Archive for the ‘abstinence’ Tag

23 Months of Binge-Free Abstinence!

I can’t believe it, two days ago I hit the 23-month abstinence mark.  For almost two years I have been binge-free.  I have kept off my weight loss for 14 months.  I am SO happy to be able to make both of those statements.  It has certainly been quite challenging, day-to-day, hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute, but  if I can do it, anybody can.

Looking back on these past 23 months… In the beginning, I enjoyed going to one certain OA meeting once a week for about a year or so, but then I found out that a friend was also a compulsive eater and my daily email shares with her took the place of the weekly meeting so I stopped going to the meeting.  While it would certainly not hurt to go to the meeting, my work load has picked up, I feel like between this wonderful friend, my husband (and now this blog!), that I am able to talk about whatever is on my mind and put it out there in the universe. As my blog tag-line says, “you are only as sick as your secrets” and I find that really holds true for me.  When I come clean about my thoughts and any little slips I’ve had, it makes it much easier to move on as oppposed to keeping them bottled up inside of me.  My honesty sets me free.

I did not work all the steps of OA.  For me, the first two were enough (for now anyway) to put me on the right course.  The first two steps gave me the ability to take ownership of this eating disorder, which for the past 30+ years I didn’t even know I had. 

I know that I will have food issues for life.  I am a work-in-progress.  I know that once you are a compulsive (over)eater, you can never totally leave the “title” behind no matter how many years you are in recovery or abstinent.  I think that totally sucks, but I have taken ownership of it.  I do hope that with therapy and whatever else I can pick up along the way, that in the future, easier days will become the majority, and the hard days, the minority.  That is what I’m striving for.   I want to turn 23 months into 23 years. 

I know that I may never have a normal relationship with food, but I want to get as close as possible, so that food, and thoughts of food, will not rule my world anymore.

Compulsive Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

*Sigh*  I knew going into the holiday that it was going to be rough.  I always have a tough time when  there is a buffet of some sort.  I’m pretty good with “meal” foods, but it’s the buffet of desserts that gets me.

The first step of OA is to admit that you are powerless over food. Well, once again I have proven that this is certainly the case with me.  I am weak.  It’s as if I can’t be trusted around certain foods.  It makes me feel disappointed in myself, that I don’ have the self-control to stay away.  I should never take the first bite.  I won’t bore you with the details of what desserts I ate, but suffice to say that I took the proverbial first bite, thought the bites were really good, and had some more bites.  This happened with four different desserts.  At home , on a regular day, I can take the first bite, but when I’m not in my home and it is some occasion where there is a lot of desserts, this sickness clouds my rational thoughts.

Now, the fact of the matter is that I only went over my calorie count by about 250 calories.  I could have done tons more damage, and in the past I would have in a heartbeat.  I consider myself as having kept my abstinence because even though I compulsively ate more dessert than I planned on,  because thankfully I was able to put on the brakes before it got worse, I didn’t continue the eating at home and today I’m right back on track.  But ugh, I still felt a little full after we got back home last night.  I never eat until I’m full.  For SO many years I used to eat until I was physically ill, but for close to two years I have not done that.  I did not like feeling that fullness I felt last night.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that going over my count by 250 calories is not the end of the world.  It was the compulsive behavior that was so upsetting to me.  It is just always a hair away from the surface and can easily cross the surface at any given moment. 

I have put Thanksgiving dinner behind me, there is nothing I can do about it now.  All I can do is make today a good one (which I did) and continue to take it one day at a time.   Still, it sucks to feel week, powerless and out of control.  I know all the tricks, made my plans, didn’t frame the desserts in some negative way and yet, I still succumbed to the compulsion.  It’s like I can talk the talk but I can’t walk the walk. 

I hate that I’m probably going to go through this for the rest of my life.  While I would love to avoid family dinners, special occasions, etc. and stay safe in my home cocoon, I know that that is not a reality.  I have to live my life, which includes these dinners and events.  I need to either find a better way of dealing with the compulsion, or just assume I’m going to go a little overboard, let it happen within reason, be kind to myself about it, then just get back on the horse the following day. 

This sucks.

I Survived Halloween Night

So I went into Halloween with a plan – light dinner and then I would be able to eat four pieces of my favorite candy.  Not the most well balanced nutritional meals, but hey, every once in a while you have to shake things up a bit, right?  So as we were out walking the neighborhood, which I’m sure burned oh, maybe,  a whopping 50 calories or so, I asked my kids periodically to please give me that particular candy until I got to the magic number of four. 

At one point, my husband (bless his heart!) asked – should I be taking these away from you?  But I told him,  that I was fine, that it was all part of the master plan.

So after we got home and the kids spread their respective candy hauls all over the table so we could go through it and make sure it looked safe as well as giving the opportunity to give away the stuff they didn’t want, I admittedly, when faced with a full table full of candy ate – one milk dud, one whopper, one bite each of a fun size milky way and a fun size nestle crunch.  I included the calories along with my four favs and though I went a little over in calories, I was quite pleased with myself.  Years ago, this night would have included eating candy after candy in reckless abandon, hardly even stopping to savor and taste what I was eating.

So a little later on, after the kids were in bed, as my husband and I were watching the World Series, I got hungry.  It’s interesting that even though I went a little bit over my allotted calories, I was still hungry.  Just goes to show how eating the good food keeps you satisfied longer.  I popped a piece of gum in my mouth and satisfied the hunger.

So yes, the kids’ candy is still in the house,  but there is always some amount of candy in the house from all their class parties and birthday parties they both go to and I’m able to deal.  Last night is just a bigger candy deal than just about any other night.  And this marks the beginning of the dreaded, for us compulsive overeaters, holiday season where there is always parties and food, food, food.  But whoa, I’m getting ahead of myself here, I need to slow down and take things one day at a time instead of already looking at the next few month and panicking.

