We Need A Different Way Of Seeing Things

These two pictures were taken within two weeks of each other, neither photo shopped.  I was the same weight in both.
These two pictures were taken within two weeks of each other, neither photo shopped. I was the same weight in both.

I started this blog because I got tired of hearing how easy losing weight is. I got sick of hearing, “I lost weight like this and you can too!” This is typically accompanied by a picture of the happy smaller person in some sort of tight clothing, next to one when they weighed their worst. The worst picture is always of the person wearing something unfortunate and usually sitting down so their rolls are perfectly blatant or chin down, double chin emphasized. A picture like that could bring one to their senses and start a weight loss journey.

However, what really upsets me is the myth that is perpetrated by the media that weight loss is easy. If I did it this way– you can too. This is not true. In the most basic sense, yes, it is possible to lose weight a myriad of ways. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. It is even more unlikely that I will lose the weight the exact way anyone else has lost it. Everything I do, from waking up in the morning, to talking to my husband is different from anyone else. The most essential and basic relationship is the one with sustenance, and it’s a personal one. Not even my siblings like the same things or eat the same things I do and we are essentially genetically as close to one another as can be. We each have different emotional responses to food, exercise and will power. My own mother approaches food differently than I do, yet, the one stop shop method of weight loss is peddled from every media outlet possible.

One thing sadly missing from most weight loss programs or ideas is the emotional component. It seems blatantly ignored. If you look at other programs for addiction they deal with the emotional component. They ask questions like: How do you deal with stress, how can you get support, why do you use this addiction to cope, and how does your addiction affect the ones you love?

Here is the support food addicts get, jewels like: calories in/ calories out, eat less / exercise more, and nothing tastes better than skinny feels. The simplicity galls me.

What is worse is that over simplification can make failure all the more disappointing. By making weight loss seem easy then it makes it even harder not to internalize self hatred and pain. The fallacy perpetrated by most weight loss companies, that anyone can do their programs, does more harm than good.

For me, I didn’t realize how hard it could be until I had failed many times.  Each time I failed at a diet attempt or exercise venture, I would go into a deep guilt and binge for days. I am sure I am not the only one who didn’t realize that weight loss is a lifelong goal, and a very difficult one. No one admits they were deluded into believing that they could lose weight easily. I would say we are all patsy’s of the weight loss community. If you look at the statistics, you can see two thirds of Americans are overweight, I think that something is wrong with the system. There is a multimillion dollar industry out there, and it isn’t helping as much as we’d think. I believe the problem is the misconception that it is easy.

I want to show that losing weight and getting healthy is not easy. To weight loss professionals and to companies who provide weight loss assistance, I would like to offer this advice: don’t trivialize weight loss. If you want to be helpful, acknowledge the struggle it takes to change an entire lifestyle. Let those people, who do accomplish this great thing for their bodies, be even more proud because society could finally realize the difficulty. Even more, allow people who are having trouble losing weight be kinder to themselves so that it is easier to get back on a healthier path. Studies I’ve read show confidence and self esteem is an important factor in weight loss. It is time that as a society we started to work towards that goal instead of against it.

The third day meal

My husband is going to school and not working right now, as I have said before. In this arrangement he has taken over dinner duties, as is our deal. He has been doing a really good job since my diagnoses. He has been looking up low carb recipes on the web. He found a delicious one on Linda’s low carb web site. http://genaw.com/lowcarb/gyro_burgers_greek_salad.html This recipe was so delicious the first day, and then the second day when he sent the leftovers to work for me. I really did love the recipe.

The following day was a hard one for me. Work was particularly brutal with people yelling at me constantly. I don’t remember the specifics but I was grouchy. A permanent scowl had taken shape on my face. I had a headache that started in my shoulders. My feet were swollen and achy.

Around an hour before I got off I texted Brad, what’s for dinner? Sadly, I was looking forward to eating. A mood suppressor if you will. I was looking forward to something to satiate the anger in my soul. Notice I didn’t say Brad’s loving hugs, or his amazing soft lipped kisses. This is my embarrassment and my shame. I was basing my happiness that day on dinner. Please take a minute and soak up how pathetic I am.

Brad said he was using the left over Greek meat to make tacos. Now, I thought he meant that he would spice it with taco like spices and it would be a whole new meal. I thought good idea, way to be resourceful. Then when I saw him that night, he explained that he was just going to make it the same way. My response was so we are going to eat the same exact thing we have eaten the past three days, just in a tortilla?? He said, “Umm, well when you put it that way it doesn’t sound so good.”

I was a bitch about it. I pouted and didn’t talk. He was very kind about it after, but I really did act like a petulant teenager. I said things like, “All you have to do is make dinner.” Which isn’t true, Brad does almost everything for me. I was an ungrateful baby. I have since apologized and hopefully enough penance that he is putting it behind him. I recognize how horrible I was, but what I don’t understand is the disappointment.

