Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Long term recovery with or without support?

I have a really great topic today that I want to talk about, and I'm hoping that some readers will weigh in too. (Pun intended!)  I want to talk about support.  I'm talking about support from either family, a loved one, friends or from a group.  Specifically I want to talk about support with weight loss, but this I think can also be applied to eating disorders, addictions and other areas where recovery is the goal.

Now obviously I am still on my journey.  I still have weight to lose, but I also think I have gone through a lot with this weight loss and the stress of being a binge eater.  Here's my two cents on support.  (More like 5 cents, heck even a quarter since this might be a long post!)

To be completely honest and frank I don't like it when people rely on support to meet their goals.  Don't get me wrong, I think support is important. But there is a difference between using someone to meet your goals and using them only when you will fail and you absolutely need someone.  For instance when I first started out on my weight loss journey, I relied on Dan for absolutely every decision.  I told him that I could not make healthy decisions and that if I was left to chose between healthy and junk I would chose junk every time.  I told him that several times actually.  I would be bawling my eyes out wanting to order junk food so badly and telling him that he has to make the decision because I couldn't make a healthy one.

Now, I've bee there.  It seems like an okay thing to do, when you're vulnerable and you're not able to make the right decisions to ask a loved one to help you out.  If I could change things about my weight loss, I would change those times that I asked Dan to make those decisions for me.

Eventually he ended up telling me that he wasn't going to make any decisions for me.  That I was a big girl and if I was going to eat badly then I will and that he wasn't going to make that decision for me.  Nor was he going to force feed me broccoli in order to help me meet my diet needs.  This was probably the best thing he could have done.  Sure, I was angry at him for doing that, in fact I'm pretty sure it ended up as an argument! But now I know that was one of the best things he's ever done for me.  Why?

It's up to me, not anyone else to get my life on track.  If I rely on someone to help me, then how am I learning anything?  What happens if that person is no longer in my life?  Dan is still awesome support for me, but now the hardest decision I ask him is "if I have this small snack tonight do you think I'll be hungry later still? Or do you think I should eat this more filling snack instead?".  The difference is, I still make the decisions, I just ask his opinion.  I often ask him if he thinks certain meals are a good idea, because he often has insight as to what might strike a binge trigger or what wont fill me up.  I have learned to rely on myself and self motivate myself to get going.

In fact when I used to rely on Dan to help me make decisions, to motivate me it was quite tiring and straining on our relationship.  We had lots of fights because he wasn't a mind reader.  He would try to decipher what I wanted and what the inner binge eater wanted and was trying to communicate between the two.  Nobody should be asked to do that, except for maybe a professional.  I can't tell you how to self motivate yourself, all I can tell you is that it takes time to trust yourself and to trust that you'll be just fine without bad food.  

This is also why I don't go along with the bandwagon of inspiring quotes and photos that you see everywhere on Pinterest, Facebook, gym walls etc. (I know I have some on Pinterest, but I'm not reliant on them.  I hope the distinction is clear!).  For instance,  I used to browse SparkPeople for hours reading peoples pages.  Especially the ones that lost significant amounts of weight.  Especially while eating a healthy meal.  Then I'd work out to The Biggest Loser.  It was motivation for me.  But then I got bored of looking at the same old photos and I had watched all the episodes of The Biggest Loser.  Right away my motivation ran out. I would quit eating healthy and I'd quit working out.

I'm not saying it's wrong to find those things inspiring, I'm just saying that self motivation is the key to long term success.  What happens if you can't workout to The Biggest Loser?  Do you think about skipping your workout?  I did.

I'm not an expert at self motivation.  I'm a terrible procrastinator actually.  I just know what I want, and what I want is to live a long and healthy life.  What I know is that it took months for cravings to slowly go away, and to get to know my body and it's craving cycles.  It takes a long time to get new habits in place, but really I couldn't be happier.  When people say it takes only 1 month to install a new habit I'm pretty sure they're lying.  It takes longer than that, plus a lifetime of commitment.  But it's damn worth it.  I'm worth it and you're worth it.  

I guess I finally feel like I'm worth it, maybe that's why I'm self motivated.  As cliche as it sounds, it's absolutely true.

Now I want to take a break from the serious talk and introduce my support.  My wonderful husband, Daniel.  The reason I'm doing this is because a)He's my husband, duh.  b)He's gone away from home lots working and I'll probably mention it frequently so I may as well give you a little background.

Daniel first of all is amazing.  He doesn't always know what to say when I'm in the throes of a binge, or I feel like a binge trigger is apparent.  But he always has a big hug for me to cry into if I need it.  

I think he made this to work on Chain Maille one of his many hobbies 

So anyways, I said Daniel is gone lots!  That's because he drives a big Vacuum truck.  It's oil field rated so he is usually out doing jobs on different oil field-related sites but he'll also do smaller jobs too.

Not his current truck, but similar to the one he drives now. They're HUGE!
So he can be gone anywhere from 8 hours to several days.  I would say he averages 12-18 hours day and up to 20-24 hours a day in the wintertime (or 100 hours a week).  In the spring he's usually home a lot more.  (This spring he pretty much didn't work at all).  He's "on-call" 24-7 and goes out when he's called.  He does get 2 days off every 2 weeks however they're usually days I'm working! Hah!

Usually I don't know when he'll be home until he's either very close to home, or walking in the door.  He is also usually out of cell phone range, or not able to take calls all day so I very rarely know where he actually is or what he is doing.  His job can be dangerous depending on what he's doing.  Sometimes he deals with H2S, invert and a myriad of other chemicals.  He also has to drive on back roads that will make your hair stand up.  He has a ton of courses under his belt in order to do his job safely and I'm damn proud of how hard he works.  I swear he is the only person on the planet to come back from working 24+hours straight hard labor and to come home smiling just because I was at the door to greet him.

Dan is amazing and the hardest worker I know.  Plus he makes his own lunches, even after working long shifts.  How I got so lucky we will never know.  Then again, someone has to keep the house clean and the fridge stocked, right? : D

Anyways, if I complain that a week was hard because Daniel was gone, now you'll understand.  It's not only that he's gone, but usually I don't know when he'll be home.. or heck, I probably don't even know where he is and probably haven't even talked to him!  Because he's gone so much, I'm so glad that I am able to do this on my own.  

