Thursday, June 28, 2012


I look tired all the time, even when fully rested.  Purple shadows gouge out holes beneath my eyes.  I use concealer.  Cake it on.  It doesn’t help.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Positive Affirmations are Hooey

Last night I went on a five hour hike up a valley to a hidden lake.  You climb up and up, across snow fields and rugged tundra and just when you’re sure the trail dead ends, you turn a corner and *poof* an enormous lake appears, nestled up against the curve of a mountain.  It almost brought me to tears the first time I set eyes on the wide expanse of snowmelt green water.  I just stood and stared.  Afraid to move -- afraid the lake would disappear and afraid I’d pass out.  That a natural landmark could be worth pushing my body to the point of throwing-up was a novel concept (I wasn't in the best of shape back then).  It was a pivotal moment in my outdoor obsession.

While the view didn’t impact me like it did that first time, hiking to Hidden Lake yesterday was still a very moving experience.  I know I say this every time, but it was truly perfect.  Exactly what I needed.

You’ll be happy to know I broke my fast last night before the hike.  There was no way I was making it to the top of the valley without eating.  After work I ate a bunch of strawberries, pineapple and half an egg-white frittata.  I know it's unhealthy to go so long without eating, but I'm so paralyzed by the fear of binging that it's easier to choose no food rather than guessing at safe foods.  Unfortunately, the longer I go without eating, the more likely any food will trigger a binge.  It's a sick, self-defeating cycle.  The only reason I escaped last night was because I ate while prepping for the hike.  I had no time to binge. 

Today has not gone so well.  In my defense, I tried to eat.  At lunch I carefully peeled the sticker off an apple before washing it with dish soap and hot water -- I may be a wee bit of a germaphobe.  The first bite was mushy, mealy and tasteless; it immediately went into the trash.  I cut the gala in half only to discover the whole thing was brown and pocketed.

I made iced tea last night.  My own special blend: two bags Kirkland green tea, two bags Tazo Wild Sweet Orange and one bag Tazo Passion.  It makes about two and half liters of tart, slightly-sweet tea (no sweeteners necessary).  I’ve been sipping on that all day.  Yum!

After work I’m heading to the pool for a swim.  My parents used to have to drag me out of the water as a kid and I spent five years on the local swim team.  It’s been over a year since my last training regiment, so starting up again has been a chore.  A fun chore, but a chore all the same.  I’m just hoping it will help me take my mind off life, which let’s be honest, is complete shit at the moment.  I used to believe in instant karma (no waiting for the next life to gain retribution for this girl), but now I’m not so sure.  I would have had to commit genocide to deserve the string of bad luck I’ve endured this last year.

I will persevere!  I will get through this and be stronger in the end!  Go me!

Huh, positive affirmations are not nearly as helpful as I’ve been lead to believe.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Without the Career Ending Injury

I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  It’s the only explanation I have for why everything has been ever-so-slightly off.  My day started out well enough: woke up, rolled out of bed, checked on how pup is healing, and then took pup out to go potty.  And that’s where everything veered off track. 

My forehead was in the exact right place to be smacked by a rogue sprayer head as I was winding up the hose.

I arrived at the pharmacy counter exactly one second behind a man who spent 30 minutes arguing with the tech. 

When I came back to pick up my prescription, the security gate was just being pulled down for a lunch closure. 

Because I went to put my laptop down at a table before ordering coffee at my favorite cafe, I ended getting in line behind a woman who held up the lone barista for 15 minutes with questions about the room rental agreement. 

I feel a bit like Daisy from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but you know, without the career ending injury. 

Spending such long periods of time standing around did afford me a perfect opportunity to people watch.  I’m not one to judge on physical appearances.  Instead of looking at “fat” or “thin”, I look at behavior and body language.  Always with the same question, are they card carrying members of my dysfunctional little club? 

I watched a woman eat a giant cookie while standing in line at the café.  She made a beeline for the bathroom after ordering; reappearing a few minutes later with red eyes, hand already reaching for her quad-shot Americano.  Is she recovering from today’s local triathlon, refueling a depleted body?  Or is her behavior the sign of something more.  If I pressed my ear to the cold particle board of the bathroom door would I hear sticky sins being passed through lips, down the toilet and out to sea?

Everyone has potential.  The girl at the salad bar, placing each vegetable with care, is she just health conscious or currently following the ABC diet?  The waif thin boy, pouring over food labels, trying to bulk up or trying to reach an impossible GW?  I wonder what they think when they look at me.  Does anyone see the tall, heavyset girl and think I bet she hasn’t eaten in three days.  I bet she is hollow on the inside, broken like me.


