Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth is, Sister....

I've read a lot about things that help an addict to heal some of the issues which might fuel their addiction (yes I know there is no cure.....my idea was that this falls under the ".....change the things that you can...." idea...no scolding comments, please).  I've read about attachment and shame.  I work (note present tense) the twelve steps continuously, initially of course in an effort to fix my addicted loved ones.  I have read about the need to examine the hurts of childhood and to grieve them and release them.  And, for the most part, I have accepted that I can only fix me.  To that end, I go to Al Anon.  I pray and meditate, I volunteer at the local jail.  I try to mind my own business....through gritted teeth and white knuckles.

But, if I have the hope that my addicted loved ones will take the necessary steps to find serenity in their lives then perhaps it is time for me to do the same.  Late last year I decided to try to enter a study at Vanderbilt University for diabetics not using insulin.  It was a very interesting study in many ways.  Regardless of which group ( control or study group) I would have randomly been selected for, I would have had supervision from a registered dietitian for six months.  Also during that time, I would have four different occasions where they would give me a stimulant and put me in an MRI and PET scan to flash food pictures at me while they watched my brain activity.  How cool is that? 

I had hoped that this focus on healthy eating would help me get my eating ( my addiction) on a path that would lead to a healthy weight, thus a healthier me.  I was DENIED.  I had been feeling really bad and a little hopeless that this problem would ever change.  The fact is diabetes and weight get harder and harder to manage as time goes by.  I was very down. 

You see I am larger than I have ever been.  My family has begged me to get healthy since the kids were little.  They watched both grandmothers go through the awful process of dialysis as their kidneys failed as a result of diabetes and high blood pressure.  And, in May, I turn the big 5-0!!!  I am on medicine for the diabetes, high blood pressure and my heart.  My eyesight is bad and it is harder and harder for them to prescribe the right glasses when my blood sugar runs high.  I was denied participation in the study because of my heart issues (arrhythmia).

My weight has always been a great source of shame for me.  I have never told my husband a number.  That number stifles me.  It means that I am less than.  It means that I am a loser.  It means that I am lazy and undisciplined.  Does all of that self talk remind you of anything?  Well, it did me and so I thought that if I expected my addicted loved ones to deal with it...already, then maybe I should put my money where my mouth is.

On January 1, 2014, I weighed ten pounds more than I did at nine months pregnant with my son.  There it is.  It's not a number yet, but I'm working up the courage for that.  I started trying to eliminate sweets from my diet.  I started to feel a little lighter but I never weighed.  The last week of January, I joined Weight Watchers.  I had done it before and it worked.  But, until now I knew that I wasn't ready.  I don't know what changed other than the fact that I finally associated step one with my weight and began praying about it, because I did not/do not know how to live day in and day out without eating the southern food that I grew up learning to prepare which always, always ends with dessert. 

After week one, I lost four pounds.  I was very excited and hopeful.  Some days were hard.  Some days I didn't totally comply.  But, this time, it was different because when I slipped, I got back up again.  Week two I started and I continued slipping day after day.  I felt pretty bad about the week as a whole.  I had tried as we often do, to make it work the way I wanted it to, plus Super Bowl Sunday was bad no matter how healthy I tried to make it.  I wanted to skip my weigh in.  I did not want to go and face those ladies.  But this time I realized that what I dreaded so intensely is exactly what alcoholics and addicts faced all of the time.  So I went and I weighed in and I gained .8 pound.  And, when I came home, I told my family directly instead of hiding in shame and guilt.

I'm going back too.  I'm trying again, today.  That's what I expect of them.  This morning when I stepped on the scales, I realized that since January 1, I am at my nine month pregnancy weight with my son again.  I'm not the largest anymore.  I'm not as ashamed telling anymore.  People understand.  They relate.  How foolish we can all be my friends.  Welcome to my journey.  You are a safe group to be vulnerable with.

I am happy to report that my little friend from Homeward Bound went to court, paid her fine and has that behind her.  And, when she asked me how she could get a job when she couldn't drive to work, I told her to ask around in her meetings.  I told her that many, many people start out without cars and rely on those who have started out just like she is.  The pre Al Anon me would have looked up job listings, worked out a schedule to pick her up and made my life a living resentful nightmare. 

Happy and Praying....for all of you and your loved ones.



Summer said...

I groan every time I get on a scale and I have NEVER told my husband what I weigh. *horrors* I did, once, have a doctor mention my weight in front of my husband during a pre op exam...I nearly died.

Like you, I grew up on amazing southern food and love to cook, especially sweets. On my dads side of the family, food is love. It's such a big part of everything! I'm sure it's those beautiful southern roots that led me down my own path to food addiction.

As I get older, I am trying to let my body(instead of my cravings)guide me in my choices. It's kind of amazing what I hear when I stop to listen to what my needs really are verses my wants. But taking the time to pay attention really has helped me and I'm starting to see how destructive certain foods really are when I eat them. Those internal warning bells really can be a lifesaver, I think.

Anyway, changing a lifetime of addictive behavior is such a hard thing to do but coming clean is the first step in any addictive process and it takes a lot of courage. I'm cheering for you, Hattie...and saying prayers, too!


PS: I'm sorry you didn't get accepted to the trial but when I read that, my first thought was that God must have a reason why he blocked that from happening. I really believe that, too.

Annette said...

Hattie! I'm doing WW too. I have all the stuff from the 90's so I just do it on my own. I am communicating daily with another blogger friend about our weight goals and we encourage each other and just talk (type.) If you want to join us I am sure it would be fine.
When I all of a sudden realized that my food addiction put me on equal footing with my girl...that was quite the awareness! It was humbling, it gave me loads of compassion and empathy...because I LOVE to eat. I love it. Its comforting to me. It entertains me. I just truly do love it. But I am also turning 50 this year and I don't want to be unhealthy. In any way. My attachment to food other than it being fuel for my body, is unhealthy. Physically I want to be active and able to climb mountain up into my 70's! So I am working on it too. I would love to do it together with you. And you too Summer if you are interested. We could start a "middle aged mama's get fit" blog! Or a yahoo group! Or we can just email....lol Or maybe this is a personal journey and you want to do it on your own. I understand that too. :o)