A food addict's travels on the road to recovery.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ying Yang

Can we talk for just a few minutes about how crazy I am? I mean really. I've got to get it out.

I've mentioned before that I'm crazy...maybe after reading this post, you'll actually believe me. My brain is warped as are my emotions. I have unrealistic fears. I have a bingeing tendency every single day that I'm still fighting, but the crazy thing is, what everyone else calls bingeing, I call normal eating for me. It's really sick.

I read one of Lyn's posts a while back at Escape from Obesity that's an exact description of how I used to eat not very long ago. Only 4 short months ago. To read it all written out is absolutely horrifying. It's insane how much I used to eat and could hold...and to tell you the truth, can still hold. I haven't tried, but I know I could. I'd post the link for you just for some shock value, but I can't remember the title of the post and it would take me too long to dig through her archives to find it.

The jist of it is eating every 2-3 hours, full meals. Full fattening meals. Having a sandwich, fries and a drink for a "snack" til you can get home and make dinner a couple of hours later. And having these full meals about 5-6 times a day. More food than any human being should be able to hold. That was Lyn, and that was me. The other thing we have in common is that we never got sick from all that food. That's why I say it was my "normal". Now I have eaten to the point of sickness before, but not in my normal every day eating. On a normal day I was eating probably 4,000 calories a day...maybe 5,000. A day. Every day. And never feeling sick. Always full, and as terrible as this sounds, happy and satisfied. I use those words because that's how food makes me feel. Happy. Satisfied. Content.

Sure, there's regret later...but not immediately after the sin has been committed like it is for some people. Sometimes just the guilt of what they're about to eat stops them from eating it. I'm getting a little better at this now, but not so long ago guilt would have never stopped me from eating something. And there was no immediate regret or guilt soon after. The regret came when someone made fun of me...snickered and muttered a "fat girl" comment at me as they walked past...a kid in a store asking if I was pregnant (for the 150th time)....having to buy clothes in a "fat girl" store, and put those clothes on the counter for the cashier to ring up with a size 26/28 tag on them.....being told by a doctor that the only exercise I needed was putting my fork down and pushing myself away from the table....sitting down in a roller coaster seat and not being able to latch the bar locked, and having to get up and "walk the plank" in front of 30 other people sitting on the ride, waiting on me to waddle off so they could have their fun. That's when the regret set in.

Even though it was later, you would still think that all of those stinging, searing things would make me want to be better. Would make it easier to get this job done.....to change my habits forever. To find something I can live with and stick with it....and gladly...happy that I'm going to be healthier, stronger, thinner, prettier, more accepted by society, etc. But it doesn't. I don't know why it doesn't. And it makes me cry. Almost every day.

Sometimes I really wonder if there's something wrong with my brain that I should be diagnosed with other than depression. I have some really happy, great days...like yesterday...where everything is on track and I'm feeling good and I'm feeling positive and I can't wait to see what the scale says. Then the very next day, it is such a struggle. I'm still on track, I haven't veered, but it's unbelievable to me how much I want to. I've thought about bad foods all day long today. Even with all of my healthy stuff planned out...I still wanted crap. And lots of it. I don't mean a bite or two....I mean after all 1500 calories have been consumed, I sit here for hours and wish I had a 12" Italian sub, or a triple Whopper, or an 8 pc box of fried chicken.

It makes me hate myself, hate my brain, hate my emotions because of all the crying because I "can't" have these things. And it makes me sick that I even want them in the first place....especially after 4 months of changing my habits. It's not like I just started a week ago....I'm a few months into it now. Should I still be having such issues with the eating??? The way my emotions change from day to day make me wonder what's really wrong with my brain. Am I manic depressive? Am I bi-polar? Do I have a split personality? I don't know what all the symptoms are to these things, so I really don't know if I fit any of them. But I do know something's wrong.