So what are your thoughts on support from families, friends or support groups?  This could be support for recovery in any addiction or ailment.  Or, who has supported you?

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Halloween pizza and Halloween snow

As a kid Halloween was one of my favourite times of year.  I loved getting dressed up but mostly I loved to decorate!  Most years I would spend a lot of time decorating and carving pumpkins.  The past few years I've been content with just watching movies and handing out candy.

This year I went to a friends house for a little get together.  I didn't have a costume in mind, and since it was just a few friends I figured I'd try something different with my hair.  I have very long hair that's very sparse (thanks to PCOS) and very fine so doing anything with it is a big pain.  But I've always wanted to try a long haired version of a faux hawk.  You know, you pin back the sides flat to your head, then back comb/spike up a strip down the middle of your head?

Insert: "There's something about Mary" reference

Well my hair is so fine that backcombing it did nothing.  So I tried just hair spraying it in the direction I wanted.  Clearly by my unimpressed expression it didn't go too well.  But I still decided to back comb my whole head.  That didn't go to well either, I ended up with big poofy spots where my hair is thicker, and my hair laid flat where it's sparse.  I just ended up pinning it back and letting it flow loose in the back.  At least I could salvage most of it!

Sorry for the bad cellphone picture!

Much better!  I need to just stick to hairstyles I know rather than trying to back comb my whole head next time!

So I stupidly didn't make an eating plan around the Halloween party.  I figured there'd be snacks and beer and I figured that I should just have a "free day".  I suppose for most people that might be fine so long as you don't do that often.  But the reason I don't have "free days" is because the binge eater in me has a hay day.  I ended up having 3 slices of pizza (eaten slowly though, normally I scarf them down.  I'm happy I remembered to do that) and 4 light beer.  So since I didn't make a plan before I need to make a plan now!  

Normally how my calories work is I have a set amount (1580kcal is my current daily limit) and if I run, then I add about 100-200kcal to that number depending on the workout.  So my plan this week is to not eat those extra calories on the days that I work out and I'll add one extra run this week so I have 4 runs.  It wont quite make up for it, but pretty close.  I might even change my daily limit to around 1550kcal since I've been thinking that I should be lowering my calories soon.  (For me a sign that I need to lower my calories is when I start to get "snackish" in the evenings, or if I find myself saving up my calories to eat more in the evenings.  Some people think that means I need to eat more, but for me it means I have too many calories and I'm trying to find ways to eat them!)

In other news, I'm SO glad I have a treadmill!  This time last year we had no snow but this year we have more than enough to spare.  I only got my drivers license last December and so I still feel like a new driver on the snow and ice, so it's a little trying.

This is the view from my deck!  Look at all of that snow!  And my poor ivy is quite dead.  I'm so glad I have the treadmill in the basement because trying to run in this would be just too hard.  I also have a slightly turned ankle on my left leg and if I don't run on a flat surface I tend to get a very sore leg. (My left leg is slightly longer than my right, just enough that when I run I tend to strike on the left side of my foot which is bad when running on snow/ice).

This is the view from my office window at home.  What a beautiful morning!  And I'm so glad that I have anywhere to be today!

I added a new page to the sidebar.  A small write up of PCOS (Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome).  There's lots of information about it on the internet, but I figured I should have something there for quick reference.  Please check it out if you think you have PCOS or if you'd simply like to understand it more since I will be referring to it every once in a while on my blog.

My question for you today:  What's the weather like where you are? Is it a cold and snowy Halloween?

Saturday, 27 October 2012

The importance of donation

A few years a go Dan and I really struggled to make ends meet.  Every payday we would take every spare penny we had and spend it on junk food.  It felt like we deserved a "treat" because we certainly weren't getting anything else out of our paychecks and hectic lives.  I remember counting down the days until payday and planning a big glorious meal out. Or maybe we'd order pizza and watch movies all night.  Maybe you understand how I feel.  A week with terrible sandwiches and canned soups, and checking your bank account to see if you can afford McDonald's out with your friends one day.  Then payday comes, and you get that money and you don't care about anything else other than treating yourself.  Sitting down with pizza, or maybe some burgers.  It was like heaven on earth.  I would be so giddy! After I ate the food there was always a sense of euphoria for awhile.  I would be completely content chowing down all of that food, and it was so cheap too!

I remember the less money we had, the more I felt like I had to treat myself with junk.  It was an addicting feeling.  You feel desperate, but then you feel so much reassurance once you have the food.  Like life really will be okay, and then such a sweet euphoric feeling while eating.

Well junk food, no matter how cheap doesn't help pay the bills.  Dan was laid off one year on Valentine's day just a few months before our wedding.  (Boy did we ever "treat" ourselves that Valentines!  I think it was a pizza and steak filled day with a big food hangover afterwards)  Things were hard after that. We had no money for food, so I whipped out my credit card and sparingly bought groceries with it.  I mean, we bought cans of soup and macaroni and cheese on sale and that's what we survived on.  I would say we probably spent about $50 on groceries a month for the two of us.

By the following winter I had gained so much weight from bad eating choices that I didn't fit my winter coat anymore.  In fact I barely fit any of my clothes anymore.  I was lucky that I worked in a clothing store and I got a hefty discount, but even then I was bigger than the biggest size we carried.  I would bundle up in 3 sweaters and trudge out to the bus stop to go to work every week and I would absolutely freeze.  Going to work in -40 Celsius and waiting for a bus, with no winter coat and no winter boots is insane.  I remember going to a thrift store to look for clothing, only to end up leaving (and bawling my eyes out) because I was too fat for their biggest sizes.  I couldn't even find any cheap clothes to fit me, let alone a winter coat!

Eventually I broke down and used my credit card to buy the only coat I fit in the whole store.  I remember being angry and bitter that I had a choice of going without a winter coat and making a credit card payment, or having a winter coat and wondering where and how I was actually going to pay it off.

Well, that winter coat was amazing.  It was really worth the over $100 I spent on it.  It was warm (SO warm!) and comfortable.  I loved it so much, that Dan found a matching green scarf and bought it for me as a surprise!

