Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Weighty Conversation

So this morning I was walking my laps at the gym, listening to Dave Ramsey on my mp3, when an older lady, probably in her 60's, came up along side me and, smiling, said, "I like your shirt!" I was wearing my Biggest Loser shirt from the Wellness Center, on the back of which it says, "Being a loser never felt so good." I smiled and said "Thanks!" I thought we were done, but she continued to walk next to me and said something about supporting me in the competition (which is actually over), and then commented about how if I lost any weight maybe I could give it to her. I laughed and said, "If only it were that easy, I'd love to." She talked about how she was underweight now and needed to gain some weight (she was very thin), about how hard that was. I jokingly said, "Eat some cookie dough!" She went on about how she would get so busy with what she was doing, if it weren't for her husband and son, she would forget to eat. I, of course, have never had that problem, and admitted so. After we had talked a bit more and walked more laps, she asked, "So how much weight do you have to lose?" I was nonplussed. She certainly seemed to be coming from a friendly position, I don't think she was being malicious, but what was I to say? Was she trying to discern just how fat I was, really? I mean, obviously anyone who sees me knows I am fat and could really lose some weight. So if I had told her, "100 lbs," would she have been like, "Is that all?" Or would she have said, "No way!" If I had said 30 lbs, would she have laughed, thinking (knowing) that that wasn't all? I kind of chuckled and said, "I don't even know, and I don't wanna know!" and she chuckled, and we went on chatting, she telling me in full detail how hard it is to gain weight.

I seriously think she was being kind and just making conversation. I don't think she had a mean bone in her body. But boy, did I feel exposed or something. Or am I just too sensitive (yes!) about any conversations about weight that I don't initiate myself?

Would it have bothered you?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Three Square Meals A Day

My name is Anne, and I am a compulsive overeater. This has been true for as long as I can remember. I don't have a lot of childhood memories, but many that I do revolve around food or lack thereof. I can remember stealing money to go to the corner store and buy candy when I was in elementary school. I can remember the freedom of driving my own car and how it let me stop at Dunkin' Donuts on the way to school and Burger King on the way home in high school. I can remember in college deciding I'd had it with being fat, especially after being called such in front of a group of "friends" and hearing them laugh, and supplementing my bingeing with purging. I can remember after the birth of my son subsisting on cookie dough to try to make it through the day. So food has been my best friend and worst enemy for a long time.

In 2004, I joined OA. I did what I was supposed to do: got a sponsor, created a food plan, journaled, went to lots of meetings. I even found God. I dropped about 30 pounds. Woo hoo! Then I got pregnant, and my diet/scale/weight-obsessed mind couldn't reconcile going to OA while pregnant - I don't need to lose weight while pregnant, so why go? (Apparently my recovery had only come so far.) So I stopped going. I dabbled in it, meaning I'd go to a meeting here or there, over the next 4 years, but decided that clearly OA wasn't going to work for me again, since I am obviously still fat.

This year in January I decided to recommit to the Saturday meetings - mostly because I was realizing how nice it was to have a place to go and vomit up the crap that was going on in my life. I wasn't doing a darn thing for OA or my own recovery outside of Saturday mornings, but it sure was great to go and realize I wasn't alone in my craziness. Then suddenly one day out of desperation I finally asked someone to be my sponsor. I confessed to her that I was worried I wouldn't be able to be perfect for her and follow the plan perfectly like I felt I "had" to do if I had a sponsor, but wonder of wonders, she reminded me that waiting to be perfect until I got a sponsor wasn't exactly logical or realistic thinking.

I still feel like I'm not doing it "right." I don't call her, I e-mail. I don't journal regularly. Lord knows my food is still wacky. But I don't feel as hopeless as I once did. Do I believe I can recover from this and lose weight? I don't know. But I don't feel alone, and I'm slowly starting to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity.

