I find myself back here again; looking for a sign. Waiting for an external event so monumental it will force my hand and slap me back into line again.
But hold on just a pretty second, didn't I just make that observation a few days ago; I said this has to stop and that I'm the only person who can do that? Me! I'm the only one with my foot hovering above the brakes, not any one or any thing external to me.
I'm such a cliche. I can see myself doing this as clear as if I were watching someone else. Yet here I am.
I'm now over half way back to my original heffalump self. I never liked her very much, she wasn't fun and she certainly wasn't happy. I know I'm self-destructing but I can't get myself to stop it. Had I started this blog a year and a half ago it would have been a family fun, lighthearted tale of healthy eating tips and triumphs, filled with stories of rockclimbing, my first City to Surf, my first fancy frock Ball including my first ever very own evening dress. Instead this is a PG level diatribe full of depression, angst and major eating disorders. Kids beware! Don't look at the scary lady!
Time for a Confessional
I've managed to hide the eating disorders most of the time although it vaguely amuses me how complicit people are in allowing me to bury it. When I ventured back into the gym recently and announced I'd put on over 30 kilos in less than a year, my trainer offered the kind suggestion that I'd maybe started eating a little less mindfully and perhaps found it hard to find time to go to the gym since moving and starting a new job. I had to look at him with a quizzical eye and wonder to myself if this is the friendly lie we just all agree upon to save us from the bare faced reality that you simply can't put on that much weight by eating a 'little too much' and forgetting to exercise. He's got the degree, he knows how many calories it takes to gain a kilo. It takes a dedicated commitment to serious amounts of food to achieve that you know. We're talking multiple Sarah Lee's each sitting here.
In the past I managed to do a magical balancing act of consuming the same colossal amounts of food without gaining a single pound. Abracadabra, a couple of fingers later and the food's all gone - magic! That's the way it has always started for me, the binging. In the midst of a successful health-drive the need to calm my anxiety and numb my emotions with food overwhelms to the point of giving in, but I'd deal with it all in the bathroom so it never actually reaches my hips. Problem is that over time my temporary solution to the problem becomes a problem itself until eventually all hope of controlling my consumption starts to wane, the food craving gets ever bigger and eventually I give up on the purging.
A couple of years ago I lost 45 kilos the healthy way but then started to slip. After a whole year of loving my new found food and body freedom I started to binge and purge again. I kept it together, was going to the gym 5 times a week and was looking great, throughout that year another 20 kilos off. To the outside world nothing had changed, my get-fit journey was on track. On the inside though things were in turmoil. I was binging and purging multiple times a day, it was affecting my life and my work as well as my bank balance. I still cringe at the fact you can see the callouses on my knuckles in my wedding photos but at least I was slim-ish!
My goodness, I just realised as I typed that last sentence that in reality I no longer cringe at the callouses I'm actually jealous of them. I wish I could have just continued holding it all together on the surface however dysfunctional I might have been underneath. Not exactly a healthy attitude.
So tomorrow heralds the arrival of a New Year. That seems like a neat place to start. Of course today would be better. In fact the next 10 minutes would be even better for now. But I'm really scared to let go. Just thinking about all this is making me anxious and we all know how I deal with anxiety.
The arrival of a New Year has brought with it the bombardment of weight loss advertising. Every organisation out there is feasting on their boom time opportunity to reel in all those flabby new year resolutionists. I'm finding it all so distressing, they talk of how easy it is. Well it is easy.... when it's easy, but when it's hard it's just plain not and you can't tell me otherwise. I'm angered by the ads but also shamed by them. I'm also slightly tempted by them. I'm considering whether to do something like Lite n'easy and see whether it's possible to have someone else control my eating for a wee while. I'm just not sure I'd be willing to give them the full hold of the reins. I'll allow them control my healthy eating meal food of course, but what if I just keep a hold of the in-between binge food for myself? Guess I won't know unless I try.
- Work's stressing me out... must eat something
- I look ghastly... a doughnut would be good right now
- I can't believe I've put on so much weight... a cheesecake will stop those thoughts
- I feel car-sick.... eating will settle that
Of course my right mind know this isn't the case but somehow, and somewhere along the line, I surrendered myself to this way of thinking then allowed myself to be trapped by it. Thing is, I'm the one steering this ship aren't I?