Here's further proof that I'm a nut job. Sometimes I wonder if I even WANT to lose the weight. Do I want to spend so many days in a week for the REST OF MY LIFE feeling so restricted? If I'm always going to want to eat 4,000 calories a day, then is the day to day struggle with staying within 1500 worth it? Well every day isn't a struggle, but at least 3-4 out of 7 are. It's very stressful. On these nights I end up with a headache from having to concentrate on not mindlessly sticking something in my mouth after my calories have been consumed and from being so aggravated that I have these thoughts/desires in the first place. I read a ton of blogs....it's not this hard for everyone...it's just not. Why does it have to be this hard for me? Why am I so different? Why am I so friggin' warped?

By the way, after saying that, I DO want to lose the weight. I just wish it was a tad bit easier for me....for my brain. I really hate the struggle. It wears a girl out.

Here's another irrational fear....at least I know it's irrational...maybe there's hope for me yet! I'm scared of how I'm going to feel once I reach my goal. Diane from Fit to the Finish wrote a post yesterday about putting up a pic of yourself when you used to be thin to use as your inspiration. This post didn't have the correct affect on me...instead of feeling inspired, I felt sad. Sad because I don't have any thin pics to hang up of myself. I emailed her last night and we talked for a little while and I just thank God for her every day. She's such a fantastic woman...so caring, so understanding, so inspirational. She really "gets" where I'm coming from with these fears, and she's always willing to listen. Love you Diane.

The last time I was a "normal" weight was probably my early teens. I know for a fact I was a lard a$$ by the age of 14-15 because a couple of teenage guys that walked by me while I was laying out on the beach called me Shamu. So to me, I've always been fat. It's like it's all I know how to do. I only know how to act and function like a fat person. Making sure I buy shirts long enough to cover my stomach that hangs down so low.....always pulling and tugging at them....doing my best to always suggest a table in a restaurant instead of having to see whether or not I could fit in a booth....cracking jokes and making people laugh so maybe they'd notice my personality more than my weight...the list goes on and on.

But there's something that bothers me more about finally getting to a "normal" weight. It's how people are going to react to me, and especially people that I already know or have been acquainted with. Being fat causes you to be ignored, looked over, snickered at, and unloved. I feel like when those people treat me differently once I'm an acceptable size, it's going to have a bad affect on me. I mentioned this to Diane in an email last night. I feel like I'm going to start crying immediately and scream at them, "If you didnt' love me for me, or talk to me when I was overweight, then damn sure don't start now!!!" I know this is going to happen with one particular person that I truly love, and I can't tell you how much I'm already dreading it.

Sean at The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser has a list of things he's always dreamed of doing and he's working his way through that list now that he's lost enough weight to really enjoy those things. This has had me thinking, too. I don't have a list, and I don't even know how to start one. This goes back to always being fat. I guess I didn't dream about things that I knew I could never do? How sad is that? To not have a list, and can't even think of how to start one?

I really want to hope that there's nothing seriously wrong with me that I need a diagnosis for. But I just can't explain the continuous back and forth with my feelings on the weight loss. One day's fine, even great...the next day, such a tremendous struggle to stay on track. And these fears I have of being at a normal weight...how much more irrational, terrified and negative can you get?? I don't want to be this way, think this way or feel this way. But this is my reality right now. All I can hope for at the moment is that tomorrow is a better "thinking" day. Happier, more positive and motivated thoughts. I'm so close to weigh-in on Friday morning....2 days to go. I really don't want to screw it up now. I ate 1500 calories today (dreamed of 3,000) and I walked/jogged 4 miles at the park. I have a lab appt in the morning to have my blood drawn and see if my health has improved any since I've dropped some weight. I'll have the results in a day or two. Hope everyone is having a much easier time than me. And thanks to all of you who comment here....you know it means the world to me. 'Nite all.

Quote For the Day:

"The ultimate measure of a person is not where they stand in times of comfort and convenience, but where they stand in times of challenge and controversy." -Martin Luther King, Jr.


  1. Your outside is a reflection of who you are inside. If you're a mess on the inside, it's going to show. I think a lot of times, that's what people are really reacting to with the severely obese. You are not that woman anymore. You've started losing the weight, you're overweight but not horrendously so, and you're attractive.

    One of the reasons we don't lose weight is fear of success. Not just fear of being skinny, but fear of being accepted. We think that's what we want, but then start voicing doubts: Do they only like me now because I'm skinny?

