Thursday, December 10, 2009

96 Left in 1001 Days

Yay! I completed the Training Decision Workbook, met with my vocational rehab counselor and the state is going to send me to college. I'll be going for an online Associates in Accounting at Lake Superior College.

I need to wait until we do our taxes after the first of the year, so I can apply for financial aid using 2009 income rather than 2008 income. But then anything I don't get grants for, the state will pick up.

Also, I donated over 10,000 grains of rice to Free Rice by answering one thousand vocabulary, grammar, art and geography questions.

Growth & Fear

My basic issue of growth is how to deal with fear in a functional manner. Most of my life has been spent in the avoidance of fear and anxiety. I've been hiding from it as long as I can remember. It's the fears of abandonment, loneliness and rejection. The irony is that the activities I've used to cope, especially eating, have increased my isolation. I've worked at cross-purposes with myself.

My lesson is that I need to stop avoiding life and achieving my goals due to fear. To "feel the fear and do it anyway" as Susan Jeffers says. Because avoiding the fear has exacerbated my situation and made it more likely for people to reject and abandon me.

I also need to understand and accept that I'm of person of value just as I am at this moment. That rejection isn't automatic emotional torment and that when people reject me, it's more about them than about me.

When I was growing up, avoidance was the only way I could cope with the dysfunction in my family. I hadn't been taught any other way and it sometimes it simply wasn't safe to "be there." But it's gone on too long. I'm in mid-life. I've been running from negative emotions for almost 25 adult years and it's not working. It's time to try something else.

It's time to be courageous and not give into the fear. Acknowledge it. Then put it on the back-burner. Fear doesn't need to be the main course anymore.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

98 Left in 1001 Days

So now you get to see how anal I am about recording the books I read. I completed adding my read books to my LibraryThing catalog. Not only do I have a database to list the books, I have all sorts of queries - by month, by year, by category, favorite authors. Then I had to add them to my catalog in LT which (then) listed only what I owned. I now have 1,920 books - owned and read - in my catalog. Go me.

Next is the picture of the paperwhite narcissus forced bulbs we purchased. They have a lovely fragrance. Unfortunately, I seem to be allergic and have been fighting a stuffy nose and headache. We may end up donating them to the church. However, the scent seems to be calming down and not affecting me so much. We'll see how it goes. It would be a shame, I do like them.

As far as weight loss goes, it isn't. I did some "last suppering" and was afraid to weigh in. Too much pasta, Cheetos and take out. However, I'm back on the wagon and have been journaling my food for the last two days. I need to get - and STAY - under 600 by January so I can weigh in at Weight Watchers. I'd like to be 5 or 10 pounds under, just in case their scale weighs heavier. Wish me luck.

Friday, November 27, 2009

On Another Note - 100 left in 1001 days

I completed the wizard circle journal page. It's 8x8 and my first large piece where it's all hand-drawn/painted/colored. I first drew in pencil then went over the lines with black Sharpie. Next I used watercolor pencils. I found that the colors weren't deep enough and I wasn't able to get the shading I wanted, so I made the colors richer and more detailed with Primacolor pencils.

This is one of a pair. The other piece will be a witch's hat. I think I will have less detail in that one and make the background a bit more abstract. I'm thinking the hat will have a leafy/tree background. We'll see.

Update - No Weigh In

Too chicken to weigh in. I know I would have gained and next week won't be much better. There are going to be a lot of meals out over the next few days and I have been over-eating and not exercising.

I can't do this alone and online support doesn't do it for me. I need face-to-face personal support. That means either Overeater's Anonymous or Weight Watchers. I have experience with both and have decided to go with Weight Watchers. OA doesn't have weigh-ins and doesn't allow you to even talk about your weight, plus I don't like how restrictive they are. OA pushes the "grey sheet" which means no white flour or white sugar and because of the binge eating training I've gotten, I know that restricting anything can bring on a binge.

There are issues with WW as well - the cost for one and I dislike how they push their products. However, they have scales, they promote healthy eating and I'll get the face to face support I need. I'll need to wait to see how much, if anything, we get for the holidays. Also, the WW scales only go to 600 pounds, so I want to be in the 500's before I start. I'm looking at the first of the year when they'll probably have special registration.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting Close Again - 602 pounds

I'm almost back down to my lowest in many years, 598. Just four more pounds. I don't know if I'll be able to do it this week. I'm not even going to try for it. I'll do the best I can and keep my fingers crossed. The scale is a piece of chaos in my life. I never know what it's going to do. I think I'm going to gain weight, I lose ten. I think I'm going to lose a lot, I gain a one pound. What helps me the most to lose weight is to journal my food every day. I use SparkPeople.