Don't I get a say?
I really should have kept this blog up these past few months so I could have used it as a map of the path never to go down again. Since last we spoke I've doubled the weight I've put back on. In fact I don't know what I weigh right now but it's closer to my heaviest than to my lightest. I wish I'd kept a blog while the 60odd kilos were coming off, you'd have seen a very different me.
My anxiety levels have soared and my disordered eating gone completely out of control. I have been known to wonder incredulously how I could possibly keep hurting myself so blatantly. It was like I kept putting my hand in a fire then would look to other people in pain to say 'stop me doing that, it hurts!' Problem is it's not a fire that burns instantly. The relief and numbness the food brings is instantaneous, but the pain it causes takes time. It's more like boiling a frog, by the time the heat's risen to the point of pain I've grown too accustomed to it to consider stopping.
So, here I am. I've never stopped trying but I've also never stopped beating myself up and self-destructing. This has to change.
I didn't intend to eat the chips, I'd very deliberately removed the chocolate bar but I hadn't quaranteened the chips with the same degree of care. Now I feel greasey and dirty. My jeans feel just that little bit tighter. The rolls of my stomach seem to fold just that little bit more prominantly. Worst of all I now feel completely driven to hunt out and consume as many calories as I can find.
Now I'm honestly not really that daft.
I know my metabolism and digestive systems aren't that fast.
I know nothing will be either solved or made better by eating even more.
I also know that I'm ALLOWED to eat chips.
I know better than this.
Food is neither bad nor good. It can be better and worse but it's *just* food, it has no power and can all be balanced. Chips at lunch might mean pass on the bread at dinner. I didn't lose 60 kilos without playing this balance to my advantage. I ate healthily and mindfully for two years. I wasn't on a "diet", I was actively living a healthy lifestyle. You can't sustain that much weight-loss by abstinance alone, well I personally can't, I'm too much of a binger and a craver. If I told myself I could never ever eat chocolate or chips again, when the road gets tough, when the weight loss slows down and the frustration goes up what's the very first thing I'm going to binge on... doh!
So then why am I feeling like this today? Why did I feel like this yesterday? Yesterday I did the very same; breakfast options were nothing but a bunch of cakes and pastries (I'm in America after all), lunch was the very same calorie loaded sandwich, packet of chips and a chocolate bar (it's not like I wasn't fully prepared and didn't know what to expect today), afternoon snacks meant more brownies and cookies and then back to the hotel for dinner. By the time I'd made my regretful breakfast choice I fell into the oldest trick in the book. I'd essentially decided I'd ruined the whole day so I might as well give up.
This is the very same scenario I've faced many times before while successfully losing weight. But back then I wasn't so easily tricked. I had the tools and techniques at my disposal to decide objectively what to eat and what not to and then most importantly how to feel good about that choice. I didn't feel like I was missing out on yummy goodies, I felt good about my greater goal and how good I was feeling.
So if I know all this - and I clearly do, I'm the one typing it after all - why doesn't it work right now? I still have the knowledge, I must still have the tools, I just feel like I've forgotten how to use them.
I feel like someone needs to switch the power button back on in my right-minded head because I'm watching myself drowning and rather than swimming to surface I'm that drunken person in the "Don't drink and swim" adverts frantically diving his way to the bottom of the ocean mistakenly thinking it's the surface (it might only be the Aussies who'll know that ad but I'm sure you can imagine it).
Thank you to the lovely people who commented to my post the other day. I fully intend to pop by and say so personally on your own pages when I'm out of this darn classroom and can browse freely.
And Yes - it IS Sunday
Yes I am mad to be on a training course!
I made it to Melbourne!
We're still surrounded by boxes and complete chaos - largely created by two cats who don't appreciate being shut in under the new regime. Truth be told my eating and exercising is in the same state as the rest of the madness. I've had a couple of binges in amidst the stress of moving and the intimidation of a new job and my daily intake has increased with the excitement of a plethora of new cafes and eateries.
The campaign to get back on track starts here.
Well nearly here - first I need to shake this cold and toothache... then the campaign starts.
