Monday, December 23, 2013

End of the Year is Coming

My eating is better though the doctors never did figure out what was wrong with me even after tons of blood tests, urine tests, a CT scan and an endoscopy. The endoscopy doctor had one theory. I have a large abdominal hernia that involves a "significant" amount of intestine. He thought that might be contributing to it. Unfortunately, because of my size, it's not something they can fix right now.

I'm eating normally now and am averaging around 2000 calories. When I wasn't feeling well I was eating a lot less than that so I'm going to try to reduce that a little farther. Perhaps to the 1800 to 1900 range. We'll see how it goes.

I have a doctor appointment with the eating institute to get cleared for physical therapy. Even though I've lost over 200 pounds, my energy levels are actually *decreasing.* I need some help with exercise and motivation and they have PT available for those who have gone through their program.

From the beginning of the year, I have lost 36 pounds. Not nearly as much as I had hoped. Still, this year overall I've lost 60 pounds (had a weight gain mid-year.) All of it since I started the binge eating program. I've had 101 binge free days! If I stay on track like I have been the second half of the year, I should lose 120 pounds in 2014 though I'd be happy with 80 pounds. Wish me luck!

ETA: Oh! And when I lose three more pounds, I'll take new pictures and post them.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Movement But Not in the Best Way

I haven't been posting. First because Blogger was giving me fits, then because I haven't been feeling well.

Since the end of October, I've been fighting stomach problems. I have hunger signals such as feeling light-headed, stomach hunger pangs, weakness, irritability, unable to concentrate, but I can't seem to eat. You know that feeling when you are full? You go to take a bite and your throat closes up and your stomach rolls? I feel like that any time I try to eat. No matter how long it's been or how hungry I am. Then when I do eat, I get full really fast.

I've been eating anywhere from two-thirds to half what I normally eat. My therapist, nutritionist and doctor are all concerned. I've been tested for hepatitis, h pylori (the bacteria that causes ulcers) and infections. The next step is an endoscopy (or to use it's correct name, a esophagogastroduodenoscopy.)

I have an appointment December 23rd. I can't get in any sooner because it seems everyone in the world and their mother are getting procedures done before the end of the year because of insurance. Deductibles come into play at the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, I'm calling in each day to see if there has been cancellations.

Of course, I actually had a chance to get in on a cancellation but I forgot I wasn't supposed to have Ibuprofen for seven days before the procedure and had taken some the night before. What a maroon!

But at least I'm losing weight, right?

Monday, September 23, 2013

Frustratingly, Slow Journey

It's been a frustrating year. I haven't lost much weight since the beginning of the year. In fact, I gained a lot and now, in September, I'm almost back to my lowest weight. However, I have been losing since I started the Binge Eating Group. It's just slow, slow, slow. I've averaged about a pound a week. This is eating about 2200 calories a day. I have to be careful to not restrict my calories too much. It's a hard thing to balance. Reduce enough to lose weight but not so much as to kick off a binge.

I think the only thing that will improve my weight loss is to get going on the exercise. I've been sedentary for about ten years. Nothing seems to motivate me to exercise. I think I've finally found a little trick though. If I don't exercise during the day, I don't allow myself my after dinner treat. It's never anything really big. I try to keep it to 100 calories or under - one cookie, a Weight Watchers ice cream, a snack-sized candy bar, etc. It seems to be working. I did ten minutes of chair dancing three times last week.

Still only lost one pound though. Ugh. Guess I shouldn't complain though after the seven pound loss the previous week.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Binge Eating Group - Week 2

Week two was about consequences and cues. Positive consequences of binge eating for me are: distraction from unpleasant tasks, relief from tension, stress, anger, emotional numbing, feeling comfort or pleasure.

"The binge eating is maintained because the positive consequences resulting from binge eating behaviors are more immediate than the negative consequences."

Negative consequences for me are: social withdrawal, problems from being overweight, depression, guilt, shame, negative self-esteem, weight gain.

