Saturday, July 21, 2012

Oh Happy Day!!!!!

Yesterday was a big day. I have been abstinent for 30 days!!!!!!!!
No cookies. No ice cream. No brownies. No cake. No overeating. No fried food. No french fries. No soda. (And because of that I have also had no caffeine!)
My abstinence is this simple- No sugar. No fried food. No over-eating. No binge eating. 
I have really been trying to have three meals a day and not snack between, but there have been a few times I have missed breakfast. 

I am feeling really good! I feel like I have accomplished something! I dont see a HUGE difference physically yet... I can tell that I am loosing some weight. Clothes feel a little bit looser but nothing major and I am ok with that right now because I FEEL better. I FEEL a major difference.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Can you hear me now? Finding MY Higher Power

After completing my 5th step I felt like a height had been lifted! I felt lighter. But since then...
(The Twelve Steps of Overeaters Anonymous
  1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs.)
I have been a bit stuck... I am willing to have my defects of character removed.... I am willing to give control over to my Higher Power but I am struggling a lot with FEELING connected to a Higher Power that I believe can do these things. 
For the first time since I began working this program, I hesitated. I was frozen. So I turned to AA and OA speakers for inspiration. Many of them spoke about how they felt such a deep and intense connection with God after they completed their 5th step.... So immediately my negativity kicked in. My inner critic went into overdrive.  Clearly I was doing something wrong. If I didn't feel a connection to the God that I heard those people talk about there must be something wrong with me. 
Of course my old monster kicked in.... " What does it matter anyway? Why are you stressing out so much? Just relax. Just eat those brownies you like so much. No one would know! "

Those old familiar patterns snuck back in SO EASILY.... But this time I listened to that "monster-voice" and let it bring me back to focus. 
So I picked up the Big Book of AA and dove into a Big Book study. The program comes from the Big Book so if I am hearing differing perspectives from speakers and blogs why not go to the source for some clarity. 
And clarity is exactly what I found.
My Higher Power is not out there somewhere in the darkness. Its not something out there in the Universe that I need to somehow make a connection with.
My Higher Power is within me. It's been there all along. My fears and resentments and defects of character have been blocking me from the light within me and blocking me from letting that light shine into the world. I don't have to connect with someone else's Higher Power. I don't need to connect with the God from the Churches of my childhood. I need to connect to the Higher Power/the Light within me. 

A Higher Power gives people direction. This is a concept that I can clearly visualize. 

Good, positive energy, love, kindness, truth and justice are all powers within me that I can visualize as the True North on my compass. The other 359 degrees are my fears, my resentments, my negativity and all of the paths and behaviors that have failed me. 

"Other people's God" is often described as pushing his believers in the right direction. They follow his signs and gentle nudges. I feel like My Higher Power is a set of values that are my true north pulling me in the right direction. I naturally attracted to making the right decisions like a magnet. I just need to stay in touch with that and not allow myself to be blocked by all the CRAP so that I can feel it's pull.

So there I have it. I am entirely ready to have MY Higher Power remove my defects of character and I have humbly asked HP to remove my shortcomings so that I may be able to follow the direction of good, positive energy, love, kindness, truth and justice.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Out of my comfort zone

I am trying to learn to enjoy and really feel those moments of being uncomfortable and out of my comfort zone lately... It's been tough. Without sugar and binging I have no tools to deal with feeling overwhelmed or out of control or sad of angry.... hell, even happiness is tough to handle without my trusty crutch! What continues to baffle me is that I had NO IDEA how little I really felt things before. As soon as a feeling started to bubble up I stuffed it down. And now I am learning how to feel things. How to be patient and still. How to listen to my body and notice where feelings manifest within me. More than anything I am learning that if I am patient and mindful, any negative feeling will pass. 
Yesterday I had a little meltdown. I had a stupid bicker/bitch match with my partner. Nothing outrageous. We are two stubborn, strong minded women, a little bickering is just part of life! But when we were bickering I got so upset because I was completely overwhelmed with fear. I was terrified that if the fight escalated I would have no way to deal with those feelings and I would slip up and binge or turn to sugar. I couldn't even focus on her anymore because I was so scared. 
I know that there is no perfect way to do this deal. I know that life is going to happen on life's terms. I know these things in my head... but I have not yet made the tools of the steps and the Big Book a part of my life. I know that now. That was a tough lesson to learn. Because I have heard speakers talk about how trans-formative the 12 steps are because they give you tools for life that we used to look for in our addiction. I am not using the tools everyday. I feel like I am free-falling. But I am working towards it. 
I am struggling with the biggest tool which is reaching out. My first instinct is not to pick up a phone and reach out to my fellows when I am stressed. I am so accustomed to internalizing all of that. But this is what I need to really work on. 

