What is a NORMAL way to eat?

A few years ago my youngest son was diagnosed with ADHD and was immediately put on medication.  Yes, he was a different kid after he started the medication but I couldn’t help but think that this wasn’t a healthy path for him!

Someone suggested a book for me to read that was written by Daniel Amen, MD that was titled “Healing ADD”.  I dove into the book hoping to find a solution.  I was so interested in what I read because it, for the most part, had to do with what you eat.  I remember feeling so sad to find out what a “healthy diet” for proper brain function really was.  I was sad because I knew that what he wrote was true, but that I would never be able to eat that way much less feed my family in that manner.

My sadness flushed over me because I felt like I was helpless when it came to helping my son!  Everything I learned from the book made complete and total sense, but I was so far away from living the concept of healthy eating, that I knew it would never become a reality in my life or the life of my family!

WHY, WHY, WHY is it so hard to eat in a healthy way?  This is a quote from Daniel Amen’s book…”If you had a 3 million dollar prize Stallion, would you feed it what you eat?”  Most of us would have to say “NO” and the reason we would say no is because we know that the value of the horse would go way down if it wasn’t properly fed!  But yet, we have no problem doing that to ourselves!

Think of the food most of us eat.  Better yet, most of what we put in our mouths and call food isn’t really food…it is imitation food!  We know that this imitation food would devalue a horse but we still choose to constantly devalue our own bodies with this junk!  We have been programmed to crave this stuff that is non-food!

Upon entering my food addiction recovery program, I fought with myself many times about “Why can’t I just eat normal like everyone else?”  In fact, I constantly beat myself up over it.  But now, I have shifted!  I understand that with no flour, no sugar and no artificial food…I AM NOW THE ONE WHO EATS NORMAL! I am the one who eats to live instead of living to eat!

I just finished reading another one of Daniel Amen’s books called The Brain Warrior’s Way.  Excellent book that I highly recommend!  He brought up many of the same suggestions for what to eat to achieve a healthy brain as he did in the first book I read.  This time, it was an incredible experience for me!  I am eating the way that he suggests as my food plan for my program!  How happy do you think I feel to know that a few years ago I couldn’t fathom eating this way and now I am!

Why do we give in to our cravings and find ourselves constantly eating “bad” things when we know the harm it is doing to our bodies?  I felt helpless over it!  Is it because deep down inside we think that it won’t really hurt us right now so we chance it for the future?  Its like if we felt our heart hurt and became diabetic immediately after eating something, would that stop us from doing it?

Have you ever heard about a different way of eating that would make your overall life experience better and feel sad because you thought you could never do it?

The thought that being overweight is substandard to Others

Through the thirty years or more of being overweight, my opinion of my self was one where I felt substandard to those who didn’t appear to have a weight problem.

Even during my teenage years when I was not overweight by any stretch of the imagination, I was envious of the girls who were smaller than me.  I felt like I didn’t make the grade, that I was substandard and not good enough!  I have no idea where these thoughts came from but I know I have had them most of my life!

When I got older I got heavier and found myself even more envious of those women who were smaller.  When you envy someone, that comes from someone having something that you wish you had.  I always wanted a smaller body!

Going through life like that, it surprises no one that I have a feeling of inferiority.  I had developed a sense that everyone who did not have a weight problem were somehow more superior than me.  I know this sounds ridiculous but I am now beginning to see this!

I am always offering to do things that are really hard!  I go way beyond the call of duty on most things and sign up for the hardest roles.  Deep down I don’t really want to do the things I sign up for.  When my sons were in high school I joined the Mothers’ Club.  When they were looking for volunteers to become the President of the organization, I immediately signed up.  I knew it was going to push me to my limit but I became the President anyway.

It was like I felt like I had to do these things so that I would be accepted by others.  Like I lived a substandard life so I had to go overboard just to be at everyone else’s level.

Where did this thinking come from?  Part of me thought “All you people look down on me because I am overweight, but look at me, I not only can do what you all can do, I can do even more!”  There has never been any proof that people actually looked down on me.  These were my thoughts! Crazy, Crazy, Crazy!  And I still do this!

Even after losing all this weight, I still feel substandard!  I thought it had to do with the weight…but obviously it doesn’t!  But I am very aware that I am tired of doing the things that no one else wants to do just because it makes me feel more worthy (for about a second)!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel like I am better than anyone because of my weight loss, in fact, I have a huge amount of compassion for those that still suffer.  But I still am running low on the “worthy” category!

Funny how a lifetime has been spent by me thinking it was my lack of control over food that made me feel substandard to others.  As it turns out, it is something else!