It's seriously cold here. Like REALLY cold. I remember back in Blighty I thought all those Neighbours actors were just mocking us pommes with their thick coats and scarves under the bright blue sky but now I see the truth in all that insulation. I arrived to the coldest May day in 27 years so I'm told. My poor worn down, stressed-out body knew it as well and blessed me with my first cold for years. Then my teeth joined in, resulting in a hasty lunchtime visit to a kindly dentist and a whole heap of pain. The first impressions I'm making at my new swanky place of work is a delight to behold - a dribbly, numbed-mouth, sneezey mess!
Anyways, in the midst of all that snot I ventured into a gym. It's just 4 floors below my desk - no excuse! It was a lot more expensive than I'm used to and I'm going to have to do some serious budgeting to fit it in but it's worth it.
Plan for this week -
- join the gym
- watch my food intake - all those cafes aren't going anywhere and I don't have to try everything on offer within my first month
- weigh in on Tuesday and report my weight even if it's a gain
- catch up on 3 week's worth of blogs - there's no better source of inspiration than all you fab people
Well I'd never say the stress was worth it but keeping my head and being accountable during the stress appears to have paid off. The scales show a drop of 2.2kg....!
Of course the scales could be lying, after all they didn't see me eating that cheesecake on the weekend and did nobody tell them how little exercise I took? So I tried them again - leaning forward on the balls of my feet, backwards onto my heels, at the back of the scale and then to the front. No matter how I contorted myself if they're lying they're doing it consistently. So I'm taking it and typing it before anyone can tell me otherwise.
today's weight: 95.1 kg / 14 st 13 lb / 209lbs
loss of: 2.2 kg / 5 lbs
Good luck to all the HYC'ers checking in and a huuuuuge thank you for all the support I've received. It makes a difference. All I've done in this blog is unload a little stress but if that's all it takes to stop me from swallowing it instead I can only thank you for indulging me.
I'm not sure how much I'm going to be around over the next couple of weeks to find out how you're all doing and check in myself. The big move is almost here, I hand my laptop back to work tomorrow and then my trusty home 'puter gets packed and loaded into a container ready to hot foot it 3,400km (2,110 miles) to the other side of the country.
Here's to a whole new life and to meeting new people who will never know me to be heavier than I am today.
Thank you for your kind comments to my post the other day. Veggie Gal's so right, sometimes it isn't a day at a time it's literally 10 minutes at a time. Today's another one of those days. But between the love of a good husband and the online support here I'm getting through it.
The weekend brought with it a lot more food-centred activities. I'm pretty annoyed with my complete inability to tell my companions "No!", "no, I don't want a cheesecake for dessert and no I don't want to go halvers with you just to make you feel better". But all in all it was still not out of control. Plus I walked around a lake! OK so it was only 6km and I was ridiculously stiff and knacked at the end of it but it was exercise and it was a good start.
Today I've been teetering on the verge of control-loss once more. I had my lunch THEN bought a large muffin. The wonderous part of this tale is that's where it stopped. The muffin was all poised to become the diving board to a binge, I even walked into another cafe straight after to look at their cheesecakes and assorted sweetness but walked out again. Result!
I have way more on my plate (to coin a phrase) than I can cope with right now. Two days left at work with a week's worth of work to be done and here I am spending all my time talking to letting agents, gardeners, pet movers, bike movers, car movers, furniture movers... anything and everything movers, organising leaving drinks, getting shoes mended, having horrible hair-cuts (seriously, I asked for something edgy and was made to look about as edgy as a sunday school teaching librarian) and to top it all off I've got tooth ache. It's tooooooo much and I'm just really anxious and silently spinning.
To those around witnessing me right this second I couldn't look calmer - I'm holding it all in - but the stress that's bubbling up inside just can't be contained for long. I want to run away, scream and cry but that's not what I do, so instead I'm driven by the desire to numb it all with food. It doesn't really make sense but it's become my coping mechanism of choice.
This is where that fab hubby and all you wonderful people come in. You've given me another option. I don't have to scream and I don't have to binge, I can let it all out here... again. I picture this blog rather like a cartoon bottle I can scream into at great volume and then seal ready to be opened and released at a safe distance by people wearing appropriate safety earmuffs.