SO- I am making a new commitment to this blog. Maybe turning here will be a start to reaching out. Many of you have been so wonderful to me. You have been a lifeline of encouragement and support and I cannot tell you how much I have appreciated you. So this new journey is quite different... but I am giving it my all, because I truly know that this time my life depends on it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Meeting my Monster...

In the meeting tonight there was an intense and painful discussion about the food. About the baffling, cunning, and powerful compulsion that rules us with cravings, pushes us toward out-of-control binge eating, chews away at our peace of mind and our ability to approach life on life's terms.

Someone said that their compulsion is a ravenous little monster that lives inside them and that hit me like a ton of bricks. ME TOO. 


I don't remember exactly how I came to be in possession of this monster, but it's been there a very long time. I don't know why I got a food monster and other people got an alcohol monster, a gambling monster, a shopping monster, a cocaine monster etc. etc.. 

But I am realizing that how and why are not relevant questions for me anymore.

What I didn't fully comprehend in my previous years of dieting and/or suffering, is that THE MONSTER ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE.

In my previous attempt to lose weight, I was starving my body but feeding the monster. Even at my most stringent calorie-counting, I was feeding the compulsion with endless thoughts about food: what I had just eaten, when I would eat next, whether I could justify another bowl of cereal or an extra piece of chicken breast or cup of cocoa. I was feeding my monster with intense battles of math in my head; if I eat this pizza that just means an extra two hours at the gym. And as the wieght came off, I started believing my monster was defeated, that I had single-handedly slain the beast. I had all the answers. Wasn't I clever?


What OA is helping me to see is that my monster will always be there.

Being abstinent, going to meetings, listening to speakers and reading the Big Book- my monster gets a little smaller. Some days it gets downright sleepy and curls up in a little ball in the back of my mind. Those are good days, but potentially dangerous days. That monster can get so small and docile that it almost gets cute. That monster bats its eyelashes and whispers things like, "You've been so good. Normal people can eat ice cream as a special treat. So can you."

But I know that every single compulsive bite revives the compulsion and allows it to grow large and ravenous all over again. That cute little monster that seemed so harmless is once again rampaging through me, causing misery and suffering.

The thing is- if the monsters in our head didn't whisper, if they didn't bat their eyelashes and speak in that sweet, comforting voice, we would see them for what they are! My monster is never going to smack me on the head and scream- "Go eat an entire gallon of ice cream and then hate yourself!" That's why this addiction was able to control me so completely. 

I have found that my monster looks something like this...

My monster presents himself as a teddy bear. He can seem soft and cuddly. My monster uses comfort as his weapon. "You've had a hard day. You deserve a hug. Let's eat a little something first, ok?" "I am so proud of you, you did great! Let's celebrate with a hug. But let's just eat a little first." Whether I am sad, angry, happy, confused, scared or anything in between I turn to my monster to deal with the emotions, because in my life emotions have been scary and uncomfortable. But once I turn to him he isn't cute and cuddly anymore...
He wants more. And more. And more. So I give him more.
And then I am left alone. Wondering how in the hell I managed to eat all of that. Miserable. Hating myself. Feeling sick and pathetic.

But if I can listen to my monster when he is a teddy bear and let that motivate me to use my OA tools instead of silencing everything with food I take the power back from him. I am learning to listen closely for his whispers because they are an indicater that I have OA work to do. I need to be reading the Big Book or journaling or listening to a speaker. Because when my monster's voice is louder than my Higher Power's- I am not centered where I need to be.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My name is Kayla and I have a problem...

