Friday, May 30, 2014

This Week's Shenanigans

I'm finding that it's getting harder and harder to live this live without my drug of choice.  This is no easy task.  Logic would suggest that it should be getting easier after time, but it's not.  Maybe because I keep finding loopholes and then I have to close them up, like the treats at work or my extra credit card I was holding back.  They were my unconscious back-up plan in case of an "emergency".

I've had a pretty rough week or two.  Two weeks ago I was just thinking about how my life seems emotionally flat the last several real joy or sadness.  I'm sure it's because of the drugs I take to keep the depression away.  But then I found myself dealing with something that caught me off guard and put me over the edge for a few days, laying in bed depressed, missing work and not showering....(.ah, the good old days :) )  Of course my craving for sugar and sweets grew very big. And I also had no energy to cook anything.  I then tricked my mom into giving me some grocery money and then proceeded to buy some ice cream among other things.  It tasted so good.  I felt better for a little while and then went down hill again.  I got the idea that I could go to my money friends and write a couple of checks that I needed to write and include an extra one that I wrote out to my mom.  After I left, I scratched out my mom's name and put Smith's.  I went to one Smith's to try and buy a big bag of Reece's, but it's been so long since I cashed a check there that they were demanding to see a driver's license.  Well, my money friends have my driver's license to prevent such occurrences.   The checker asked if I had my number memorized and I didn't, but it gave me an idea.  I went home and called my money friend and got my driver's license number and took that with me to the other Smith's in town.  This checker was not going to let me use the check without seeing my driver's license.  I was unsuccessful at scoring any "drugs" that day.  I was so mad.

I am normally an honest person, but it's weird to know that I can pull these shenanigans when it comes to getting my sweets.  I have since confessed to my therapist who in turn called my money friend and asked her not to give me my license number anymore and my mom and asked her not go give me money anymore.  And I have apologized to all parties.

I've been feeling better the past couple of days, went to work, showered, cleaned my apartment...those are all good signs.  So far, I've lost 10 pounds...down to 420.  Slower weight loss than I would like, but I'm still losing and not gaining.  Patience. Patience. Patience.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Can I Really Do This?

This weekend, I gave up my last means of purchase.  I held back one of my credit cards because I'm only allowed to use it during a work trip.  There hasn't been a problem of inappropriate purchases before, so why would I worry about it now, I thought.  There have since been some days where I've really considered buying binge food with it. Ugh!  I decided to hand it over after I went to a meeting in Salt Lake for work and I almost bought some things I shouldn't.  It was a hard decision.  It has been my secret means of purchase if things get really, really bad.  Now I have absolutely nothing to fall back on.  It's scary.  Can I really do this?

I weighed this morning and I only lost 0.8 pounds last week.  I guess I should be grateful for that, but I'm disappointed.  I feel like I've been trying so hard, my work should have created a greater loss and I wonder to myself, "Can I really do this?"

I sat on the couch tonight, watching TV, and munched on Chinese noodles.  I was supposed to be saving them for Hawaiian haystacks, but I broke down and ate the whole can.  I wasn't hungry, but it was so enjoyable and comforting.  I had a sense of relief.  Relief from some anxiety and dullness in my life.  The relief hasn't lasted very long, in fact, my anxiety is increasing and now I want my Reece's.  I want a whole bag of them.  I want them so badly that I'm fantasizing about how I might go to the store and bring some home.  Now remember, I have no means of purchase, so this would mean shoplifting.  It's not the first time this has crossed my mind.  In the mornings, I go to the food court at work and get ice for my mug.  I walk by all the candy and think about putting it in my pocket.  What am I, 5 years old?  The embarrassment factor is what stops me.  (The thought of fat me getting caught with a candy bar in her purse is humiliating.)  There is some, "It's the right thing to do" mixed in, but mostly the embarrassment.  That's where my morals are when it comes to sugar.

I feel so inept in the food control department.  What does it feel like to look at a cookie and take it or leave it?  What does it feel like to eat just one cookie and not want all of them?  I don't know yet, but I'm learning.  It's why I have enlisted so much help, but I wonder if it's enough.  I wonder if I will ever overcome the psychological hold food has on me.  I know I'm just starting this new leg of my journey, but I wonder if I can be successful.  I've tried so many other times.  Can I really do this?

