Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Stumbling blocks’ Category

…about why I reach for comfort foods when I do.

The question was: “What makes you reach for a comfort food?”

My answer was:

“Lots of things make me reach for comfort foods: boredom, anxiety, unhappiness, anger…all the usual emotions one tries to shove down because they are not things that can be dealt with at whatever moment they are occurring. Any time there is an emotional hole it seems like food is what I have been trained to use to fill it.

One of the leaders that I like at at Weight Watchers tells the story of the kid who falls and scrapes his knee all to heck while his parents are out of the house. The kid goes crying to the babysitter, who gives him a cookie, telling him that the cookie will make it better.  The kid believes her, and instead of eating the cookie, he holds it to his knee.because he hasn’t yet been acculturated to eating things to take his mind off “bad” things like pain.

And the truth is we have learned to eat certain foods as comfort foods, to turn to them when we have feelings that we don’t want to deal with, or that are among those considered unacceptable to show under whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

One of the hardest parts of doing Weight Watchers honestly is looking at this, by the way, and realizing that when I do stuff down feelings that that is something I am choosing to do.  I’m at the point where I can sometimes decide not to do that, but sometimes I find myself eating before I’ve even thought it out and made a conscious choice.  Hopefully, I will continue to become more conscious of the impulse before I run to the cabinet or fridge, but right now, it is what it is, and I am dealing with it as best I can. And, yes, there is always room for improvement.  I’m not making excuses, just acknowledging the truth of where I am at the moment.”

And that’s mostly the truth. See, the thing is that I am struggling right now. I am not weighing and measuring. I am not tracking. I am eating what I want, when I want, and not always making the kinds of healthy choices I know I am capable of making. The result is predictable; I am gaining weight.

Do I want to lose the weight I gained back? Yes. Do I want to get back on track? I believe I do.  Then why can’t I stop doing what I know will contribute to my unhappiness down the road?  I don’t have any kind of answer to that, let alone a good answer.

I’m not looking for sympathy here; I’m just acknowledging the truth for me right now.  I’m at a loss, and I have no idea why. RIght now, I’m just hoping that if I keep being honest about what is going on, I will be able, at some point, to peel away whatever the layers are and get to the cause of how I feel, so that I can deal with it.

Right now, it feels kind of hopeless.  I know what I want to be doing, but I’m not there. I know that there are a lot of things that losing the weight will fix, including some of the health issues that are depressing the heck out of me. I know I hate the way things are right now. Robert (a WW leader) used to say that we don’t change until staying the way we are becomes more painful than changing is.  I’m wondering how much pain I will have to heap onto myself before that happens — because that’s what it feels like.

And, yes, I am mad at myself for gaining back as much weight as I did.  I know it’s pointless to do that, because I cannot change what I have done, only what I will do.  But right now it just seems very hard to do that.

Ah, well, the main thing is that I am still here, and still trying – na matter how weird or screwed up my efforts are at the moment. People keep telling me that one of my major attributes is persistence, so I am praying that it kicks in again soon.


Not sure why, or what’s going on yet, but I trust the process enough that I know I will get back to wanting to be on program.

Today was kind of a weird day.  Got up and actually got some work done, then took off to the local Medicaid Office to drop off some papers, which killed about three hours.  After that, I was hungry, so on my way home I stopped in at my local Dominican restaurant, which had recently changed its name and hours.  Found that the owners are still the same people, which made me very happy.

While I was eating lunch, messages started coming in about the bombing at the Boston Marathon, which horrified me.  Of course, not much else has been on the news since, even though at this point it’s pretty much all repetition of what we already know. I’m expecting the news will be like this for at least a few days.  Don’t get me wrong — my heart goes out to those injured and to the families of those killed. I just hate the endless repetition of the same footage, and the same speculations. I don’t see any purpose to it. Those of us with brains know how horrible this was, especially those of us with brains who lived through the WTC destruction.  All I see this doing is creating a huge panic situation, and maybe more hatred and bigotry until the culprit(s) are found.

Anyway, I still have some work to do, because after all the news I decided that I needed a nap, and I slept through much of the evening.

