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Archive for June, 2006

What a messy day. My work was hard and intense today, and I barely had time to think. Trying to decide if I need to make a 6000 mile trip next week, looking forward to future objectives, trying to make a difference during transitional times, this is all hard.

But I’m happy to have the opportunity, because it’s so much better than the hell I was in a few years ago. When I think about all of my current stressors, the ones that bubble to the top are: traveling to the desert on business in July, being disappointed that my weight loss was not more than it is. I don’t have a good feel for how much I actually lost, since my last measure was in the hospital with a kidney stone, but I’m not happy.

By not having lost more this spring, I feel like I have not succeeded at my ND. Although to be honest, losing some is better than my usual steady gain. At the moment I’m eating not so small delicious portions, because if they were small enough, I’d have lost more.

But this is where I am right now.  Time to face reality, and start learning the “small” part of my critical maxims.

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I wondered what would happen when the scale arrived. After probably 10 years without one, during my recovery from my ED, I was concerned that I would obsess. But since I am moving from recovery to weight reduction, it was time. I had replaced obsession over the weight with obsession over detecting if I had lost.  Much harder to find, and I was constantly looking at my wrists, which seem to be smaller, or photographs from a year ago, or clothing size.

Wel, the fates surprised me. I thought I would have time to adjust to the idea of having a scale. Coming home late last night after a business dinner, I checked my email. “Your scale will be shipped tomorrow,” the message said. As I shut down, I commented on this to my husband, and he looked at me with surprise.  “It’s already here – came today,” he said.  “Does it work?” i asked. Yes, was the answer.

Well, after a huge day at work, and evening work event, I was exhausted. Too exhausted to determine a rational response, so I followed my usual “silent” response, and sat without saying a word. Inside my head raged the hope that he would go upstairs and be away for a few minutes, so I could try out the scale in secret.

Nobody said I was rational on this topic, ok? I told him I was going to buy one, looked for a week, bid on it on ebay, DH made the e-transfer, and it came. Not exactly a reason for secrecy, huh. But still, I wanted my first weigh-in to be private.  DH didn’t even tell me his weight, which he checked. But he did say it did not satisfy him, and he was a little shocked.

I went upstairs to take a bath not long afterwards, and openly carried the scale with me.  I measured before the bath, after the bath, after a pee, and again this morning. I do intend to collect a lot of data for a little while, to get a sense of how my weight varies over a day, given normal living circumstances.  I’m tracking weight, day, time of day, time since BM, eating since last weigh-in.  The repeatability of this electronic scale surprised me. I tested it by getting on and off several times in a row. Even recalibrating wach time didn’t make a difference. This is very different from a mechanical scale, but I’m still assessing if it seems to really be consistent, or is simply not reporting the kind of variation a mechanical scale has.

I promise myself that I will assess obsession over the scale, along with binging. If the BED returns, or the obsession is destructive, the scale goes away again. Sometimes being true to yourself means working through contradictions. The contradiction between tracking weight loss and potential for scale obsession is one of mine. Love and acceptance of myself will get me through.

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Have I stopped dieting, or have I started normal eating?

Have I stopped beating myself up psychologically, or have I started treating myself with kindness and compassion?

Semantics, perhaps. But words do impact lives. Think Martin Luther King.  Think Lucy MacDonald, who has collected the wisdom of women around the world. See http://lucymacdonald.com/files/Positive%20Quotes%20by%20women%20and%20for%20w… 

Sandra Bierig said, “To accept ourselves as we are means to value our imperfections as much as our perfections. ”

Part of the past year with therapy and ND (Non-Dieting) was developing self-acceptance. It blossomed to self-love. Amazing, considering for the first 40 years of my life I couldn’t even stand to look in a mirror. Now I look, encourage myself, and take the thoughts away with me. Even when I’m critical, I explore the thoughts and develop a rational rebuttal.

When I need closure, I use the “stopping” terms. When I need to move forward and increase my confidence, I use the “starting” words.

I’m starting to get it. My body, my confidence, my morals, my choices. My words. My life.

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Yesterday I chose to not experiment with any other diet rules. The one thing I want more than anything else is to not be wrapped up in the binge eating disorder again.  While I don’t specifically know the triggers, early symptoms are clear. When I shut my brain down and eat, or make a quick decision “I’m going to eat that, regardless of hunger” or because it tastes good, those are signs that I’m headed towards a binge. Also simply eating steadily too much at several meals indicates an emotional discomfort that I am not investigating.

The experiment with low GI was interesting, but pushed me into researching other diets, actually considering trying one or two of them. I choose not to experiment any more, because I did experience both the steady overeating and the decision to eat unconsciously. That, coupled with buying a scale, is plenty of warning that I could push myself too far.

Which puts me into a stabilize mode. Back to the critical maxims: don’t binge, don’t give up, love yourself. To this I will add, eat small delicious portions. I choose to not focus on waiting too long for hunger, or eating to any specific fullness level. This is enough for now, and compensates for the stress of the past few days along with the stress of the move into diet-land.