Monday, June 25, 2012

The Most Fun I Never Want to Have Again

Sorry I disappeared there for a bit.  I needed to get away something desperate. 

On Friday I called in sick, packed up a bag and headed for the mountains.  Except for the eight bears that got waaaay too close, the two porcupines that scared the shit out of me and a creeper camper that I nearly shot, it was a lovely, rejuvenating experience.  Partly because I got to be away from all humanity, completely alone, with no reminders of civilization.  Partly because I brought no food with me (with the exception of kibble for the pup) so I didn’t even have the option of eating.

I had a bit of a meltdown last night.  It lasted only a few minutes before I managed to get my body under control, but I’m still embarrassed.  We weren’t necessarily taught to bottle up emotions in my family, but we were taught to be strong.  In my mind, showing that you’re at the breaking point is nothing but weakness.  My dad tried to comfort me, but he said all the wrong things.  I wish I could tell him about the ED worms that are crawling around in my brain, biting off small chunks, savoring their meal.  I’m not sure he’d understand.  He’d tried to fix me with duct tape and zip ties, putting me back together with all the wrong pieces.  Cramming square pegs into round holes.  It doesn’t seem worth the bother.

I asked my roomie about the missing Tupperware containers.  Apparently she gave them to her mom by mistake, thinking she was returning borrowed property.  She said she’d get them back today.

One mystery solved.  Now I just have to figure out how a 125 pound girl can eat a Costco size box of Cheez-its in one day and not gain weight.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Weight Loss Fads Are Evil

I’m starting to think my roommate is in the thralls of mia. 

She and I have been friends since middle school and my little Na has always been slender.  Not skinny, but small and compact.  When we were eighteen, we moved out together and lived in a crummy little apartment.  It was as far from home as we could get while still remaining in the same town.  A year later we packed all our worldly possessions into my red beater car and drove 3,000 miles to a new life.

Over the next few years we wandered away from one another.  Both of us keeping small pieces of our heart reserved for the other, but living with a whole state between us meant communication was tough.  Still, I was the first person she called after losing her virginity.  Na was the first to hear about my elopement.  We were best friends, even when school and work and life kept us apart for months at a time.

I eventually returned home.  Bought a house.  Burrowed into married life.  Years passed, our friendship on cruise-control, until one day I got a call.  My little Na was broken.  She left her long-term boyfriend.  School was overwhelming.  Debt was creeping in.  Her local friends were two-faced.  She was being evicted.  I told her to come home.  I cleared out the guest room.  I welcomed her with open arms and warm thoughts.  That was two years ago and I’m still hoping my little Na never leaves.  I couldn’t ask for a more perfect roommate. 

Lately, however, I’ve noticed that her eating habits have changed.

Like me, she has never had the best relationship with food.  In high school she lived on Pepsi, sometimes drinking six liters a day.  How she still has teeth and a stomach lining is one of life’s great mysteries.  She evolved from Pepsi to junk food, going months eating nothing but processed crap like corn dogs and frozen pizza.  When we moved across the country, she got a reality check when her metabolism slowed but her unhealthy eating patterns did not.  Na got fat.  Not horribly so, but she morphed into a chunky monkey, belly muffin topping over pants and extra chins sprouting out like daisies.  Being the vain little critter that she is, one comment from her mom about weight sent her over the edge.  She overhauled her eating habits and started walking everywhere.  Within a couple of months she was back down to a respectable size four.

What Na didn’t confess until later is that she didn’t just overhaul her eating, she stopped eating.  Thank goodness that only lasted until she lost the weight.  Sadly, as we all know too well, once you head down the dark path of restricting it’s easy to fall back into old, or sometimes new, dysfunctional habits.

When she moved in I was thrilled with Na’s new relationship with food.  I finally had someone to help me stock the house with produce.  Someone to try out crazy new “healthy” recipes, chock full of bright yellows, oranges, reds and greens.  Then I noticed the cheap frozen pizzas in the freezer.  They would appear ten at a time, dwindling slowly over the course of a week.  Then Banquet meals.  Then those awful, pre-made frozen cheeseburgers.  But Na was still eating mostly well, and her weight was stable, so I couldn’t begrudge her the not-really-food invading my house.  She was healthy.  I was happy.

Then the idiotic P90X fad hit.  Na became OBSESSED.  She completed at least one of the exercise videos a day, sometimes two or three.  I admit after 60 days she looked fantastic.  She dropped from 120ish to 102ish and was nothing but lithe muscle.  That wasn’t the problem.  The problem was burnout.  She stopped the program, (like you do, because really, no one can keep up that type of exercise regimen for long) and went from energizer bunny to sloth overnight. 