Anyone have any ideas on why I feel this way?  Have you felt this way due to your thoughts on your weight?

I didn’t fit anywhere!

Ok, I know that this title could have more than one meaning.  Does it mean that I felt like a misfit and didn’t fit in with any particular group or does it mean that I really didn’t fit because of my size?  Even though I could write for a day about the first meaning, today I am writing about the later.

Obviously, 320 pounds is a very large woman!  Although I wasn’t to the point where I had to ride in the cart at the grocery store (meaning no disrespect to someone who does) I had hundreds of situations that I did not fit.

I just recently helped a friend of mine who had to have surgery.  I stayed overnight with her in the hospital and it brought back nightmares for me!  I remembered several times over the past 25 years in my large sized body, the terrible times in the hospital.  Each time brought a heightened level of pure humiliation!  It started with the delivery of my first baby.

Whenever I was in the hospital over the last 25 years, I felt like I was disabled.  A team of people would have to come in just to roll me over.  I would be so uncomfortable in the hospital bed that I couldn’t move myself because I had lost the strength to do so.  There were 3 visits where I had surgery and trying to recuperate from them while being so large was the most difficult thing.  They would want you to get up and walk and I couldn’t even get out of bed.  It was so frightening to me and it made my anxiety level rise…along with my blood pressure.

One of my surgeries, I did not tell them that I had sleep apnea.  Although it had not been officially diagnosed, I knew I had it.  I was asked at my pre-surgery appointment and I told them that I did not have it.  Immediately after surgery, I was snoring and stopping breathing so bad in recovery that they thought something was medically wrong with me and put me in intensive care!   Why wasn’t this ever enough for me to want to do something about my weight?  Oh, that is right, because I didn’t know what to do about it!

Besides my being in the hospital, my son, who has type 1 diabetes, has been in the hospital 4 times during my huge size.  Since he was a minor child at the time, I had to stay at the hospital overnight with him.  This presented a multitude of problems.  I had to sleep in a chair that reclined.  The chairs have high, solid wood arms and were too narrow for me to fit. I couldn’t fit sideways or laying on my back.  So I suffered not only from embarrassment but from getting no sleep during an extremely stressful time!

Many times I have gone to Doctor’s appointments and there was not a chair in the waiting room that was big enough for me.  I did not fit in many cars and many cars that I did fit, the seat belt wasn’t large enough for me.  Most toilets I could not fit on and had to develop a wiping system that was quite humiliating! Bathroom stalls in most public bathrooms were too small for me and I always had to use the handicap rooms. I have broken many chairs at other people’s houses, not to mention at my own.  A queen size bed was not big enough for both me and my husband to sleep.

In most restaurants I could not walk between tables to get to my table.  I would either knock someone in the front or back of me. Don’t get me started on booths in restaurants!  My boobs would be smashed between the table or would be set on the table as if they were part of the meal! Seats in movie theaters and sports venues were impossible!

What a life this was!  Any each and every time I did not fit somewhere, my humiliation and shame grew!  I chose to live like this because I truly did not know that there was any answer for me!  Had I known that there was a solution for me that actually worked, I would have moved mountains to live better!

I would love to hear from any of you about the subject of not fitting in spaces!  Please let me know how you have felt about it!

I am just going to be fat and be happy with that!

At some point during the height of my 320 pound weight, I decided that since I had no solution for what was wrong with me, I was just going to work really hard at acceptance of being fat!

Hey, the world seemed to be adapting to big people, so what was so bad about being big?  If I could just find my way to being happy about it, then life would be more “normal”.  I bought programs that were designed to help you love who you are.  My library is filled with books on the subject.  Trouble was that I read every one of them and not once did I feel any connection.

When there was any talk about “joy”, I couldn’t comprehend what that was.  Going to my “happy place” for me was a place filled with food.  Happiness came but the self loathing came right after that.  Being BIG and trying to see myself as “beautiful” DID NOT WORK FOR ME!  In fact, in many ways it was harder to convince myself of this than it was to go on a diet!

In my heart I could not be happy because I truly hated myself!  When I say that, people will say to me that I should not have hated myself because I still looked pretty good!  That has nothing to do with the deeper part!  The reason I hated myself was because I couldn’t control food which should have been something that was easy!

That one feeling about myself stopped me from doing and pursuing so many things in my life!  All the time I spent trying to accept something that I loathed just hit the nail in deeper.  I had so many hopes for a bright future but was unable to fulfill any of my dreams because I felt like I wasn’t worth the effort…all because of this one thing that I couldn’t get right!

