Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The ice cream people are relentless

I have come to hate how Ben & Jerry's is constantly rolling out new flavors and Limited Edition crap.  If I didn't have issues, I wouldn't hate it.  I wouldn't even be AWARE of it.  But I'm hyperaware of it and staying out of the ice cream aisle is the only way to reduce that awareness.

If I keep visiting the ice cream aisle, one of these days I'm going to see Ben & Jerry's vanilla hey remember that time in sixth grade when your friend Chris's mom brought frosted brownies with dinosaur sprinkles to a school event and it was the best fucking brownies you'd ever tasted? Well, those brownies are in this carton chunk ice cream.  I swear it.

I almost bought a pint of Brownie Chew Gooder the other day.  It has brownie chunks and a caramel swirl in vanilla ice cream.  Then I asked myself WHY?  You've had vanilla ice cream, you've had caramel, you've had brownies, what is the big damn deal?  I'm glad I walked away.

Really, I see new products all the time that make me go "oooooh!"  But if I take a second to think about it, it's never any flavor profile or ingredient that I've never had.  It's s'mores in pop-tart form, or red velvet cake in ice cream form, or salted caramels in a cookie form, etc etc etc.  It never stops.  It's never gonna stop.  Therefore, I have to stop myself from falling for the relentless bullshit that marketers dream up.

Like I said, it's my issues.  I wish this ridiculous struggle didn't occupy so much of my energy and time.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Headaches, a screaming baby, and a sabotaging husband?

Yesterday was a reduced calorie day--my new term for those two days a week I greatly slash calories on my modified version of the 5:2 diet.

I'm still tweaking it into something that works for me.  Between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m. I ate two bananas, a cup of blueberries, and two meals of salmon and asparagus.  But my head started hurting around 6 p.m. and just got worse and worse with each passing hour.

Though fully aware that it was my "diet day", my husband ordered pizza, and then asked if I wanted to go out for cupcakes.  I said no.  So he proposed ice cream.  What the fuck, right?

I went to bed fairly grumpy at 10 p.m. and told myself I'd feel better in the morning.  Then the baby, who normally sleeps peacefully from 9 or 10 p.m. until about 8 in the morning, woke up SCREAMING and could not be comforted.  I could not figure out what was wrong, but I got her back to sleep after about 20 minutes.  An hour later it happened again!  Crying worse than before, and we could not get her to calm down.  We were actually a bit scared and I texted my mom, who's a nurse (and a mother of five).  We never did figure it out, but she eventually wore herself out and slept again.

That second time did me in.  I was on hour 6 of that damn headache and stressed and I went for the pizza.  Three slices of cheese pizza, a hot cocoa, and two Excedrin later, I felt physically better, albeit disappointed in blowing my plan at midnight, just as the day was coming to a close.

I don't think I drank enough water yesterday, simply because I wasn't tracking it.  And I waited until too late in the day to eat my first meal of fish and vegetables. Hence the headache.  Furthermore, I should have asked my husband to wait on the pizza and let him know that his ice cream and cupcake proposals were really bothering me.

I'd say he is sabotaging me, only...doesn't that usually start to happen once someone is visibly LOSING weight?  I'm not even there yet!  Seems too early for that sort of thing.  I think it's more an issue of him not taking my diet seriously, because he's never seen me embark on one in a serious, prolonged fashion.  Maybe he's testing me.  Whatever it is, I don't appreciate it.

While eating breakfast this morning, I realized I wasn't actually hungry and didn't need to be eating yet. I was still reacting to the night before.  That's one good thing about this 5:2 plan; it helps you see more clearly when you are overdoing it and eating for reasons other than hunger.  I don't always stop, but my awareness has been improved, and that's a start.

I'm doing another reduced day on Friday, and between smarter timing of meals, more water, and more assertiveness towards my husband, I hope I can avoid a headache and feel more resilient in the face of midnight baby screams or whatever else life has in store for me!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Gretchen Rubin on Abstinence versus Moderation

I googled "abstinence versus moderation" and this popped up:


So many opinions out there, as the comment section shows.  I guess a person has to figure out what will work for THEM.  How can I not know by now?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Sick of it

My in-laws are here again this week and I've fallen into old ways yet another time: using sugar as a drug to cope with stress, anxiety, anger, resentment.  I don't need to go into details about how much I hate their visits and why, because the real issue that is plaguing me is my inability to deal with unpleasantness without numbing myself via unhealthy and excessive food.

I no longer meet the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder, but I feel despair over my continued emotional eating and overeating (and of course, my weight).  And there are so many habits and behaviors that go into this that I hate.  I hate that I still feel a pull to buy whatever Limited Edition bullshit that is being rolled out each week by the Oreo people, the Ben & Jerry's people, or the Haagen Dazs bastards.  I hate that I'll go weeks without McDonald's and then fall into again, because that stuff is utter trash and when the smiling worker at the drive-thru window hands me my bag, I often sarcastically think "assisted suicide, hooray!"

