Monday, March 24, 2014

Pre-op class #10 and weekly weigh-in

Wow, this week's pre-op class was pretty difficult.  The topic was on addiction.  One of the things I absolutely love about the classes and why I'm so grateful to be spending the time working on various topics each week is because it so much more than just the semantics of the surgery.  Sure, we could spend our time reviewing the pros and cons of our choices and the nutrition issues that go along with them.  After a certain period of time, though, we would only be dealing with surface-level topics.  The bigger concern, at least for me, is the reasons why I have gone to food in my life.  Giving my body nutrients to sustain my life often times never really crossed my mind.  Okay, that might be the case for things such as asparagus and oatmeal, but those are not the sorts of foods that I have found myself clinging to in moments of need.  It has been things more like a carton of ice cream, cake, pie, cookies, muffins, pizza, chips.  I wish I could tell you all that I have been a lady around these foods, but I'd be telling you a bold-faced lie.  What I was in those moments was a compulsive overeater who would eat the whole bag, box or carton of whatever concoction was in front of me if left on my own.  When no one is looking, I would definitely go to town.

Am I a food addict?  Hell yes.  I am to food like a drug addict is to crack or the alcoholic is to the bottle.  I cannot rationalize in my mind that it is not as serious because it is.  For me, it has always been that way.  Part of why I have a blog in the first place is to help me move on from emotional eating into something much more wonderful.  I sit here at my laptop and share my life and feelings with all you lovely readers and friends because I need to let go of the ways I have always used food in unhealthy ways.  Being transparent helps me share myself with you, but also with myself.  

The reason this week's class really got to me is because what we were discussing hit me squarely between the eyes.  It described me perfectly in what I do with food and that was hard.  Granted, I am not doing many of the things that were brought up right now, but I'm always inches away from it.  For me, it's a matter of making a conscious decision at each meal to give my body loving care and not abusing it with sugar, flour and grease, which are downfalls for me.  Today at lunch, for example, I found myself needing to go out and get myself something to eat because I didn't prepare food at home and my friend that I usually walk with wasn't at work today.  So I found myself alone.  I started rationalizing in my head how I could get away with having a hamburger and no one would know.  God, where did that come from?  I would know.  I'm not working on weight loss and good health for anybody else, just me.  As I wondered where I would go for lunch, I knew exactly where ... a place that I could not get fast food.  I knew I would be kicking myself if I did that.  Thankfully I found enough strength inside to just say no to those fleeting thoughts and I found myself ordering a salad.  

Our class material covered the different thoughts that someone has when it comes to how their addiction imbeds itself into their lives.  One difficult piece was the phases of addictive behavior.  I was talking to a couple of classmates and gave an example of something I have done before.  At times where I know I'm going to be home alone or when I start thinking about leaving work for the day, I have had thoughts about food and how I could get my hands on it.  We're not talking about eggplant here.  

In this one particular instance, I thought about how good it would be to buy a carton of ice cream at the store on the way home so that I could eat it in private.  I would leave the office and stop off at the grocery store, looking for my fix.  I would be tunnel-visioned, only wanting that one thing and not caring about any negative consequences.  I'd buy other foods to cover it up so that a normal-sized person wouldn't judge me, but the ice cream was all I cared about.  I'd get home, close the blinds, open the carton and then dig in.  My phone may be ringing or someone could have been knocking at the door and I wouldn't care.  I was on a mission.  The first few bites would taste like pure heaven, but then I'd start to feel guilty.  My blood sugar would skyrocket and I'd inject insulin to offset the high number.  I'd feel shame and remorse but then, in that moment, instead of throwing the rest of the carton away, I would eat it until it was all gone.  Maybe I did it in one sitting or maybe I would do it over the course of the evening, but make no mistake about it when I say it would be gone.  And I would be left having to deal with the repercussions of what I had done to myself.  Who in their right mind eats a carton of ice cream except for an addict?  Going even further, who in their right mind goes for more food after that is gone?  

That above example is not about gluttony.  It is about how an addiction can take hold of a person.  Some may think that addiction to food is nowhere near as bad as drugs or alcohol.  The problem in that scenario is that while death is much more eminent with a drug addict, the same thing happens to a food addict except their death takes a lot longer.  It comes in the form of a diseased body riddled with excess weight, chronic pain and numerous ailments.  Who willingly chooses that?  It's an addiction.

Thankfully I am not participating in that sort of behavior any longer, praise you Lord, but I could be one bite away from it.  If I dare bring any of that sort of food into my house right now, I know it will be gone because I would have eaten it.  Something would have compelled me and it's precisely that something that I am working on.  Maybe I can reintroduce those foods in the future, who knows.  Right now, though, the inside has to be healed just as much as the outside.  I don't want to go through surgery only to be back in the same place all over again.  I am willing to dig as deeply as I must to prevent me from returning to old behaviors.  I do have a fear that I will go through surgery and that I will fail.  Whatever the doctors and experts tell me to do, I am willing.  Sometimes searching my soul is incredibly painful.  It means opening doors that I wanted sealed shut and being honest at a level that feels brutal at times.  

As I was reading a few blogs earlier, I discovered the greatest post from Diane over at Fit to the Finish.  Her post, "Losing a Bunch of Weight Doesn't Ensure Happiness" was amazing.  If you have a chance, click on this link and read that post, especially the ending where she provides great suggestions on working towards emotional healing.  I know this is a long process and does not happen overnight.  But, if I keep working on it, it will continue getting better and, who knows, maybe someday ice cream won't call to me so much.  If it does, I definitely don't have to answer, one day at a time, one meal at a time.

Oops, I almost forgot ... I lost two pounds this week.  Yay me ;-)  Believe it or not, I'm happy with the slow loss because it means I'm heading in the right direction.  Thanks for always being so supportive.  It really does mean a lot to me, more than you could ever know.

Water Challenge Day 63:  Drank 180 of 180 ounces


Beth Ann said...

"I am not doing many of the things that were brought up right now, but I'm always inches away from it" Yep yep, me too. Great post.

Caitlin R said...

Kathy... wow. This post really affected me. That situation you described about knowing you'd be home alone and planning what you'd buy and binge on... and then buy other foods to cover it up - I have done exactly that. Time and time again. It is an addiction. Doing it alone and hiding it from others are symptoms of an alcoholic. Food is the same, I believe.

You should be so proud of yourself for not giving in when you wanted that hamburger. I certainly am. Every time you make a choice like that, you are choosing a better life for yourself. There is hope for all of us.

With these classes you're doing. With your blog. With your attitude. With your super successful water streak! You are going to do this. And you are already losing weight pre-surgery, which shows just how dedicated you are!

Look what you've overcome recently. And without the crutch of bingeing. You are such a strong woman. I love coming here. *hugs*

happyinca said...

This was an amazing post Kathy. Thank you.

Cedes said...

Love you sees-ter

Kathy said...

Thank you everyone! I appreciate you all so much. Caitlin, special hugs to you. What a sweet message ;-)

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