I have to remember that this time is very different.  I have people helping and supporting me.  I am not dieting.  I'm not counting calories.  I've had any means of bingeing taken away and I'm hoping in 2 years, when it's time to wean the training wheels off that I can do this on my own.  I hope I can reverse 40 years of food abuse and yo-yo dieting.  It seems daunting, but I'm ready to do it.  I have to do this.  I think I'm learning some things already.  For example, I bought bagels the other day and normally, I would eat them all in one sitting.  Because of this, they got sent to my "food friends'" house for reasonable disbursement.  It has been so refreshing to be able to have bagels left over for several breakfasts instead of one.  It has been a learning experience to eat just one and not be able to eat the rest.  I think I'm getting used to being satisfied with just one.  I still don't trust myself with all of them, but I believe I'm learning.  Just one of many lessons ahead of me.  I think I can really do this!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Email

Before I start posting about the present, I have a few more catch up items to let you in on.

I had been having problems eating way too many treats at work.  I couldn't eat just one thing, I had to eat 10 (no exaggeration).  I would have myself a little mini  binge all alone in the break room.  And then guilt and disappointment would ensue, not to mention the sick sugar-coma feeling in my body.   My therapist and I talked about how we could deter this behavior.  "You should put up a sign in the break room," he suggested.  "No way," I said.  That would be too public and I would feel awkward.  We then talked about writing an email to my colleagues offering $50 if they caught me in the break room.  I was resistant to that as well for several weeks, imagining how embarrassing that would be.  I got closer to complying when I discovered that the real reason was I really didn't want my access to those sweet, binge-producing foods to be taken away.  My addiction didn't want to give up my last avenue for release.  Then I realized how important it was for me to stay away and get control of myself.  This was my life and well-being and my struggle to overcome this.  After I dealt with that and realized the importance of me being able to stay away from everything, I sent the email.  We wanted it to be light and not too serious and I did change the reward to $25.  This is what I came up with:

Catch Wendy Contest...Win $25

Hi All,

As some of you may know, I am making concerted efforts to eat healthier and lose weight.  One of the holes in my plan is the food that is shared in the break room or elsewhere around the office.  I have a hard time resisting and I need your help.

Because of this, you now have the chance to win $25.  Here's how:
  • Catch me in the break room, treats or no treats.  ( I never know when something will be in there, so I need to avoid this.)  I can be in the sink/kitchen area, but if I cross the threshold, I'm busted.
  • Catch me eating any treats from anywhere in the office (i.e. the time clock, across the hall, Karen's desk).  This includes treats at meetings and office lunches.
  • Be the first one to speak up and you win!
If the shared food is fruits or veggies I'm allowed to eat, but anything else is up for reward.
If we have lunch set up in the break room, which happens sometimes, I'm allowed to get my lunch, but any other time is up for reward.
This contest is valid for the next 2 years.

Thanks and Good Luck! :) 

(Please no tempting me :) )

After I hit SEND, I was nervous about the response I would get.  I imagined laughter and ridicule.  But there was none of that (at least not overtly).  In fact, someone offered to get me walking, which is a great help as I try to recondition my body.

I sent the email about 10 days ago and so far it has deterred me from eating any extra treats at work.  When I hear about a treat being shared, my anxiety goes up about 10 notches.  But knowing I'll owe someone $25, has stopped me from partaking.  I'm too poor to go around paying for a $25 brownie.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hope Rejuvinated

As I began to come out of the disappointment and hopelessness of not finding the treatment I thought I needed, my therapist and I formulated a plan for healthy eating and weight loss.  I've truly realized that I can't do this alone.  So I have enlisted friends to help.  Here's the nuts and bolts of it:

I have decided to relinquish control of my money and some problem foods (foods I am likely to binge or overeat) to others in order to begin to make a habit of eating healthy and in appropriate portions.  I am not excluding any food from my diet (i.e. I can have a candy bar every once in a while), just learning to control portion size and frequency of all foods.  I will keep non-binge/non-overeat foods in my apartment.  I will try to eat when I am hungry and stop when I’m full.  I will try to have a protein and vegetable/fruit with each meal.  I will eventually start an exercise program as I start to feel better.  The specifics of that exercise program are to be determined.

I am doing this because I have struggled with food my entire life.  I have tried multiple times to lose weight and eat healthy on my own…sometimes successfully, only to eventually gain everything back and then some each time.  The weight and unhealthy eating habits are taking a toll on my health and my quality of life.  To name a few, there’s the uncontrolled diabetes, mobility issues, need for supplemental oxygen, etc.  This affects other aspects of my life as well.  I have lost, or at least put on indeterminate hold, a nursing career and significantly decreased my chances for fulfilling relationships.  I have come to the conclusion that I need outside restraints for a prolonged period of time, up to 2 years, in order to be successful for good and enjoy the second half of my life.