I hate that today, I went to the supermarket to buy a stash of cheap candy bars to keep in my closet to get me through the rest of the in-law visit--an old bingey behavior and the exact same thing as your average pothead squirreling away his or her stash--and that I bought my 5 month-old organic pureed baby food in the same visit.  I felt utterly ridiculous unloading my cart onto the conveyor belt at checkout.  And I felt like a horrible mother.  I'm looking at my beautiful baby girl in her carseat and she's wearing a onesie that says "mommy loves me", and mommy can't get herself under control enough to ensure that she won't die of a heart attack in the next 10 years and leave her child without a mother.  I feel very much like an addict.

I am an addict, basically.


I think I need drugs.  I know that's funny, given the statement I just made.  But the bottle of Percocet I brought home from the hospital after my C-section has given me some perspective.

A little over five months ago, I came home with a dozen Percocet.  And I LOVE how they made me feel--they chill you out, block all pain, and make you feel like your limbs are turning into liquid gold.  Because I only had 12 pills and knew I wouldn't be able to get a refill, I typically only used them on nights when physical pain (usually a terrible headache) coincided with extreme emotional pain and severe anxiety.  And they wiped ALL the pain away, physical and mental/emotional.  More than once after taking them I thought, "if I had access to these all the time, I'd have no need to abuse food.  I'd be downright skinny."

I'm not saying that abusing prescription drugs is any better than abusing food, or that I ACTUALLY WANT to trade one addiction for another.  (I took my last remaining Percocet yesterday, incidentally.)  What I'm really trying to say is that Percocet showed me the effect I've been trying to achieve with food, for years and years: relaxed, mildly good-humored, free of pain.  And it showed me that food doesn't do as good a job creating this state as drugs designed for this very purpose do.  No surprise there!

I've been trying to drug myself with food for a long time, when perhaps what I really need is ACTUAL DRUGS.  Appropriate drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist that can help me with the mental states that keep knocking me off my feet.  A few years ago, I took Prozac for a few months, but stopped when it became clear that I'd have to up the dose to continue reaping the benefits of the drug.  At the time, that didn't sound good to me, and furthermore, I was starting to get interested in having a baby and didn't want antidepressants in my system.  But I have to admit that I'm not making progress by drugging myself with sugar and that my current drug of choice has horrible side effects too (can you call "keeping oneself on the brink of diabetes at all times" a side effect?).  I have to admit that my meditation practice has helped, but it's not enough at this point.

The understanding that I'm drugging myself with food and sugar has always been there, but a willingness replace this with actual prescription drugs instead hasn't.  Until now. The hunt for a good psychiatrist is on.


Maybe a psychiatrist can help me sort out the question of moderation versus abstinence.  That question has spun me around and around, and when it recurs I feel like I've made no progress at all.  I mean, just a post or two ago I spoke about how the  5:2 diet doesn't require you to give up dessert and how that's better for me, given "how I'm wired."  And here I am again, questioning.


On one hand, there are several people whose intelligence and experience I really respect that advocate moderation.  They say you aren't really at ease and therefore haven't really solved your problem until you can be moderate around sugar and other indulgent foods.  This makes sense to me.

Add to this the fact that I've never succeeded at abstinence for more than a few weeks at a time, and that involved much white knuckling, and there was usually crazed consumption of sugar afterwards that undid any good that was achieved.

Add to this my past experience with OA, which preaches sugar abstinence.  I didn't see many success stories in those church basements.  There were a few abstinent people, and they seemed batshit crazy with OA-speak...and the rest had been struggling for years but kept coming back to the meetings, believing it to be their only hope.

And then there are my stints in "treat legalization", which I have found really does decrease my desire for sweets. (ETA: It decreases my desire for the specific treats I legalize.  I wouldn't say it decreases my desire in general.)  And mindful eating has shown me that I can be satisfied with less of something at a sitting: a smaller slice of cake, fewer cookies, whatever. So I have experienced other modes of eating treats that give me some hope.

Taken together, that's a lot in favor of moderation.

But then there's the reality that I'm so often NOT moderate.  I overdo it, over and over again, and I'm hurting my health.  My bloodwork and the way I feel day-to-day is proof enough of that.

And so often, my thought while buying and eating crappy foods is "I hate this.  I'm sick of this."  I'm not even enjoying it, or paying attention to the food...because all I'm after is the high, anyway, and half the crap I buy disappoints when it comes to flavor.  So yeah, I *know* how to eat mindfully, sure, but I usually don't do it, because eating mindfully interferes with the pursuit of a drugged state...which is what I'm after 90% of the time I eat sweets.  Even now, even though I no longer binge like before.  I'm still after that altered state.

Lastly, I've been studying the dharma for a year and half now, and it has helped my life in various ways.   Many Buddhists would advocate giving up anything that makes you suffer--sense pleasures, relationships, pursuit of status or fame...really anything you grasp at desperately that leads to repetitive suffering.  For me, sweets surely fall into that category.  I suffer because of them, in a way that many other people don't.  And so often I think my life would be happier and more peaceful if I could let go of them completely and be free of the suffering they cause.