While following the P90X program, she was stuffing her face at every opportunity -- muscles require a LOT of calories.  Unfortunately, she continued stuffing her face after the exercise stopped.  Na gained back every pound and then some (like you do on fad weight-loss programs).  I thought she still looked great.  Na did not agree.  She fell into depressed mode, rarely leaving her bedroom except for work. 

That was about six months ago.  Lately I’ve noticed that Na has been eating HUGE quantities of junk food (cookies, personal pizzas, soda, chips, cheez-its, etc.) and has not gained an ounce.  In fact, it looks like she’s lost a few pounds.  I know she’s not back on P90X because the PS3, where the videos are stored, has been unhooked for ages.  And then last week all five of the GIANT Tupperware containers I own -- super cheap and they fit 24 cupcakes, exactly the right size for gifts, potlucks or special events -- disappeared.  They would be perfect to purge into, something I thought about as I loaded them into my shopping cart.  (Side note: thoughts like that run through my head constantly.)

I’m trying not to jump to conclusions.  I know that having an ED makes you sometimes hear zebras where there are only horses.  Still, the signs seem too obvious to ignore.  But how do you talk to someone you love about a potential ED?  Do you just ignore the elephant in the room?  I do not want to force her into recovery if she has an ED, but I do not want to encourage the behavior either.  I just want her to know that she is not alone.

I feel like the worst kind of hypocrite.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Minor Setback

I’m having a panic attack because my first meal is almost 500 calories: strawberry-banana smoothie (1 small banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 2 cups water, 1 scoop vegan protein powder) and a large handful of pistachios.  I am forcing myself to eat every bite, drink every ounce even though my body is rebelling.  Hand shaking, vision blurring, breath fast, stomach cramped.  No. No.  NO.

This is ridiculous!  I just finished a very intense weight workout.  My body needs this.  It needs the protein and carbs and fat.  It needs food.  It needs to not be deprived. 




I want so badly to have a normal relationship with food.  I need to stop swinging between stuffing my face and restricting to the point of starvation.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to fix this.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I will be Shiny

This morning, on a whim, I tried on an old dress.  It has only fit once, right after my pre-wedding crash diet (like you do), and since then couldn’t be squeezed on with the help of Cristo.  It’s loose on me now.  Hangs off my frame.  I didn’t think I’d lost that much.  The way is falls makes my waist look impossibly small.  Well, impossibly small for me.  For some odd reason the image presented to me by the mirror induces a cringe.  Wrong.  Wrong.  Wrong.

I decided to wear the dress to work, but threw an oversized cardigan over the top, buttoned to the neck.  Added ten pounds, easy.

My ex mother-in-law dropped by the office around noon.  (Something they don’t tell you when you get divorced: if your in-laws liked you and you didn’t fuck their son/daughter over in the divorce process, you’ll never be rid of them.)  I hadn’t seen her in a couple months and her eyes widened when she saw me.  Gave me a couple up-downs.  All she wanted was to bitch about her other daughter-in-law and to see if I’d go to the dog park with her.  Our pups used to be best friends.  I wonder if they miss each other.

She poked my ribs a couple times during our goodbye hug, but didn’t say anything about my weight loss.  Something I am extremely grateful for.  I don’t know why, but people commenting on my size makes me really uncomfortable. Always has.  I think it’s probably my subconscious screaming at the thought of being contemplated.  I would be happiest if I only existed to those in the same room.  Then, poof, I would disappear from their memory banks until the next time we crossed paths.  In their mind I would always be the same, never changing.  Always the same weight, same haircut, same job, same marital status.  I really hate the thought of my faults and accomplishments rolling around in peoples’ brains, slipping off their tongues and weighed on the ears of others. 

I suppose this is why I have the constant urge to run away.  To find a new life where I am a shiny novelty, then run away again once the tarnish peeks through.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bones Weighted with Lead

I am so incredibly, mind numbingly tired.  Last night on the way home from fishing I guzzled nearly a liter of coffee in an attempt to stay awake.  All my passengers were softly snoring -- not that I can blame them, it was an exhausting weekend.  Once home I swallowed four Nyquil capsules in an attempt to counteract the caffeine.  Now I am a foggy mess. 

Remember kids; never mix your uppers and your downers.

My family always celebrates Father’s Day the same way: fishing holiday.  We loaded up the truck, hooked up the trailer then drove two hours to our favorite fishing spot.  This year there were eleven of us, and in attempt to save monies we all camped in tents. 