Now Dan and I are so blessed to be able to stand on our own two feet.  I am able to buy new clothes when my weight changes, and this year I bought a new fall coat without the same amount of stress as back then.  When I think back, I'm very humbled.

Now I always have a small stack of clothes in my closet (okay, sometimes a large stack!) that don't fit anymore.  Jeans, shirts, even coats that I shrunk out of.  Part of me wants to keep them so I can show off my weight loss one day.  I mean, we've all seen those pictures of women standing in one leg of their jeans showing off how much they've lost.  I really want to do that, but I remember what it was like to wear 3 sweaters and dollar store ear muffs to trudge down to the bus stop in the blowing snow.  It was cold and terrible.  And I remember crying while leaving the thrift store because I couldn't find cheap clothes in my size anymore.

So now I donate all of my clothes, I even donated my beautiful green winter jacket.  Wearing plus sized clothing is expensive.  At least where I live there are very few cheap options for women.  So please consider donating your clothes when you lose weight.  Winter jackets are expensive, at least good warm ones are.

Dan and I both fit into my old green jacket.  Donated a few days later.

I have nothing against women who wish to save articles of clothing for "before and after" shots.  I love seeing those photos!  I personally donate my clothes and I use my wedding dress for all of my "before and after" shots since I will never give that away!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Be grateful for your collarbones

It amazes me every single day the simple things that I can do.  I told Dan the other day that every single time I go up the stairs I expect it to be hard on my knees.  I expect to feel that familiar pressure on my knees and the tiredness instantly washing over me. Like I'm lugging around a bag of potatoes.  Every single time I go up stairs I expect it!

Every single time I go up the stairs I am surprised by the lightness.  Every single time I feel like I could bounce up the stairs!  We where going to the hospital on Monday to visit our loved one with breast cancer, and instead of taking the elevator like normal, we raced up the steps!  I never would have even considered doing that 100 lbs ago.  Heck, not even 50 lbs ago!

Yesterday I was sitting down having coffee with my mom, and I looked down and realized that I was curled up on the love seat with my knees brought up to my chest.  How long have I been able to do that?!  Not even a little bit of me was hanging over the edge of the cushion.  I was curled up and comfortable.  Let me tell you, I have never been able to bring my knees up towards my chest while sitting.  It's been kind of a "mini goal".  One of those things you envy other people doing.  It felt exactly like how I thought it would, wonderful!

Another thing that I've noticed is that I now feel bloated.  Or rather, I now understand what bloated feels like.  In about the last 5-8 lbs I noticed that if I eat certain foods I feel fatter than normal, and that if I wait a few hours it goes away.  Is that what bloated is?  Before I always felt fat, or full, but I've never felt bloated!  It was the weirdest thing to discover.  If I have a large meal with lots of starch or carbs I feel much bigger and my pants are harder to button up, is this normal?? It's so weird! I can't say I like it, but now I'm small enough to understand it.

It's funny how these things pop up everywhere.  I sat in the back of someones car the other day, and for half a second I panicked thinking that I wouldn't fit.  I thought that the car would creak and lower on that side, and if I could wedge myself in, that the seat belt surely wouldn't fit.  Not only did I have loads of room, the seat belt wasn't even close to being an issue.  Things like this always bring tears to my eyes, and it's hard when you can't bring it up all the time.  I mean, sometimes you just want to interrupt everything going on around you and be like, "HEY GUYS! Look what I can do now!".

I mean, every time I sit in a chair I think of how much room I have.  Do I touch the sides?  Look I'm not wedged in!  My back doesn't hurt! Wow!  I love being surprised like this, it's amazing!

Oh yes, there's another one.  Two days ago I had a bath, I haven't hopped in the bath tub for about a year and I was pleasantly surprised! I had so much room!  I didn't feel wedged in, and I could move with out feeling like I was wedged into a hunk of porcelain.

Let me tell you, I never take any of these things for granted.  Every time I sit in a chair I'm thankful that I fit.  Every time I look in the mirror and see my collar bones I'm grateful.  Every time I sit in a car I'm happy that I can do up the seat belt.  Smaller feels good, very good.

Yesterday I managed to sneak in a run, between doing blog work and visiting mom and going to work.  This is week 7, Day 2 of c25k.  I was a little wary because it's a 20 minute run.  15 was okay, but 20 minutes seemed like a large jump. When I started my knee felt like it was starting to swell or pressure up, but it didn't hurt or ache, so I just ran through it and it went away pretty quickly.   I did it pretty fine until about minute 18, the last 2 minutes I watched the timer pretty heavily, but I did it!

Day 3 will probably kill me though.  I swear one of these runs will kill me eventually ;D  Just kidding!

So I went 2.13 miles (3.43 km) and burned 312 calories.  So I went a hair farther than last time and burned 12 more calories.  I also upped my speed again!  I did the whole run at 4.2mph (last run I ranged from 4.0-4.1) and I felt fine.  I'm really getting used to this faster pace.  Let me tell you, the more weight I lose the easier it is to go faster.  I also did it at a slight incline the whole time again.

I have been feeling light headed sometimes afterwards and dizzy so I was thinking of having a bit of electrolytes while running but I want to look into some first.

These next few weeks are going to be very busy at work.  I call them Hell month #1 & #2 (the two months leading up to Christmastime).  I work lots so it'll be a challenge for me to keep up my running, but I'm pretty confident that I'll do fine.

And now one last word, please be thankful for the little things.  Like I told Daniel the other day, "I will always be grateful for my collarbones.  They're beautiful and they're mine".  Be grateful for your collarbones, be grateful that you can walk, be grateful that you can smile, be grateful for the little things.

What are little things that you're grateful for?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

What is BED and my journey battling it

I've been getting increasing questions about binge eating disorder.  A few questions about what exactly it is, and what you're supposed to do about it.  Even a few questions about how *I* deal with it.  First I will introduce Binge eating in it's very dry, clinical description.

From Something fishy:
"Men and Women living with Binge Eating Disorder suffer a combination of symptoms similar to those of Compulsive Overeaters and Bulimia. The sufferer periodically goes on large binges, consuming an unusually large quantity of food in a short period of time (less than 2 hours) uncontrollably, eating until they are uncomfortably full. The weight of each individual is usually characterized as above average or overweight, and sufferers tend to have a more difficult time losing weight and maintaining average healthy weights. Unlike with Bulimia, they do not purge following a Binge episode."