I ate out at Olive Garden and got all my favorites, Lasagna Fritta and Steak Gorgonzola Alfredo. But I shared the appetizer and immediately had them box up half the alfredo to bring home. Tomorrow we are going out for hubby's 50th birthday to Benihana's. Then Friday night to the in-laws for steak and potatoes, probably. I'll try to watch the portions at least. I've over-eaten at Benihana's in the past, so I need to watch that.

I'm looking for a new spiritual community. My path has been: Catholic, Baptist, lots of different Christian denominations, Agnostic, New Age, Wiccan, Pagan, Unitarian Universalist and now I'm checking out a liberal Christian denomination - United Church of Christ. I've come full circle it seems. There are still things that bother me about the Christian faith, but I have to admit when they stick with the message that God is Love, there can be beauty and spiritual fulfillment.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update - Six Months Later

Been bouncing around and am just about in the same place as before. I've been back up as high as 648. I've been as low as 598 after a stint in the hospital for a skin infection. I lost my appetite completely and lost 50 pounds in a month. It's one way, but not the best way, to lose weight. I was anemic for a bit. I'm back up to 616 but am tracking food again. I honestly don't know what it is going to take for me to lose this weight. The hospital and infection was a horrible experience and you would think that it would motivate me to control my food and exercise. But, no. Here I am again. With Ken out of work and us hitting the last of our savings, at least we can't eat out, a big weakness of mine.

Recently, I completed my 101 things I want to do in the next 1001 days. (Courtesy of Day Zero.)

1. Complete adding books read to LibraryThing Collections
2. Read all Spider Robinson books
3. Read David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
4. Finish SF survey at LibraryThing Green Dragon
5. Complete a read-a-thon at a hotel room
6. Complete Museum, Libraries and Archives Council's book list
7. Complete 888 reading challenge
8. Complete reading all Stephen King books
9. Read 601 books
10. Read one book from LibraryThing Most Popular per month
11. Read one book per month from 1001 Fantasy list
12. Read one book per month from US50 challenge

13. Donate $5 for each goal I don't complete to charity
14. Donate 10,000 grains at Free Rice
15. Make 5 crocheted items for charity
16. Create RAK every month at ATCsForAll
17. Host one ATC (artist trading card) swap per quarter

18. Get caught up with all outstanding items from ATCsForAll
19. Create romantic circle journal pages
20. Draw/paint witch circle journal page
21. Finish wizard circle journal page
22. Complete SR-71 Blackbird cross-stitch for husband
23. Do one fine scale model
24. Draw every day for 30 days
25. Blog once per week
26. Cross-stitch or crochet three hours per week
27. Trade 10 cross-stitched for hand drawn ATCs
28. Trade for ATCs in all 50 states

29. Complete Training Decision Workbook
30. Make $100 per month at ChaCha for 3 months
31. Get a job I can do from home
32. Start school for my AA in accounting
33. Pay off all medical bills
34. Sell something on etsy
35. Handmake all Christmas presents
36. Get a job outside the home
37. Pay off one credit card
38. Put $5 away for every item I complete
39. Save $25 each month into ING

40. Force flower bulbs
41. Import CD's to computer
42. Get blue butterfly tattoo
43. Go to the Minnesota Zoo
44. Decorate house for 3 holidays per year
45. Listen to all Grammy Albums of the Year
46. See a Cirque du Soleil show
47. Take a picture of each item being completed
48. Try 10 new restaurants

49. Apply for MN Care
50. Exercise for 5 minutes every day for one week
51. Record calories for 30 days on SparkPeople
52. Weigh under 600 pounds
53. Eat 3 veggies/fruit daily for 30 days
54. Exercise for 10 minutes every day for 30 days
55. Lose 100 pounds from my top weight
56. Take my dog for a walk around the block
57. Weigh under 500 pounds
58. Weigh under 400 pounds
59. Go swimming

60. Complete bookkeeping class
61. Complete Whimsy Art Workshops at ATCsForAll
62. Improve typing skills by 10%
63. Research list of family members back five generations
64. Take a drawing class
65. Learn to belly dance

66. Do one load of dishes daily for 30 days
67. Complete organization of craft table
68. Replace missing buttons on dresses
69. Complete organizing file cabinet
70. Create a house to-do list
71. Read 3 books on decorating in a small house
72. Put all photos in albums
73. Vacuum house regularly