I can't wait for the days when it's no longer about control, when the tyre tracks left by all the good decisions make it harder and harder for the old habits to deviate back off-road again. I've been there before and I liked it, won't be long now.
Thank you for listening and being my cartoon bottle :-)
I was going to come here and say just HOW not happy I'm feeling about it:
- how my legs rubbed today in a way they haven't for over a year and a half.
- how, to avoid this, I really should be wearing trousers not skirts but can't because I've grown out of them.
- how much I've got on my plate right now.
- how much it sucks to be be losing weight I'd already lost
- how, just as predicted, I'd had yet another day of calorific booby traps laid in my path. I wouldn't mind so much if these were due to fun social events but oh no, another client lunch and another client schmooooz at the end of the day.
I wanted to get home and type all this negative stuff but stopped myself. After a couple of days of such great positivity I didn't want to let everything down again. The general direction had been good; from the bottom of the heap to a place of hope. I didn't want to be ani yoyo, up and down, up and down, never getting anywhere. Oh woe is me whingey ani.
But then it dawned on me, that desire to numb the negative, deaden it, swallow it, shield everyone around me from it is exactly what I'm doing when I binge. Rather than face the feelings, deal with the anxiety and let everyone around me know I'm not coping I keep up the facade of coping and swallow a truckload of food, eventually feeling so so bad - because funnily enough it turned out not to be the magic pill to make my problems go away - that I end up unloading to my nearest and dearest anyways.... only to then feel ashamed and bad and a failure just as I thought I would in the first place. Oh the cycle.
So here I am - even though it's a downer after the positive I'm not going to hide the negative from anyone. I wasn't going to tell you but I did. I had a crappy horrible day and quite honestly I don't feel good that I ate more than I intended and I don't feel good at all that I might not lose any weight this week.
tee hee Jeepers Ani! I just read that back and while the sentiment is all fine and dandy and I'm thinking I may be on to something, I don't half sound like my teenage self.... "blah blah I had a crappy day blah blah I'm not haaapy I ate fooood blah blah blah"
The last journals I ever wrote were as a teenager - page-a-day diaries full of hand-written teenage angst, empty ramblings about cool shows and music, descriptions of what sound like fun parties interspersed with declarations of how crap life is, how nobody understands me and how much I really really really just want a boyfriend. Hardly insightful.
Creating a journal this time around was not just an outlet for my thoughts, it was meant to be a means to track patterns and a way to remind myself of the good and the bads. I thought having my words in digital format would lift me higher than hand-written drivel but perhaps that's just the point. Perhaps that's the very stuff I actually need to express.
I had a shit day. I didn't binge. I don't need to feel happy about it.
But tomorrow I hope to be all the better for it.
Next week I finish up with my current employer and the week after I finish up with my current home to join my husband the other side of the country in a brand new city with a brand new job. I've got so much to do and so much to organise it's all just too much!
For a gal who turns to food when stressed this isn't good.
What IS good though is the fact I haven't caved; I haven't binged, not even once.
Today I reached the point of sheer anxiety that would normally send me running and screaming (the "running and screaming" part all being entirely internal and invisible to the naked eye) into a shop to buy just enough food to deaden and numb the stress. I didn't do it. I didn't even think of doing it. In fact I only thought of it now while pondering about how I could have done it.
I do feel I've eaten too much food but just like last weeks wine and pasta it's somehow still been under control. My working week has been a healthy eating mine field. Tuesday was that client curry lunch, yesterday had a catered lunch time meeting - being focused primarily for the geeks of the company it was extremely stereotypically 'male' food i.e. pies and chips - followed by leaving drinks after work - one of many 'leaving' occasions with different people I won't see again for a while. Today brought with it lunch with old work colleagues at nandos (mmmmm nandos, you can't fault them for their flamegrilled goodness) followed by a ladies networky meeting - catered, of course, for the ladies this time so pesto dips, cheese, sausages and antipasto style nibbles. Now I didn't name this blog ani pesto for nothing - I love antipasto and most of all I LOVE pesto. I intented not to eat a bite but instead managed to restrain myself just enough so I wouldn't have to go without for dinner. I then came home with my taste buds aroused and made a huge plate of wholegrain pasta and steamed vegetables stirred through with yet more pesto yummmmm!