One of the main strategies for dealing with binge eating is to change your response to cues by rearranging cues and changing your response to cues.

You rearrange cues by 1) avoidance (don't have a binge food at home), 2) restrict the field (eat only at a table, away from TV), and 3) strengthen positive cues (eat with others if it helps prevent a binge.)

You change your response to cues by 1) building in a pause (wait in between servings), 2) change the behavior (go for a walk instead of eating), and 3) structure your environment to avoid a binge (bring a healthy snack when you go out and don't bring money.)


Binge eating is a mental illness. You need to fight the "monster" of the binge eating disorder talking to you with positive thinking/talk.

Mental rewards/positive affirmations are important to do daily. You don't have to believe them. Just keep saying them. Find three to five mantras and say them three times daily. Write them down on note cards to help you remember.

  • I find the joy in every day.
  • I can do the uncomfortable.
If you are putting effort toward reducing binge-eating behavior, it is a productive effort.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Binge Eating Group - Week 1

Binge Eating Group meets weekly and is three hours long.  The first hour is a cognitive-behavioral therapy group where we discuss a binge eating topic and an assignment we completed over the previous week. The second hour is some type of physical education or body awareness activity. The last hour we eat and then have a nutritional awareness topic.

Most of the content is from Binge Eating Disorder: Clinical Foundations and Treatment by James E. Mitchell, Michael J. Devlin, Martina de Zwaan, Scott J. Crow, and Carol B. Peterson.

"For many people, binge eating serves to "stuff" or numb unpleasant or uncomfortable thoughts or feelings. When the binge eating stops, so do the anesthetic effects of the bingeing behavior."

In general, a binge is where you feel your eating is out of control. You are not feeling anything or tasting what you are eating and includes eating three or more servings of food.

When you have an urge to binge, try the 4 D's:
* Distance - distance yourself from the food, i.e. move away from the table
* Distract - take a walk, read a book, call a friend
* Drink - drink a glass of water
* Decide - then decide if you still want to eat

Also, try "urge-surfing." Basically, an urge to "use" something passes - usually within a few minutes but no more than thirty minutes. Don't fight the urge. Don't act upon the urge. Just notice it and "ride it" like a surfer rides a wave.

In nutrition group we were told to go no longer than three to four hours without a meal or snack. Getting too hungry can precipitate a binge. Also, the opposite is true. Don't eat more often than every two hours to allow the body to get hungry.

Using a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is extremely hungry, 5 is balanced and 10 is extremely full, we should eat when we are around a 2 or 3 and stop when we are around a 7 or 8. If we drop to a 1 or 0, we have gotten too hungry. If we stop eating at a 5, we aren't filling our bodies enough. If we fill ourselves to a 9 or 10, we are eating too much.

The first week we had to bring our own meal. I purchased a chicken salad sandwich, some chips and a dessert bar from the cafe and was pretty satisfied with my meal. I was amused that just about everyone else brought a salad (i.e. "diet food.") It's certainly not what every one typically eats.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Tired of the Hate

Four years ago I wrote a blog entry called Morbid Obesity and Toilet Hygiene. It has since brought about the most traffic to my site... and the most hateful, obnoxious comments. Comments I refuse to publish but I do end up having to read. And after another spate of comments from Reddit today, I'm done. I'm deleting the post. I'm struggling too much with my binge eating disorder. And the more emotionally upset I am, the more I hate myself, the more anxiety and sadness and self-disgust I feel, the more I want to binge. I've actually had suicidal thoughts tonight because the comments have become so vicious and I've taken them to heart.*

I want to share my story with other people like me - the super obese. The people who are very fat and want to lose weight and do it on their own. No surgery and no gimmicks. Yes, I'm losing weight slowly. No, I'm  not going to listen to people who tell me to cut out certain foods. I'm going to listen to my therapist, my nutritionist and the people in my binge eating support group.