That is also the other thing that embarrasses me to my core. How do I become like the birds, I mean I don’t believe they ever say worms again? How do I lower the priority of food in my life? How do I make better things more important to me than food? This is something that I have to negotiate. I mean I know that everyone has meals they look forward too, and I will always find pleasure with food. However, I don’t want to look forward to it so much that I am going to put more priority on it than the company of the man I love more than anything. I don’t mean that I want to transfer my addiction. I just need to realize why I do that. I need to learn to master my feelings so that I am not reliant on a good meal to make me feel better. I will have made myself feel better.

 

 

I want to use pretty soap

As a food addict, I use food to suffocate bad feelings. I use food to celebrate, to soothe myself, and to calm my anger. It is something that I believe is universal, using things whatever it may be to take ourselves out of reality. I don’t know if you have done it, but if you have you know it’s usually only a temporary reprieve. Instead of being able to savor a bag of fries, my new life is a piece of chicken and some veggies for lunch or dinner. While those things are delicious it isn’t quite the hit fries and ice cream provide. I know the theory that food like a drug seems intense or going overboard, but I know I use it like that. I know I feel a release when I eat really good things. I know I depend on it far too much. It is a common thing to feel comfort or joy from food. I must stop that, and halfway will do no good. I have to go all the way. I am doing pretty well this week. I could do better. Right now I am trying to get my blood sugars down to the standard 120 after I eat. The lowest I have gotten is 133. I am doing this by cutting out most carbs and eating less of everything else.

This is a sort of stringent way of having meal time. Brad says he will most likely lose weight because he will start hating food because of this. Every time we don’t have a preplanned meal and one of us is just hungry (me) we end up having this intense conversation.

He says, “How about cheese sandwiches and soup.”

“To many carbs,” I say.

“Rice a Roni?”

“All carbs.”

“Left over stew?”

“Yuck.”

To this he throws his hands in the air and goes into the other room to look for more options. It is an aggravating process and one which we are working to improve by having more quick options on hand. We aren’t as prepared as we want to be. It is a process.

So I have taken away our way of coping with things and we are both grieving for. Not to replace this coping mechanism, but to make the voyage easier I am doing things that make me feel good. I am delighting in small touches of luxury.Image

My work gave me this fancy soap. It is from Cost Plus and is grapefruit and tangerine scented. It was sitting in a container on my countertop for over a month. Yesterday I broke it open and decided to use it. It is so luxurious. It is thick and feels like there is lotion inside. Rolling it in my hands is a small meditative experience where it releases the moisture and the smell of the soap. It makes your hands smell like dreamsycles. I usually use the cheapest drug store bottle soap that just smells like soap.

Also I bought myself a present. I purchased the most beautiful dangly moonstone earrings. For six months or more I have been trolling etsy, and many other jewelry sites. It has been to long since I have gotten a new piece of jewelry. I haven’t bought clothes or anything else to pamper myself. I finally broke down this week and did it. They are absolutely beautiful on me, and I wore them three days in a row I was so excited.Image

Hot baths and naps are also ways in which I am being nicer with myself. I deserve time out, and to revitalize myself in a way that isn’t unhealthy. I deserve to pamper myself a little in this time of change. Everything is changing down to the tiny decisions I have to make, and because of that even the tiny hairs on the back of my neck are wound too tight. I have to write down every morsel that enters my mouth. I have to stick my finger every two hours. I have to exercise every day. All these things are carefully monitored and are stringent new requirements. I have to be kind to myself through all this.

Help a girl out

What brings me happiness? Is happiness Spoon Fed? Well I am sorry to say, yes, sometimes it is. In the fifteen years I have lived in Boise, I have not forgotten the joy I derived from the French Silk pie from Village Inn in Topeka, Kansas. I have tried many pies since then; of the famous and not so famous persuasion, but still nothing has brought that joy to me like Village Inn’s French Silk pie. The flaky sort of dry crust, the chocolate layer that is pure chocolate, no waxy aftertaste, no darkness , just smooth unadulterated pudding/mousse the perfect cool denseness that melts in your mouth slowly. It is topped with whipped cream that is thick and creamy and not to sweet, but not void of sweetness. I could write ode’s to this pie.

I don’t know if the magic of the pie is from its actual consistency, or if it is because of the time of my life that I consumed this pie. I remember it ravaged with coffee during late night talks with my best friend. Her laughter beguiling me into the night, and the freedom we felt out of school and able to travel on our own recognizance. We were in that sweet spot where your freedom outweighed your responsibility. Were you laughed more than you talked about what was to come, or what had come before.

I remember this pie, while reuniting with a friend after a relationship I was in ended in disaster. It gave me the courage to apologize for the abuse he put up with from the person I was in the relationship. I spent many more nights with that pie, regretting that relationship.