74. Complete watching Disney Animated Canon list
75. Watch 26 movies I've never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet
76. Watch all Best Movie Oscar movies
77. Watch all movies from the Top 100 Fantasy list
78. Watch all movies from the Top 100 SciFi list
79. Watch every episode of CSI on DVD

80. Hug my husband daily for 30 days
81. Get dog's teeth cleaned
82. Join a church
83. Have a monthly game night with hubby
84. Make a new friend
85. Send 30 penpal letters

86. Complete a 100 Things That Make Me Happy list
87. Schedule my week each Sunday evening for one year
88. Get a manicure
89. Have a technology-free weekend
90. Find a personally inspirational quote and work it into a piece of art or home decor
91. Get hair highlighted
92. Cross-stitch a piece for myself
93. Get a pedicure
94. Buy myself flowers 10 times
95. Create one personal art journal page per month
96. Work on personal sacred text weekly

97. Read and complete exercises in Life's Companion by Christina Baldwin
98. Journal every day for 30 days
99. Get a magazine article published
100. Complete the 5,000 question survey
101. Fill in a Moleskin with personal journaling

Monday, April 27, 2009

600 Then - Who Knows Now

A few weeks ago I weighed in at 600. I was this close to breaking into the 500's. Then, as usual, just as I was to have a big success, I sabotaged myself. Le sigh. I haven't dared to weigh myself. However, I spoke with my therapist, did some reading and some thinking. For two weeks, I'm going to follow the plan in The Appetite Awareness Workbook: How to Listen to Your Body and Overcome Bingeing, Overeating and Obsession with Food by Linda W. Craighead.

Basically, I eat only when I'm hungry and stop when I'm "moderately full." There is a worksheet that I need to fill out every time I eat. I fill in the time, if it's a meal or snack, level of hunger when I start (1 - 7), level of fullness when I stop (same scale), and if I feel positive, neutral or negative about my eating. If negative, I write down why. I've also been writing down what I eat, just not the portions.

I'm satisfied with less if I pay close attention to my hunger levels. I miss eating until I'm "stuffed" but that's my unhealthy self talking. I've been staying within the "grey zone" except for once or so a day. That zone is between 3 - 5. The numbers 1 - 2 are considered "too hungry" and 6 - 7 are considered "ignored fullness." I've hit 7 only once. We went out to eat and even though I ate just half the appetizer, entree and desert, it was still too much. I didn't realize it until we were on our way home and realized I felt physically ill.

I'm learning that I need to start with smaller portions and wait a bit as I usually won't want seconds. Also, to stay in the "grey zone," I need to eat more often, but not eat as much. It's a work in progress and I'll be weighing in on Wednesday, May 6th to see how this plan is working.

I feel less stressed now that I'm not counting calories and feel like this is more livable. I'm also not spending 1 - 2 hours on SparkPeople which gives me time to do other enjoyable activities.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pros and Cons of Overeating (or Not)

This is from a skill from DBT where I look at the pros and cons of overeating versus not overeating in order to help me make better decisions when I get urges to overeat.

Pros of Not Overeating
  • Lose Weight
  • Save Money
  • Sense of Mastery
  • Better Health
  • More Time
  • Practice DBT skills
Cons of Not Overeating
  • Frustrating
  • Time Consuming (planning, reading, tracking)
  • Lot of Effort
  • Tiring
  • Feel rebellious
  • Boring/Mundane
Pros of Overeating
  • Soothing
  • Feels Good
  • Eat What I Want
  • Don't Need to Feel Difficult Emotions
  • Instant Relief
  • No Food Diaries
Cons of Overeating
  • Isolation
  • Won't Lose Weight
  • Will Gain Weight
  • Physically Uncomfortable
  • Feel Hopeless
  • Bad Health
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Worries My Family
  • Won't Live As Long
  • People Are Judgmental (Even Doctors)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ten Reasons Why I Should Lose Weight

  1. To celebrate our 60th wedding anniversary
  2. To take walks with my hubby and our dogs
  3. To go shopping by myself and without mobility assistance
  4. To buy a swimsuit and go swimming
  5. To join a book club that meets at people's houses and not be concerned about accessibility
  6. To go to a zoo or museum without a wheelchair
  7. To take a long shower or sit in the tub for a hot bath
  8. To gain a sense of accomplishment/mastery
  9. To feel less shame in public
  10. To be physically independent

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Staying on the Weight Loss Wagon

I know what to do to lose weight - eat less, move more. I know how to lose weight - journal my food, stay within recommended calorie range, get movement in daily, start small. I know why I want to lose weight - reasons I'll continue to list here on my blog as time goes on, but can be summed up with "a life worth living."

