A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Day One

To be brutally honest here, day one was scary and difficult and without Ted I wouldn’t have got through it.

The food replacement shakes I’m using as my primary food source contain a lot of protein, so they do prevent my stomach from growling – but I’m essentially living off of powder and water at the moment.  For someone as food-obsessed as I am this quite simply feels frightening.  I feel weirdly empty, not precisely hungry, but very unsatisfied.

I also have to explore ways to change up the flavor fast, because after a single day I’ve already grown a little bored with the way the shakes taste.  The vanilla one reminds me of a McDonald’s shake, which tastes okay – but imagine drinking a very heavily iced one… for every meal.

I think I may need to brush my teeth immediately after eating.  The things taste good at first but they leave a slightly weird aftertaste that tends to linger.

I keep reminding myself that an uncomfortable adjustment period is probably natural and necessary, and that many other people both bigger and more addicted than myself have managed to successfully do this.  I have to believe that today was the worst it will be and it’s all downhill from here on out.  But as long and hungry as today at work was, I will fully admit that I’m freaking out a little bit right now.

At the clinic they impressed upon me the vital importance of getting a strong start and sticking firmly to the program in the beginning.  If you get a weak start and cheat right away things only degenerate from there, so I’m determined to hang in there – but I’m no titan, tears were shed.

Awake at 3AM

It’s nearly three o’clock in the morning and I just woke up irrationally afraid.  Simple fear really, just that I will not be able to do this thing and will crack and hoover down a mountain of cookies while nobody is looking (I begin tomorrow… well, technically today).  So here I am, calming my thoughts by seeing them in comforting, neat rows of black text.  I also keep repeating a verse to myself as a reminder:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

It’s to remind me that strength comes from a place of infinite and inexhaustible resource.

Additionally, I keep seeing Matt Damon in my head.  No, seriously.  In the trailer for his new movie Elysium he’s lying on a table waiting for someone to do something horrifying and medical to him and he’s giving himself a short, straightforward pep talk: “This ain’t gonna kill me.”  You can see it at a minute and ten seconds here:

 What?  So my brain is a wee bit melodramatic.

I had my appointment with the endocrinologist who works in conjunction with the clinic tonight before my first class meeting.  He is a slightly owlish, dryly funny and soft spoken man.

He told me that since I’m such a healthy patient with no current weight-related complications or illnesses I’ll need minimal check-in’s with him and the nurse as we go along.  I think that means in a month or two they’ll just be making sure that no malnutrition or imbalances are forming rather than having to carefully watch me on a more weekly basis.

When I described to him my exhaustion from dealing daily with food addiction and my desire to detox for a while from everyday foods in order to build a better relationship to them, he said something to me in response that struck me far more deeply than he could have realized.  He told me, “these behaviors you are describing are not character flaws on your part, they’re just human nature.”  He said this so calmly and in a matter-of-fact way, and may or may not know what incredible comfort it is to hear from a medical professional who specifically works in the field of weight management that no, I’m not weak and flawed and wrong and different in some way – I’m merely human.  You know, like everybody else on the planet.

He explained to me that our focus is not going to stop me from eating during my “dangerous” time of day (ie. right after work – which he said is probably a piece of my permanent, mental hard wiring that was developed when I came home from school each afternoon as a child and had a snack).  Rather, we are going to work on retraining me to eat at that time without binging on unhealthy foods and provide me with resources that will be satisfying and filling to have – but will not derail my entire healthy eating day.

So that’s my diagnosis: normal person in otherwise good health who just needs a few habitual behaviors modified (not abolished) in order to achieve a personal goal.  Not a freak, not a glutton, not the sole source for skyrocketing health care costs in America: just ordinary me.

I think it’s time to go back to bed.

Friday, August 23, 2013

One Last Kiss

I’m in a holding pattern right now.

I made the decision to change my life via a radical diet plan almost two weeks ago, but due to scheduling conflicts with getting my initial physical exam at the clinic I cannot actually begin the program until this Thursday.

On the upside, I had an EKG done yesterday morning (which is sort of like getting attacked by a large medical cephalopod) and discovered that I have a very healthy heart with a strong sinus rhythm, which of course made me immediately think about my nose.

Having made up my mind to do this, the waiting is really difficult.  There’s a certain amount of anxiety for me regarding giving up solid foods, even though they assure me that I will not be hungry on the program I fear feeling empty, depressed and out of control.  The best way I can think of to combat this is to tackle it head on and get started, get day one over with… but I have to wait.