My power, my decisions, my life.

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Wow. That actually sneaked up on me.  But I’m not going to let anyone or anything take my free will away from me. This will be on my terms.

Who woulda thought it? I was going along, happily non-dieting. A little therapy conquers my self-hatred, and then I notice I’m starting to naturally lose a little weight. First comes a cycle or two of rebound binging, then it settles into a level of eating that is almost but not quite enough to steadily and noticeably lose weight.

“Not quite enough” spurred me to experiment with hunger and fullness to see if I could make it more steady without deprivation, because deprivation always results in a binge. Binges for me seem to link onto one another, so a single binge can often start more. The last time the binge chain happened, it was about 3 days of moderate overeating before I got back into sync. I don’t believe any major weight gain occurred, but since I don’t measure, I can’t say with any accuracy.

Now I’m facing my own path. No strict diet, because it causes binges. No beating myself up, because that’s gone. No strict Overcoming Overeating (a no-diet philosophy), because it provides no tools to move from legalizing to natural eating. It’s my own path. Hmmm.  What shall I call it?

Maybe No Deprivation Diet.  No depriving myself, no pure emotional eating, no binging, no strict diet, no absolutes, just living in the rainbow area.

Or maybe the Plenty Diet.  Plenty of food, plenty of tastes, plenty of feelings, plenty or satisfaction, plenty of balance, plenty of love, plenty of pleasure, plenty of achievement, plenty of joyful work.  The rainbow area is colorful and delightful. I prefer to spend as much time as possible there.

Nah, I’ll start with the Rainbow Plenty Diet. Gag if you like at the kitschiness of the name. My daughter would prefer to call it the Evil Font of Horrible Bloody Death Diet, but then she’s borderline Goth anyway. I don’t care if my name makes her barf either.

The only rule is there are no rules. You can even break that one if you want to. I choose today to set some strong preferences that I will treat like rules, unless they violate some of the critical maxims.

Critical Maxims (Things people on the Rainbow Plenty Diet STRONGLY STRONGLY prefer)

  • Prevent the BED (Binge Eating Disorder) from retrenching itself
  • Giving up is not an option 
  • Love yourself

My current strong preferences

  • Eat small delicious portions
  • Eat so that my body requires the use of some of my fat stores as well as what’s going in my mouth
  • Search for an balance between hunger and satisfaction that optimizes weight loss without binging
  • Measure a baseline and progress determined by body measurements and the scale
  • Exercise a little each day, preferably including some weight training

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The long term results of my low GI lunch are as follows.

I stayed full but not stuffed all afternoon. No desire for a snack – did not even eat my banana. When I got home, I ate less for dinner than usual.

Most of this I attribute to the low GI meal, primarily because it was larger than average for me. It was a very satisfying meal, and was my main meal of the day. Dinner ended up being leftover frozen lasagna (a small portion my daughter did not want to eat), and a small dish of ice cream.

Both were eaten as much out of stress as out of pure hunger. The teleconference in the afternoon was to introduce me to my new boss, my 8th boss in 4 years. Since I’ve got so much experience in new bosses, that wasn’t strictly my stressor. Rather, I am also now working at a new level, because this boss is a senior manager and reports into an executive. The atmosphere is different here. There’s more visibility, which is good. The previous organizational plan would have put me in a low visibility, low access place. Now the new boss has just 3 objectives, and my work can bring the high glory results for him. Note I said for him, because I have no illusions that it will do much for me. There’s even a chance that I will be slotted into working for someone underneath him, rather than having the autonomy gained by reporting directly to him. Bosses tend to like me for my results, but not for my opinions.

Back to low GI eating. What I think I learned yesterday is that I still eat a lot of calories. By the time I added up chicken breast at 200, chutney at 70, potatoes at 100, salad and veggies and dressing at 80, and ice cream at 180, that’s a 630 calorie meal. Add a good breakfast, with milk and bagel, and another 400 for dinner, and you’ve got a 2000 calorie day. I wonder how much my metabolism really uses. I’ve got to remind myself that I have to eat, because weight loss only happens when you do keep the metabolism out of shut-down mode, and that my primary goal is to not re-enter the mindless binge world. Getting my thoughts in control is the key to success here.

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Lunch results

After planning to eat a low GI lunch, I can report in and say that it happened. I increased the low GI foods (salad), switched to vinegar based dressing, had a good portion of protein and kept potatoes low. It was quite filling and well-balanced. I usually do achieve a good balance at lunchtime.  For dessert I ate ice cream and was surprised by reading the nutrition information. Even though it looked much larger than a candy bar, it had only 180 calories. Most candy bars I’ve read lately have 240 calories.

I brought back a granola bar instead of additional fruit for snack. My current expectation is that I will have a lesser slump at 3 p.m. I’ll see what really happens, and if I have hunger issues at around 5 p.m.

If I really look back at my eating today, it’s quite possible that I won’t want much for supper at all. But we’ll have to see. I prefer to eat meals rather than skip them, but I want to honor fullness as much as hunger.

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