Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Food. How did I get here? The sum of the parts.

One day, a really long time ago, around the time I was in first grade, I, a totally normal sized kid, looked down at my leg on a school desk chair and saw what I now know is normal 'spread' of my thigh.  I raised and lowered my leg and saw that it was 'fat' when down and suddenly, something clicked in me.

From that point on, my eating started to get out of control.  Between the ages of 7 and 8,  I gained 20 pounds and the pediatrician blasted me at my well child appointment.  Or maybe he didn't and it just felt that way but I was so shameful.  And I had no idea what to do about it. I mean, stop eating, ok, but how?

In any case, the years have taken me through Optifast, through Weight Watchers, Diet Centre, Nutri something,  that one with the food packages (you should have seen the 'kosher' menu!) Overeaters Anonymous and every other diet imaginable.  I know a lot about nutrition.

If I was a drunk, I would be one of those bowery bum types.  A street drunk who has lost everything.  In OA, I was able to follow a food plan for a year and a half but my compulsion with food is so strong that I was using 20 hours a day to stay on plan and I sucked as a wife, mother and friend. I was absent in so many ways, that it was sort of disturbing.  Added to that, the sponsorship thing really, painfully failed me, and you have a colossal rebound which cost me a 90 pound weight gain.  It's true that I wasn't willing to do what I needed to do, but it's also true that being in OA burned me worse than anything else in my life every had.  I don't want to go into detail.  You can ask me privately if you want. I will say that the 12 steps themselves, in particular 1-10 are the best things I ever came across and they have improved my life in countless ways, even if I am actively in the programme.  All these years after my OA debacle, I still do a tenth step throughout my day if I need to.  it keeps me sane.

I saw nutritionists who never seemed to know anything about my addiction or wanted to teach me calorie counts and such but never seemed to understand that if I was going to follow a plan at all, well, I couldn't.  Doing something about my lack of control and food started to  trigger me into doing  worse than I was before, then ending in binge eating unless I could give up my whole life and focus only on staying on plan, which with small children and a husband was clearly untenable.  I'm not saying its like that for everyone, but it is for me.

For a number of years after OA, I went about my business and felt generally hopeless that I would ever be able to lose weight or enjoy a healthy relationship with food.  One day, about 4 years ago, I had a sleep study done and the doctor, who was a great guy, expressed his concern to me that I was morbidly obese, but still had plenty of energy and he was worried that I would cross the line to where the fat/muscle ratio would put me at a place where I was unable to move at all.

He referred me to a Doctor at an anxiety clinic.  At first I thought maybe that might be the accountability I was looking for but in fact, they started treating the parts of me that were chemically out of line.  I had done a lot of behaviour mod and here was the leftover part that mod could not get to.  It was then, that my weight stabilized for the first time in my life since I was 6.  For a number of years now, I have been re-wearing clothing year after year and have even known the joy of donating something when I am sick of it!  What a miracle! I am a compulsive overweigher as well, so my only real way of knowing my weight is by how clothing fits.

Last fall, I had a check up and blood tests. All my bloods were good except one that was slightly elevated- My triglycerides. I had been considering seeing if there was a way to improve my food intake for training so that I could improve my time and start eating to fuel myself instead of eating uselessly.  The doc won't treat with meds before attempting food changes, so I signed up for the practice's dietician.

God bless her, she listened.  She gave me some basic knowledge and sent me off with one instruction.  Try to avoid simple carbs (or at least combine them with higher fiber items if they had to be eaten) and to try and be mindful of what I was eating.  Nothing else.  Just a place to start.

Remarkably, I have been more mindful and that is not to say I have been perfect.  Remember, there is no perfect, because I just have to be mindful.  We met again and we were just touching base and getting to know each other but decided not to change anything pre race since it was best to not change things right before a race.

When I returned from Miami, we had another sit down.  This time, my take away was that I needed to eat breakfast within two hours of waking up and then eat every three to four hours after that for as long as I was awake.  No food plan, just lets see what works.  Write down my food, take notes, see if the mindfulness that I have is helpful in any way.  Look for insights into those brutal feelings that I did something wrong and figure out why it was wrong even if it wasn't another time.  It's been two days and I have been keeping records and sending them to her.  Its all about experimenting to see what I really need to eat to be fueled well and also not contributing to my trigyceride issue.  I can't believe it but I feel hopeful again!

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