Much like Inigo Montoya, I hate waiting.  It’s also dangerous because I have been plagued with a near constant impulse to, “EAT NOW – WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!”

I’ve been bracing myself for negative feedback from the people around me, and though there has been some it’s mostly taken the form of natural human concern over the idea of giving up food.  We are supposed to eat food – so deciding to walk away from all solids makes people understandably uncomfortable.

By and large though I’ve been blessed by abundant promises of encouragement and support from the people around me, even the ones who are slightly scared that I may be walking into doing myself medical harm.  The love I’ve felt over the last couple of days is both beautiful and overwhelming.

The other day I was complaining (okay… whining) about this interminable waiting period to my friend Kristina, who has been a beacon of positive energy and encouragement to me since the day I shyly told her what I planned to do.  She told me something about the waiting period that stopped me in my whiney tracks.  She told me that there’s a good reason for this waiting.  This time gives me an opportunity to concentrate on completely feeling and enjoying the last step before it’s time for a new beginning.  She told me to go ahead and enjoy food, because when I’m not actively behaving like an addict anymore although it will be nice, it won’t be the same.  She told me that it’s critical that I walk into this change from a place of positivity and love, not from hate or dislike.   She said it’s my time to truly love myself and who I have been all these years, and then it’s time for me to finally say goodbye.

And when I think about that, really think about saying goodbye to the fat girl I have always been – it’s harder to do than I ever thought it could be.  Not just because she was comfortable and because sitting on the sofa with a bag of chips was a satisfying thing to do, but because of how I’ve treated her all these years.  When I think of what I should say to that girl, the words that keep coming to mind are, “I’m so sorry.”

I’m sorry I never loved you the way you are.
I’m sorry I never let you be as fabulous as you could be.
I’m sorry I looked at parts of you with such vitriol that I fantasized about cutting into them with a knife.
I’m sorry I hated you when you were strong and capable and always took me wherever I wanted to go.

So I told her how sorry I was for all these things.

And then I knew it was time to give her that one last kiss goodnight.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Rock Bottom

I guess it looks kind of different for everyone.

I met a woman a few weeks ago who was asked to step off of an amusement park ride because she was preventing the shoulder harnesses from lowering properly for the rest of the riders.  Not a gigantic woman, just an ordinarily obese one.  In fact, she was about the same size as me.  Her children crying and berating her for being the “fat” mom who ruined the ride for them was her rock bottom moment.

My horror over the way she was treated by her own children aside, this was what rock bottom looked like for her.  I had a similar experience where I was crushed and bruised by the lap bar of an amusement park ride a couple of years back, but for whatever reason that wasn’t rock bottom for me.

Mine involved Ted.

After ten years of telling me every single day that I am the most beautiful and sexy woman on the entire planet, he finally realized that I am never going to believe him.  I am never going to believe him because he spends every night with me building me up, and then every single day I step outside our front door (or just turn on the TV or browse the internet) and the entire rest of the world attacks and breaks me back down.  The pain in his eyes when he realized this was too much for me to bear any longer.

I wish I had the strength to tell the world to sod off, and that I’m beautiful the way I am and that’s all there is to it.  For a couple of years now I’ve been trying to focus on eating healthfully, exercising regularly, and loving my body the way it seems meant to be – but it has become abundantly obvious that I am not strong enough to maintain a healthy self-esteem in a world that resents my very existence.

I want cute clothes.  I want to be a nerd who engages in Cosplay.  I want to see myself in the mirror and pictures and like what I see.

Beyond that, I have a family history of arthritis and joint problems.  My right ankle is already so damaged by repeated ankle sprains that it is never the same size as my left ankle.  I cannot wear shoes with a heel because of this damage and weakness.  I want to wear cute shoes.

All of these are enough of a reason, so I’m waving the white flag and I’m taking a pretty drastic step.

I am not having surgery, but I am seeking the assistance of a Doctor and following a course of action that involves both drastic calorie reduction for my body and treatment of food addiction for my mind.  I am going to be off of solid food for the foreseeable future beginning on Thursday the 29th, and I will be monitored to make sure I’m not developing malnutrition or other complications.

In my head, I’m thinking of this as detox.  It’s the only way I could find for a food addict to go cold turkey off of their drug of choice.  Eventually, I will re-learn how to eat, hopefully with a healthier and more stable relationship with food and a viewpoint of it as fuel, not as pleasure or a substitution for other needs.

It has now been almost four years since I started this blog with the intention of using it to help myself lose weight, and I am fast approaching what will be (once again) day one.