When to lose weight is where I struggle the most with weight loss. I'll put off the "big day." The big day can be anything from starting a new program, to getting back on a program, to getting back on a program again... and again... and again. And then once I'm on it, I last anywhere from three days to a couple weeks, then I slide right off the back.

Almost five years ago, I quit smoking. It took me two years before it finally "took." I quit smoking for three months or three weeks or three days or one week or one day, then would start smoking again. And then quit again. Over and over for two years. Finally, in August 2004, I smoked my last cigarette.

If I can quit a two pack a day habit, I can lose this weight. I have to believe that. What makes this harder is that when you quit smoking, you quit. Period. I can't quit eating. There is no on/off switch here. I have to be so careful to reduce calories enough that I lose weight, but no so much that my binge eating disorder gets tripped. Then I don't feel I lose weight fast enough, so I give up and eat too much and am back where I started. Or I restrict food too much, feel resentful and then, yep, binge.

Right now, I'm working with a calorie range buddy at SparkPeople via email where we check in everyday on how we are doing. I'm hoping with some one to one support, I can stay within my calorie range for the week. I'm shooting for seven days out of seven, but six out of seven would be fine as long as I don't go way over.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon

I just signed up for Dewey's 24 hour Read-a-Thon on Saturday, April 18th. In a week or so, I'll start putting together a book list for that day.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

My First Diets

I was twelve when I was put on my first diet. To this day, I don't understand why I was told I needed to lose weight. I was 5'10" and weighed somewhere around 130 - 150 which is totally normal. I can't remember exactly what type of diet I was put on, but I do remember sneaking Ayd's chocolate appetite suppressing candy topped with peanut butter. It was the only "sweet" in the house. I'd also mix Hershey's syrup with shredded coconut, put a tiny bit of water in with hot chocolate to make "icing" and wrapped white table sugar in American cheese slices. I remember starting to hide food under my bed and stealing food from the parents of the kids I babysat or owners of the dogs I walked. I didn't know how to cook yet and sweets were all I thought of to take.

When I was sixteen, my grandmother told me that unless I lost twenty pounds before coming to visit her and my grandfather in California, they would send me on the next plane back. They would be sure of this because they would weigh me at the airport. Two weeks before I left, I began starving myself. I would eat maybe an ounce or two of food, but the only other thing that passed my lips was Tab. In the last couple of days, I would sit on the toilet for hours, praying that I would pass everything out of my body. As you can imagine, I was pretty constipated. So I would reach up in my vagina and push the hard poop out. The day before I left, I broke out in hives. They didn't weigh me but told me how terrific I looked. While I was there, I prayed for them to both leave for the day so I could forage for what I could to eat. Again, there were no sweets available, so I made due with some semi-sweet chocolate chips and white baking chocolate.

At eighteen or so, I went on the Cambridge diet. This was a meal replacement drink for two of my meals, then my mother or grandmother would watch and comment on whatever I ate for the third meal.

I wasn't actually overweight until a couple months later and wasn't obese until I was in my twenties. I started truly gaining weight once I was able to buy my own food and I hit college where my family wasn't keeping an eye on what I did 24x7.

Monday, March 23, 2009

6## Pounds - No weigh in

It's been a rough week and I fell off the wagon big time with lots of fatty and fried foods as well as binge eating. It seems like I always do this right as I'm on the verge of a big success. This time it would have been getting under 600 for the first time in five years.

Lots of stressers including changing to a new laptop with Vista which has really wigged me out, hubby being out of work, financial worries, some minor hubby health worries, and decisions I've made about my family. Not that these are excuses, just reasons.

So, today I've started tracking my food again. I called my therapist and we talked for a little bit. I committed to reading the book she lent me, The Appetite Awareness Workbook, rather than looking at it balefully as it sits in Mt. TBR.* I browsed it for a couple minutes and saw a section called "A Binge is a Temper Tantrum." Ain't that the truth.

Lastly, we discussed how I need to be more mindful during the day and take pleasure in the moment. I struggle with being a "human doing." Instead of enjoying the process of whatever I'm working on, I'm thinking about the next thing on Mt. TBD.**


* Mount To Be Read
** Mount To Be Done

Friday, March 20, 2009

Morbid Obesity and Transportation

Getting places is always a challenge.