No one in my family knows about my intermittent fasting, so meals were interesting.  I utilized every tool in my kit to avoid eating -- probably an unnecessary precaution.  There was so much going on that no one paid any attention to my eating habits.  Except my mom, who liked making comments about how I hadn’t eaten dinner or how coffee was an interesting choice for breakfast.  She loves me, I don’t doubt that for a second, but her concern doesn't stem from worry about my health.  My mom is the most competitive person I know and for the first time in ten years I almost weigh less than her.  She is doing everything in her power, short of force-feeding me, to make sure I never do.  I'm sure I'll elaborate in future posts, but for now, just know she is a huge thorn in my side when it comes to losing weight.

With a little creativity I was able to stick to my IF regiment.  Most of the meals that fell outside my eating window were avoided or fed to the pups.   One night I went for a hike while everyone else cooked and ate dinner.  It was lovely and soul soothing.  Exactly what I needed.

On the last night, part of the group wanted to stop for burger while the rest wanted to drive straight home.  Everyone in my car decided on the latter, which was fine by me.  I ate a cupcake as my last meal and called it good -- not a great source of nutrition, but it did push my calories safely over 1,000 which has been my daily goal.  Unfortunately, my lovely siblings decided last minute that they did want to stop for dinner.  I meant to just eat a dry salad, but ended up stuffing my face with fries as well.  At least my burger sat mostly untouched.  Epic fail.

The guilt has started again.  You know, the niggling feeling while restricting that any food is bad, no matter how healthy.  I don’t know what to do.  Besides being a total mind-fuck, it leads to binges.  (The idea being, if you already feel guilty about eating, you might as well give yourself something to really be guilty about.)  Also, my autoimmune disease is flaring up.  I have sharp, stabby pains in my gut and my intestines feel about four sizes too big.

I should never have gotten out of bed this morning.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Learning Experience

When will I ever learn?  Yesterday a coworker reminded me there was a leftover container in the fridge with my name scrawled across the top.  Half an elk burger.  It was almost a week old so I decided to have it for my first meal in lieu of my usual nuts, jerky and fruit.  The burger needed to be eaten before it went bad (if it hadn’t already, but I figured if I got food poisoning I’d have a legitimate excuse to leave work early).  The deviation from my planned intake led to a binge: a handful of midgees (tootsie rolls), three handfuls of pistachios, three handfuls of Wasabi Wow! mix from Trader Joes, two single-serving bags of Annie’s honey bunnies and two baby bananas.  My stomach starting hurting about halfway through.  I didn’t stop.  I’m going to pay for this later.

I know that every time I stray from my set meals plans I binge.  Every.  Time.  Not every once in a while.  Not occasionally, or even most of the time.  No, EVERY time.  So why do I keep thinking I’ll be strong enough to hold off the inevitable?  Sure, down the road I’d like to have a healthy relationship with food where I don’t have to think about every morsel that passes through my lips, but I’m not there yet.  I should accept that and stick with what works and planning each and every meal works for me.

Things did get marginally better.  I arrived at Olive Garden an hour early to get in line for a table.  Six months after the restaurant’s grand opening and you still have to expect a forty five minute wait before being seated.  My brother and mum were supposed to wait with me, but both cancelled.  I used the unexpected free time to walk around town.  I’m sure people thought I was crazy, tottering around in four inch heels and a pencil skirt.  I didn’t care, moving helped stabilize my blood sugar -- I almost fell asleep at the wheel after the inevitable crash from all the sweets and processed crap.

Side note: one of the best parts about losing weight is how comfortable my shoes have become!

At dinner I stuck to my plan and ordered the apricot chicken, then asked for water while the rest of my family ordered beer or fruity cocktails.  When the waitress brought out the appetizers I took only half a breadstick and a bowl of lettuce, no dressing.  I avoided the calamari (my favorite, argh) and only ate a few bites of my entrée. 

Okay.  Back on track.

I went on a five mile hike instead of eating birthday cake with family.  (Sometimes my food allergies come in handy.  My mom made a cake chock-full of dairy, so I was able to beg off by saying it would be torture to sit around watching them eat.)  It rained.  Again.  But I didn’t mind.  I love the smell of wet earth and green things growing, growing, growing.  My pup loved the many puddles.  It was perfect.

After my hike I headed to the pool.  I was kicked out after forty five minutes, so I didn’t get to finish my whole routine: one lap breast-stroke, one lap crawl, one lap breast-stroke, two laps crawl, one lap breast-stroke, three laps crawl, etc. etc. until I reach ten laps crawl.  The last lap of crawl is always a sprint.  My goal is to be gasping by the end.

Even though I binged today, I’m proud that I stuck to the 19/5 IF pattern.  It once again gave me the motivation I needed to stop myself from binging before bed.  I’m calling day two a hesitant success, or at least a step in the right direction.

