Tuesday, December 20, 2011

for now but not forever

good morning readers. i wanted to let you know that i'm going to be taking a break from writing this blog for a while. in some ways, this is hard to do that because it has acted as a certain kind of outlet for me and i've gotten such kind and enthusiastic feedback from so many of you. as many of you know, i also had an article published in glamour magazine about this journey and i've also gotten amazing emails and letters from that. it means so much to me that any of my words or experiences make even a single moment easier or more bearable or valuable for anyone, and i maintain that it hasn't been my experience that's been different than anyone else's, it's just my willingness to share it openly and honestly. i feel proud for having done that, and i take to heart the bravery that it has taken which so many people have acknowledged. what i need to do now, though, takes more bravery than writing about it, and that's to stop writing about it, at least on a regular basis, in this format. 

what i've realized is that in my effort to document all that i've been feeling and thinking and experiencing, i've started to keep my feelings at arm's length by packaging and wordsmithing them for the world to consume. an article or a full piece once in a while about something i’ve had time to reflect on is one thing, and i’ll still do that from time to time. but in terms of the format of a daily or weekly blog, i've started to notice that unless i'm processing a feeling that will end up in a post i'm writing, i'm not processing it at all. i've used writing to be an onlooker to what i'm feeling and to explain away and tie up neatly every feeling i have - and they don't all tie up neatly. in some ways, the same separation food used to grant me from my feelings, writing about them has started to do the same. at some point along the way, my writing here stopped being a journal for me and started being a blog for other people, and i'm not ready to stop being about me yet. what i started to notice was that if the feeling or struggle i was having was too intense or too private to share, not only would i not share it, but i wouldn't even allow myself to experience it, because i would feel guilty and wrong not sharing a feeling i was having.  i'm quite certain that when a tree falls in the forest, it makes a sound whether or not people are there to hear it, and i've been acting like it only matters when it falls on others' ears - not on purpose, not as a cop-out, but more because i think the strength i got from other people helped to put me on this path, and now it's time to take off the training wheels. 

so yes, i think it's time for me to do this on my own for a little while, of course with the support of my family, my husband, my therapist and the rest of my team, but alone in the sense that i'm not putting it all out there to be received by the whole world. i think the feelings of exposure and rawness aren't helping me right now, and i need to help me.

i want to thank you for all your support and readership, and this isn't goodbye forever, just for now. i'll still be writing here, and please keep sending me your emails - i love all the tips and pep talks and the intimate and touching stories you've shared, and i'm happy to share mine back - i just need to do it in a more private, one-on-one way now. one-on-one with you, and with me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

thin skin

some days, i feel a careful separation between me and what the world thinks of fat people. and other days, that separation seems to have evaporated into thin air. i find myself on edge after seeing or hearing an insensitive comment and i feel a generalized sense of malaise. it's frustrating, though not surprising, that external things can sometimes feel so personal.take for example, the douchebag asshole on facebook who apparently has a very sophisticated sense of humor. the photos above and below are his two most recent status updates. asshole. unfriended asshole, that is.

i thought about sharing some parting words before i unfriended him, but really, why? what would it get me? 

then in the much more evolved but still upsetting realm, i read an article about a woman who lost 120 lbs by cutting out processed foods, etc, which i think is great. what put me in a bad mood was the way she dismissed gastric bypass surgery, which she had considered and then decided against. 

i get that people sometimes think it's the easy way out, though i stopped having that notion as soon as i understood what it entailed for life. the part that bothers me is the notion of doing it "on your own" and it's what stopped me from considering the surgery earlier (read about how i decided to do it here). for me, doing it "on my own" wasn't as important as DOING IT, and i arrived at the fact that if i knew how to do it, i would have done it already, a hundred times. if the woman featured in this article can do it "on her own," then i'm happy for her. so whatever, i can brush that off. 

but what left me feeling uneasy and sad was the casual mention of how many people gain the weight back. why does that bug me so much? probably because i know it's true and i have the deepest, most intense fear that it will happen to me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

liquid update

so...i'd say my three days of liquids was a good exercise. i lost 5 pounds (water weight of course), but most of all, i have regained a sense of control. it's not ironclad, but it feels better. as carrie and i discussed the other night, i am going back to counting carbs (no more than 45 net carbs a day, no more than 15 at a time). i think it's really going to help steer me away from trigger foods in the way it did at first. somewhere along the line - and i don't know how or why - i stopped seeing that as a hard and fast rule, and i think that coincided pretty closely with my plateau. not a coincidence at all, i'm guessing...