Diagnostic Criteria (From Something Fishy)
The following is considered the "text book" definition of Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) to assist doctors in making a clinical diagnosis... it is in no way representative of what a sufferer feels or experiences in living with the illness. It is important to note that you can still suffer from BED even if one of the below signs is not present. In other words, if you think you have BED, it's dangerous to read the diagnostic criteria and think "I don't have one of the symptoms, so I must not have it".

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (eg, within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances;
    • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (eg, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).
  2. The binge eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
    • Eating much more rapidly than normal
    • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    • Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or feeling very guilty after overeating
  3. Marked distress regarding binge eating.
  4. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months.
  5. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (eg, purging, fasting, excessive exercise) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Okay, now we know what binge eating disorder is, right?  Well kind of.  Just like hiding the bingeing from others, it's so easy to hide it from yourself.  I had no idea that I was a binge eater.   I thought I was weak and had NO willpower.  I believed it when people said that all I had to do was "stop eating fast food you fatty!"  That's partially true, but how do you obtain continued success? More importantly, how do you not go crazy?!

How do you turn down food you're craving like crazy just because you "know" you should?  What do you eat?!  How do you make the crazy go away?  

I first realized I had a problem when I would be craving fast food SO badly that I would cry because I didn't know what to do.  I was torn between choosing a healthy lifestyle and something that I was utterly addicted to.  

I would put off eating for hours because I would be a wreck.  I would try a million different ways to justify eating KFC or McDonald's and when that didn't work (how do you really justify eating crap?) I would try to convince myself that I would absolutely LOVE eating a healthy meal at home.  I would make promises that tomorrow would be different.  But then I would stop myself and say, "Didn't I make that promise yesterday too?"  

Then I would get so distraught thinking that I had absolutely NO control over my eating habits.  I started getting angry, SO very very angry at the inner binge eater.  I started to hate it.  When I started hating it, is when I started noticing my binge triggers and when I really knew I had to make a change.  I couldn't be controlled by that demon anymore.  

If you've read my story, then you know that last fall I suffered complications due to a poor diet.  It was an extremely scary and traumatizing time and utterly life changing.  My doctored ordered me to a dietitian.  Renee and I met once a week for the first month.  I would bring in two days worth of records and we would review them together.  During this time she would bring up concerns she had in my diet, and I could ask questions.  I would ask her for snack ideas (I love salty snacks rather than sugary ones, so we modified my diet for that, etc), and we tweaked my food plan to my lifestyle.  

After a month she noticed that I wasn't losing weight as planned.  I obviously was bringing her the best two days out of my log book every week.  You could tell that she knows binge eaters well.  She started having me write down absolutely everything and bringing it in to the clinic every week for review.  She would look over every page and she would email me or call me if something seemed out of place and we'd make an appointment ASAP.  

Her checking my food every day was HUGE. There is NO way I could binge eat and get away with it anymore.  I soon started looking at food around me and thinking, "would Renee approve of that?".  Having her check my food logs weekly was such a blessing.  If I went out with friends and they harassed me about what I was eating, or that I wasn't drinking with them I could say, "sorry my dietitian would kill me!"  I finally felt like I had a good reason to stop binge eating.

Logging my food also helped me to find binge triggers.  Especially since she had me write down my moods when I logged my food.  One long weekend I went camping with family and found out that family is a big trigger for me.  I had done everything I could do to be prepared.  I brought my own food and planned yummy meals, I brought my food scale and even my own snacks and condiments!  However they had hamburgers and CHIPS (OMG I LOVE CHIPS) and dip (OMG DIP TOO!) and I lasted about a day before I started circling the kitchen of the trailer.  I would open the cupboard with the chips and then close it.  I contemplated throwing the chips out and telling them I couldn't stand it anymore.  Then one evening while playing cards they where brought out and a free-for-all ensued.  I was equipped for eating well, but I wasn't equipped for this.  Long story short, I ate half a jar of cheese dip and most of a HUGE bag of tostitos.  

When I came home I made an appointment with Renee and cried my eyes out at the appointment.  I had NO control over myself in that situation.  I felt so compelled to eat the chips that I woke up in the night dreaming of them, then I got up and finished the bag while everyone was sleeping.  It was like I HAD to eat them.  I recognized this feeling and told her that I felt like this every time I was with family.  There was such a strong urge to eat that there is no way to rein it in!  

Renee quickly saw the signs of binge eating and emotional eating and asked me to see a counselor right away. Then she recommended something that seemed so drastic.  She told me that I couldn't visit my family.  I could go for a day trip if I wanted, but only with Dan present (to keep me in check and make sure I was okay) and not during meal hours and NOT overnight.  I had to limit visitors too.  Visitors could only come when Dan was home and only during the day and not during meal hours.

Telling family that you can't see them (my mom lives a ways away, so if I go it's overnight) is a tough thing to tell them.  I mean how do you tell family that you can't control how you eat when you're around them? They think that they did something terribly wrong in bringing me up, I mean, how could they think otherwise?  It's hard to tell others that it's about me and not about them or what they might or might not have done in bringing me up.

I also saw a counselor for awhile.  We did eye movement therapy (which you can google if you'd like).  Basically you train your brain to feel a certain way when faced with anxiety around a binge trigger.  She also taught me "grounding" (which I had been doing already, I just didn't know it).  Basically I refused to eat mindlessly.  Whether it was in front of a TV, computer or anywhere else where I could be distracted from my food.  I would sit at the kitchen table and think about every fork full and about how the food tasted.  Was it salty? Was it luxurious? What should I add to the recipe next time?  Then most importantly, I would be thankful.  I would be thankful for the nutrition, for the taste, and for avoiding a binge with a good meal.

After some intense therapy I felt much better.  Calm in fact around food.  Before if I had junk food once, I would crave it for days afterwards.  It was hard to eat even a little morsel of junk without obsessing about it.  Now I can eat a slice of pizza and maybe want more, but I certainly wont obsess about it.  Or I can have a small bag of chips and not feel the need to eat a whole giant bag in one sitting.  I'm satisfied with less now.  It's a complete 180, and it feels amazing.  It's like my brain is *gasp* normal!