The food plan thing has still been tripping me up, though. I'm supposed to have one, it's one of the tools, and yet I can't commit. Story of my life! I paralyze myself by thinking of all the options and end up doing nothing differently. If nothing changes, nothing changes. I can find reasons to think I should eat 6 meals a day (keep the blood sugar levels steady! maybe I can avoid bingeing more if I eat more often! my kids eat and others snack and so should I, right?) and to think I should eat 3 meals a day. I can find reasons to think I should cut out all sugar and white flour (probably the healthiest thing I could do for myself) and reasons I shouldn't (that sounds too scary and does it seem so insurmountable that I will just give up and stay in the binges?). Etc, etc, etc. I wonder if *I'm* trying to be in control, rather than my Higher Power, by devising my own food plan. But apparently God isn't going to send down a written Food Plan from on high (I've been waiting, but haven't seen any burning bushes with a piece of paper stuck to it), and so I have to create it myself.

Keep it simple, silly. KISS me. Keep it simple. So for today, just for today, I am committing to 3 meals, breakfast lunch and dinner. I don't want to but am willing to, which makes me think maybe my Higher Power is in there somewhere. And just for today, I'm not going to worry if my meals seem exceptionally large (which they probably will if I get panicky about not "being able" to eat again) or not nutritionally sound or if they include sugary foods or even red light foods. If I avoid them, great. If I don't, O.K., just do the next right thing. For me the next right thing is 3 meals a day.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Kingdom For A Headache Free Day

So I've been on Metformin for about a week. Besides the usual stomach upset that brings, I've had migraines again - 3 in 3 days. This is on top of having a low-to-medium level headache most days anyway. Is it the medicine? Is it the springtime pollen? (Perhaps, the hypochondriac in me is screaming, I'm having a stroke or have a tumor!) Who knows - what I *do* know is it's making me bitchy with everyone. Having the kids home for spring break isn't helping, but still, when your head is pounding and you have fuzzy floaters in your eyes obscuring your vision, how the heck are you gonna be June Cleaver?

This morning I called the doctor - while migraine is not associated with Metformin, I'm supposed to off of it for a week and see what happens.

All these medicines. What did people do in the era before modern medicine? Ah, used herbs and other natural remedies. Or suffered. Or is modern medicine making us sicker? I don't like being on Metformin, I don't like being on Zoloft. I still feel depressed, I'm still irritable, and still fat, so is it really helping?

Maybe what I need isn't a medical cure, it's an emotional cure - more close friendships, more time spent in the company of other women, more affirmations from the people in my life that I am important to them and serve a purpose. Would outer affirmations cure an inner feeling of woe? Because if I have to wait to feel confident to gain those things, well - vicious cycle. I am more isolated and isolating myself more than I think I ever have, and don't really know why. Some of it is the current reality of life - I have young kids, I am at home, so I don't see co-workers and don't have lots of free time to just run around with peers (oh, those of you in college, enjoy those friendships while you can!). My husband is not socially-driven and would rather be at home. I would rather be with him, so I'm often at home. And don't really have the energy to go out gallavanting every night, even if I could. Long story somewhat shorter, I'm lonely. But loneliness is a feeling that has pervaded my life for as long as I can remember - I feel lonely and alone a lot. Separate. Other.

Just rambling today, wondering how other people feel - how do you deal with loneliness? Are others less lonely than I am? Does everybody feel an outsider? It's funny how most people never identify themselves as having been part of the popular crowd in high school - but obviously someone was, or there wouldn't have been such a crowd! Do we all identify ourselves as different, even when others view us as the same?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

PC Oh What?

So I've officially been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). What? Me? What? A hormonal imbalance? Endocrine disorder? Metabolic syndrome / insulin resistance? Higher susceptibility to depression and anxiety? Oh - hey, wait - maybe that DOES explain much of my life. Still, I'm feeling overwhelmed and unsure of what to do next. My first inclination is to dive into reading, which I do need to do. But I also need to remind myself to step back and calm down. I have been so anxious and scared and rebellious about it that my food has taken up its residence on my back again, especially the sugary items (exact opposite of what I need to be eating, apparently). One step at a time, one day at a time... there is time to learn about this, time to experiment with what works and what doesn't, time to be me. I've been me for 37 years and probably had this for a good portion of that, so nothing has really changed except my level of knowledge, and hopefully that will help me make good decisions and keep this stuff under control.

I was put on Metformin as of 2 days ago, and so far have had the upset stomach and headache common with that. Hopefully it will go away soon.

If anyone out there in blog land happens to read this and has familiarity with PCOS, could you let me know what you recommend as far as reading, or where to start in general?