That's a lot of food. But it's real life and it's largely good food.
My next few days, in fact next two weeks, are likely to follow on in very much the same way. I may not shift the weight this week but there's still a definite shift in behaviour. In the bigger picture this is still a good week - a whole week of not binging; not turning to food in times of stress and not turning a broken intention to avoid the buffet table into an excuse to pig out.
I think that's where this blog might just come into its own. It's the only place for me to see and record these non-scale victories. The tricky bit for me will be remembering and recognising them.
Anyhoo, business first - it's my first official HYC weigh-in day!
I'm normally an end-of-the-night weigher. It seems oddly perverse to some but I like to record my weight at the very BIGGEST it might possibly be for the day.
Bear with me, there's method to my madness.
See if I only record the highest figure of the day I'll never have the let down of a false positive, never catch myself after a morning weigh-in elation standing on a scale one late afternoon and be gutted by an unexplained rise. OK so there's plenty chance I might be gutted by an explained rise... explained by chocolatey goodies and niceness but the potential for unexplained rises should be minimised. I've never been one of those gals who run from the WW queue to pee every last drop her body will relinquish before stepping on the scale. My fella might put this down to my pessimism, I call it strategic thinking.
Reason I'm telling you is today I just couldn't wait till the end of the day, not even till after dinner, I'm all too excited to post my first HYC figure and get this baby underway:
I'm pretty happy with that :-)
today's weight: 97.3 kg / 15 st 4 lb / 214lbs
loss of: 1.7kg / 3 3/4 lbs
I find it hard to be *too* happy about a loss re-run. This very same kilo already left my butt a few months ago, but it's for sure a good start and not one to be scoffed at.
I'm actually quite excited about getting back to where I was and taking this journey to its well deserved end. I've got a new found enthusiasm, largely due to all the inspiring blogs I've discovered this last week. I can't wait to get back into the gym just as soon as my back's stopped screaching in pain
[woooah!... I'm just going to have to pause to take in that sentence - ani of old would never have proclaimed happy anticipation of *any* form of gruelling exercise. It's the little things like this I've just got to be happy for; I'm certainly a changed woman however bad this recent up-turn has been]
Another noticeable change was with that massage I mentioned. It seems the problem with my back is nothing other than a spot of joint stiffness and muscle spasm, best treated with some manipulation and massage.
I lay on that table with my bum in the air, the physio pushing my spine to a point I felt sure it would snap and we just chatted about what we've got on for the weekend as if it were the most normal occurrence (which I'm sure for her it was).
Right there in the middle of it as she was hand kneading goo into my buttock it occurred to me that just a few years ago not only would I not have dared see a physio if I had back pain - aches and pains were my lot in life as a lard ass, the price I paid for being a blimp and one I should suffer quietly, no one wants to hear the fat girl whinge about being fat silly woman - but if, by some miracle, I had gone and found myself in that same position I would have been excruciatingly ashamed and embarrassed to have anyone touch my repugnant flesh - I would have felt almost apologetic to the poor pretty lass to defile her pretty hands in such a way.
I'm glad I know that's crazy thinking now and I'm glad my back massage is going to speed up my return to the gym to spur on this weightloss mission.
Good luck to all the rest of you HYC peeps!
Tuesday will now be my designated weigh-in day.
I'm a tad apprehensive that only a week ago I was fighting the binge-urge with such intensity so this isn't exactly baby steps back to healthy eating and weight loss but, despite being surrounded by chaos in the midst on an interstate move, I'm feeling right good.
Bring it on!
It has taken a long while for my brain to adapt to the change of going to metric here in Oz. I was so proud that I could cope with the figures enough to understand my gains and losses in that context I'd stopped converting over a year ago. Doh! Big mistake, huge! (to quote Pretty Woman and reveal my age).
See, this recent weight gain was not mindless. I didn't have 4 months without looking at the scale then all of a sudden decide to find out just how much I'd put on. Oh no. Weighing myself regularly to see just how bad my out of control binge eating was getting was all part of the torture. Now I'm thinking if only I'd converted back to stones during the rise I might have realised I was only 13 stone - which I haven't been since high school - and I might have been able to short-circuit the downward... well upward really.. spiral sooner.