Going forward, I'm done seeing Renee and the counselor.  However I can email Renee whenever I need to still and I can always make a counselors appointment if needed.  I still keep a food journal, I still plan meals when I know I'll be faced with triggers, and I still eat at my kitchen table instead of being distracted. 

I'm a lot calmer around my binge eating triggers, but I still need to be cautious.  I will be a binge eater for life, and I need to know my limitations.  I still restrict visiting others and I try to bring Dan along if I think it'll be hard mentally.  I also have made it okay to screw up.  If I want pizza at a work party, then I will.  I will just be smart about it.  I will order a personal pizza that fits in my calorie range.  If I feel the urge to binge then I will drink water and then take time to note how I feel.  That way I know for next time how I felt, and I can find ways to cope with it.

I'm fine with being a binge eater.  It's helped to show me my limitations mentally and emotionally, and more importantly it has shown me that I do indeed have willpower and that I am not worthless.  I just needed to find tools that worked for me.  Reading inspiring pictures, giving myself willpower pep talks, and watching weight loss shows only work while they're in front of you, but changing how you deal with situations is a huge key to long term success.

Battling binge eating disorder is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Harder than running and working out, harder than studying for school, harder than losing weight even.  But seeing what I can do about it, and understanding it (and myself) is the best gift I could have ever given myself and I wouldn't trade my journey for anything, not even KFC. 

**If you think you're suffering from BED then please find help, it's near impossible to battle it alone. Surround yourself with support of family, friends and professionals!**

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Broke a speed record after a running hiatus!

Today I decided to get up early and make breakfast before my brother got up.  I made poached eggs with whole wheat english muffins and made my own homemade hollandaise sauce!  If it didn't muck up so many dishes making it, I'd probably make it almost every day!  Well, and if it didn't have a ton of margarine in it!

Yummiest breakfast ever!

After my brother left for home I decided to hop on the treadmill for a long overdue run. I don't want to run tomorrow because I plan to be at the hospital for most of the day.

I'll admit, the last time I ran was the day before my moms wedding.  We stayed in a hotel and used their equipment and I regret it.  They had giant mirrors in front of the treadmill and I looked SO terrible running.  Not only that, but I was up to a new speed and I looked like I was going a snails pace.  I thought I looked like a fat sweaty blob trodding along to the terrible music on the TV.  It discouraged me so much that I haven't ran since.  Well today I hopped back onto my mirror less treadmill and totally blew away my last run speed! Okay, I didn't really blow it away but considering I haven't ran in just about two months I was shocked that I upped my speed and incline a hair with little difficulty.

The last time I ran I was on Week 7, Day 3 of c25k were I was scheduled to run for 25 minutes.  I went back two days, upped my speed and upped my incline by 0.5% which is a big increase over what I normally run.  I normally run/slow jog at 3.8-3.9mph, today my average speed was about 4.1mph.  It was just enough of an increase that I had to change my running pace so I felt like I was actually running instead of jogging if that makes any sense!

I also hit 300cal burned in one session. I used to average about 150-180cal burned so I just that blew away too! OH, and because of the increased speed I went farther than I ever have before.  I'm still slow and a beginner, but today I went 2.12miles (3.39km) whereas before I only just barely hit the 3km mark.  I know if you're a seasoned runner this doesn't seem like much, but for someone who is considered obese still, and for someone who has lots of extra skin and such moving around when running, I find this to be pretty stellar progress.

After lunch I searched for some new snack ideas online and came across black bean brownies.  I've heard of them before, but I've never tried any.  So I headed over to Safeway and picked up a few ingredients and made some brownies!  I have to say they're absolutely decadent!   

It's really hard not to binge on them, so I'm going to toss them in the freezer so I'm less inclined to eat them all at once.  They're 100 calories a piece, but the pieces are pretty tiny so I need to be very careful with these guys.  Afterwards I made oatmeal muffins. They're nothing special, just the Quaker kind that you mix with water and toss into muffin tins.

Tonight I will be making the turkey and quinoa meatloaf that I mentioned yesterday, that way Dan and I have something to eat tomorrow. I anticipate us going back and forth between home and the hospital and this meatloaf will make for a great fantastic alternative to cafeteria food! 

Now for the reader question, what are you reading right now?  Fall seems to be the perfect time to cozy up with tea and a fantastic book!  I'm currently reading "Mort" by Terry Pratchett and "Night Angel" the trilogy by Brent Weeks.  Both Fantasy books, and great reads.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Coping with binge triggers, and comfort food

Life has been throwing Dan and I few curve balls lately.  It's nice when I can see binge triggers coming, so I can have a plan in place instead of fumbling in the dark.  Before I would have welcomed a bingeing episode with open arms. I would have embraced it as an old and welcome friend.  Now I can usually see a binge a mile away, and instead of embracing it, or avoiding it I make a plan to cope with it.

Recently we found out that someone near and dear to our hearts has breast cancer and is undergoing a Mastectomy on Monday morning. Daniel and I plan on visiting the hospital I need to identify as many binge triggers as possible beforehand.  I know that having days off can sometimes be triggering (who hasn't had the, "I"m on days off and I'm not going to cook" thoughts?  Or, "I'm on days off and I'm WAY too busy and stressed to cook!") and being in a hospital I find is very stressful.  I get a bit anxious and I know exactly where the cafeteria is! 

I plan on having my favorite breakfast, natural peanut butter, toast and decaff coffee.  So at least I'll have a good start to the day. After that I'm still deciding.  I think I will make a few of my favourite healthier comfort foods on Sunday and leave them in the fridge.  That way I know I have food I love at home, it just needs to be heated up.  Of course I'll take my mini food log with me just in case I eat on the go, but I'm hoping that wont be necessary.

Yesterday I had mini pork chops planned for supper, but I never got to make them!  I found out around 2:30 pm yesterday that my younger brother (read: baby brother!) decided to make the 3 hour trip to visit us for the weekend!  If any of you know my family at all, you know we like to eat!  So I knew right away the pork chops wouldn't get eaten, and that pizza would probably be on the menu.  Sure thing, as soon as we walk in the front door he says, "We gotta get pizza! I don't care if I pay for all of it!"