My biggest dream was to be a motivational public speaker.  I had the voice, the passion, the ability but I didn’t have the love for myself that it took to do that.  I knew that people would see right through me and recognize that  I was a BIG nothing! I knew I could talk the talk but I certainly could not walk the walk! I couldn’t even feel joy myself much less motivate someone else to want to feel it!

But deep down inside, I knew that the “real” me was in there, I just could not find her through all the extra pounds! It is very safe to say that the person I appeared to be on the outside was an exact reflection on who I was feeling like on the inside!

Losing the weight did not make me all the sudden love myself.  My relationship with GOD, the process of recovery and the ability to have control over my food in a way that was good for my body brought out the love I have for myself!

I always thought that if I were just a certain size, that I would be happy! Little did I know that the size is a bi-product of the ability to put food in its place!

How do you feel about yourself?

The Story of My health (continued)

This post is a continuation of my last post entitled “The story of My Health”.  Please read that post first before this one!

To summarize, at this point, I was on 7 medications, a cpap machine for sleep apnea, and was downing about 15 Tums a day!  I had the looming threat (at least I took it as a threat) that if my overall blood sugar did not come down in 3 months, I would have to take insulin shots.  I knew my quality of life was in jeopardy!  Even though the quality of my overweight life was nothing admirable, I didn’t want it to get worse!

Here is what I want to talk about, not my numbers, but my mindset!  How in heaven’s name did I ever let it get to this?  And why was part of my reaction to my health one of where “Oh well, I will just take the medicine and that will fix it or at least stop the progression!”  I thought, “What the heck, there are millions of people that have Type 2 Diabetes, it can’t be that bad!”  I kid you not, I really thought that!

I mean no disrespect for anyone who has been given a diagnosis of cancer!  I can not fathom what that must feel like!  I have heard many cancer patients tell of the feeling of “Just get it out of me!  Whatever has to be done, just get it out of me”.  But my food addicted mindset was that I could just live with this disease!  I was willing to live with it…just don’t change the way that I eat!  How insane was that?

Being so obsessed with food, I allowed myself to treat my body badly, which, in turn, dampened my spirit!  How could it not!  I was willing to let my body just deal with a disease that I inflicted on it!  My health was terrible and my poor body could not handle what I was doing to it with food AND I didn’t care!  Sounds a lot like drug addiction!

Is the reason why we allow this in our life because food is a “legal” way to abuse ourselves? In our way of life in this society the abuse of food is perfectly fine and acceptable!  Other people might have looked at me in disgust because of my overweight appearance and attitude but it did not have quite the stigma that a drug abuser has.

They just keep making everything bigger to accommodate our large size.  Clothes, chairs, furniture, airplane seats, toilets, coffins, etc.  all are made larger to help us fit.  I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing.  The specialty store where I had to buy my clothes went up to a size 5X.  I remember thinking that since I was a 4X, I still could go up one more size before I would have to look for a new store!

So what I am saying is that maybe the numbers on my health chart do not matter (even though I love my numbers now), but what we think about our health REALLY does matter.  It can make all the difference in the world about a person’s willingness to change.

We will go through any kind of procedure to save our life but sometimes won’t do what is necessary to change the outcome of our QUALITY of life and that has me baffled!

By the way, no more high blood pressure medicine, my cholesterol is perfect, my triglycerides are perfect, no more sleep apnea so bye bye cpap, haven’t had a Tums in 14 months and my A1C is 5.2!  That means I am no longer considered a Type 2 Diabetic and take NO medicines for it!  Yes, you could say that I AM EXCITED ABOUT THIS!

The story of my Health

The condition of my previous health and where it is at now is probably only of interest to any of you if you see yourself in my story.  I can not say that my results will be any one else’s experience.

My story – At some point in my overweight life, I just stopped going to the Doctor for anything.  I had a hysterectomy in 2008 and after my follow ups from that surgery, I avoided going to the doctor because I believed that all of my health problems were due to my weight.

I was a staunch defender of the “just because you are overweight does not mean you are unhealthy” mindset.  Of course, the people that I was spewing this to, had no idea that I had not been to the doctor in years.

In January of 2015, I felt an excruciating pain in my abdominal area.  I could not stand up because of the pain ripping through me.  I told my husband that I needed to go to the emergency room and he knew I must have been very serious if I wanted to go! Once there, they diagnosed me with a hernia and advised me to get it repaired before it causes me more problems.

Then started a medical vortex.  I found a doctor to do the surgery, however, he wasn’t happy with a test that was done in the ER with my heart.  He told me I had to be cleared by a cardiologist before he would do the surgery.  In order for me to go to a cardiologist, I had to get a referral from my primary care physician, which I had not seen for almost 8 years.  He gave me the referral with the order for me to see him after my surgery.