    The first step has to be personal empowerment and self esteem. You need to recognize that you can protect yourself against bad people and that you're worthy of good people in your life.

    You can do it!

  2. Your quote is exactly the sentiment that I want you to remember through this hard time. I know that I am fortunate in that my journey has been simple so far and that is largely a reflection of the fact that things in my life are really good right now. You have so many stressors with your unemployment, Dwayne's impending lay off, thoughts of your daughter, etc. Is it any wonder that you are having a rough go? Yet, you are still kickin' *ss and takin' names, and it is this committment through adversity that will see you through this in the long run. If you really are worried that there is a diagnosis of some sort to be concerned about, remember that there is absolutley no shame in looking into it. We are all here for you regardless of your struggles. We all care about you, Tammy, regardless of what you weigh or of what may or may not be problematic in the old noggin. I hope that getting all these thoughts of your chest has helped. Hugs!

  3. Wow Tammy,
    I could have written this post today I swear! I can not believe one day I am ok the next I am ready to pack it all in. I actually was thinking this morning I wonder if I should go to the doc and tell him how backwards and forwards my thoughts are. I am too scared to though. I have ALWAWYS been fat so I wonder if its because we are changing habits of a lifetime that it is so hard. I might e-mail you later cause I am so feeling you. I am so blessed by you.
    Thank you for keeping going. 4 months is a long time. You are amazing!

  4. Oh, Tammy, please realize that everyone has these "crazy" thoughts. Mine may not be the exact same crazy as yours, but sister, they're crazy, lemme tell ya. I have a hard time with the restriction, too. But, I tell myself that I am a healthy person now and that's what healthy people do. Everyday. Well, most days. I think by changing your actions (1500 vs. 5000 calories per day) you WILL eventually change your thoughts. Repetition will set you free!

  5. I hate to see you in such pain, especially because I have been there and like you, still go there periodically. And I live in fear every day of when it's going to happen next. The mental pain is way worse than the worst physical hunger, in my opinion. I truly doubt I will ever quit wanting thousands of calories a day. The best I can do is distract myself.

    Your "normal" eating is entirely like my normal eating. Without pride, I have always said I can put more away at a restaurant meal than any man. I'm certainly not proud of it, but it's true.

    I have no answers for you or for me. I just hope it will help you to know there ARE some people out there who are having as hard a time as you are, hate it, and...so far...keep going.

    I have a sick system in my mind in which I reject other people before they can reject me: I'm not outwardly friendly until they are. This way, I feel I can weed out the ones who are (I feel) are reacting to me based on my size. Then I can give them the same treatment they give me. I positively CRINGE as I write that, and I'm glad I'm not actually putting it in my blog, but it's true and sick. It's another nasty side-effect of being overweight.

    I am somewhat older than you. I read so many blogs of younger people at my weight who are trying to lose. I SO regret that I didn't see this battle through to completion and maintenance 10 or 20 years ago. Maybe you can avoid making MY regret YOUR regret! I need to be stronger today than I was apparently willing to be 10 or 20 years ago.

  6. All I can say is - YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This post really hit home with me. From being happy some days to the overeating to the maybe not really wanting to lose to the list. You described my emotions to a T. I feel your pain and the hopelessness you experience. All we can do is our best and take one day at a time :).

  7. You are not crazy, and you can do this! I have the same problem at night around 8pm. I have been a good girl all day. I have my 1500 cals consumed already, and it would be so easy to munch my way through the kitchen cupboards and easily put another 1000 cals in in 15 minutes. I think it's the emotional eater in me. The only way I have of talking myself from starting is to think of my daily cals like my bank account. I have used what I had in it for the day and I'm not about to have an overdraft! I think I'm more "chasing a taste" when I start munching-not really tasting anything, just trying to fill a void with food.
    I say "hang in there", know that you are not alone when you are having these feelings. Know that tomorrow is a new day and you can work in one of those foods you are craving at the moment. Because eating them in the heat of the moment IS NOT going to make you feel better by the end of the night.
    You are doing great! It will get easier, you will be healthier in the end.