I know it sounds ridiculous, but I'm SO glad I have been faced with this binge trigger over and over again.  Before it would have made me anxious and panicky.  What should I do? Of course I want pizza, but at the same time a don't (or maybe it's "shouldn't" it's hard to tell)!  Now I can take it in stride and I usually have a plan in place as soon as I know he's coming to visit.  Through trial and error I have found out that if he goes and gets pizza, and I have my normal meal I get very very cranky.  So I have decided that pizza is alright in moderation.  I get a personal pan pizza from Pizza Hut.  BBQ Chicken for only 650 calories! 

Some of you may be wondering why I don't just stick with what I had planned, because surely it was healthier and better for me.  Well yes, nutritionally the meal I had planned was better. But for me I find it's okay to have that occasional slice of pizza. The way I eat is the way I plan to eat for the rest of my life. It's unrealistic to expect me to not ever have anything "bad" ever again.  If I do, then it'll seem like I failed, when really I was just being human.  I know now that when my brother comes up, that I'm going to have pizza in moderation, which is something I didn't know how to do before.  Learning how to eat in moderation and how to control my habits is new and wonderful!

Now today, thankfully he has left over pizza so I will be making  my own meals and he can have pizza!  The only problem I have with eating junkier foods in the evening (or saving up my calories for a big evening meal) is that I wake up VERY hungry in the morning.  I've been battling that ever since we came back from vacation.  I wake up in the middle of the night or early in the morning and I'm ready to eat a horse!  Thankfully I've learned that it's a symptom of the previous days food and that if I eat the same as normal, it'll eventually go away.  (When I eat breakfast the intense hunger goes away, I don't stay hungry. Just to clarify).

 Yesterday morning I had some of my new Organic Pumpkin Seed butter, I first heard of it from Katie over at Runs for cookies.  It turns out she got it from one of her Canadian friends, who in turn got it from Save-On! So, since I'm totally in love with pumpkin I decided it was worth a try.  It has a comparable amount of protein and calories to natural peanut butter, and I would say a similar taste.  Mostly bland, to be honest.  I decided to spice it up and put some on my toast with pumpkin pie spice, not too bad!

It kinda looks like something you'd buy for Halloween anyways?!

I'm not sure if I'll buy it again, but I'm glad I tried it!  I find coffee, toast and peanut butter (or pumpkin seed butter!) to be the things I find myself automatically eating every single morning. It's a measly 220 calories, but it keeps me running for hours.

Work has been hectic the past two days.  It's the time of year where new video games are released, which means our store turns into a mad house every week.  The past two days we have been preparing for the new Skylanders game to come out (if you have children over the age of 5 you've probably heard of this game). Sometimes it's cute to have little kids come up to you with big toothy grins and try to peer over our tall counter and say, "escuuuse me, do you have Chop Chop or Hex?" (imagine the child has slurred the words and you'd agree the children are adorable!).  But then you get in the mothers who have been pestered all day to come to a store they don't like (most mothers dislike video game stores, go figure) and they have to stand in line to find out we don't have something in stock.  Or worst of all, when the mother wants something we don't have, and the she doesn't even know exactly what she's looking for.  Frustrations all around!  I'd like to say I work in a store that's fun at Christmas, but usually we get in Christmas shoppers who have no idea what they're buying and they're irritated just by coming into the store. I will be glad when the Christmas season is over and I can resume a reasonable day at work.

Thanks for stopping by! I want to know what your comfort foods are! Are they healthy, unhealthy?  Let me know!  Turkey and Quinoa meatloaf with mashed cauliflower is probably one of my favourite meals ever as well as Baked potato soup, and Quick Chicken corn chowder! Yum yum yum!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

As requested, my "must do's" for weight loss and long term maintenance

So I have been asked several times for advice.  I'm not exactly sure what kind of advice to give, considering that every weight loss experience is different.  I was hoping that by writing what I go through everyday and how I cope with day to day life will help some people see how *I* do it, writing out a list of "tips" seems kind of silly, since most people will forget most of them by the time they leave my blog and are on to the rest of their internet journey.  By writing my experience with stories and events, I hope that it will be easier to remember. Plus real life examples are easier to relate to than bullet points.

That being said, ask and you shall receive!  I do have some pointers and tips that have worked for me that I will mention in other blog posts, they may not all be right for you, but they are my keys to weight loss and weight loss maintenance.  (The key word is maintenance for those of you who missed it.  How many of you have lost weight? Over and over again, even?  Now how many have maintained that weight loss?)

So what I mention in this post are things that *I* think absolutely everyone should do.  Some of my tips you can take it, or leave it, but these things I mention now are kind of ground rules that everyone can do, and I'm pretty sure every doctor would agree with these.

(Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietitian, etc etc etc. This advice is based on my own personal experience. Always take your doctors advice over internet advice)

Number one thing you need to do is book a doctors appointment.
Even if you only have 20 lbs to lose.  You should be seeing your doctor yearly anyways, right?  Get out a notepad and jot these down, here are some examples of what you should discuss:
-what your target weight should be
-ask about starting an exercise regimen
-ask for your blood pressure to be taken (and write it down!)
-ask for a recommendation for a specific diet plan if you have PCOS, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
-ask for blood work to be done
-If you're a woman experiencing infrequent/absent periods, hirsutism, alopecia and other PCOS symptoms (found here) then talk to your doctor about getting diagnosed for PCOS. This can change your diet plan.
-be prepared to bring a sample food diary of at least 2 days worth of food and be prepared to talk about it
-have your thyroid tested for hypothyroidism
-if you think you have an eating disorder, then discuss your options with your doctor and ask for recommendations as to who you can see about it. Here is info on Binge eating disorder. (More eating disorder info can be found on my side bar.)
-ask for recommendations for a dietitian, nutritionist or information for nutrition classes
-be prepared to answer questions about family history of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol etc.  Then ask what your chances are of getting them.

Please don't worry about going to the doctor, I didn't go see my doctor when I first started losing weight, and I regret it.  I really want to know what my starting stats where for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  I went to my doctor after I had lost about 70 lbs and he was almost giddy, that's how happy he was for me.  Most doctors don't like to discuss weight with their patients anymore because they don't want to hurt their feelings, so please take the first step. It's VERY important.

