admit to a couple of cheats and really weird behaviors.  I let two cella liquid center cherries melt in my mouth slowly on christmas day, and spit out the cherry itself.  I also had one tiny piece of potato chip and ground it to bits and let it go down with a drink of water.  then the weird(er) stuff.   I have chewed up some things that I liked, and spit them back out and rinse my mouth out with water after each bite.  I just wanted the taste and the sensation of chewing.  I can’t be the only person ever to do that. I know its stupid, but….I figure its better than actually eating it.  B

I find it interesting how different the advice on post-op diets are.  I am a member of verticalsleevetalk.com, and there is such a continuum.  I talk to people who are on clears for 14 days.  I talk to people released from the hospital on full liquids, and one who was released from the hospital on soft foods! FOr myself, I have 1 week of clears, 2 weeks of full, 3 weeks of soft and then by week 6 resuming to normal diet.

I read a great memoir last night, called ‘Designated Fat Girl” by Jennifer Joyner (jenniferjoyner.com) and it was really interesting, so many of the ways she described her food addiction, her thinking, her rationalization, her food binge choices mirror me.   It was a quick read and made me think.  She describes these behaviors as self-destructive.  which, ultimately, eating the way I have for all these years, is destructive.  I also have at least one other fairly socially accepted addiction that is self destructive, but I don’t make the link between why I have done what I have done/do what I do and wanting subconsciously self-destructive.  I just don’t get what my reasons for doing what I do are.  I don’t get it.  i have spent time in 12 step groups, but havent’ had a great enlightenment.  When does that come?

Yes, I have sexual abuse or molestation or whatever you might call what happened to me between ages 4-5, but on the scale of how bad those things can be, mine wasn’t as bad.  I have talked about it in therapy, I know its not my fault.

I always FELT fat.  When I was a kid, I was a little chubby, but not overweight.  teenage years as I shot up and was active in school stuff, I thinned out.  When I started college, I had an extremely obese roommate, and I think apart from major personality issues (she thought it was ok to have a 1.x GPA and never go to class, I was a “square” who had a 4.0 GPA that first year)  I think I was scared to look at her to know what I could (and have) become, as I already could binge like no one’s business.  That year, I didn’t gain the freshman 15, I lost about 10 lbs, because every time I would see her in our room, binging, often on my food, it disgusted me and I would go to the gym to exercise or run out on the trails.  I got married after my freshman year weighing 132 lbs and in a size 9, and still imagined that I was a fat girl.  What I would give to weigh that now!

My weight started to balloon up after I got married.  About a year after I had been married, I went to weight watchers for the first time.  I weighed 152 at that point (still, would kill to weigh that)  I gradually just gained and gained and gained.  A lot of people assume I can blame my weight on all the babies.  But nope. I was 250 before I got pregnant with my first, and have been bouncing up and down from that point for 15 years.

So I guess I am supposed to figure out why I do this.  I’m not sure, is it necessary to know why?  Will that keep me from doing it in the future or at least understanding it more?

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.  😀

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