So taken together, that's a lot in favor of abstinence.

Conclusion: I need help to get out of this confusing abyss I've been in for too long.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

How embarrassing--ALREADY adjusting the 5:2 diet

It took me two full days to recover from Monday's fast.  I felt so bad that I have decided to tweak the plan a bit, and eat two 500-calorie meals on "fast days" instead of one for while.  It will still be good protein and green vegetables, and given my normal daily caloric intake, I do believe that bringing myself down to 1,000 calories/day two days a week will result in a pound or so of fat loss each week.

I simply cannot feel that weak, tired, and lightheaded 4 days each week while taking care of my baby (Monday while fasting, Tuesday while recovering from Monday, Thursday while fasting, and Friday while recovering from Thursday).

Today I've had a salad made with mixed greens, turkey breast cutlets, and carrots and I'm happy to know I will have salmon and asparagus before bed.  And I won't feel awful tomorrow.  Perhaps my body will become adjusted to fewer calories and more hours between meals over the next several months, and then I can do the 5:2 diet as written without it being such a shock to the system.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

My second fast

June 3rd was my second fast. This time, hunger sensations and the psychological desire for food wasn't as bothersome as during the first fast, but I felt weak and more tired than usual throughout the day. By bedtime, my muscles felt sore even though the most physical thing I did all day was go for a short stroll in the park with the baby.

I ate at 5 pm and then continued fasting until 9 am this morning. It's now 10:30 and my body feels a bit better but all I really want to do is go back to sleep. I could use 3-4 hours of solid sleep!!

Before breaking the fast, the scale was down another 2 lbs.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Notes on my first fast

My first fast was Friday, May 31st.

I tried to fast on Thursday the 30th, but I messed up in the morning and simply decided to try again the next day. I didn't have that old desire to wait until Monday to begin (translation: binge Thursday through Sunday night and then start anew on a magical, mystical Monday morning).

The fast went fine. I found it easier to deal with the hunger pangs before eating my one meal than I did after eating. At 4pm I had cottage cheese, broccoli, and salmon. I was hungry a few hours later but made it through the evening by drinking water and staying busy.

I wanted to wait until about 8 a.m. Saturday morning to eat again, but caved at 2 a.m. while up with a fussy baby. So that's something I will have to guard against in the future: emotions and fatigue getting the better of me. Nevertheless, I met the goal of eating only one 500 calorie meal in a 24 hour (and then some) period.

The scale is down 3 pounds as of today, but I'm not taking that too seriously at this very early stage.

My next fast is tomorrow. Mondays and Thursdays are my planned fasting days.

Anyone else out there doing some form of intermittent fasting?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Starting the 5:2 diet

Most people that have had weight problems for a long time usually say things like "I've tried everything over the years, including Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach..."

I can't say that.  I've tried a few things, sure.  I've tried intuitive eating and the no S diet, for example.  But anytime I reviewed the mainstream diets out there and saw restrictive food lists (Atkins, Medifast) or the need to count calories or points or carbs on a daily basis, I knew that I'd never ever stick to it.  Ever.

I was never willing to crash diet for special events, either, which meant I was a fat bridesmaid at my brother's wedding and a fat matron of honor at my sister's wedding.  I don't like looking at photos from those events, but I believe I'd be even fatter than I am today had I rushed to lose weight in an unsustainable manner for the weddings.

All this is to say I'm not a big "diet" person.  I met the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder for many years, and I still have problems with bouts of emotional, compulsive eating, so for a long time now my focus has been on dealing with that.

The binge eating problem has gotten much better over the past year or so, but my weight remains stuck.  I've been bouncing around the 250s for quite some time now, and for the last month, I've been right around 262.  I'm not okay with that.  I could easily go from 262 to 272, and then....will I go higher than my all-time high of 275?

So I'm actually going to try a diet!  The 5:2 diet, in which you limit yourself to 500 calories two days a week and eat as you normally do on the other days of the week, appeals to me for a few reasons:

1.  I'm a total Anglophile.  (Kidding, kidding.  I AM an Anglophile but that's not why I'm doing this.)

2. I'm not willing to count calories every day.  5:2 requires me to count calories two days a week and I think I can do that if I keep it simple, using the same on-plan meal for my fasting days for a few weeks and then moving on to a new one, repeating that one for awhile, and so on.

3.  My attempts to give up particular foods, mostly desserts, has always led to disastrous backlash in the past.  It's a psychological issue, and it's not going away.  Better if I simply work with how I'm wired.  I do not have to give up dessert on this plan.

4.  I like how I feel when I give my body a break from food for a reasonable period of time, and regularly go 12-14 hours without food already (that includes sleeping time, though).

5.  In general, I'd rather suffer a bit two days a week than suffer every single day on a very restrictive or burdensome plan.

I just finished my first fast and it went well!  More to come...