There are no good or bad foods. You must learn to listen to your body. Eat mindfully and in moderation. Eat from all the food groups. Don't restrict and don't binge. The weight will and does come off.

My choice is either to delete the post or delete the blog. Since I'd rather keep the blog as I hope that it is inspiring to others who are struggling, for now I'm deleting the post as it's the only way I can keep going.

*Don't worry. I've spoken with a loved one, processed the emotions and am in no danger. It's still terribly painful though.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

June Update aka Boring Post Title

I am struggling badly with my weight and have gained again. I lost 12 of the 30 pounds but then I regained it plus more.  However, the binge eating group has started and I'm seeing a dietitian and therapist. I'm getting the help I need to get me back on track. I'm determined to beat this beast. I will not go back to where I was before.

My previous post got a couple comments with suggestions on diet changes that I will not be following. Instead, I'm working with a dietitian and will be following her instructions. I will not be doing low anything. Binge eaters must be careful to not restrict food and to eat balanced meals in moderate portions. Saying "this has got to go" or having "good" foods and "bad" foods can bring about a binge. Being binge free is more important than anything else. When I don't binge, I eat moderately, if not perfectly, and lose weight. My current plan with her is to just keep my calories under 2500.

The first binge eating group was simply introductions and a lot of administrative stuff. I'm hoping that the second meeting this afternoon is more informative.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What I Eat

I try to shoot for 2000 to 2200 calories per day though if I'm under 2500 I'm happy. At that rate, I tend to lose two pounds per week.

Breakfast: 1 cup of Shredded Wheat or 1 cup of Special K or 1 serving or oatmeal, 1 cup of skim milk, 2 teaspoons of sugar

AM Snack: Ham or turkey sandwich (1 oz.) on whole wheat bread (1 slice) with a "smear" of Miracle Whip, lettuce, and a "nice" cheese (about 1/2 oz.) from the deli. This week it's colby.

Lunch: Meals on Wheels (entree/starch/vegetable/dessert) OR leftovers from double batch cooking (usually soup or a casserole) on the weekend plus applesauce and one store bought cookie OR lunch at senior center (again entree/starch/vegetable/dessert)

PM Snack: Triscuits (6), Laughing Cow Lite (2), fruit (grape, apples or cantaloupe, etc.)

Dinner: Varies widely. Some examples:

- Roast chicken quarter, mashed potatoes, broccoli, 1/2 cup butter pecan ice cream
- Chicken soup, rice crispie bar
- Tuna melt, salad with Thousand Island Light Done Right, 1 snack-sized Mound bar
- Beef Mushroom over egg noodles, Steamfresh pea pods, 1/2 ounce Sno Caps
- 2 hard boiled eggs, 3 sausage, 9 Crispie Crowns, toast, 1 Pecan Sandie
- Baked ziti, broccoli/cauliflower mix, Weight Watchers ice cream treat

Evening: Fla-vor-ice (15 calories)

I drink only water.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Struggling but Back on the Bandwagon

The last month has been pretty horrific as far as weigh gain and binge eating. I regained thirty pounds. Why is it when things are going well that the emotional stuff gets all yucky? My husband has a new job that he's really enjoying. I'm graduating with an Associates in Accounting with high honors (4.0 GPA.) And my eating is awful.

But I'm getting help. I've seen my doctor and she's fast tracking me back into the binge eating disorder program. I have appointments with a therapist and a nutritionist and in the next couple of weeks I should find out when my start date is for group. It meets three hours a week for four months. She also doubled the medication that helps with my binge eating and I'm already feeling the difference.

I'm trying not to get too down on myself. I haven't had a major binge episode in almost a year so I was bound to have one eventually, I guess. I caught it before I regained too much and as fast as I put it on, it shouldn't take me too terribly long to take back off. I lost five of it already in the last week.

This is a process, a journey. A long one. I need to be gentle with myself.

Monday, April 1, 2013

At a Standstill

I'm sorry I haven't posted or moderated comments in the last several weeks. As you can tell from my weight, I've been at a standstill. I need to shake this off and get going again. Life has been very stressful and at least I'm not gaining, but I need forward movement.