  8. Tammy- Wow, many of the things you are saying, I feel the same way about. Depression, bipolar, feeling mixed up inside, feeling like you just want to eat whatever at times, wondering why you are on this path to improving your health. The WHY is huge, the why helps drive you, but at times the Why for me has gotten cloudy and then my weight goes up again. It feels like you were writing many of the things I have been thinking about lately. I love the quote, I am going to put it on facebook, I hope that is ok.

  9. You have a pretty face and there are many women who wish they had your features. Look at that smile. Start your list - make your first items attainable. If you have no desire to scale the north wall of the Eiger no matter what you weigh, then don't, for heaven's sakes, start with that. But there must be things that are difficult now that you hope to do in the near future with ease.

  10. Hi Tammy,
    Thank you for you brutal honesty. You don't sound a diagnosable kind of crazy to me at all. You were more honest about yourself in this post than I've ever been to date on my blog, and I appreciate it so much. I think that you spilling your guts like that helped you not binge last night. I wish I'd don'e the same, because I did binge last night - a terrible binge that I'm totally ashamed of. And this morning, again, I said I wasn't going to tell anyone about it because I sound so insane. I want to tell you to not hate yourself, your brain or your emotions; but I feel the same way this morning. I truly understand and am sorry you had that kind of a day where the food addiction was screaming through every pore. It's absolutely wrenching to be in that place. I was there late afternoon and couldn't wait it out. Your honesty about this will be an essential component to you continuing to goal and ultimately learning to live in your new body. You are a role model for me.

  11. Hi Tammy. I hear all your distress that this thing is still so tough for you after 4 months of sterling effort. It is terribly draining. But I don't detect any bi-polar or even real craziness.

    What I do detect is craziness due to lack of calories. I know you took advice from Sean and decided to do 1500 calories a day. But 1500 is NOT the magic number. Different people will do better on different amounts. Eg Fitcetera is melting away on 1600 a day. I've heard other dieters say things were impossible until they raised their intake slightly. It's amazing the difference 100 calories a day can make. It could really settle you down inside and just make the whole journey much easier.

    I know you would be loathe to do it because you think it will slow down your weight loss. But I say you maybe need to see the bigger picture here. You are not just doing this to look thin in the quickest amount of time. You are doing this for your mental health as well. And the consistency that this amount could give you would be worth it. Rather than veering off plan every so often and thus having a pattern of losing two weeks a month and not losing, or even gaining for two weeks a month, you could have consistent weight loss - say 3lbs a week every week of the month. Consistency is the name of the game for weight loss and for sanity.

    I feel your pain when you write that you are white knuckling it through the evenings etc. I just want things to be easier for you. You deserve it.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. I want you to get on the right path too. And you need to remember that obviously you will be able to eat more when you are in maintenance. That's a cheering thought!

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx

  12. Hi, girl~ I'm hoping it was helpful to you to get this post written out...it is helpful to me to write things down. I think your support network is impt too; meaning everyone that comments here, and your bf and other friends..I am glad you talked some things out w/Diane, too, Tammy. Good move. I think our WL journey can be such a mental journey.

    I am rootin' for your bloodwork to be a big boost to you right now. I think after 4 months of even just the change with the walking you have been doing, and/or the WL, but paired w/a change in eating...I fully expect to hear a stoked Tammy report regarding that bloodwork!

    Just gonna throw this out there--what are your thoughts on possibly getting a small PT job just to occupy yourself til your career position comes along, or maybe even voluteer somewhere? The gym, the animal shelter.. My point being to be out w/ppl, and also in hopes of kind of distracting the part of the brain that is bugging you about what to eat! Keep it busy somewhere!

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. oh Tammy.. you are not crazy or nuts. you're altogether normal. And yes, I feel all these things too. I wonder if i'm going to have to walk 5K 5 x a week for the rest of mylife, and watch what I eat the rest of my life. Likely.. but I think it will come a lot easier.

    I think there's a reason why none of us get our wish of losing all the weight overnight.. and it has to take time and a lot of mental energy as well as the physical.