If the walk is short, there are places to sit and/or a bariatric wheelchair available, I can take my car. It's a 1993 Buick Century with 130,000-ish miles on it. I call it my little rust bucket. The seat is broken and the back gives no support (to other people) because it is bent back so far. However, I can fit in it and am in no pain while driving even if I am in the car for hours such as when I sit by the lake, reading. However, it is old and as I said very rusty. I can't imagine trying to find another car that has bucket seats and no hump where I can fit behind the wheel. It's a good car, we spend only about $500 a year on it. Not bad really. But eventually, we are going to need to start looking and I dread it.

If I need my wheelchair, we need to take hubby's truck. I can't drive it as it's a stick-shift (can't maneuver to get to the clutch) plus I can't fit behind the steering wheel. After 20 or so minutes in the truck as a passenger, my back and knees start to hurt. After 30 - 45 minutes they are screaming at me. There isn't much room for me to move and the seat doesn't totally support me. As it is, I'm constantly fidgeting to get comfortable. Let's not even talk about the seat belt. Even with the extender, I'm confined so much, I can't even fidget and the belt cuts against my neck.

For when my husband isn't available, the walk is long and there is no seating for someone my size, I've researched transportation for the disabled such as Metro Mobility . They won't take anyone where the weight of the chair plus the rider is over 600 pounds. You do the math...

Monday, March 16, 2009

602 Pounds - Down 2

I had a bit of a pig out*, verging on a binge, last night. I was afraid that it would negate all the hard work I put in this last week. There was a lot of praying before I stepped on the scale this morning. Phew, down 2. I'll take it.

Maybe next week I'll be under 600 pounds for the first time in about five years. When I hit the 500's, I'm going to start adding some exercise to the mix. I'm not looking forward to it, but as hard and painful as it is, it needs to be done.

I want this to be faster. I'm very impatient. Small changes and small losses are better for me in the long run. But I want it NooooOOOOooooW!

* 2 egg rolls, 6 cream cheese won tons, 3 fried chicken thighs, french fries, 1 serving of Hershey chocolate eggs, 1 serving of Girl Scout Thin Mints

Friday, March 13, 2009

Before Pictures at 640 pounds

These were taken a couple of years ago. I'm somewhere between 640 and 670 pounds. I'll have some new ones taken when I reach 590 and each additional 50 pounds off.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

My First Binge

The first binge I remember was when I was nine or ten years old. Unlike other people, I remember school food fondly. I'm not sure why. Maybe because it was something different than what my mom cooked. Maybe because, unlike at home, I could choose what and how much I wanted to eat without being scrutinized.

They used to serve white rice in these little paper cups about the size of a cupcake lining. At lunch one day, nobody wanted their rice. I'm not sure how it happened - did someone offer me one? Did I ask for one person's and other people heard? But I ended up with a tray full of those little, white paper cups of rice. There were ten or twelve of them and I ate every single one.

I read while I ate, but I'll go into that in another post. I ate and read and read and ate until I couldn't eat another bite. There was a bit of shame attached to it, but mostly I remember the delight I had in being able to eat until I was full rather than having my parents watch and criticize what I put in my mouth. "Leave some for everyone else." "You don't need anymore." "You've had enough."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

What This Is

Less is Morph is about how I'm morphing into less. It's not necessarily going to give you weight loss tips and tricks. There are plenty of other resources and blogs that do that. My blog will reveal how I got where am I, daily challenges for someone my size and my struggles with losing enough weight to I feel like I have a relatively normal life.

I have researched and thought hard about weight loss surgery. Between the lack of long-term research, stories from people that I know and trust, distaste for messing around with something that is working the way it is supposed to (my digestive system) and my eating disorder history, WLS is not an option for me. Since you need to completely change your eating, fitness routines and lose a significant amount of weight pre-surgery anyway, why not do those things and not have the surgery?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Where I started

In August of 2007, I participated in a Binge Eating program at Park Nicollet. I went to an educational program for eight weeks, then a followup program for nine weeks. When I started, I weighed in at 672 pounds. That the heaviest I've been. During the program, I lost about 30 pounds. The only change to my diet was to refrain from binging.

However, I needed to lose a lot more weight and the Park Nicollet refrain was "this is not a weight loss program." I found The Emily Program which combined eating disorder therapy as well as weight loss support. I worked with a nutritionist who put me on an exchange diet. I lost about another 20 pounds.

Currently, I use the free online program, SparkPeople. I've lost 12 pounds in the last three weeks or so. I believe this program is the one that is really going to help me the most as they concentrate on weight loss at a reasonable rate via calorie counting, fitness and a massive amount of online support including message boards, nutrition & fitness trackers, articles on nutrition, motivation, fitness, wellness, goal-setting and health issues.

I weighed in this morning at 604 pounds.