i ended up eating dinner wednesday night which i wasn't planning (was planning to do the full day wednesday on protein as well), because i found myself starting to really fantasize about eating. i'm assuming it was mainly because i was physically very hungry, but also i think it must have been bringing up feelings of deprivation, which i've learned never go anywhere good. i just knew i wasn't going to feel like i had failed...mitchell was trying to help me consider whether i should just wait until thursday to eat, but i really felt secure in the idea that the exercise started to take a turn that would have hurt me more than it helped, so i ate dinner and that was that.

overall, the protein shake idea was a good one, and one i could see doing again if i needed a reset again at some time in the future.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

more liquid courage

so i'm feeling good about my all-protein-shakes-all-the-time-regimen at the moment. i've been doing four shakes a day, which is 680 calories and 140 grams of protein. 

on monday, i felt pretty good all day and didn't get really hungry until later at night when i was sitting at home watching tv. what i did notice throughout the day was how many times my mind went to food, which i guess isn't surprising. what was a pleasant surprise was that i didn't have real cravings and that's something that definitely has changed since the surgery, i've noticed. in that way, my hunger and urges have changed. so that's good.

yesterday (day 2) was a little harder...i was pretty hungry from about noon on and had a lunch meeting that smelled quite good (i have another one today). what i find i'm thinking about as far as food, which is nice, is fresh and healthy foods - mostly vegetables. that makes me feel proud and healthy, and i'm hoping that that will guide me as i reenter the food world tomorrow. of course i have to prioritize protein, but i think i can value both equally.

last night my energy was very low which i remember happening on the liquid diet pre-surgery and i felt very hungry but it is what it is.

when i walk by restaurants and food trucks and markets, i see and smell the food and for a moment i'm afraid a craving or a sadness or a feeling of deprivation will overtake me, but then i just as quickly notice that it doesn't. i don't feel much about it at all. that's the biggest surprise, how much less i feel that when i'm not eating than when i am. though i guess it's not that shocking after all - when you know you will have nothing, it's easier in a way. i guess that speaks to why people say that food is the hardest addiction to break - because you have to eat, whereas you could cut out other vices completely and be fine. so i guess by cutting out food completely on these days, it's black and white and that's easier than gray any day of the week.

another interesting thing i've noticed is that i feel less of a hunger in other ways too...i've been feeling so full of want recently - want of stuff, of money, of food, of certain feelings - and in the last 2 days, i feel more at peace with what i have ... less consumptive, if that's a word. i guess consumption yields more consumption and creates a bottomless pit? that's my running theory at the moment...

Monday, December 5, 2011

liquid courage

i decided to go on a liquid protein plan for three days - today, tomorrow and wednesday. i'm doing the same thing i did for the three weeks leading up to my surgery - pure protein shakes which will provide me with plenty of protein that i'm not getting from food. after the three days, i'll reassess...i'm thinking it's possible i might decide to stick with them at night for a little longer since night eating is proving to be one of my biggest challenges.

i'm doing this because i want to tighten up my pouch and the sensation of fullness i get from it. also to jump start weight loss which has been slllooooooow for months for all the reasons detailed here and also, and perhaps most importantly, because i feel like i need a mental cleanse. i've been feeling the same way that i did a few days before my liquid phase started pre-surgery - like i just need a reprieve from thinking about food. that's the part (one of the many) that doesn't go away with the surgery. it's a gastric bypass, not a lobotomy.

i'm sure i'll be hungry and though i hope i won't find myself bargaining and negotiating, i'm sure there's a grave possibility of that too. but i'm doing it. i'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

long time no write

i've been totally absent from writing on this blog because i've been having a really hard time. it's not that i don't want to face the struggles i'm dealing with in the way that writing about them would make me face it - it's more that i am dealing with them so intensely every day that the last thing i want to do is write about them. i'd much rather be writing about gift wrap and little trees of rosemary. i do know the common wisdom that the days you feel least like doing something (exercise, therapy, meditation) are the days you need them the most, so i'm willing to try that approach.

