Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cos you've gotta have faith...

Hello, blogosphere. That title isn't just a lyric from a favourite 1980s song of mine - it's how I'm treating my behavioural change program. I said this was going to be an honest blog so I'll reiterate that when it comes to the belief that one day I will be a normal, healthy weight, well, I'd say I really don't believe it in my heart of hearts. I will have to cultivate a more positive attitude to this, I can see, but right now everything is too raw and new and I'm flying blind to an extent, but admittedly I do have some good people flying along with me and that means a lot.

So what I'm doing right now is just putting my trust in the process. While my belief in my ultimate success is not strong, to put it mildly, what I DO have is a pretty strong belief that if I keep doing what I'm doing, really important changes are going to happen. Right now things are hard and uncomfortable. Eating at a table, not in front of the TV, not while I'm reading a paper or some catalogues or mucking around on my smartphone - that feels so weird and unnatural. Deliberately leaving some food on my plate when I'm finished eating, as it's been recommended I do - THAT'S hard to do as well. While I'm eating, trying to tune in to my body's signals to see when it tells me I have had enough food - well, I feel like my body and I are communicating with two old tins strung together with fishing line, so unclear are those signals. But yet I HAVE felt that little moment when it seemed very clear to me that I'd filled my stomach and it was just as I've been told - after I'd had a pretty damn small amount of food. A stomach is the size of a fist and even though I have quite a large fist, that's still not much food. When you know this and you realise how often you shovel fistful after fistful of food into it in one go, everything suddenly makes so much more sense. No wonder things have got to this state.

And this may not make any sense to anyone who's currently following any kind of conventional diet or exercise program, but I feel better about doing this than I have felt about any diet I've ever been on, and it has nothing to do with the fact that nobody has put any restrictions on my diet. Well, they didn't need to because following these rules, you naturally eat less. I know I'm not going to see fast results. I could do a 12-week challenge and probably lose 15kg or more, no worries. Hell, I've done it before. But I know deep, deep in my heart that there is no way I'm ever going to commit permanently to a program of food restriction/heavy exercise for the rest of my life. I wish I could but realistically, it's just not going to happen. And my GP and I would far rather I lose 10kg in a year and never again regain it than lose 40kg in a year and end up 50kg heavier in the next year. The madness just has to stop and I'm stopping it. So I'm not doing this because I hate myself - I'm doing it because I don't. And that makes it so different to every other time.

Enough of this philosophy. Peace out, for now. :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Light Bulb #1

I've titled this blog thus because I am pretty sure this won't be the first light bulb moment I'll have on the way to where I'm going, but it needs documenting, I think.

Today has been a really weird day in a lot of ways. First up I did overtime at work for four hours from 8 till 12 (for a day's pay, though - woot!) and then I had an appointment with my GP to get a couple of sun spots/pieces of thickened skin from sun exposure cut off my face. That it itself didn't turn out to be such a pleasant experience because anaesthetic in the face is OUCH and for some unknown reason it triggered off some kind of allergic reaction in me. Not a serious one as in anaphylactic reaction but one where I got tight in the chest, a big urge to sneeze a lot and a bit itchy, like my histamines were going nuts. Long story short, I ended up with three sun spots off my face and then, as a result of the allergic reaction, they gave me a lung test I've probably needed for a while due to a constant irritated throat and dry cough. I ended up leaving with both a bandage on my face and medication/a puffer for mild asthma. Hmm, well, I can't say it's entirely a surprise because my lungs have always been a weak spot but at least I know now. Hopefully the medication is going to help.

Anyway, in an allergic haze and with a headache, I went off to see the person to whom my GP referred me for help with the "mind" stuff. Let's call her 'EK'. I don't want to go too much into the details because some of it is too private even for a blog but suffice it to say I really found the session very helpful, primarily because EK has heard of Sandy and her program and what she has given me for homework dovetails in very well with Mindwise Bodywise. Basically, when I eat, it's to be mindfully. So, whether I am at work or home, if I am by myself (it's different rules for socialising) I am to eat at a table and I'm not to do anything else BUT eat. I can't have the TV on but I can have music on, especially music I enjoy and which soothes me.

