My bag of tricks

Melting Mama asked, what’s in my bag? (Disclaimer: I have a pretty huge purse). Here goes:

  • A pair of jeans. Seriously. I’m going to a baseball game after work and I wanted to change! To give you an idea of the size of my purse, these are size 28 jeans.
  • Sunglasses large enough for Nicole Richie.
  • MaryKay pressed powder and MaryKay eyeshadow.
  • 2 lipsticks, 2 lip glosses, 1 lipliner
  • Receipts from Target and JoAnn Fabrics.
  • My wallet (no cash)
  • A cigarette case which holds my debit card, driver’s license, and health insurance card
  • 2 pens (blue & black)
  • A hair clip
  • 2 tampons
  • A key to room 112 at work (didn’t know I had this!)
  • CRAP!!!! My payment for a ticket that was supposed to be mailed out 3 days ago!!!
  • A wedding RSVP to be sent (as soon as my husband commits to going with me)
  • Yesterday’s mail that I haven’t yet opened
  • My food journal

Ok, I’m off to mail my ticket payment!

Can’t figure myself out

Ok, yesterday I ate a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter and an apple for breakfast (approved by nutritionist). I planned that lunch would be after my doctor’s appointment. When  I came home (around 2:45), I ate TWO leftover enchiladas from the night before (the kind I made for myself with the whole wheat toritillas). I knew I should have stopped at 2, but I desperately wanted to eat more so I pigged out on some nachos (regular tortilla chips, cheese, meat, salsa). I ate until I finally felt a full feeling, and then went and barfed it all up.

Sidenote: why is it that when you eat until the feeling of fullness and then throw it up, you still feel full? It’s pretty amazing, really.

Today I made a shake for breakfast (8 oz 1% milk, ice, 2tbsp peanut butter, 6 medium strawberries, half a banana). I was hungry by 11:30. I held out and waited until 1:30 to eat. I got through ONE leftover enchilada (regular white tortilla variety) and I feel absolutely STUFFED. I choked down a 60-calorie yogurt, and I feel like I just ate for a football team.

What is the deal? Why is it that yesterday, I was ravenous and couldn’t reach a sensation of being full, but today I can eat less than a third as much and I’m done? Theories:

  • I drank water with my lunch yesterday, and today I’m drinking Fresca. Maybe the carbonation makes me feel fuller faster??
  • Maybe waiting until 2 hours after I started feeling hungry today made my stomach more receptive to the food I was eating.
  • Maybe I’m less hungry because I’m at work instead of sitting at home.
  • Maybe yesterday’s meal times (10:00 and 2:45) triggered something that today’s meal times didn’t (8:30 and 1:30).
  • Maybe yesterday wasn’t about hunger at all. Maybe I kept eating as an emotional response to my doctor’s appointment.
  • Maybe throwing up yesterday and then eating a smallish dinner allowed my stomach to un-stretch, allowing for a sensation of fullness today.
  • Maybe it’s because today at work I’m sitting upright at my desk, leaning over my stomach, causing a feeling of fullness, whereas yesterday I was eating lounging on the couch.
  • Maybe it’s because today I ate a regular tortilla (210 CALORIES) and yesterday I ate two healthier ones (100 calories each). Same number of calories, but today was smaller in volume. Maybe it’s the calorie-density that produces fullness?

I don’t know. I can’t figure myself out. Since my anatomy hasn’t changed since yesterday, I have to believe that the difference is somehow psychosocial or environmental, but I can’t pin it down.

The new doctor

With my original PCP’s retirement, I’m in the unlucky position of trying to find a new doctor in the middle of my 6-month physician supervised diet & exercise plan. I made an appointment with a Dr. Aung, an internalist, and I have to say… this makes me nervous.

She seems very smart and I liked her. But I’m not convinced that, at the end of 4 months, she would be my ideal advocate for gastric bypass. She made a comment that at the end of the 6-month diet, maybe we can try Meridia. No!!! No. I need someone who doesn’t think we have 8 years to toy with every option: studies show they don’t work. I need a permanent tool to help me lose weight and keep it off.