More often than not I am reminded of my emotional attachment to food, specific foods. There is a sort of chart in my mind: chocolate soaks up sadness, French fries anger, and the like.  Of course this sort of thinking isn’t good for me. I don’t think turning it around would help either, Brussels sprouts soaking up sadness? So I supposed coping in a different way would be better.  Part of the emotional rehabilitation I am hoping to put myself through is to figure out another way to make me feel better. What is the proverbial sugar medicine I need to take to make myself feel good, and why do I need that? Sometimes there are reasons you feel sadness and desperation and you can’t change them, you just have to wait them out. How do you cope with them without the standard vices? I want to self soothe as they say from the children’s books. So I am starting to think of all the things that soothes the Danielle’s soul.

What soothes you? I don’t mean just saying small things like chocolate, music, films, or books. How do they soothe, and what is it that soothes?  I am going to get specific, please you do too.

My beautiful Best Friend

Image
Flawlessly Beautiful

My best friend is beautiful. Not the everyday in your neighborhood beautiful. If not for her height, she is like Lord of the Rings, Elfin kind of beautiful. She has high cheekbones and beautiful lips with no little dip in the middle, and gorgeous almond shaped eyes, and she has always been skinny. Not model skinny, but average skinny. Well- let’s just put it out there, she will always be skinnier than me. Now I am not the jealous type, but there have been times when she would come over to my house and launch full on into a large bagel sandwich, or eat just about anything with vigor and I would think man, what would it be like to just not have to worry. We had a saying in our house, don’t know how it tastes give it to Christine. You know the saying, “she’ll eat it, she’ll try anything.” She was like a dude. Even though I sometimes looked at her and longed to have that freedom, weight never came up. She is an awesome friend and never brought it up with me, but if I brought it up she would give me encouragement. She knows a touchy subject when she sees it.

We have been friends through countless serious relationships, several major deaths, four or five major job changes, and one catastrophe after another. She is my confidant. She is the one that I go to when I am mad at my husband, or angry at traffic, or my boss smells like cheese. She makes me laugh, sometimes annoyed, but has never made me cry. In all my life, I don’t think there is anyone else who can say that. However, weight has never been an issue. We have never had detailed discussions about weight. We have never had anything other than a passing mention of weight.

Fast forward ten or so years (back off on the specifics) and Christine wants to lose a few pounds, and I need to lose a lot more than a few. I am starting this losing weight initiative, and she is running and eating healthy and doing yoga. I am pretty sure she did that stuff before intermittently but now she is serious. I think she is definitely doing better than I am. She is going through something now that I have been going through for a while.

She is looking up healthy articles and running in the snow. She is talking about the Biggest Loser. She keeps telling me what she learns. Now most fat people have had a skinny person once in a while tell her or him facts about losing weight. I had a guy at work once say, “I been doing Atkins and lost about five pounds, you should try it.”

I looked at him quizzically and said, “Why?”

He said very emphatically, “To lose weight?”

I then repeated, “Why?”

He looked at me incredulously and just stared.

People think that they can comment on a fat person’s weight as if they aren’t aware that they need to lose. It’s as if I went up to someone who wears Mom pants and said You know, they make new pants now that don’t crawl up to your boobs.

Ever since I was in fourth grade when I read my first weight loss book, second grade when I first bent to my first Jane Fonda video, and that’s not counting watching Richard Simmons while eating potato chips years before that. I have been researching the best way to lose weight for almost thirty years. I know about almost every program out there…the healthy and unhealthy. I have gone to doctors, attended meetings at various weight loss institutions, and even done individual counseling. I have done everything short of pills and surgery, which I refuse to entertain.  Let’s not even talk about the countless family and friends that have tried to help me lose weight. Christine never has. She knows I’ve struggled, but has never broached me about. I guess she figures that if I want her help, I’ll ask for it.

So like I said, the other day she started telling me stuff she learned from Biggest Loser. She started the sentence with “Did you know…” I instantly shut down. I am distraught all of a sudden. Is my best friend trying to tell me how to lose weight? Does she think I haven’t researched this? So I told her, “We should talk about the losing weight thing.”

“Yeah,” she said apprehensively.

“I don’t really like to talk about the weight thing. I have read countless magazines. If it came out in Self, Shape, Eating Well, or Cooking Light in the past three years, I have heard it.”

“Well then who do I have to talk about it too?”

It was in that moment that I felt the most selfish than I ever have in our relationship. So yes she is absolutely gorgeous, with a small waist and a perky butt. So yes she is a great and wonderful friend. I am an asshole. She needed someone to talk too, and because of my situation I could only think of my needs. It just goes to show that you never know what people are thinking. In any other situation I would have asked her to clarify, or figured she was talking about herself. Because weight talk makes me crazy, I thought the worst of my friend after all these years. For that I am sorry.