Notice I didn't mention weight loss surgery once?  I'm adamant that it's not needed.  Why?  Simply this: It's much better for you in the long run to experience every single craving, and every single plateau, and every single emotion related to your new diet than it is to not learn about your eating habits at all.  You might think you know your eating habits, that you like to binge, that you like to "eat lots".  Let me tell you, you have no idea.

When you have weight loss surgery they do teach you how people should eat correctly, but they don't tell you how you will react.  Losing weight is easy, the emotional journey is the hard part.  Without that emotional journey and figuring out what makes you tick (and what makes you eat), you have a high chance of regaining weight.

After you talk to your doctor you need to educate yourself.
Education, whether it's about nutrition, exercise, etc helps to hold you accountable.  I really recommend talking to a dietitian or a nutritionist, or to take nutrition classes.  Even if you think you have a really good idea of what's healthy, it's still best to talk to a professional.  They can analyze your food logs, and make suggestions and help you with rough spots.

For example, I talked to my dietitian Renee about the snack recipes she emailed me.  At first I was really optimistic about making them, but then I got quickly disinterested in them.  I had no desire to make granola at home.  No desire at all, actually.  So she asked what I would normally like to eat.  "Chips" I said. (Well it's the truth!).  So she emailed me recipes for different kinds of chips I can make at home.  She also said popcorn in moderation was fine too.  The main reason I recommend a dietitian is because they can help you set up a plan that fits your lifestyle, any ailments you have, and it will fit your eating style too.  Through food logs I found out that I wasn't eating the afternoon snack she had put in place for me.  So we changed it to an evening snack and Voila! My snack cravings went away!

I cannot be a bigger fan of Renee.  Even though I don't see her anymore, I still email her updates even! She will always be available to me for quick advice or if I want a quick appointment to help with a struggle.  Dietitians are on your side, they will help you out, I promise.

Start a food log
This is kind of "no duh", but you'd be surprised by how many people are wishy washy about starting one.   I hear a lot of  "I don't have time", or "I don't want to be that person who has to make a big deal of what she's eating when she's around friends" etc.  Now that's the point of a food log, it *is* a big deal!  Especially if you emotionally eat.  Taking the 2 minutes to write down your food, and to assess your feelings helps you to understand why you're eating.  Are you hungry?  Bored?  Celebrating?  I hate to break it to you, but losing weight is hard, and if logging your food everyday is too much of a pain, then you're boned! (sorry for the rant, but seriously, don't make excuses for something that takes 5 minutes out of the day and could save your  life.  Especially if you're a binge eater or an emotional eater.  It takes work to get through it, and this is it!)

Chances are if you go to a dietitian they will ask you to make a food log anyways. but here is some more info on them and starting one.

In very basic terms, weight loss is calories in vs. calories out.  Diet change is about 80-90% of weight loss.  You can start food logs at SparkPeople or MyFitnessPal.  Both have apps as well to help you track your food.  I chose writing down food in an actual journal.  I found it less tedious than trying to search through food on websites and I can make notes when necessary. The apps can be very handy, especially if you're on the go.

So to find out how many calories you need to eat, you can try calculators online, or the ones on SparkPeople and MyFitnessPal.  Here is also a website that gives you the actual formula so you can do the math yourself (which I recommend you do over calculators).  If you are obese or morbidly obese then it is most likely that the calculators will be wrong.  They will overshoot how much you should be eating, sometimes by a lot.  (Another reason to see a dietitian! They can help figure that out).

Here is an example of my food logs:

October 17, 2012
Breakfast (@home feeling content)
-2 pieces whole wheat toast                               110
-1 tbsp Peanut Butter                                          90
-2x coffee (1 sweetener, 1 whitener)                    30

Lunch (@home, rushed, getting ready for work)
2 Eggs scrambled                                               140
1 tsp Olive oil                                                       20
2/3cup mushrooms                                                10
1/4. Orange pepper                                              13
1/8 cup Salsa                                                        13
2 pc. Toast                                                         110
2 tsp. Becel                                                          35

Dinner (@ work)
1 Can light tuna                                                 140
1 Whole wheat tortilla                                       130
2 tbsp Mayo                                                       30
1/4 Orange pepper                                             13
1 Slice Pumpkin pie                                          250
1 Oikos yogurt                                                   90

Other snacks:
1 light babybel                                                 50
Decaff Coffee                                                  30
2 pc. Toast                                                    110
1 tbsp Pumpkin seed butter                              80

Total:  1494

September 14, 2012 **stressful day!!**
2 pc toast                                               110
Peanut butter 1 tbsp                                  90
Coffee x2                                                 30
1/2cup oats                                             180
1 cup froz. blueberries                               80
1 cup almond milk                                     30
1 tbsp. ground flax                                    50
Nature valley granola bar                         170
Snack (unexpected, mom brought it to work)
Timmies Tea with cream                            90

2 Tortillas                                              260
3 tbsp Tzatziki                                         75
6 Mushrooms                                           13
1/2 red pepper                                         16
52g Light cheddar                                  156
1 tbsp olives                                             45
Tomatoes, grape 1 cup                            30
Hummus & roasted red pepper              113
Total: 1528
Weight: 238.8 (weigh in day)

So what now?  Well it's all up to you. These are just building blocks, and your journey is your own.  You can expect ups and downs, food cravings, screw ups, binges, everything! If you write them down in  your journal, you can learn from them and move on. Some people need people to hold them accountable, but in time that shouldn't be needed anymore. It really is possible to do it on your own.

Again, I'm not one to give you unnecessary tips. (We've all heard the "use a smaller plate" tip, and "put lemon in your water" tip. It works for some not others, it's up to you to discover what works.) But, please feel free to ask more specific questions.  If you're struggling in one area I can always give advice, or support.  Even feel free to email me: daphnealive@gmail.com

I dislike being preachy, but these three things I'm very VERY passionate about. So, if you have stopped by my blog what are *your* keys to weight loss and/or maintenance?  Any helpful tips you'd like to pass on?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Getting a gold crown, and a little about the blog

Besides ending up with near fatal deficiencies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity, binge eating can have other effects on your body. Earlier this summer I started going to the dentist to get cavities fixed and other dental work done.  Years of drinking upwards of 2+ liters of pop a day and eating foods heavy in carbohydrates and sugars can quickly ruin your teeth.