I already knew my gyno was smokin’ dope, but today’s appointment did result in one good thing, which is that Dr. Aung wants me to have a pelvic ultrasound to test for PCOS. I read through the symptoms, and I think the odds are that I do have this disorder. The idea of fertility problems saddens me, but not as much as I might have expected. I’ll have the ultrasound and see what happens.

Dr. Aung also prescribed Animi 3 vitamins, and asked me to also take an over-the-counter B12 supplement. I have a lot of numbness in my hands, which I first attributed to typing nonstop, and then to sleep apnea, but it’s not going away. She thinks it may be a B12 problem. On my last labs, my B12 level was at 456. Apparently, 200-1100 is considered acceptable, but she said mine should be at least 500 and probably more like 900. As a pre-op gastric bypass patient, this scares the living daylights out of me. If I’m having B12 trouble now, what will happen after surgery??

I have my doubts in Dr. Aung as a proponent of WLS, but I’m going to stick with her. I haven’t the time nor the energy to keep searching for another primary. If she doesn’t support the surgery, I will simply beg and plead and cry and convince her otherwise. Hey, it works with traffic tickets.

Books are not people

Today on diet blog: Books are not people. And apparently “58% of women interested in learning about weight control would prefer to participate in an individual face-to-face program delivered by a health professional” than read another self-help book.

I do not fall into that 58%. I actually prefer books to people.

At the ripe old age of 15, I weighed 200 pounds. One summer, I started doing workout videos and exercising my little buns off every morning. I dieted and exercised* down to 129 pounds, all without people. All with videos. (Though, admittedly, no books.)

And that is why it is so very hard for me to talk with a nutritionist about what I eat. To discuss medical problems with my doctor. To attend an OA meeting. I’d rather log in to fitday, surf WebMD, or call in to a phone meeting.

And, most of all, I’d rather blog about my thoughts than share them with an in-the-flesh friend. Is it the fat that’s isolating? Is it really just my personality? We’re going to find out. 

*and by dieting and exercising, I mean starving and burning a bajillion calories each day through incessant exercise.

Recovery

I learned about Overeaters Anonymous from ObesityHelp and went to the OA website to check out meeting times. I found one in my area on Fridays at 4pm, and left work a half hour early to attend.

However, I didn’t realize that the meeting was held at a women’s-only rehab center for alcohol and drug addiction.

When I arrived at the… uh… compound, I was at a loss. There were no signs anywhere. No directions, no markings on the 3 buildings, no doors that opened from the outside. I saw random women walking around, but they were in a hurry to get somewhere and didn’t glance in my direction, so I didn’t stop them for help.

Finally, I went through the only door with a handle opening to the outside. It was labeled as a restroom, but I doubted that this restroom had windows and blinds, so I went inside. The bathroom sign was, as I expected, a ruse. I had stumbled upon their administrative offices, but there was nobody in sight. I heard a voice coming from down the hall, so I cleared my voice. She finished her phone call. I cleared my throat again, hoping she’d come out to greet me. She didn’t, so I walked down the hall.

I explained that I was looking for the Overeaters Anonymous meeting, and the woman explained that I could go down the mulch trail to building three where the meeting was held.

I walked down the trail, and noticed how serene this place was. A still pond. Lush foliage. No noise. Cats milling around. Women only. Benches placed strategically along the path, where I envisioned women sitting and having those serious, tear-filled, emotional conversations that only women know. I sensed the purpose of this place was to nurture, heal, and protect women. Women who needed help.

I quickly came to building 3. Nothing had been visible from the parking lot, but from the direction of the mulch path, I could see that this building had a front porch (facing the pond, not the road). There sat a dark-skinned woman and her young baby with a stroller and diaper bag. At picnic table sat two young women (late 20’s? early 30’s?) who had a world of hardship in their eyes. These women looked, as my mom would say, “rode hard and hung up wet.” They looked thin but bloated, “normal” but undernourished somehow. They had those tell-tale wrinkles around the eyes that evidenced long days out in the sun and unhappy nights.

They were friendly. I said, “hi.” One woman asked, “are you here for the OA meeting?” I said yes and she informed me that I was too late, they were almost finished. I was unsure of what to do. Couldn’t I just walk in late? I couldn’t possibly be the only late one. The girls read my face. The one with the baby said, “you can go ahead inside. Just don’t disrupt the meeting. They might be sharing right now.”