Part 2 of this light bulb moment is to do with my dinner tonight. Now, by the time I had this huge day I literally was too busy running around between doctors' appointments to eat so in between 9.45 this morning and about 5.45, all I had was a cup of coffee. I was the hungriest I've been all week since I started tracking for Sandy's program. I had a headache, I was shaky and I felt weak, which would make me about a 1-2 on the Mindwise Bodywise scale. But still, I had to pick what I really felt like for dinner and and I was determined to put EK's ideas into practice immediately. Bizarrely for anyone who knows me well, the thing I felt like was FISH! So I went to the fish shop at Warner Village and got their "one serve of fish with some chips" meal plus a small container of tartare. When I got home, I was still ravenous by my standards but I had a look at what I'd been given and truthfully, it was really two serves. Not that I couldn't have ploughed my way through the whole lot because of course I could, but I was being honest with myself and I knew I didn't need all of it. So I divided the serving of both the fish and chips in half. Then I went to my dining table.

This is the one I made look all purty the other day (and which I barely ever use!!!) and put a candle on it. I went and put on some music I like. I got my plate and put it on the table and I sat down. I wasn't sure if I would be able to make the meal last the suggested 20 minutes that it takes for your body to register you have eaten and give you a signal, but I was going to give it a try. In the end, I think I managed to make it through more than five songs and I reckon that would have been about 15. A very creditable effort, I think!

So, the million dollar question is how do I feel now? What happened to that ravenous hunger I felt? I can honestly say that right now, about an hour after eating that mael, I am not hungry. I'm not stuffed. I'm just comfortable, perhaps leaning slightly towards being hungry because I have eaten so little today. But that's okay. If I need to eat later, I'll eat again but not unless I really feel I need it. So I suppose what I'm wanting to reinforce for myself is that even if I sit down to eat and I feel like I could chew off my own arm with hunger, if I take my time, relax, put down the fork in between bites and concentrate on being in the moment with what I'm eating, it is possible to reduce that ravenous feeling to a satisfied feeling and the best part is it doesn't need to take a huge amount of food to do it. I feel it's going to be important for me to remember this.

And I think that's enough for tonight. That's my first big light bulb for a long time and it's a good one! xx

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Why does someone who's 46 need one of these?

So, who remembers this little guy? If anyone under 30 is reading they probably won't, but this is Linus van Pelt from the famous Charlie Brown comic strip that a few of us grew up on. And he is pictured with his security blanket.

This is an image which popped into my head tonight. I'm on my fourth day of Week 1 of Sandy's Mindwise Bodywise program. Against my usual "all or nothing" instincts, I'm determined to do this in a gradual way because that's how it's meant to work. The first week is all about recording food, but in a different way as I mentioned in my last entry. I've been writing down when I eat, what I eat (no calories mentioned), how hungry I was before, during and after it and, if it seems relevant, my mood. In these four days, two things stand out. One, it has truly stunned me how INfrequently I get hungry. I can think of perhaps twice in the last four days when I've felt hunger pangs. Eeesh, that's been a shock to realise! Two, I've started to develop a small awareness of how much I'm prepared to tolerate the discomfort I feel after eating certain foods or, more precisely, eating too much of certain foods. And here's where Linus, our old mate, comes in. It's because food is obviously a security blanket for me. When I feel like I need it, I think I just get whatever food it is that I think will make me feel better and sometimes I'll just keep eating it until, way too late, I realise that I've overdone things. This leads to feelings of physical discomfort like a sore stomach, feeling overfull and uncomfortable for sometimes hours afterwards, burping/indigestion, and so it goes on. I don't think I'm that much of a masochist that I'd put up with this without a very strong compulsion. I think I knew this anyway but it's good to revisit it because it makes me realise just what I am up against and how much work it's going to take to turn this around. And yet I still do believe I can turn it around, so long as I attack it the right way i.e. via the mind.