So I will see everyone Wednesday.

I admit it — the last few weeks, I’ve basically been ignoring the program. I’ve been so busy feeling sorry for myself that I forgot that all it really takes is one choice after another to change things.

So, I’ve had a slight setback. I gained back a bit of what I had lost while in the hospital — nowhere near all of it, mind, but enough to make me sit up and look at what I’m doing, and ask myself if I really want to throw away all the good work I’ve done so far. (I don’t).

My current weight is 237.2, which is still a drop of 25.2 lbs., and I am very proud of that.

I had a really good insight at meeting today, too, but it kind of needs a bit of leading up to, so please be patient.

On Sunday, a friend on Plurk mentioned that she was signing up for a free 21-day meditation course, and I decided to give it a try. Now I have never been able to sit through meditation courses without falling asleep before, and the gods know that I’ve tried.  I can’t tell you how many times instructors at Integral Yoga (my favorite yoga place) have had to tap my shoulder to wake me up after meditation sessions.  However, a lot in my life has changed, so I figured it was worth a shot. So far (Day 5) things are going well — I have not fallen asleep during the sessions, and I seem to have figured out how to deal with the stray thoughts that try to grab my attention. I simply bring my attention back to the mantra we are reciting that day.

Well, I woke up this morning to find that one of clients had something of an emergency and was wondering if I could help out.  Being a client I genuinely like, I agreed, and immediately began putting up coffee, feeding the cats so they wouldn’t annoy me, making breakfast so I could function, etc. By the time I got back to the computer, my thoughts were going ten miles a minute in about twenty different directions. Then I thought that instead of waiting for the email from the meditation program that today’s session was active, I would log in and see if it was ready. It was, so I sat for a few minutes and did the session, including the journaling afterwards. By the time I was done, I was centered enough that I knocked out the needed work in about an hour, with very little drama.

Now, fast forward to my WW meeting. I was sitting there taking notes, and someone else was doing major drama over how could she stick to program during Passover because she would have to be eating so much matzoh….Well, several folks noted that you only have to eat a certain amount of matzoh, then another person noted that different people had different family or community traditions. (It was finally agreed that whether you ate the larger or the smaller amount of matzoh, you tracked it, and moved on). Now that last sentence is the key one — you track it and move on.  It hit me that it’s just like meditation — you don’t need to create a ton of drama around it; you note it and bring your attention back to where you want your attention to be; in this case, to doing your program.

Since I have no idea how many people in my group are familiar with meditation (a large number of the folks there are either Orthodox Jews or traditional Catholics), I didn’t mention this during the meeting, but did tell it to my leader afterwards.

Yes, it’s a little thing, but it’s one of those key little things that makes everything else function.

When you go off track, do you create a lot of drama, or do you just quietly bring yourself back to where you want to be? Do you find it easy or difficult to do so? Was my analogy helpful to you in any way, shape, or form?

‘Til next time…..have a great week!

I’ve been off my program lately.

I’m not sure what the stumbling block is, but I am not going to bevat myself up about it. I do want to get back to being on point, but I seem to be craving a lot of foods that are, shall we say, a bit on the counterproductive side.

I suspect that part of it is depression over my health, and part of it is resistance to having to make more adjustments to my diet, which my brain is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the necessity of.

I know that I need to get myself back on track, but I also know that forcing it will just lead to me resisting what I need to do for my own health.

The other thing I know is that this is just a bump in the road. I will get back on track, even if it takes a while. It’s not just an “I want to look good” thing, it’s an “I want to feel like myself again” thing.

When I woke up today from my regularly scheduled nap, I had forgotten to change the channel on the tv, and what was playing was one of those celebrity gossip shows. Now I don’t watch those, but as I was reaching for the remote they started talking about Chaz Bono.  Not so much the regular gossip, but about his ongoing weight-loss, which, apparently, is being supervised by Travis Stork, from The Doctors.