This blog is also helping me.  I’ve noticed that since I started writing on a daily basis, I haven’t been unloading my problems on loved ones.  I hate when I bitch to my friends and family, even though they say they don’t mind, it still makes me feel bad.  They have enough to worry about without dealing with my shit as well.  Venting here lets me get it out of my system, which is nice.  I feel like I’m just a wee bit closer to being the person I envision for myself.

And now for something complete different!  Have you guys seen Portia De Rossi's new do?  It is AMAZING.  I'm not usually one for short hair, but on her it is perfect.  Love!  Love!  Love!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day One -- Success!

I’m trying to not get overly excited, but… Yesterday I felt almost normal.  Balanced.

Day one of my IF eating pattern was a roaring success.  I sipped on calorie free liquids (water, coffee and tea) until after my strength training at 2pm.  My first meal of the day consisted of a baby banana (seriously tiny, about four inches long), about 1/8 cup pistachios and one largish piece of turkey jerky.  I had another baby banana after work, went for a 3 1/2 mile hike up a valley near my house then ate a bowl of quinoa, roasted veggies (zucchini, eggplant, onion and bell pepper) and baked chicken.  Well, most of a bowl.  I couldn’t finish the whole thing.  I also ate *gasp* a small bit of cookie dough and felt *gasp* zero guilt in doing so.

Giving myself only five hours to eat really helped in a lot of ways.  I didn’t mind dishing up larger-than-normal portions because I knew I had to get all my calories in a shortened period of time.  The bigger portions filled me to the brim which helped stave off the urge to binge until after my window of eating had passed -- IF gave me a valid reason to say “no more food for you tonight, fattie”.

I was sure I’d have to complete my weight lifting routine with no energy, but somehow that wasn’t the case.  I maintained the same level of intensity that I usually do.  Apparently having a snack beforehand is not necessary after all.

My hike was lovely.  Not eating for most of the day had left me a tiche cold, so walking up a mountain was the perfect way to warm up.  It started raining about a quarter mile in, so I took off my jacket and let the heavy drops splat on my bare arms.  Everything was green.  Beautiful.  Tranquil.  Perfect.

Best of all, instead of the usual manic energy that accompanies restricting (I ate about half the calories I normally do), I was able to enjoy a relaxing evening of reading and watching old episodes of South Park.

I’m not naïve enough to believe my struggles with eating are over, but I do think IF has given me a new way of looking at food.  Another tool in my belt.  Another chance at success.

Tonight the whole family is going to Olive Garden for my sister’s birthday dinner.  Since I’m allergic to dairy (more specifically the protein chains in cow milk) and have a slight gluten intolerance (too much sets off an autoimmune response in my intestines) I tend to avoid Italian restaurants.  I looked up Olive Garden’s menu online and was pleased to find an entrée that not only meets my allergy requirements but also contains only 400 calories!  Since I NEVER finish all the food on my plate (leftovers are the BEST) I’m looking at about a 200 calories intake.  After dinner I’m taking the pup on a hike and then going to the pool for an hour of swimming, so I might even splurge and have a few bites of bread stick and a bowl of minestrone soup.  The best part?  I have ZERO anxiety about tonight.  None.  It feels amazing.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Big Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to thank kitty for recommending Experiments with Intermittent Fasting.  It’s given me some great perspective on using fasts as a healthy tool towards weight loss and maintenance.  Also, the book is incredibly relevant to the post I wrote earlier this morning.  I’m officially guilt-free about the fact that I’m not eating today in an effort to lose weight.  Woo!

If you have a few hours, I highly recommend reading the book.  It may give you a boost in the right direction.  For some reason I couldn't view most of the pictures on my web browser, but all issues were resolved when I downloaded the PDF version.

I’m going to start the “Daily Fasting” program with a 19/5 ratio.  My first meal will be at 3pm (immediately following my aftenoon workout) and my last meal will happen at 8pm (right after my evening workout).  I’ll reevaluate in a couple weeks.

Not going to lie.  I’m pretty excited right now.

Also, thank you to everyone who has followed me and/or left comments.  I can't begin to tell you how much it means to me that someone out there has taken an interest in my weird little life.

Since I'm singling people out, I want to send a special thank you to Claire for all the support.  And thanks for all the yummy recipes!  If you're looking for delicious, low-cal vegan food, her blog is the place to go!  So go!  Now! 

To Fast or Not to Fast

To eat or not to eat, that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to deprive
The core and mind of your temple,
Or to take arms against a depth of dysfunction,
and by opposing end them: to die, to sleep

Seriously though, have you ever sat at the point where it’s been just long enough since your last meal that a fast seems like the next logical step?  It’s been eighteen hours since dinner.  I had a Total Zero Red Bull for breakfast (those things are ADDICTIVE and a LIE -- more on that later) and am now sipping a cup of coffee for lunch.  I could just not eat today.  That would be okay.  After all, it is so much easier to choose no food than to choose safe foods.  Funny, I don’t remember that ever being the case before. 