So I went to my first OA meeting on Sunday 6/17. Kaiha came with me... Thank goodness!
It was terrifying. Those women talked about their experiences and it was like they were looking inside my head. The Sunday morning meeting is focused on spirituality so a lot of what was discussed was based on God. Someone talked about how she hated God when she came to the program but has developed a relationship with him now. That's a tough thing for me. I don't hate God. I dont know him well enough to hate him. He has just been a foreign concept for me. 
So at the end of the meeting they give out chips. They ask if anyone would like to take their first chip and stop overeating. I did it. I took a silver chip.
After the meeting Kaiha and I talked to two older women about OA and recovery and addiction for about an hour and a half. I can't explain it, but hearing their stories... Listening to them talk about their struggles... I feel like someone shined a HUGE spotlight into a dark corner of me. I always thought that I was the only person who felt like I do about food. I always felt that no one could ever understand the obsessive, crazy thoughts and habits I have about food. But they do. Hell, some of what they shared was worse than what I have done!
So I left the meeting and came home feeling completely RAW. I felt like someone had peeled off all of my skin.
Jessica and I talked about the meeting. I looked through the newcomer packet they gave me at the meeting.
Then we ordered pizza. I ate my small sensible veggie pizza and Jessica ate some of hers. Then she wandered off to work on something or other and I finished her pizza. And cheesesticks. And what was left of her cinnamon sticks.
Then I spent the next two days binging. I ate and ate and ate. I would occasionally glance at the newcomer packet still sitting on the coffee table, but I didn't actually pick anything up but the food I was stuffing down.
But then last night something happened. One of the women from the meeting called me. We talked for about 15 minutes. She was very sweet. Just wanted to say hi and wanted to know how I was doing. I lied and said I was doing well, but after talking to her I just wanted to stop lying. I wanted to stop saying I was fine when I wasn't.
So I had a sensible dinner last night. With no dessert. And I started looking online at OA resources and blogs. This morning I had one serving of plain oatmeal. I am going to do something different. I used an excersize I found to identify my trigger foods. The foods that make me loose control and start binging and those will be the foods I will abstain from completely. They are refined sugars and fried foods.
Day One.
I can do this.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sharing a little something from Jillian Michaels

Jillian Michaels
 Diet Tip: Most sugar substitutes are just as evil as sugar itself. Do you really think your body knows how to handle something that was man-made? Seriously. These chemically-adjusted products do not occur in the wild; there are no sucralose trees in warmer climates, nor are there saccharin plants on the plains of the Serengeti. In some instances, taking in sugar substitutes may actually increase your levels of hunger! Avoid anything in a blue, yellow, or pink packet. Try xylitol or a stevia product like Truvia for a low calorie sugar substitutes that’s safe. And at the end of the day if you use a packet of sugar it’s only 14 calories. With sugar, moderation is key. 

Sugar is by far my biggest demon. I cannot think of a time when I truly controlled my sugar cravings. I used to dream about hot fudge sundaes... I really believe that this is going to be the hardest beast for me to tame. I just want to feel like someday there can be cookies or brownies or ice cream in the house for more than 2 days without me obsessing over finding a way to devour them when no one is home.

Here is another gem....

Jillian Michaels
Here's a simple, silly, and yet extremely effective tip to keep you from over indulging. Sometimes when we are dieting our bodies go through periods of insatiable hunger. You know that feeling when no matter what you eat you are still hungry? It can be really frustrating. Try a fiber supplement like psyillium husk capsules. When you take these with a bunch of water the psyillium expands in your tummy helping to literally fill you up and curb appetite. Plus, it’s calorie free and helps to clear you out. Literally.
Jun 1, 2012  -  Public

Very interesting...

My life has become unmanageable...

I have been lost. completely. I have spent the last year spiraling out of control. Burying myself in work and predictably- in food.
I have gained all of the weight I lost and then some. I have numbed myself with food over and over again and I have settled into a really heavy depression. In my adult life I cannot think of a time that I have been this unhappy... but I got to a point that I just accepted that this was my life. I was just fat. That's all. But I am a rock star at work and I have a partner who loves me. So that's enough. And that excuses the fact that I am not healthy...and getting unhealthier by the day.

My partner Jessica's best friend- Kiaha came back into her life and my life as well after being in and out. She struggled with Alcohol but was getting help. We talked for hours many nights with her about how her life became unmanageable and how she went to AA and found that she was powerless. She talked about working through resentments and letting go of her failures and shortcomings. We have watched her completely change her life over the last 7 months.

Tonight we went to hear her speak to a large group and tell her story. It was the first time I had been to an AA meeting and as I don't have a problem with alcohol I was not anticipating feeling anything personal... but I was wrong. Kiaha talked about life before AA... She talked about telling herself and other people that she didn't have a problem while she was drinking everyday. She talked about the feelings of hopelessness and desperation. I was so proud of her for sharing her story...but more than that it shook me to my core. It scared the crap out of me. A lot of what I heard tonight shook me. 
We left and I broke down in the car. I was crying and talking to Jessica about how a lot of what I heard struck a cord with me. I was so embarrassed...Shame is a very big part of what has gotten me to this point... I have been sneaking food in the middle of the night for as long as I can remember. I eat when no one is around and hide the evidence. I eat when I am sad I eat when I am happy. I eat when I am bored. I eat when I am feeling something and I don't want to feel. I eat to fill a void. I eat to hide. But what has that gotten me?

So... Now it's 7am and I have been up all night reading. I downloaded the Kindle version of Overeaters Anonymous and the twelve step program. I'm thinking about going to a meeting... I am really scared.