I opened the door. I was in a large, open, living-room type area. It had high ceilings and linoleum floors, but couches and reclining chairs. Twenty or so women sat in a group, all facing Laura, the leader, who was talking about serenity and asking everyone to form a circle holding hands. I sat in a folding chair off to the side as the women got up and formed a circle. They recited the Serenity Prayer and then passed “energy” to one another. I noticed none of them were fat. Not a single one. Nobody over 150 pounds. They all had that same bedraggled look. I guessed some were at the meeting not because they were Overeaters, but because they enjoy support groups. Besides, there was nothing else to do at the compound.

After the Serenity Prayer, the meeting dismissed. People started rushing around. I thought the leader, Laura, might want to talk with me, but she headed for the door at warp speed. I headed out to my car. Suddenly, bursting through one of the building’s unmarked perimeter doors, Laura rushed to me as I buckled my seatbelt. I got out, and she introduced herself. It was hot, so we headed to a picnic bench in the shade.

Laura and I talked for probably 30 minutes about OA. She explained that I was at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center for women, and that I’d probably be comfortable at one of the more traditional meeting sites. She pointed out one in particular, this Saturday at 9:30, that has a lot of new members. As we talked, a young woman walked by several times, rushing from one place and then back again, like she forgot something. She could hear our conversation, but I didn’t mind. She smiled, we did too, and she hovered around a while. I finished up with Laura. She would see me at the other meeting tomorrow morning. I could call her anytime.

I drove away with a strange sense. I felt out of place at the treatment facility, what with my clean, pressed clothes, neat hair, and makeup’d face. I didn’t look like the other women, who seemed nice enough, but had clearly struggled and suffered in their lives. I felt naive compared to them, and I know they sensed I was not “one of them.” But I’m glad I stumbled upon their secret haven to see the peacefulness and woman-ness of that place. I felt like I had walked into Toni Morrison’s Paradise.

I always believed counseling was hogwash, that I can fix my problems myself. I never really did think overeating is an addictive, compulsive behavior. I saw no relation between the physical symptoms of my overeating (my 347-pound frame) and their skinniness, sullenness, and haggardness from alcohol and drug addiction. I never considered myself in need of treatment.

Being in that place for 40 minutes changed my mind. It’s ok to need a place with a still pond and a picnic bench. It’s ok to need support groups and weirdo-energy-passing. It’s ok to find healing there. I’m doing the right thing in seeking out support.

I didn’t go to this morning’s OA meeting with Laura. My husband is home and he wanted to spend time together. I’m giving myself the freedom to not be compulsive about meeting attendance, but to go when I want and need to. I’m grateful for the experience I had yesterday, and I don’t want to quickly replace it. I just want to stew in this feeling for a minute, to reflect on what I felt and what I witnessed. To savor it. To save it.

Doctor replacement bar

We have meal replacement bars. Oh, how I wish doctor replacement was that easy.

After Dr. Richter announced his retirement–oh wait, nevermind, that didn’t happen. After I deduced  Dr. Richter’s retirement based on the bare walls and moving boxes I saw at my second of six scheduled follow-up office visits, I set to work finding a replacement.

Between the doctors who no longer accept  my insurance and the practices no longer accepting new patients, it was quite a feat, but I do have an appointment with a Dr. Aung next Tuesday. I hope she’ll be on board like Dr. Richter was. I do NOT want to see which doctor is behind door #3.

Nutritionist visit #3

I met with Alice again yesterday and confessed (most) of the month’s failures. Still, I lost 5 pounds and she’s pleased. I explained how walking is killing my feet and that I’m switching to water aerobics. I explained how fitday wasn’t really working for me, and that I think I need to use both fitday and her exchange guidelines. I asked her opinion on supplements like protein bars (answer: eat real food. you’ll have to deal with using real food at some point, so learn how now). I asked about Overeater’s Anonymous (answer: the 12 steps are rather strict, but it may be a good venue. Try it and see how I like it).

I was bummed about losing only 5 pounds this month (especially since I resorted to purging to help accomplish that loss), but she reminded me that 13 + 5 = 18, and 18 pounds in two months ain’t bad.

I guess I can live with that. Still, I hope next month is better.