Anyway, there is one more really good thing that came out of last night — keeping things under control led to  hitting 22 months of abstinence today.  No piece of candy would have been worth blowing that.

Was Just at Dairy Queen

WARNING: this blog will explicitly mention some serious binge foods, so beware!

So I went out to dinner with my husband and kids last night and had an abstinent dinner.  We decided to go to Dairy Queen for dessert for my son and me.  I got my usual fat-free fudge bar – 50 calories, hits the spot, works well with my calorie count for the day.  My 7-yr-old son told us while still at the restaurant, that he had his eye on the brownie fudge sundae in a chocolate dipped waffle cone.  Music to my chocolate-loving, compulsive overeating ears. Because he ate a really good dinner and it wasn’t that close to his bedtime (didn’t want to over sugar him up on a school night) we decided to let him get it for the first time.  Already, at that moment, I felt a physical yearning to have some of his sundae.  My compulsive brain was already fixated on my son’s dessert before we even stepped foot in the Dairy Queen.

We placed our order and the girl at the counter turned her back to us and put it together.  When she was done, she turned around and holy cow, there was this huge chocolate treat on the counter in front of us. Brownies, hot fudge and ice cream dripping over the sides of a chocolate dipped waffle bowl.  Heaven on earth!   I knew that after eating a whole dinner he would never be able to finish the sundae, no matter what size it was. I had to do everything within my power not to embarrass myself by drooling in public.  The physical urge I already had prior to even seeing it, grew stronger upon seeing this delight and I practically had heart palpitations knowing there was no way he was going to be able to eat all of it and therefore the leftovers would be mine. 

 It’s insane, I hadn’t even eaten any and already there was no turning back, my mind was made up. 

We took it home for him to eat.  I got him all set up at the kitchen table and then tried my best not to lurk over him watching him.  To my credit, I didn’t do my normal routine of asking every two minutes if he was done yet.  I tried so hard to occupy myself with other things waiting for my son to say the magical words that he couldn’t eat anymore so that I could swoop in and eat it because I was obsessed with having it.  How I wish I was normal and could have just been like – oh, you’re done, I’ll just toss it in the trash. 

I never ate a waffle dipped in chocolate, let alone had one of these sundaes in one.  Well, I dug in, and as is often the case, with this huge build-up I had in my head, of course the treat was not as good as I expected it to be (I don’t think the brownies nor the waffle bowl were fresh).  But did that stop me from spooning it into myself over and over again?  No, of course not!  I still inhaled it like it was the last meal I was ever going to eat because I was simply obsessed with having it.  Thank goodness, in total, I only ate about 1/3 of it, which equaled about 325 calories.  So I went over in my calorie count by about 300 calories, but my indulging didn’t progress any further.  So to me, I ate compulsively, a slip if you will, but to me i have kept my abstinence because it didn’t lead  to my eating everything in the house that wasn’t nailed down and I am right back on my normal track of eating today.

Just goes to show that even with just about 22 months of abstinence, I still fight this sickness every day.  The only good part about any of this is that I actually offered to share this dessert (a rarity on my part!) with my 9-yr old daughter and she agreed.  I’m always hyper concerned that all she sees is me eating small portions and in a bizarre twist, was happy that she saw me going to town on this dessert.

So Hungry Lately

I don’t know whether it’s my hormones or from a new workout (that used some unused muscles) that I did on friday, but man, I have been ravenously hungry lately.  It’s tough to be a compulsive overeater in a normal situation, but when you are starving, it makes thing even more difficult than normal.  The little tricks I use like sucking a low-calorie hard candy or drinking no-cal fluids don’t work when my appetite is this strong.  I have somehow been managing to get through it without binging, and for that I am grateful.  Every day is a struggle when the “demons” come calling and tempting me.  Fortunately, I have been stronger than the demons and have not broken my abstinence.  One day at a time, one meal at a time, one hour at a time.  I have made it through so far and hope to continue.

Eating Popcorn at a Comedy Club

Such as this sickness does to me, I’m already thinking about how I’m going to handle eating out at a comedy club a couple of weeks away. 

The last time we went there, they had baskets of  popcorn on each of the tables with endless refills from the waitress.  So for me, it was either have none or go to town.  There is no in between.  I went to town.  Was popcorn the worst thing to have a little too much of?  No.  It wasn’t like I was gorging on chocolate, put it was still eating food compulsively simply because it was there.  It’s the behavior, the principle of it.  When I got home, I had to do by best to guesstimate how many cups of it I scarfed down to get an idea of how many calories I consumed.  Lord forbid if I couldn’t count the calories so I knew what I consumed.

Ok, so now I know the popcorn will be there so I can plan accordingly.  I will skip dessert after dinner. I can research how many calories are in a cup of popcorn and then the question is, how do I measure it in front of our friends without looking like a complete kook.  After giving it way too much thought, I have decided to bring along a plastic solo cup, scoop the popcorn into the cup and keep track of how many cups I consume.  If they think I’m a kook, so be it.  I have to think of what is best for me first, right?  Maintaining my abstinence is paramount to my recovery.

I find it sadly ridiculous that I use even one brain cell to think about this.  I feel pathetic.  I feel like no-one else worries about this type of stuff, though I know through OA I’m not alone.  Still, I wish I just had a normal relationship with food and could just enjoy some popcorn (that didn’t come out of a microwave bag so I know exactly how many calories are in it) and be able to push it away after having a moderate amount just like most people do.  I am hopeful that maybe one day that will be the case.  Until then, I am just taking it day by day.