Sodas are bad for your teeth for obvious reasons, but Carbohydrates are bad too.  Sticky foods and sugary foods can stick between your teeth and eventually turn acidic eating away at your teeth, or the food can get stuck in between teeth and sit there and decay, which is also bad for your teeth.  Here is a little more about it if you're interested.

I have quite the metal mouth and hopefully today will be the last day I go to the dentist this year.  I'm getting a gold crown on one of my back molars that had a root canal done.  Yup a sparkly gold crown!  Why gold? Well besides the fact that I can tell people that I have a gold tooth?  Metal crowns are stronger than porcelain. I want that puppy to be a strong as nails, considering how much work I've had done.  Also, it's in the back of my mouth, nobody is going to see the crown unless they're looking for it.

All day today has been devoted to setting up this blog.  It takes a lot of work! I have to figure out what pages I want versus what pages people will want to see.  Also I spent a good chunk of time running around taking photos of things and mashing photos together for the photos page.  I have set up:

If you don't know who I am, then this is a short blurb about me.

Self explanatory, check them out!

It's a bit wordy, but if you want to know what I've been through physically and emotionally then check it out.

When you lose weight you can do things you never thought possible, check out a few of mine here.

These are my keys to weight loss and binge recovery. I'm always adding to the list so check back!

Do you think you have an eating disorder, or know someone with an eating disorder? Check out these resources.

I was also thinking of setting up a page of resources for people who are starting off losing weight, but I'm not sure if that will fly or not. Let me know what you think, and check the sidebar often for updates!

On the sidebar you will also notice different subscription and sharing options.  If you have any feedback about the blog feel free to let me know at daphnealive.gmail.com  Or, if you have questions or if you want to leave a personal comment feel free to email me.

So tonight is going to be spent relaxing! Besides setting up this blog and taking a whirlwind of a vacation, we also received a ton of fresh potatoes, carrots and onions from Daniels parents. So far I've made a crock pot beef stew, a crock pot vegetable and beef soup (both for Daniels lunches since I tend to stay away from beef) and many nights of mashed potatoes and baked potato fries, I'm quite potatoed-out.  (Just kidding, I LOVE potatoes, I'll probably have more tonight!)  Potatoes are a complex carbohydrate and have a decent source of vitamins and minerals especially with the skin on.  I know they're starchy and not always the best choice (especially if you have PCOS or if you're sticking to a low carb diet) but gosh darn it I love taters! So far I really have boiled them, mashed  them, and stuck them in a stew!

Dan and I have been on a Netflix, watching Community, AFV and Firefly.  I'm not sure what's next but we always seem to find a T.V show to watch.  Either that or it's about time I played more of my Fable: The Journey for Kinect! I've been doing so much blog work that I haven't had time to play any video games (which doesn't work well when you work in a gaming store, and Fable is a new release!).

If any of you are wondering, Fable: The Journey isn't too bad!  If you're a fan of the series then you'd appreciate the humour.  The only problem is that I can only play for about an hour or so at a time before my arms get tired.  You have to throw spells (like thunderbolts) and it can get pretty tiring.  If I was a mage in real life I'd get pretty good biceps real quick!

Monday, 15 October 2012

The month of October to date. 100 lbs lost photos.

Hi, and welcome to my blog!  I'm not going to bother with an introductory post.  If you take time to look around the blog you'll understand me pretty quick!

October has been quite a good month so far, at the end of September I hit my big 100 lbs lost!  Daniel happened to be home (for once!) so we quickly snapped a few photos for comparison.  Here are a few:

Obviously you can see I still have a ways to go, but the pace is good and my mindset is in the right place to make this happen!

On the 3rd we started our mini one week vacation and headed to Jasper (I need to go to the Alberta Mountains once a year to get my fix!).  We really didn't have a plan about what we where going to do, but once we got there we decided that we really wanted to go to Malinge Canyon again.  It's absolutely beautiful  and with our new camera I wanted to see if we could take some wintery/fall photos.

At Maligne Canyon they have trails and a total of 6 bridges you can go over.  The first 3 are close together, 4 is a little farther away, and both 5 & 6 are a decent hike.  Two years ago we decided to head down to bridge 4 and I could barely make it.  I had to stop every few minutes because all of my muscles where aching so badly and felt like cramping up.  This year was so much easier. I mean, sure I complained on the hike uphill but the only reason I was aching was because I wore inappropriate shoes and my feet hurt after. 

The next day we headed to Maligne Lake and went on their boat tour, then did their 3.2km hiking loop.

I know every year I say I had a fantastic time in Jasper and that it was the best trip EVER... well this really was the best trip EVER!  I just wish the tram was open, but it was closed early due to snow.

After we got back it was Thanksgiving and since Daniel and I have never had a Thanksgiving alone at home before (nor has he been home from work if I've had the day off) so I decided to make some turkey, stuffing, potatoes and we had a treat of cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie!  It was a meal to die for, really!

So today was spent home with Daniel.  He presumably hasn't been called out to work because it rained cats and dogs yesterday, and when you drive a big ol' truck it tends to get stuck in the mud.  So today we went grocery shopping, and I went on the search for snacks that would a)Satisfy a craving b)Do it in the healthiest way.  Now I crave salty snacks, like chips.  So I found those Special K chips in Sour Cream and Onion, and I found Pepperidge Farm cracker chips in Zesty Chile Lime.  I also picked up some Salsa (as opposed to chip dip!), some light Babybel, Oikos yogurt, and well.. another pumpkin pie.  I'm not opposed to pumpkin pie, it's just that I tend to obsess over pumpkin this time of year.  I am allowing myself one slice a day so that I don't go overboard and binge.

I've tried the Special K chips and their amazing, and the Pepperidge farm ones are just about on par calorie wise, and they're super tasty too!  The best part is, once I had my serving I was satisfied! I don't have the urge to eat the whole bag.  Perfect snack!

So, if you happen to come across this post, what is your favourite snack?