What this means is I have given any means of purchase (credit, debit cards) to a couple of friends and I have given another couple of friends charge over my binge foods.  The money friends meet me at the grocery store after I have shopped to pay for my groceries.  I pay all my bills online and if I need something other than groceries, someone has to come with me to make the purchase.  I am not allowed to have these items on my own.  I can't be trusted to make good food choices right now.  My friends with my binge food keeps that food in single servings so when I want something, I only get a single serving and not the whole thing. There are other helping me also, in their own ways.  Anything from verbal support to encouraging me to walk.

Whew!  This plan takes a village and I'm grateful for my village, believe me.  I am humbled by their love and willingness to help me.  They are awesome.  I still don't believe that it's possible, that people would be willing to help me.  But it seems to be true.

In preparation for treatment, I received a priesthood blessing in which patience was reiterated.  I would need patience in this journey.  Since then, that word has cropped up in conversation and in written word many times.  It's not easy, but I am trying to be patient.

I started out at 430 pounds.  As of Monday, I have lost 9 and am down to 421.  I have to believe that this is it.  I am determined to stick with this for the next 2 years and even more if I need to.

Hopes Dashed

I want to get back to blogging because I'm in the midst of a plan that is helping me be healthy and lose weight.  I hope for the last time.  I'll explain more a little later, but for now I wanted to catch you up on the ups and downs of the past few months.

By December of last year, I had gained back all of the weight I had lost in my last weight lose attempt.  It was devastating and humiliating.  I had failed again.  During this time, I became aware of an acquaintance of mine who had died.  I wasn't sure what happened, but she was recovering from an eating disorder.  I met her while I was in treatment back in 2009.  I felt sad and scared.  It hit me hard that if I didn't get my own eating under control, my own life was in danger.  My quality of life was already dismal.  My obesity was slowly causing various health problems including diabetes, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea, to name a few.

As I was in this mode of thinking and feeling, I came across a Dr. Phil episode in which he sent a woman to an eating disorders treatment center in Orem, UT.  It piqued my interest.  After the last in-patient treatment I went through, I didn't think I would ever consider trying another one.  But I guess it's like they say about childbirth.  After a time you forget how painful it was and try again.  I had hope that this would help me...finally.  I wanted to try again.  I thought, "This is my last-ditch effort--my last try at this.  If this doesn't work, there's nothing left."  I found out that my insurance, if they allowed all of the days that were available to me, might pay for up to 4 months of treatment.  This was great news.  The longer I had to practice good eating habits and to heal my mind and body, the better.  I was going to a partial-hospitalization program.  I would be there only during the day.  I made arrangements to stay with a friend during the week and took a leave from work.  I got a loan for my portion of the cost.  I was set.

In January, I left for the treatment center.  My first few days were difficult, but hopeful.  The schedule was exhausting on my unconditioned, sick body and I was in constant anxiety, not having food when I was used to having it.  But the staff was wonderful and caring.  Then day 3 came.  "Your insurance is denying coverage."  They were actually demanding that I go to an in-patient facility to get treatment because I was medically unstable.  I didn't understand that.  I had been handling my medical life just fine on an out-patient basis. They were also worried because I was still bingeing.  The facility I was in couldn't take me in-patient because they weren't equipped to handle some of the medication that I was on.  I was greatly disappointed and for a couple hours inconsolable.  I had this all figured out.  Treatment = Cure.  They threw a wrench in my plan.  Not only was my recovery plan screwed up, but my leave from work and my finances were now messed up.

They suggested I contact a facility in Denver who treated binge eating, along with the other eating disorders, and would be able to manage all my medications.  I called, was evaluated and planned on going there within the next few days.  I had hope again that things would work out.  This treatment was my salvation.  I would be cured.  But, after all was said and done, I was told that I "wouldn't be a good fit for them" because there were no other binge eaters there at the time.  I was devastated again.  I kept putting all my eggs in one basket and when my basket tipped over, it was the end of the world to me.  It took me several days to come back from that hit.  I thought all my options were gone and I might as well not stick around.  I've been fighting this thing long enough.  I had no hope left and I ended up very depressed and angry.

After some negotiation and a letter from my therapist to the insurance, my insurance agreed to pay for the partial-hospitalization that I originally tried.  I called back the original treatment center, excited and full of hope again.  After a few phone conversations, I was told that they weren't comfortable taking me back because they now felt as the insurance had that I was "too fragile and needed in-patient attention."  I called a couple more places, but they were too expensive.  I had been jerked around enough and this is when I decided to bag it.  Bag the whole idea.  And while I had bounced back a little from the depression, I was still left without hope.  I imagined I would just stay this way til I was dead and buried.

No worries.  This isn't the end of the story.  Hope is coming up next.