I’m almost ashamed to admit my need to fast stems from the bloody scale.  My weight hasn’t budged in almost two weeks and it’s starting to get to me.  I’ve been exercising.  I’ve been eating healthy.  I’ve been doing everything right but that freaking number refuses to reflect my hard work.  Of course, I said I’d never do this.  I’d never stop eating on purpose to lose weight.  To gain clarity, yes.  To reset a pattern of binging, yes.  To lose weight?  No.  Never.  Not me!  That’s dysfunctional!  (Okay, MORE dysfunctional.)

Still, the urge is there.  I haven’t decided whether I’ll give in.

It’s just that my body responds super well to fasting.  I drop weight like I’m sloughing dead skin.   And I need to see some forward progress.  Last December I gave myself one year to get down to my GW1.  That seemed like plenty of time, but I’m now halfway through and I’ve only lost 39% of the weight.  I’ve got to do something or the ants slowly nibbling away at my insides will devour me whole.

A side note on the new Total Zero Red Bull.  They claim to have zero calories, zero sugar and zero carbs.  That is a LIE.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that an 8oz cans are labeled as zero calories, the 16oz cans are labeled as zero calories, but the 12oz cans are labeled as 10 calories.  How can this be you ask?  Is the 12oz can a different formula?  Nope.  Remember in a previous post where I said that food items with less than five calories per serving can be labeled as zero calories?  Well, here is a perfect example.  Each serving has less than five calories (supposedly, though the math doesn’t add up).  The 8oz and 12oz cans are labeled as one serving while the 16oz can is labeled as two servings -- hence the zero calories claim.  I’m not sure why they didn’t just label the 12oz can as 1.5 servings to preserve the lie.

Ah well.  I won’t be giving up my habit over five calories, especially when said calories come in the form of delicious, metabolism-boosting, energy-giving liquid.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Do Not Like the Cone of Shame

Failure.  Complete failure

In an attempt to reset my eating habits (stop the constant binging) I planned a small fast.  I know it seems counter-intuitive to starve myself when I’m in binge mode -- usually sets of more binging, no? -- but somehow it works for me.  Well, it sometimes works for me and I’m getting desperate enough to try anything.  I think my body occasionally needs to be reminded that it can survive without being constantly stuffed with food.

My fast lasted about 12 hours.  Geez.

What I ate wasn’t horrible; mostly consisting of ultra-nutritious salmon salad (homemade canned salmon, no-calorie mayo (Walton’s how I love thee), tons of mustard, dill pickles, celery, egg whites, black beans, chili paste and lime juice).  On a normal day, I would count my intake as a win.  However, since I am supposed to be fasting, I feel like crap. 

I guess I should keep things in perspective.  I ate really well today.  Not one piece of crap passed through my lips, and wasn’t that the whole point of the fast?  We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

My binging and restricting are two sides of the same coin.  It’s akin to being bi-polar, or so I assume – did I mention I was a psych major for three years?  When I’m binging, my whole life is sucked into the BED vortex.  Everything from my budget to my chores and homework become unimportant.  I am sloth.  I am gluttony.  I am envy.  My careful planning falls away and I am left wallowing. 

When I am restricting, everything is so easy.  I come in under-budget (little to no food bills).  Chores disappear under my manic hands.  Homework is completed with brilliance, turned in early – a phantom A+ already scrawled across the top right corner.  I am lighter than air, perfect. 
I wish I knew how to stop this cycle.  I wish I could find a happy medium and stop swinging from pole to pole.  I wish.  I wish.  I wish.  But as Billy Bob Thornton so eloquently put it, “wish in one hand, shit in the other and see which one fills up first.”  And maybe that’s all I deserve, fetid hands and a head full of nothing.

On a happier note, the masses that were removed from my pup are fatty lipomas.  Completely benign.  Harmless.  She’s recovering nicely from surgery.  Her stomach and armpit are shaved, creating huge circles of fuzz around two teeny-tiny incisions, neatly stitched.  From experience I know she won’t scratch or bite at the wounds, so a cone of shame isn’t necessary, just a t-shirt to keep the sites clean and dry.  I had a freak-out moment this evening when she started jerking her head around erratically.  I thought she was having a seizure.  Turns out she was trying to eat a mosquito that had made its way indoors.  Watching her chase the thing around the living room, jaws snapping, made me laugh.  The sound was startling.  Unexpected. 

