Saturday, September 23, 2017

Learning self-love and forgiveness

I'm down 30 pounds. I actually hit it a few weeks back. I'm being so cautious about losing weight this time. It is so easy to dismiss 5, 10, and even 15 pounds lost. 5-10 can easily be gained or lost in a week depending on what you eat and, for us ladies, the time of the month it is. There was something in me about hitting 30 pounds lost. I am finally starting to feel the smallest bit of hope that I am doing it this time. Hope that I will get there, eventually. It's such a fragile bit of hope. I feel like I'm trying to get a wilted plant to grow and baby it along.

Marshall wanted a pic the other day to prove how tired I looked. We were both able to see my weight loss in my face.

It's a long, slow process this time. But it is so worth it. I'm doing it the right way. More importantly I'm doing it for the right reasons. Yes I want to wear clothes from "normal" stores. Yes I want to wear cute clothes. Yes I want to feel like a "normal" part of society and not deal with being fat-shamed anymore. Yes I want to feel good in my skin again. And hell yes, my health is at the top of this list. But my reason? I'm learning to love myself again. I was doing good years ago, and I am not sure what happened or when. I don't think it was one thing. However, I am back there now.

Some of it is being down 30 pounds. I won't lie. It feels great. More than that, it's the things I'm doing day to day that are making me feel amazing that are helping the most. I am noticing with my strength training, I'm walking taller. I'm not hunched over or looking at my feet as I walk. I'm holding my head up high again. I'm feeling better with the foods I am eating, and learning how to eat again.

I had a follow up with Dr. Hendrick a week and a half ago. It was a fantastic visit. I don't know if I had caught him on bad days previously or what, but he was laughing and joking with me. Part of me wonders if he had been reserved until he knew I was truly taking this seriously and after being 25 pounds down since starting with him he sees that I am serious. I don't know. We had an incredibly positive discussion about the eating habits I'm developing. We talked about how I am eating when I'm full. What eating to satisfaction means. And whether it is a healthy piece of fish or a decadent cupcake of just eating 80% of it to see if that satisfies me. Does it satisfy my hunger? Does it satisfy my cravings? He acknowledges that there are times we emotionally eat, it will happen. What we need to do is recognize when the food is no longer tasting good and allowing ourselves to stop and be ok.

I also find it funny that Marshall knows when I'm done before I do. I'll start looking at the food on my plate, usually unconsciously, and stare at the food. Mentally I'm just staring at it. Sometimes I wonder what I want next. Sometimes there's no thought there at all. Sometimes I know I'm within one or two bites to "done" and wondering what I want to finish with. Every single time Marshall looks at me and tells me I'm done. It's ok to to put the fork down and leave food on my plate. That's hard for me sometimes. I was raised in a household where you clear your plate. There's such an odd sense of freedom in being able to eat until I'm done and leaving it. Case in point, dinner tonight. We ordered calzones. I left just under half of my calzone. I was done. This never would have happened a year ago. I would have eaten until I was painfully full, and regretting it.

The other thing we talked about is learning my signals better. I haven't talked about it a whole lot to anyone, but I am taking a prescription med to help me. It is called Contrave. It is two different drugs combined into one. They were originally meant to help with addiction (smoking/drugs and alcoholism respectively). How they act is by one dulling the cravings and hunger signals, and the other making my satisfied and full signal louder. I still control what I put in my mouth, but it helps me battle the cravings for chocolate or just the urge to eat for no reason. Sadly insurance doesn't cover it, and I could rant on that for a while. However, for me it's working. It has helped with my cravings. It does help me recognize when I'm full. It's been a fantastic tool to help me learn my body again. When I do get hungry, I'm truly hungry. Well, most of the time. The cravings aren't gone completely.

I surprised Dr. Hendrick when I told him my reason for letting myself get to true hunger (belly growling LOUDLY). I need to know what true hunger actually feels like. I need to know it's ok to be hungry, and it's a natural signal. I know he is concerned with keeping me on track and not letting it start a binge. I respect that. However, he agreed with my reasoning and somewhat agrees. I also told him I want to go off the Contrave at some point soon, as an experiment. I need to see if I can start learning the signals my body naturally has. I don't want to be on the med forever. He agreed and reiterated I can go on and off the meds at any time. It's my journey and he is there to help me however. Dr. Hendrick also said what I have been experimenting with mindful eating, and he was impressed with what I have been doing on my own. The hospital here does some mindful eating classes, but I will miss a good portion of this session. I did get some links and book recommendations from the good doctor though.

When I mentioned this to Marshall, he had a surprising take on it. Marshall said he doesn't want to see me derail over the holidays. There are so many temptations around, and it's a stressful time at work. He doesn't want me to undo the hard work I have done. His opinion is to try after the first of the year. After much discussion, I agree with him. I will wait to try going off the meds until after the first of the year. When I first discussed it with Dr. Hendrick I hadn't even considered the upcoming holidays.

I will say the last couple of weeks, I've been glad to be on the Contrave though. We're coming up on a hard time of year for me. October is when my best friend growing up died. It's always rough on me. On Saturday I fly to Ireland with my best friend from college for a 10 day trip. Part of the trip is to finally say goodbye to her and hopefully get some closure. Grief is a funny thing, and I thought I was doing pretty good and pretty healed. I lied to myself. Big time. I've been on the verge of tears for weeks now. I've also been wanting nothing more than to binge. To eat like I used to. Because eating the point of over full, almost sickly full, numbs you. For a little bit. It's the same as drinking to forget in some ways. It's to numb you. I've given in some days, and others I haven't. I have recognized it for what is though, and it's been a surprisingly good thing.

Sometimes I give in and get a treat at lunch. Other times I can bargain with myself and wait until I get home to go to the sweets shop a block over and get something actually worth spending the calories on. Sometimes I eat peanut butter out of the jar stashed in my desk at work. But no matter what I have eaten to fulfill the emotional rawness right now, I've been trying so hard to be forgiving and gentle with myself. I've been trying to treat myself like I would anyone I love. It's helped a lot. It hasn't been easy, not by any means. Allowing myself to say that I want to emotionally eat because I am grieving and it's ok to eat a little is ok. As a result it hasn't resulted in any out right binges.

With that, I'm going to go work on more packing.