Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Spiral

Pasta Queen's recent entry spoke to me more than anything I've read since becoming a weight loss blogger. I never had help for the first go round, making the changes were easy, but now I'm lucky to have found this cyber world. The second time is much harder and I'm not sure why.

The first time I did it by eating Vegan, nary an animal product touched my lips. My chocolate fix had to come from carob. It was not as satisfying, ergo I ate less. Also, it's completely unrefined and takes up 3/4's of your stomach. Almond cheese (yes, it exists and is quite delicious) stood in for Gorgonzola. I walked/jogged into the healthiest time of my life. My resting heart rate was 48, my cholesterol 130. Then I went to California, was forced to eat fish and eggs. Since I was cheating on "my diet", slipping up and savoring a milligram of cheese with Janine, my extreme buddy, held no consequence. Producers regaled us with cautionary tales of the few participants who actually gained weight after their surgery. When I came home I found it difficult to find a seat on the Vegan bus. Plus, I figured I didn't have to worry so much. My food issues had been sucked into the five pounds of skin laying on the OR table.

Here I am four years later. Yesterday a coworker brought Canadian chocolate back from a trip for Kerry. I was working in the same area as her so they sat in the desk. Joselyn ate two and walked away. Oh how I envy her ability to stop!!! She eats what she wants and then stops. What a novel concept. Kerry and Ray too. I know I can't stop. So I abstain. Until Kerry heads out for lunch leaving me alone with the chocolate. I ate five unwrapping the second while chewing the first. I couldn't hide them because I'd know where they were. I couldn't focus on work. I had to bring them up to the main area for someone else to watch until Kerry's return. The rest of the day sucked eating wise. The chocolate sent me into the spiral. Cheese, bread, and pasta salad for dinner which I topped off with two candy bars. Plus a little bag of Combo's. Had to moderate the sweet with a little salt. Balance is good for you. The binge ended when I fell asleep on the couch. A replicated moment of my depression filled twenties.

In PQ's entry she asks can you be addicted to something you need for survival? I say yes. A friend in college weighed about 400 pounds when a medical scare sent her to OA. She joined the strictest offshoot of the group and admitted, much like in AA or NA, admits they cannot consume any form of their addictive substance. What does one do when they must eat to live? Get an IV? Get a feeding tube? She recounted a blissful feeling of relief when she handed over control to her sponsor. A lifetime of bad choices and stress about making bad choices lifted from her. She lost all of her weight I went to visit her. Inside her fridge sat stacks of tupperware labeled and organized. She consulted her menu then took a tupperware from each shelf and placed it on the plate. She explained it thusly: I make no choices about food, I eat what and when my sponsor tells me, I measure my food to the milligram, I eat if I'm hungry, I eat if I am not hungry. Watching her eat it was clear she derived no pleasure from the food or the action of eating the food. However, once she started playing the piano with me singing it was clear that she sucked the pleasure out of life.

Back to me...
My spiral yesterday showed me something valuable. I cannot eat chocolate and I may, to be successful in this quest, have to return to a vegan life. I may be able to consume that which I love like I love my bestfriend if there is only one of them. Walk five miles to get a Sbux nibbler cookie. I've tried to show some will, but the bag inevitably ends up on my hips. I wish people would understand about food addiction. My friends get the vegetarian thing and don't offer me meat. They should do the same for chocolate.
"No, thank you. No cake for me."
"Aww just a little slice, it wont kill you"
"No seriously, I don't want any"
"Aww you're no fun."

Actually I'm a lot of fun when I'm not bogged down with thoughts of that which I adore.


AmeliaPontes said...

I think living a vegan lifestyle can be great and it seems like a healthy alternative to the processed foods that we consume everyday. However, I also wonder about my food addiction as well because part of me knows that eating cake could trigger the compulsion to eat more, but I want to learn to become like those women who work with you. One of the woman who can have just one bite and stop when I am satisfied. Perhaps I am naive to think that can happen, but it's definitely my goal.

I love cake. I love chocolate. Completely abstaining from either of me doesn't seem like I am beating the addiction, rather than succumbing to it. I think what I am addicted to is not the food, per se, but the feelings attached to the food. The comfort. The stress relief. I am not sure if that is true of all food addicts, but I am in the process of trying to figure out how to find comfort in other places, so perhaps I won't need to eat the entire bag of chips.

beginnings-end said...

This time of year is especially hard. Not only with the temptation of the holidays, but I think it's instinctual to want to gain a layer when the weather's colder. I'll be more conscious of these things next time we dine, my dear. We can practice behaving together!

Heather Waghelstein said...

Thanks for your comment Amelia. Yes I would love to be like my coworkers and I agree with what you say about if I never eat this or that I am not truly beating an addiction. Though on the other hand if we equate sugar addiction to alcoholism then beating the addiction would be never having it. Such a great topic, a plethora of answers. The important thing is to do what feels right. As long as it's no where near me and I am not alone I can enjoy chocolate in moderation.

Miss beginnings-end,

You know the meals I have with you are among the healthiest of all my friends. You know who I was talking about:that short Italian who dines with me so often.

Thanks for the comments.