This. This is why I love my dog, my wonderful little bug.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Everything Will Be Okay

It’s funny that the further my mental state spirals down, the more people notice how healthy I have become.  How well-adjusted.  How strong I must be to overcome such terrible adversity all with a smile on my face.  Lies stacked upon lies until it must surely tumble down like a poorly formed jenga tower.

A year ago I was planning a wedding.  Nothing fancy, a simple backyard affair with homemade pom-pom balls hanging from porch and tents.  A year ago I kissed my husband of four years and sealed the vows that were originally made three thousand miles from home in front of complete strangers.  Hours later I set my new husband on a plane heading for a giant sandbox full of cloth wrapped enemies.  We were high school sweethearts, deeply in love and so very full of hope.  And naivety, as it turns out.  No one tells you that the fairy tale you carefully spin in your head will crash down in the face of reality. 

October of 2011 was a dark time for me.  In one month I lost my husband, best friend, health and perfect, wonderful job.  With the help of friends and family I carefully glued the pieces of my life back together.  Not perfectly of course, there are now jagged edges, holes and cracks where things like trust and hope used to reside.  Still, it was a step in the right direction.


Then my penguin came along.  I worked with him for three years seeing him as nothing more than a friendly coworker.  The day after my husband told me he needed a break, I called Penguin and asked if he would go for a hike with me -- he is an outdoor junkie like me.  When we reached the trailhead, clouds moved in to cover the sun.  Half a mile in, the wind started howling.  Two miles in, rain began to fall in a torrential dance.  Halfway up the mountain, it started snowing, heavy flakes melting on hot skin.  He never asked to turn around, soaking wet and freezing though we were.  I told him my husband was leaving me.  He told me I was strong. 

To this day I don’t know why I called him.

We took a class together that spring.  He bought the textbook and I bought a parking pass.  We met at a coffee shop near campus and drove in together from there.  On Valentine’s Day, a suitor sent me two dozen red roses -- pretentious, but sweet I thought.  Another suitor bought me a GIANT stuffed bear – so nice, but not in line with my personality at all.  I am practical to a fault.  At lunch Penguin brought me a 16oz Americano with a splash of soy milk – my favorite.  As the hot, hint-of-chocolate liquid coated my tongue, I had an epiphany.  That weekend I told the two men I was dating that I could no longer see them.  That thick paper cup made me realize I didn’t have to be interested in someone just because they were interested in me.  I was flattered beyond belief when two men came out of the woodwork to court me, but I had no strong feelings for either of them.  My epiphany: it’s better to be alone then to lie, lie, lie. 

Penguin and I continued our friendship.  I was working under the impression that he had no romantic interest in me.  Over the previous months I had given him a number of openings, more out of curiosity than anything else, but none were taken.  It wasn’t until the end of February, while sitting in my car after class, neither of us wanting to go home to an empty bed, did he ask if he could kiss me.  My heart thudded, fought the constraints of my ribcage, and I said yes. 

That first mashing of mouth and tongue was awkward.  He made fun of my nibbling habit; I poked at his slender frame.  The next day we fucked on the floor of an empty office.  I can’t go in there now without smiling.

Even though I was careful, so careful, Penguin wiggled his way into my life.  Inside I was screaming that it was too soon, that this wasn’t real, that he didn’t care.  Love makes you do and say stupid things.  It makes you weak.  Yet another way in which I fail.

For now, I will smile when people tell me how great I’m looking.  How lovely my house and yard look this year.  How wonderful everything is, while on the inside I will laugh and laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Kind of a whiney post, actually.  Sorry about that.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

What is Normal, Anyway?

I just crunched some numbers.  My body fat percentage is currently 32%.  If I want to reach my UGW I will have to lose 50 pounds.  Using the (very inaccurate) assumption that I lose only fat, my body fat percentage will drop to 8%.  That’s well below what women athletes are supposed to maintain - a look I am definitely not going for.  In general, women need around 10 - 13% essential body fat, or visceral fat, to keep all those internal organs running effectively.  That’s in addition to the layer of body fat, or subcutaneous fat, which sits below the skin.  

Just to give you an idea of what’s “normal”: athletes in my age rage usually aim for 14 - 20% body fat, fit women aim for 21 - 24%, while average women range between 25 - 33%.  Anything above 34% is considered overweight and anything under 21% is considered underweight.   

Guess this means I’m going to be losing muscle.  Not such a horrible thing I suppose.  It will make me look thinner in the end.  Still, I worked damn hard for what I have.  I am not one to let things go.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Another Day, Another Binge

I binged today.  It started out innocently enough.  This morning I rolled out of bed starving, something that rarely happens.  Instead of my usual breakfast of coffee with a dash of non-dairy creamer, I ate a banana.  Not in itself such a bad thing, but it threw off my routine.  My precious, structured routine.