Of course this is with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight vision.
Just like with my other regularly thought "if"; when I was 12 my teacher thought I looked miserable so got a health visitor to help put me on a calorie controlled diet. This got me to obsessing about calories to the point where my school books were covered in sums, I wouldn't chew gum as there was no nutritional information on it and if I didn't lose weight I'd starve myself to my own calorie limit, a good half of the number she set me, until I craved food so much a binge was inevitable. I was going through puberty and I hated my body. I'd stopped all the valuable activity I loved because the dancing studio installed a nightmare wall of mirrors. In photos of that time I can now see I wasn't the michelin man I thought I was, I was really only just a bit bigger than all my gorgeous friends.
With my 20-20 hindsight goggles I realise now all I needed was some help with self-esteem and that a diet with no emotional support was quite possibly the worst thing for me. It started this yo-yo nightmare of losing weight, not getting to goal then binging till I've put back on one and a half times what I'd lost.
Oooh the problems I could solve right now while I'm wearing these magical hindsight specs...
But who's to say I'd have listened to any form of reassurance? Who's to say my inner beliefs of blimpness weren't already strong enough for me to have found my own path to blobdom without any help from others? After all that wasn't the first diet I'd ever tried, it was just the most affirming one, this was a teacher and a health visitor confirming everything I had learned to hate about myself. And who's to say I could or would have stopped myself binging even if I knew the magic 13 stone number?
* "light" being a relative term of course
p.s. another day and no binge btw. I'm far too busy with my new introspective outlet to remember this was supposed to be me being accountable... the naval gazing is only a side order
UPDATE: I just re-read this post and wanted to make it clear I don't in any way blame anyone (not the teacher nor the health visitor) other than myself for my weight gain and even then I'm learning not to blame myself. It's not about blame.
It was the most curious experience reading her book. I felt like I was reading something I could have written myself had I half her skill for choosing my words so beautifully. It was my story. It fair freaked me out to see that her Fat Girl Logistics Department was clearly run according to the very same principals mine was and we had worn the very same fat goggles. Her biggest was just 1lb more than mine, she moved from Oz to Edinburgh, I moved from Edinburgh to Oz. At the risk of sounding like a crazy stalker there was hardly a page that didn't contain something I identified with. It explained me far better than I could explain myself, so much so I've asked my husband if he will read it.
I didn't keep a journal when I was at my biggest so one of the amazing things it's done is to remind me what that felt like and just how far I've come. The other day's feelings may have been similar to when I was 25 stone but they weren't the same and she's helped me see that.
DietGirl's put my journey (she hates that word but I'm struggling to think of a better one - sorry) into perspective. It took her years to get to her goal and even then it wasn't the magical number she'd set out to aim for - not far off it though having halved her weight - but in the end it was more a goal of happiness and self acceptance. I'm trying to see my own set-back in the context of the bigger picture and as just that: a set-back - an up on a far bigger down journey. The depth of despair just isn't warranted. OK so I've put back on 15 or so kilos but I'm still 60 kilos lighter than my heaviest.
While I'm still just taking baby steps to get myself back on track I don't doubt for one second I'm also going to have emotional ups and downs just like the last couple of days, but for now I want to remind myself and celebrate how far I've come and what I've achieved.
I just browsed for pictures to show you all the before and afters but scrapped the idea as I felt like a fraud for putting up pictures of my lowest when it's so far from where I am now and it kinda hurt to look at them. Wooooah girl!! Isn't that just the kind of negative thinking this post was all about overcoming?!
So, if I'm not quite ready for the pictures I'll just recount the experiences:
- wore size 30 (UK) jeans
- broke more than a chair or two
- once had to book 2 seats on a plane
- needed extension belts every time I flew for a few years
- would wheeze at just the thought of walking a few hundred metres
- wasn't living
Last year I:
- walked the 12km City to Surf
- went to the gym 3-5 times every week
- got married in a strapless gown (it was made to measure so I don't know the size but the torsolette underneath was an Oz 14)
- got dressed into that gown outside in a garden (!) because it was better light for the photographer
- was carried over the threshold (ok ok so it was just a piggyback - I've a way to go yet - but it was my first ever adult piggyback)
It seems blatantly obvious which is a better life. Thank you DG for giving me some perspective, I'll do my best not to forget it.
p.s. highly recommend the book to anyone, it was a fabulous heart wrenching and heart warming read from an extremely lovely and intuitive lard busting hero
Why do my moods flit in such a fickle way?