And tomorrow my doctor has arranged an appointment for me with someone who will be able to assist me further in this regard. I am looking forward to this as I think it will dovetail in very well with what I've started with Mindwise Bodywise. Wish me luck. Ciao for now. xx

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tracking again - but not as we know it

Well, today I started tracking again, but it's not what you think. I'm not tracking calories. What I am tracking is when I'm eating, roughly what I'm eating (no cal counts), where I am when I'm eating and how hungry I was before, during and after. I've only been doing it for one day but already some interesting insights have popped up. Number one would have to be how little I seem to get hungry even when I haven't eaten much in terms of the amount of calories someone my size would need just to exist. It is too early to tell yet whether or not it's because my body is so sick of me ignoring it, it doesn't work properly anymore or whether my body is just able to access vast fat stores to feed itself Who knows? But I've only taken a tiny step in what is going to be quite a long road so I'm not going to draw any conclusions just yet. But I really do feel like I'm onto something here. I really feel like this is what I need to do. So I'm going to keep chip, chip, chipping away and writing things down. More than happy to do this for such a cause and it's easier than counting calories. Even though I must admit counting calories worked for me for a long time, I just simply cannot do it anymore and I have accepted that. And it's okay because I don't think I need to. I feel the last thing I need to be doing is having to think about food more, and that's what calorie counting makes me do, unfortunately.

Anyway, that's all for now. I think it might be time to make a salad for dinner. I haven't yet asked myself if that's what I feel like, though. I'll have to see if there are any other options before I have it. Byeee for now. :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Feeling more cheerful

Hello again, blogosphere. Well, even though I haven't quite got it together for a full Mindwise Bodywise restart, I'm finding I feel a bit more cheerful at the moment than I have in a while. I don't really know why. Perhaps it's because I have that tiny little glimmer of hope again which I think we all need to carry on in life. If you feel you have no hope, it's a very depressing thought, isn't it? I can categorically say I've put into practice a couple of things already which will help my cause. The first is giving up my yummy flavoured coffees which I've had almost exclusively for at least a year. I freely admit I am at least somewhat addicted to caffeine but I don't think it's a problem because I only usually have two cups maximum a day. Well, now, one of those cups is just plain old Nescafe Gold with a bit of milk and sugar. I still enjoy it and it does the job of waking me up a bit. It might not seem like a lot but I've heard it said if you only made a few little changes like this and did nothing else different, you would lose at least SOME weight and, hey, that's better than nothing. The second thing I've done is, if I've worked out I really do feel like something which isn't so healthy, I only have a small portion of whatever it is. So, that means maybe a Freddo Frog if I want chocolate, the smallest possible packet of chips, etc. This very much fits in with Sandy's principles for Mindwise Bodywise because in theory, nothing is really "verboten". If you really feel like a food, you can have it but you need to eat it carefully and make sure you savour it. I haven't quite got that bit right yet but I think having smaller amounts is a good start. Above all, I need to remember that above all, I can't fail at this because it's like a baby learning to walk. Until they get it right they are going to fall over. A lot. And there's no other way to do this than with baby steps, is there?

So that's about all I have time to write tonight as I've got work in the morning, quite early for me. Peace out... xx

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Phone chat with Sandy

Hi to all out there in blogland. Well, I certainly have fulfilled my plan of making good use of my three days off this week. In fact, if anything I may have OVERdone things because I am certainly very tired tonight, but it's all good. I got my housework and washing done. I got all my plants re-potted, hopefully without any casualties but we'll see in a few days. :) I went to see my doctor today about my knee and neither the X-ray nor the ultrasound showed up anything beyond a little bit of arthritis, which you would expect at my age. I also had a couple of sun damage spots on my right cheek checked (these are from driving, having that side of your face in the sun) and the decision's been made to having them frozen off. God knows I don't really have any reason to be vain but I don't really like having them there even if they are harmless (and we're not 100 percent sure yet that they are, although they will probably only be BCCs if they are anything).

The other important thing I did today was to have a phone chat with Sandy from Mindwise Bodywise, who is just lovely. It was good to be able to be honest about how I've been feeling re my weight loss efforts lately and how I've come to the conclusion that since every conventional thing I've tried has (eventually) failed, if I am EVER going to do this it will require some serious lateral thinking and a whole new approach to eating. This is why I believe she can help me. We've agreed that I need to begin the eight week course from scratch because I got so badly derailed by my misadventures at what I now call Bulls*** Court (Bishop Court). Some of what I learnt so far has been useful but I need to put it all together better. Sandy said I need to get out of my perfectionist mentality where I feel if I don't do something perfectly or "properly", I just don't do it at all. What I'm trying to do is something at which I really can't fail because it's all a learning experience. I'm sure I'll fail at times and get it wrong, but I need to be gentle with myself about it because I've certainly spent a hell of a long time doing the opposite of what I probably needed to be doing with food. What I'm trying to do is best expressed from a line in my favourite poem/piece of philosophy i.e. 'Desiderata'

"Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself."