I have to say at this point, that it is an absolute nightmare to go through any medical procedure when you weigh 320 pounds.  You feel like an enormous inconvenience to everyone involved. They need to find an extra large wheel chair for when you leave and it takes 2 interns just to turn you in the bed.  It is so humiliating!

So after the surgery is said and done, I go to my Doctor visit.  It was snowing that morning and it was absolute hell getting to that appointment.  Upon arrival, they take one prick of blood from my finger.  The doctor comes in to the room a little later and I could just tell how disappointed he appeared to be with me.  He immediately tells me that I have type 2 diabetes!

I feel the blood rush to my head and I am just devastated at this!  I remember asking him if what he meant was that I was pre-diabetic and needed to make some changes.  He said, “No, you ARE diabetic now and yes, you need to make some changes.  You need to lose about 120 pounds!” I said to him, “Don’t you think I would if I could?”

He then told me to excercise every day for about 30 minutes and that would help.  I didn’t say this but I thought “You have no idea how difficult that is for me, I can barely stand up for three minutes!”  I left his office in tears!  Part of me felt like just giving in to this disease and take the medication and then there was a small part that wanted to change this whole medical outlook!

The next day, the news was worse.  The results of my blood work came back.

I had high blood pressure… medication was needed!

My cholesterol was 455, triglycerides were 2794 (no, this is not a typo), my A1C was 11.0 and my BMI was 47.5.  I was now prescribed 7 different medications.  If my A1C doesn’t go down by my next visit, I would have to start taking my blood sugar by poking my finger three times a day and would have to start taking insulin shots!

Needless to say….I was a mess! (more about this on my next post)

Food…the life of the Party!

Have you ever noticed how, at most social functions, the food always takes center stage!  Some people even judge the success of a function based on the food that was served!  When asked, “Did you have fun at ______’s party?” you get an answer that gives you a description of the food that was offered.

Oh, I was such a socialite!  I loved social functions because I could eat to my heart’s desire…and that desire was big!  Personally speaking, I looked forward to every social function outlined on my calendar that I knew food would be present!

Have you ever planned an event like a birthday party, graduation party, christening party, etc.  and 90% of your budget was for the food!  Not only your budget, but your whole mindset about the party was based on the food you would serve.  It would take longer to plan the food than it would the guest list.  And let’s not forget the stress felt the few days before at the thought of not having enough food for everyone!

Does the food planning involve selections for your guests that are a good, well balanced meal with no artificial food enlisted?  After all, the people you have selected to participate in the event are people you love and care about!  No, instead my selections were the most taste satisfying…never about what was truly good for people!

Why do we do this?  Why is the emphasis always on the food?  What has become of us as people?  And what about the people who really suffer with food related problems?  We don’t shove alcoholic beverages to people we know have a drinking problem but when we are serving food, we expect everyone to partake in it. Not to mention, your guests expect it!

Have we become so bad at true socializing with people that we must have another god present so we can concentrate on that instead?  The god of food has taken its place in our social functions!

When I first started my food addiction recovery program, the thought of going to a social function and not eating gave me the cold sweats!  I couldn’t imagine that I would be able to have fun at all!  And I certainly did not want to draw attention to myself that I wasn’t eating!  But I knew that in order to recover, I had to get past this!

Guess what I found out?  The first “party” I went to where there were tables of food set up everywhere, I didn’t eat.  Even at the host’s insistence that I eat, to the point where she made a plate up for me and gave it to me, I did not eat!  I enjoyed that party so much and remember every conversation that I was a part of. What I realizes was that I was socializing free of guilt and shame!

In the past, I would have piled my first, second and third plate.  By that time, I would start to wander if anyone noticed how much I was eating.  That made me feel self conscience and then I didn’t want to talk to anyone,  Then I would feel shame about what I had just done and mentally beat myself up for, once again, my inability to control my food!  And then I didn’t want to talk to anyone or if I did, it was to bitch about someone or something because I was feeling so bad inside myself!

I have successfully attended over 100 functions since beginning my recovery.  I eat my meal before I go (so I know I won’t get hungry) and I haven’t had a bit to eat at any of these parties or functions!  I love the feeling of the freedom of self confidence in these social situations!  I am free to be the real me, not the one hiding behind guilt and shame, and I am loving it!  I don’t even look at the food being offered…but if I do happen to see it, I feel nothing towards it!

I challenge you to give yourself 30 days and not pick up a morsel of food at any social function you attend!  Please write to me ant tell me what happens (good or bad)!  maureenc0908@gmail,com