What caught my attention about this article was not the weight he has lost (although, congratulations — 43 lbs. off is no small feat, by any means). What caught my attention was that Dr. Stork noted that Chaz did it via portion control and exercise, two of the three big things that Weight Watchers stresses.  Dr. Stork also noted that Chaz chose things he loves – dancing and mixed martial arts – as exercise, so that he would enjoy moving, and not feel like he was being compelled to work out.

From where I sit, and I sit far too much, that leaves me in a pretty bad position.  Yeah, I track; yeah, I do Portion Control (the only kind of “PC” I ever think is appropriate); but my favorite exercise is walking, and – between my neuropathy and the damned winter – I do far too little of it.

I used to walk three to five miles a day.  These days, if I walk a quarter of a mile, it’s a huge thing. I have been feeling vaguely guilty for not moving more.  I know that beating myself up over it will not accomplish a darned thing, though. The thing is, it’s been so cold that I have no desire to go out.  And I’ve been so broke this year that I have no destination when I do. I used to love to take the express bus into the city and walk around; maybe even hit a museum or gallery, have lunch, walk more, meet a friend, maybe have dinner, then go home. But gaining the weight and getting so sick seems to have taken all that away from me. I need to get back to it, and – more importantly – I want to. I don’t even mind having to use a cane for long distances.

What I hate is when the neuropathy kicks in. My neuropathy manifests as either one or both legs falling asleep while I’m walking. This means I cannot feel the ground, except in a way that feels like I’m walking on moving sponges. And that feels very unsafe when I’m experiencing it. The cane helps, because it stabilizes me, and it gives me something to lean on when I need to stop and rest. And, if I keep walking the legs eventually wake up. But it can take anywhere from moments to the better part of an hour for the neuropathy to wear off. And it’s scary while it’s happening. Very scary. If I don’t have a cane with me, I need to either stop until the worst of it passes, or grab onto the arm of the person I’m hanging out with. (C, the roomie, the ex, N, and A are usually the people I trust to go outside with minus the cane.)

And the worst part is that I did this to myself by gaining back (in less than a year) the 80 lbs. I had already lost. That’s the thing I keep getting stuck on. I’m not beating myself up about it, mind. I did it already, and I can’t wish the result away. But the inertia has built up over the months I gained back the weight, and the cellulitis and – now – the congestive heart failure just made me even more inertial — even while they are the biggest call to action I have had to date.

At any rate, I need to do more walking and less sitting. How I will get myself to do that, I don’t yet know. I suspect that it will work the way most things do. At one point, I will just get sufficiently annoyed that I will just get up off my behind and start walking.

Sigh, sometimes, knowing myself, and how I work, is not the most fun thing in the world.

What holds you back? What will it take to get you off that position? 

Don’t have any figures for this week – was in the hospital since Tuesday morning. It was quite the adventure, of which I am hoping to block out many of the details.  The short version is that I had some fluid in my lungs, which was setting me up for congestive heart failure, so I’m glad I asked the roommate to call 911. I’m mostly okay now, and looking at starting tracking again tomorrow morning.

I slept most of today, which makes a lot of sense, and my own bed, broken-down as it is, never felt so luxurious! Heck, the veg at the hospital were so bad that my roomie’s veg (she made food tonight) tasted superb. Simple, steamed to perfection, just wonderful after the hospital food which was mostly inedible.

At any rate, I survived, although I will be on a prescription, industrial-strength diuretic for another month.  My spirits are good, and I am looking forward to getting past this.

Just so you all know, I’m still here, but I’m struggling on many levels.

I don’t want to be on plan right now. I feel resentful that it’s the only way I can lose the weight, even while I’m grateful that there is a way I can lose the weight. I’ve been feeling ill all day, too.

Stayed in bed most of the afternoon, and didn’t even want to run errands with my ex, even though the errands were mostly stuff I needed to get done while I could have someone drive me around. But I just wasn’t up to it.

I didn’t eat right today, either. I didn’t pig out on junk food, but I didn’t track or portion, and I honestly didn’t care much. I’m only owning up to it here because I did commit to noting my struggles as well as my successes, and I do keep my word.

Hopefully, I will be able to get back on track tomorrow.

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