My husband went for his two month exam at Mayo and there has been no change to his eye. So that is good news. He'll go back in four to five months for another check up.

Meanwhile, he quit his job. He's applied for unemployment because he quit because his job responsibilities changed. In some cases like his, they'll agree to pay benefits. But this means we have no income other than my disability which isn't enough to pay the bills.

School is also a struggle. This last class is a comprehensive review. What this means is that the textbook is high level and gives no detail. But we are taking four to five quizzes a week which are all detail. This means I do a lot of searching in my previous classes' textbooks and Googling. The quizzes are copy/pastes from the end of each chapter of the textbook. Every week I have to argue over incorrect answers. Half the "instructor" agrees with and changes, the other half she copy/pastes the explanation from the instructor textbook. This class is the pits!

I'll try to do better and not leave the blog languishing for six weeks at a time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Non-Scale Victories

Went to my doctor for a med check and my blood pressure was 90/60. Whoops. She said we are over-medicating my blood pressure and because I've lost so much weight, we need to reduce my blood pressure medications. Yay!

She also said that I've lost more weight than any other person she's known without weight loss surgery. The next person had lost 100 pounds. I've lost near twice that. Another yay!

I'm working on a current set of Before and After pics. I thought I had them ready but #1 Blogger is doing funky things like turning them on their side and #2 the before pics were taken at a different time of day and the tones are different. I don't like it so I want a new set taken. It might be the weekend before my husband can do so while the light is right since he works. I'm not seeing a lot of difference except in my face between the 555 pound pics and the 488 pound pics. Maybe you'll be able to when I get them posted.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Got a Do Over

Okay, it took a few weeks but I'm back to where I was. I gained twelve pounds after that binge and I've lost it again. I challenged myself to 30 days of under 2500 calories and posted my challenge to my friends on LibraryThing. Every day I post a "Day #" image for fun. I'm up to Day 8 and doing fine.

I'm still struggling with constant high levels of anxiety. Anxiety is what got me into this mess in the first place. I ate to self-medicate the anxiety. Now that I'm not eating, I have to sit with this.  Medications don't work for me. Believe me, over the last twenty plus years, I've tried them all. Now that we are dealing with my husband's on-going health issues and job troubles, it's near constant and unrelenting. I don't even know what to do with myself any more. My stomach hurts and I have a constant sinking feeling. I'm on the verge of tears all the time. I should go get some therapy but we simply can't afford it.

So I can't eat to soothe the anxiety because I have to take this weight off. But I don't know how much longer I can deal with this level of high emotion. If anyone has some ideas, I'd be willing to listen.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Crashed on the Other Side

It's been a bad couple of months. My husband was diagnosed with eye cancer and between dealing with doctors, finances and trying to "be strong" for him, I simply didn't have the time or energy to blog. I did okay with my eating until last week.

He went to Mayo for a second opinion and was told that in ninety percent of the cases like his, it just "sits there." So, he'll go back in two months for a recheck. If there are no changes, then he'll go back in four months, then eight months, then yearly. This is very different than the first doctor who immediately wanted us to chose between radiation or removal of the eye.

This was all such a relief that I went into a week long binge so I'm sure I'm going to have a significant gain this week. Weight loss of this magnitude is a long, hard journey and I didn't get to almost 700 pounds without have major issues with food. They aren't simply going to go away and my first knee-jerk coping mechanism is always going to reach for food. It's obviously getting better or I wouldn't have lost the weight that I have, but I can't kid myself that I'm never going to binge again. The best I can do is keep them to a minimum.

Typically, I just overeat for a meal which can be recovered from almost immediately. But after holding myself together for two months, I fell apart last Monday and into a depressive episode that lasted three days. Then I got into the "I'll start again tomorrow" for a few more days and now it's Sunday and oh, the weigh in tomorrow is going to be awful. Ish.