Day 23: Finding Space (Disordered)

I’m not going to attempt to put this blog entry down in any real order, or edit it when I’m done. I want to be in bed by 10pm sharp, so that gives me 20 minutes to ramble, then close this computer for the evening.

First off, here’s a thing I realized today: I weighed in at 190.2 lbs this morning, and though that’s not the first time I’ve weighed that amount this month, it’s the first Monday that I’ve weighed that. Also, if I go back and look at my weight history on a charted line, though I’ve had fluctuations since starting this new way of thinking about food and exercise, I am on a constant downward course. So yay me.

Another thing I realized today is that I’m legitimately in recovery. I’m a recovering binge eater. I have been working at this for 23 days now, and though I will always be working at it, for the rest of my life, I’ve done a good job for these 23 days. And that’s something I’m allowed to feel proud of. (Not so proud that I can go out and order pizza to celebrate, but you get what I’m saying.)

Today I went to a meditation class at my local yoga studio, and was happy to find that an old art world acquaintance of mine was leading the class. I love where his mind goes, and find him to be such a compassionate and lovely man, so it was a pleasure getting to hear his take on mindfulness. I talked to him for a little while, and it turns out that the studio will start offering a weekly meditation class this summer, so that’s exciting.

Another thing that is on my mind is not as great. My stomach feels weird. I was having cramps all day yesterday, which I assumed were ovulation cramps, since that’s a thing that happens to me. But now something just feels off. Not painful, not cramping, not bloating or constipation (although that’s certainly a thing that I need to get better about regulating). It just feels not right. So I’m writing about it here in hopes that I’ll be able to pinpoint a date and symptoms in case it becomes something more serious than not enough fiber and probiotics in my diet.

It’s 9:59pm, so I’m signing off.

Today’s Weight: 190.2 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 15,712 steps (9.11 miles), which includes a 30-minute round on the elliptical. Also, a 9-minute tabata routine on 8Fit.

Today’s Interactions: Various, including a long conversation about fantasy books with a coworker, a phone call with my parents, pre- and post-class conversation with the yoga teacher, and some messaging with a couple of long-distance friends.

Day 1: Forming a Plan of Attack

Hi, I’m Anna. I’m 35, and I live in New Orleans. I’m introverted, I love to hike and camp, I have three cats, and I’m 50 lbs. overweight.

In the last four years, my weight has just blown up. I’m not totally sure if it all stems from a physical ailment (like when I threw my back out, or maybe a thyroid issue), or a mental ailment (addiction, anxiety, depression), or what, but it’s gotten out of control, and I want my life back. This blog is going to be my record of losing 50 lbs. between now and my 36th birthday in November.

But how did I get here in the first place?

I’ve struggled with binge eating ever since I can remember, though I didn’t know that’s what it was until fairly recently, when it started getting more intense. I’ve always eaten in really large portions, and I adore unhealthy food (who doesn’t?), but I also meet all of the classic signs of someone with a binge eating disorder. Once or twice a week, on average (depending on stress levels, typically), I eat about four or five times the amount of food I should be able to in one sitting. I eat until I’m full, then keep eating. I eat until I’m feeling physically ill, and I hate myself, and I want to die. Then I keep eating, until everything’s gone. Afterwards the “hating myself” part doesn’t go away, and it generally starts adding up from there until I go on the next binge. I’ve been good at hiding my eating from friends (it’s easier to hide from family, since they’re all a thousand miles away), but a few months ago I noticed that the prevailing thought that’s going on in my mind when I’m bingeing is this sense of trying to kill myself with food. Like the weight gain wasn’t enough? This has to end.

I also suffer from anxiety and depression, more of the former and less of the latter. Unfortunately, when my health insurance lapsed last year, I couldn’t afford the meds any longer. I desperately need to go back into therapy and also to get my meds refilled, and my new job came with health insurance, so these things are technically possible. However, I have so little cash left over after paying off bills that, though my health insurance is paid, paying the $35 copay per office visit is out of my grasp at the moment. So I’m saving up, hopefully to get to a doctor in May.

In the mean time, all is not lost. I recently discovered a group called Refuge Recovery, and started attending meetings. You can think of Refuge Recovery as being like AA, but with a Buddhist approach. The group focuses on recovery from addiction via mindfulness and meditation. Mindfulness has been shown to be extremely effective in treating binge eating/food addiction, as well as anxiety and depression, so attending the Refuge Recovery meetings gives me a nice patch of solid ground for my first steps.

And we’re standing smack dab in the middle of my other big approach to working my way out of this mess – this blog. This is where I’ll chronicle all the little steps. I’ve got a FitBit, and normally walk a little over 10k steps a day, but now I’m going to up that by starting a running program via RunKeeper and Spotify. I’m also going to go back to eating paleo, and try some adjustments to my finances to keep me from spending all of my money on food, so I can spend it where I need to – the doctor, healthy changes, and hopefully some cute new outfits for a healthier me come November.

Today’s Weight:  197.6 lbs.

Today’s Measurements:

  • Upper Arm: 15.5″
  • Forearm: 12″
  • Wrist: 8″
  • Neck: 15.5″
  • Breasts: 37″ (band), 45″ (bust), 39″ (top of bust, underarm)
  • Waist: 35″
  • Belly: 43″
  • Hips: 45″ (upper), 47″ (widest part of butt)
  • Thigh: 29″
  • Calf: 18.5″
  • Ankle: 10″