One fundamental truth about me is that I am a creature of habit.  I like a well-planned life, and go to great lengths to make sure it stays that way.  Every part of my day is mapped out in the calendar that resides somewhere between obsessive and compulsive in my brain. 

Everyday starts with a cup of coffee, followed two hours later by a piece of fruit then some jerky and a minuscule handful of pistachios two hours after that.  The afternoon means another cup of coffee and some dried fruit (Brothers-ALL-Natural Crisps, how I love thee).  Dinner usually involves picking through my kitchen for half an hour.  A careful bite here.  A nibble there.  Making sure my choices always fall in the safe foods category.  If my boyfriend is there, I’ll prepare a well-balance meal -- quarter plate whole grains, quarter plate lean protein, half a plate vegetables (a salad plate for me, a dinner plate for him).  Dessert is a serving of fruit (optional) and a cup of tea before bed (no sweeteners, of course).  If not for my BED, I would be the healthiest girl alive.

And therein lies the kicker.  Any deviation from my routine invariably leads to a binge, and that’s what happened to me today.  I was already thrown off balance from this morning so I was unprepared for the two homemade cookies and three homemade crostinis my friend brought me at work -- so sweet of her, but so misguided.  Those replaced my morning snack.  From there it was all downhill.  I grabbed piece after piece of chocolate from the candy bowl on the reception desk, ate two pieces of pizza left over from an office potluck and bought a like-it size sorbet for lunch.  Only after all that, with my head buzzing from sugar and my stomach soured, did I stop.  The worst part is I know it’s not over.  Even though I’ll fight it, I know the binge will continue once I’m home.  My fridge is full of leftovers and my roomie just refilled the candy dishes near the front door.  In other words, I’m doomed.

The destructive side of me wants to give in with no struggle, to slip silently into the cool embrace of my ED.  I have no strength left to fight.  Truth be told, I’m not all that emotionally stable at the moment.  My dog is scheduled to have two potentially malignant masses removed tomorrow morning, my job has been on a slow downward spiral for about a year now and my boyfriend will be gone out of state the next three weeks for job training.  Nothing seems to be going right and there doesn’t seem to be a thing I can do.  Except eat.  Or not eat.

Food is my best friend and my very worst enemy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Follow Your Own Path and Let People Talk

I try not to obsess about calories, mostly because there is no way to get a completely accurate count.  FDA standards allow for food labels to legally be 20% above or below actual nutrition levels.  They also say anything less than 5 calories can be labeled as 0 calories, i.e. think you’re being safe by using a yellow, pink or blue packet instead of sugar?  Think again!  You’re getting on average 4 calories PER PACKET.  Not to mention there is no enforcement on this 20% rule, so technically food companies can put whatever they want on the label without incrimination.  Good rule of thumb?  The bigger the brand, the better your chances the label is correct.  Those little mom-and-pop shops just don’t have the resources or inclination for accurate testing. 

Getting to the point, it cracks me up when wannarexics list a breakdown of their calorie count in their blog.  Almost always they underestimate or the calories in such an obvious manner I wonder who they’re trying to kid.  There is no way three pancakes come out to 246 calories unless they were the size of half-dollars.  Counting a piece of fudge cake as 142 calories is pure insanity.  Was it portion sized for Barbie?  I’m not pointing these things out to be a bitch, but instead as a reality check.  I mean, what’s the point of calculating the calories you’ve eaten if you’re underestimating the count by 300%?  Either do it right, or don’t do it at all.  
Eating feels like a chore today.  I’m starving, but the simple act of picking a food seems like too much effort to bother.  It’s probably because I am completely exhausted from being up all night with my boyfriend, who was sick as a dog.  The real problem is when I am tired it’s insanely easy to trip a binge.  Eating the wrong thing could mean the difference between a 1,000 calorie day and an 8,000 calorie day (approximations only, my calorie counts tend to be rather vague).   My mind keeps running through the available food list: apple, no, too much effort to wash and chew; banana, no, too sweet, may trigger a binge; jerky, no, too salty, may trigger a binge and I’m feeling rather dehydrated at the moment; all natural dried fruit, maybe if I stick to the more tart choices, as the sweet ones will definitely set off a binge; pistachios, no, may trigger a binge… Over and over, repeating like a sick-cycle carousel. 

The funny thing is that I established a “safe” food.  Nothing added, all natural dried pineapple would be a perfect choice, but the monologue running round and round my head refuses to be interrupted. Maybe I want to be dysfunctional.  Maybe my choice to get healthy, to recover, isn’t a choice at all.  Maybe it’s just something I tell myself so I will stop feeling like such a failure. 

It isn’t working.