And jeepers if I do stay and this continues we're in for a thrilling blog full of inspiration and insight... "I binged".... "I didn't binge".... "I want to binge".... "I binged".... "I didn't binge".... dull dull dull! I'm an intelligent lass I'm not entirely sure how my life got reduced to this.
This is a big deal.
A year ago, during the glory days of weightloss, a trip to Coles would have had no greater consequence than a fuller fridge and food cupboard but these last few months I haven't been to the supermarket without binging; either buying binge food at the supermarket and consuming it there and then in the mall or leaving the supermarket so scarred from the trauma of resisting binge food that I then went to another store on my way home to buy some more.
Well today I did neither! I did catch myself glancing at the lemon slices and caramel slices - well anything with a lot of sugar and the name "slice" really - but the food police stepped in, put up safety tape and told me to look away, "nothing to see here" and I quickly obeyed. I also looked longingly at the weightwatchers desserts and other sweet alternatives that in the past would have made a tasty treat but right now they're something I can't trust myself with so they're just going to have to wait a while.
I'm feeling pretty smug.
This is in sharp contrast to last weekend's shopping trip, which was characterised by angst and anxiety. I'd walked around the place clutching my basket just willing myself to be strong enough to get through it able to walk out with something healthy for lunch and something equally nutritious for dinner and nothing else; the rest of the week would just have to look after itself. I was so out of control I looked and picked up one item of binge food after another. I didn't want to buy it but I didn't feel I had much choice, every aisle was a battle and my eyes were beginning to brim with tears. It honestly came as a total shock when half way through a very exhausting shop I looked down in my basket to see just three things: bread, milk and bananas. I felt sure I'd lost and ladened it with sugary goodies. I managed the strength to pick up some "lite" fresh ravioli and left feeling pretty war wounded but happy. This I'm told is a heroic victory for someone with my level of disordered eating so just in case there was any chance of actually feeling good about it I settled the matter and ate the whole lot in a binge.... mushed banana sandwiches, 2 person serving of pasta with cheese sauce followed by a relay trip to Subway (cookies), McDonalds (icecream), the bakers (caramel shortbread), another supermarket (a whole cheesecake and apple crumble with whipped cream) and more a plenty, rounded off by another equally sugar filled nightmare the following day.
Today though there was no angst or anxiety despite many an invitation. After all the only reason I was even in the supermarket was because I needed a shopping trolley to carry the packages I'd just picked up at the post office; the only reason I needed a shopping trolley was because I've hurt my back so couldn't carry the packages and the only reason I was able to even pick up these packages at the post office was because I'd come home from work as my back hurt so much I couldn't think of sitting at a desk all afternoon. This was not a happy Ani. Evidently not a very smart one either... what was I thinking, picking up packages with a bad back - duh!!
I don't know what made the difference. Was it really just the accountability of writing a blog - even though there's no way in blogland for anyone to even know I'm here and read this (is there? I mean I haven't told anyone about it) or is the fact I'd decided to write a blog at all a sign I'd already got my head in the right place in order to make myself accountable? I'm going to ponder this while drinking diet coke and peeling a deliciously healthy mandarin from my recent shopping trip.
Day 3 is half way there :D
It was a different story this morning. As I walked to work from the station there wasn't a glimmer of feeling good, I just felt extremely uncomfortable in my clothes. In my head it was just the same as when I was 25 stone; my legs rubbed, my tummy rolled and my silhouetted reflection was unspeakably enormous. It didn't figure in my disgust that now it was now a size 14 jacket that wouldn't do up comfortably and not a size 24-26 one and the skirt that was presently riding up my hips was a size 16-18 not an elastic waisted 26-28. It was the same feelings; most likely not quite as bad but at times like these I blot out the memory of just how bad it was - and just how big I was.