i'm struggling mainly because i'm feeling hungry a lot, and even when i'm not hungry, i'm having trouble with not eating the rest of what's on my plate. i know i've talked about the challenge i face when i'm physically satisfied but there's still more food i'm "allowed" to have...and that's still a daily struggle. i feel like i could stop eating and be satisfied physically, but i don't want to stop eating. and i feel like at the heart of that is a key to so much of this for me - why don't i feel thrilled that 4 ounces of food fills me and feel overjoyed at the idea of leaving the extra 2 ounces on the plate? why do i feel compelled to eat that other 2 ounces? i still don't understand that. i think it's because of what i realized a while ago - that it's not as much about the food for me as it is about the eating...i enjoy the sensation and the comfort of eating and it almost doesn't matter what i'm eating sometimes. and i guess i still -- even with a stomach the size of a walnut -- don't want that feeling of eating, of comfort, of happiness to end. additionally, i feel like while i might get full quickly, i don't seem to stay full. i think that has to do maybe with my speed in eating, which i know should be slower, and that seems to be a challenge too. and i think it all comes back to the same things probably...i think i need to really work on reminding myself that i'll be eating again in another couple hours, and that i can leave food on my plate and come back to it later if i'm hungry, because i think part of eating it all is this primal urge towards scarcity - what if it's not there when i need it? now's my chance...and i think a lot of that probably originated as a kid when i was closet eating. but i'm not a kid anymore, and as my therapist carrie has said, it's time for grown-up carla to change that. 

what the eating problem leads to is the calorie problem. i have myself trying not to exceed 12oo calories a day and i don't know if maybe that's not enough and that's why i find myself going over every day or if it's just that i'm having trouble controlling it...nothing new there. i've started to experiment with raising my intake to around 1400 and see how that goes. maybe if i feel less restricted, i'll feel more in control. to make sure that wasn't too many calories, i checked my basal metabolic rate which is the number of calories one needs to maintain their weight...mine is 1784, so theoretically, anything beneath that amount would be a loss. my nutritionist would say that i should keep that as low as possible to maximize my weight loss, but i'm going to see how 1400 feels.

i'm also struggling with exercise, which is nothing new. at carrie's suggestion, i tried a spin class last weekend. it was so hard, but i promised i'd try and i promised myself i would stay through the whole class. you know how a lot of people have this competitive thing with themselves that they would never let themselves not finish a class, or back out of a planned exercise session, or get off the treadmill after only ten minutes? i'm not one of those people. but i figured as carrie and i talked that i'd be slightly less likely to walk out a well-populated class with a yelling instructor than i would be to just step off the treadmill on my own. so...my butt and crotch hurt for days, and if i had a dollar for every time i thought about walking out, it would have paid my gym membership for the month. but i didn't walk out, and i felt pretty amazing about that. i haven't gone back for another class yet, but i went for a long and intense walk the next day, and i bought a padded seat for the bike so i can go again on saturday and have it hurt less. my goal is to have several different things to do exercise-wise during each week, and this can be one of them. because i did two intense days over the weekend, i didn't feel the crippling guilt this week that i've been feeling, and that's been a step up, but i know i need to still add more days.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

mind your business

i'm getting really irritated with everyone being so involved in what i'm eating and my progress. i don't feel that way all the time, but i'm feeling that way right now. and i feel like it's my own doing by being so open about the whole process, and mainly, i'm glad i am. but i just feel very on display right now (shout out to melissa gorga fans). 

it's mostly at work, in the kitchen as i'm assembling my meals. "what's that?" or "that smells good, what is it?" or ..."so you can eat stuff like that?" or "so what is it, a high protein diet you're on?" sometimes there's "you always have such colorful looking meals" or "so how many pounds down is it now?" i know everyone means well, but sometimes i just feel like STOP LOOKING AT ME. STOP COMMENTING ON MY FOOD. you'd think people would realize that someone with massive food issues might not want to be watched all the time.  