    We need the time to get through all the mental stuff. We're not ready to be thin people. By the time we get there, hopefully, our emotional journey has come alongside our weightloss one.. and you will have the fortitude to stand up to those that you need to, and forgive those that you need to.

    I believe we will have become alot stronger and healthier mentally when we get there... no use worrying about it now. "today has enough worries of it's own".

    re: the socks.. no idea what brand. i bought them at a sports store here in Canada.. that sells running shoes, sportswear. Not much help! But they're meant for walking, mine were anklet socks, fit perfectly, added cushion on the bottom and toes, and they were really comfy. Definitely worth the value for all the walking we're doing.

  14. I heard a Native Indian author interviewed on the radio today. He's accused of being "uncomfortably honest". He says that being "uncomfortably honest" is what keeps him sober, and not the raging alcoholic his father was. I think you've been "uncomfortably honest" today. You've spoken your inner fears, many which I can relate to. You've forced us to realize some of ours. That my friend, will keep you sober. (binge sober) I believe in you. You are worth it!!! You are valuable.

  15. Hey Tammy. I'm hoping you are feeling good today! I feel your pain in so many ways. There are times when I can eat an entire pack of Oreos and not even feel full. No one can understand the binge mindset that hasn't been there. After finding the blog world, I felt a little less crazy because I knew there were other people out there feeling just as crazy as me. Hang in there. You can do this and I'm right here doing it with you!

    Re: the gym, there is a branch of in Marietta which I think is the closest to you. It's called Just Fitness 4 U and it's at 3101 Roswell Rd, Marietta, GA‎ - (770) 565-6330‎. They charge $10 a month for off peak hours and one location. It's $15 a month for all hours and locations. They are waiving the enrollment fee through the end of the month at least but they do charge a $50 administrative fee.

  16. I think most people who struggle with weight issues feel crazy and out of control at times. I did. I just couldn't understand why I craved things one minute and was able to resist them the next minute. It made no sense to me.

    The desire to eat large amounts of food diminished for me over time. As I had more and more success I did start to feel that I didn't "need" to eat lunch and then a huge fast food meal, and then chocolate, and then dinner, and then chips and cheese. Those feelings diminished and now I can't imagine eating that much. (But I could for a long time.)

    I think trying to make a list of some goals you have for yourself in the future is really a great idea. Close your eyes and picture yourself in a certain situation. What are you doing that you'd be afraid to do now? You will find inspiration within yourself that you didn't know you had.

    Take care of yourself. You are doing this. Don't let the fear of the future knock yourself off your path. One day at a time.

    By the way, I enjoyed our email conversation very much! You are a great person.

  17. Tammy, you are definitely not crazy. Or...if you are, you're in good company! :-) I can definitely relate to most if not all of the things you wrote about. I think that there's this myth that it's all so simple -- weight loss = happy; weight gain = unhappy, but it's so, so, so much more complicated than that. On a daily basis I wish I could afford therapy because I worry that without a chance to deal with all this endless and overwhelming emotional stuff, I might be struggling forever. But maybe that's what blogs are for -- the free therapy. :-)

  18. This post sounded so much like me, reading through the comments too I thought boy we sure aren't alone in this. I've never been thin in my adult life either. I was 350 lbs by age 15 so life right now is all new to me. When I was reading your post I kept wondering, is she just lonely at night, full of anxiety and stress over stuff going on in her life? I know for me that has been the case often when I've felt the super strong desire to just stuff my face. It's never been about food it's just been about calming what is going on inside my head.

    Through this journey I've been in therapy and what he has helped me realize is that I'm no different than most people around me, that every person has issues going on within them so none of us are really "normal" because really what is normal anyway?

    You are doing great and I think as time goes on you will find more faith in yourself. I think you will also realize that some days are just harder than others. I've type a million times that we have to learn to love ourselves which also means trusting ourselves and realizing that we have the power to change anything we want about ourselves, it is all in our own hands.

    I think making a goal list for yourself is a great thing too. I carry my short list around in my purse and have marked off things I've accomplished. It really makes me feel good when I get to mark something new off the list.

    You are strong Tammy so just believe in yourself. Keep reminding yourself you are doing this.