"Wholesome discipline" is exactly what I'm aiming for because it suggests doing something for yourself out of love, not out of hate. I don't think I've ever begun any weight loss plan without feeling disgust with myself, hating myself and wanting to beat myself to a pulp because I was such a terrible person, not being able to control myself with food. Jeez, no wonder I've never managed to do it permanently. How could I when I've never done the internal work to go with the external work. You don't go to so much trouble for a person you hate and loathe, do you? It sounds so easy when I say it but, as I've admitted, the insight I seem to have into the whole weight loss/weight gain cycle never seems to do me much good. *wry smile*

Anyway, that's me done for the day. I will blog again tomorrow night. I'm going to see how I go on my Mindwise Bodywise restart. Wish me luck! x

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Minor plans

Well, this is my second blog post in a day but I felt like I wanted to say something, so here I am.

I finished my shift at 11.00 and I now have three days off. My goal for those three days is basically not to waste them. I have housework which needs doing. I have some plants that need to be put into pots. I have to organise to go and see an X-ray place to get scans done on my left knee as ordered by my GP (although I wouldn't be surprised at all if most of what is wrong with my knee has to do with my weight). So even though I'm going to get my rest that I need in a job like mine which, though I sit on my bum the whole time (story of my working life!) can be mentally pretty draining, I can still be productive and get done what I want to do.

I also want to make a new start on this program which I started in July before the huge blow-up at my old place happened:

I happen to think there is a lot of sense in what is taught in this program and it fits my idea of the true way of managing permanent long-term weight loss i.e. over time, totally reprogramming the "fat person" way of thinking into something more resembling the way a normal eater thinks and sees food.

That's all, folks. Bed calls!

Saturday, September 15, 2012


I've just logged into Blogger for the first time in about two years and the process of doing so was a little depressing, I have to say. The blogosphere is rather an unforgiving analysis of where your life is going, I am starting to find out. I seem to have been in this holding pattern over the last three years where I start a blog all full of enthusiasm and hope about once and for all changing my life. This enthusiasm and hope lasts about two months maximum and then I stop blogging because I have nothing hopeful or enthusiastic to write about. And so has gone the last few years of my life. I mean, yes, good things have happened and I feel blessed that they have. I'm now in a career that I enjoy and which pays me enough to live on comfortably. I have a new place to live where my neighbours are nice and don't seem to go out of their way to hassle/upset me like my last horrors (I have drawn a veil over that experience, though). But the real problem still remains. I'm still huge. I've undone all my good work from 2006 to 2009. I'm back to where I was. And it does not feel good, at all.

And then there's reading the old blogs. Boy, that's an eye-opener. :( I continue to be amazed at how much insight I appear to have into my issues, how much I understand my eating problems and why I do what I do. But do I fix it? NO! So what is the use of this insight and understanding? I think the lesson to take out of all this is to do less talking and thinking and planning and more just bloody well doing. Life is slipping by me at an alarming rate, it seems. I just turned 46 years of age and I will be 50 before I know it. 50! Do I really want to still be in this place when I'm 50? I know the answer is no, but the only person who can change it is the person typing this blog entry.

I've called this blog "Last Chance Saloon". I know this seems a negative title and I know in my heart that you can change at any age, etc, blah blah. But facing facts, as far as my health goes, it kind of IS a "last chance saloon" situation. I'm hanging onto my health with whitened fingernails but it won't last. I'm lucky to be as healthy as I am and the only reason I think I am is because eating rubbishy food and being lazy (one sort of leads to the other, I guess) are my only bad habits since I don't smoke and have never been a drinker. But I'm on borrowed time and I know that my quality of life is going to be seriously impacted if I keep going at this rate. There is no sugar-coating (no pun intended - well, maybe it was) this. It has to be stopped.

So this blog is going to be different. I'm going to write in it as often as I can, the good AND the bad. I'm not going to set out to make it "inspiring". I just want it to be a useful tool for getting stuff out of my head. And so this first entry is very honest because right now I don't feel hopeful. I have no reason to believe I'm ever going to be able to conquer this mountain. But I have to start taking small steps at least, or it will be goodbye to my independence and that is probably the thing I prize most in my world at the moment. Being an invalid trapped by my fat is not a picture that sits well with me.

As people like to abbreviate these days, Deb, JFDI.