I can't appreciate the net loss of about 60 kilos (9 1/2 stone). In fact I can hardly see it. On the way up the scale I always knew I was huge and hated myself for it but at the same time I don't think I ever really knew the reality of just how enormous I must have been. I'm big enough as it is how could I possibly have been 9 and a half stone more?
So now this is almost a second day without a binge. I ate too much pasta at lunch and had a large glass of wine but neither of them were out of control so they don't count. I've just licked my plate clean of a mushy lean cuisine meal (I can't be trusted to figure out my own portion control or contemplate a supermarket shop so it's frozen goodness for me for a while) and I'm almost satisfied. I'm supposed to feel proud I guess. My mum says I should take my victories where I can, but I'm finding it hard to see one day without a binge as a victory when it's one that a year ago wouldn't have even existed. A year ago I'd conquered the binges.
I'm re-setting my targets. I want to lose 31kg (68lb). Ideally I want to have lost the majority of it by the time I fly back home to the UK in October but I'm too realistic to rush myself so I'll settle for just the 16kg (35lb) I've put back on in the last few months for starters. In Britain I'll be seeing people who haven't seen me since I was 23 stone (146kg) so anything would be good, but there will also be folk who saw me 4 months ago and I'd hate for them to witness the 16kg weight gain - they were all so proud of me.
The UK reference might explain my flagrant switching between imperial to metric, back in blighty my blubber numbers were stones and pounds but a few years in Oz later it's kilo's that define me.
As stories go I fear it's just all too familiar: Young girl, slightly overweight and with low-esteem issues sees herself as a blimp when really she's only a tinsy bit paunchy - a hindsight perspective on all those photos would have been real good back then - years of obsessing and yo-yo-dieting go by until she finds herself in her late 20s as an actual blimp: a 159 kilo, 25 stone, 350lb blimp. Now that the figures matched the perception it's reinforced and set in stone and there's nothing to be done than just to accept that she is in fact a sow's ear and was never destined to be a silk purse, there's no ugly-duckling happy ever after ending for this girl.
Even though I believed it to be my lot in life I'd still dream of an alternative. I always wanted to lose weight, I never liked being huge, never once denied being unhappy about it. I'd had a number of false starts over the years, lost anything between 2 and 6 stone on a number of occasions, 6 stone was twice even (please forgive me jumping all over the place from imperial to metric). Then in just this last couple of years, now mid 30s, I did it. I really did it. I lost so much weight that getting to goal started to come in to focus as a potential reality not just a dream.
Goal was set at a realistic level of 69 kilos taking me just into a healthy BMI for my height. I ate healthily, worked my shrinking butt off at the gym, the weight started to shift and I was truly happy. I cannot count the number of tiny little everyday things that gave me joy - I loved it when someone sat next to me on the train; I relished the gap between the top of my lap and the airplane food tray; shopping became a whole new religion, giving away fat-clothes was a high so good it should have cost money and my greatest nemesis, the dreaded photograph, became my strongest ally. I LOVED my photos, I even loved my fat photos they were great to shock new friends with. But then 65 kilos down and only 15 to go my old food demons must have realised they were losing their grip and had a bit of a regroup.
It all just got too hard.
Within a very short time food was back to being a daily battle, I could no longer recognise hunger from a binge-urge, I doubt I'm ever empty enough to be hungry if I'm honest. I'd gone back to a daily routine of binging and purging, my weight was no longer shifting, my regular visits to the gym continued but my body was struggling and I was exhausted. Months later now and I'm still exhausted, I'm barely going to the gym and my constant binging overshadows any efforts to purge - to the tune of 16 kilos so far. I can't tell you just how much I want to lose weight and yet on a daily basis I'm shovelling more and more food into mouth and I want to stop.
Now here's the point where I lose most of you, only to those who've been where I am can this make any kind of sense. In fact it'll never really make sense it's just familiar. Why would you do to yourself something that hurts, something that is the direct opposite of what you truly desire especially when what you desired was in sight?
So here I am, day by day, hour by hour I want to conquer this. I'm here telling my story, not triumphantly from the end, but in order to help me get there. This blog will be my conscience.
So far today I haven't binged - that's an amazing start!