i guess i generally feel it most when i'm not the proudest of what i'm eating, if it's something i feel is a little processed like turkey bacon or these awesome green giant vegetables. i just feel this pressure to be perfect about all this and i feel it even more, and like i'm being even more imperfect, when everyone's watching me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

one size fits most

and i'm part of the most!! well, alright, this one-size-fits-most robes isn't the most flattering of robes there ever was, but it closed. i was presented with it when i had a mammogram recently, and i had that all-too-familiar worry that it wouldn't fit and that i'd have to ask for a larger one, or the only thing available in most cases, which would be a second one, to layer on top of this one so i wouldn't be exposed. the medical industry is one of those that a part of me expects would be kinder to obese people, but is just as cruel about it as the rest of the world. (case in point here). i have to say, while i'm on that subject, that my surgeon has recently opened a new office that is blissfully equipped for an obese clientele - large, comfortable scales, large, comfortable chairs, large, comfortable doorways. it's a sight to see, and one that feels appropriate and thoughtful, especially in that setting and it's shocking that it's the very first place i've ever seen it. but i digress...

ANYWAY, the reason for my first-ever mammogram and sonogram was because a few months ago, when i was undressing, i saw a literal lump on my left breast. i SAW it. then i felt it, and it was definitely there and then it dissipated back into my breast, never to be seen again. i'm a worrier, and i felt grim and frightened. i made an appointment with a breast doctor who didn't feel anything, but sent me for a mammo nonetheless, to be sure. my theory, my mom's theory and the doctor's theory too was that because of all the weight i've lost and the way my tissue is shifting and morphing all the time, it was probably a combination of that fact as well as new bra that was perhaps compressing me in a different way. 

but to be safe, i had my mammogram which i was pleasantly surprised did not hurt at all, and they called me back to have a repeat screening of my right breast where they saw "calcifications." since it was my first time, they didn't know if that was normal for me and wanted to get a good look. i went back, had the second one and was told that nothing looked terribly concerning and that i should come back in 6 months to have another one done so we can truly establish a baseline and know if these lumpy bumpy calcifications are normal for me.

but the robe fit!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

through the turnstile

i really can't overstate what it feels like to walk through a subway turnstile straight forward, without having to slide through sideways. it feels like...nothing. which is amazing. it's amazing for things like that to feel effortless and without pain, shame or heartache. that's all for today.

Monday, October 24, 2011

bottoms up, part two

so remember how i totally handled my liquor the first few times i tried drinking again? yeah, not so much one night a couple weeks ago when out for a work function. luckily, i don't think i was inappropriate (i don't think...), but i felt like death on a stick the next day. i think i probably had about three or four drinks over the course of the night (note the word probably, as i actually have no idea), and i have to be clear and say that the probably three or four drinks i had were over the course of probably 6 or 7 hours...i don't want you to think me totally irresponsible. anyway, i ended up at penn station close to midnight eating a piece of pizza. so yeah. looking back, there were a few problems: 

first, i hardly ate at dinner because our dinner had been pre-ordered and it was pizza.  i didn't eat it because i don't eat things like that anymore (yes, i do note the irony given a few sentences ago....) by the time i realized that the various pizzas on our table were in fact dinner and not an appetizer, there wasn't much time to order and they weren't very protein friendly. i ended up with a few bites of a very wilty green salad, and that was that. i wasn't hungry, i was perfectly comfortable. and buzzed. and having a great time. that was the other problem...

i was having so much fun! i didn't want it to end, so i kept drinking. very simple, really. and in many ways, that's been my problem with food too. i like it, it tastes good, it feels good, give me more. of course over the years as my wires have gotten crossed, it's gotten more complicated and more nuanced than that, but the bare bones of it are there.

when i was calling home checking in, mitchell was nervous. he could hear that i was more than just tipsy, and he was worried. i assured him that i was fine (i was!) and that i was just having fun. i got home fine, threw up a little (sorry) and then woke up a few hours later certain that i would never again feel normal.

i haven't had a drink since then, but what i do notice is that i've been so hungry (i did get my period also, so there's that too) and i've been craving carbs since then. THANKS PIZZA. it's kind of ridic how that works. it was ONE NIGHT. and yet, the carb bug has infected my brain again. and i don't mean brown rice and flax and quinoa, the grains and carbs i do eat. let me put it this way...the next day, once i felt somewhat human again, all i wanted in the world was a bologna hero. imagine that. 

NO I DID NOT EAT A BOLOGNA HERO. but i wanted to.
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