Due to my propensity for falling asleep sitting up AND my day job which frequently is a night job, too, it’s taken me a couple of days to write this post.
I woke this morning to these words in my head: “Desperate for changin’/ Starving for truth/ I’m closer where I started/ Chasing after you…” these are the opening lines to “Hanging by a Moment”, by the band, Lifehouse.
I don’t find this–waking with these words on my mind–a coincidence.
I’ve been reading and studying Leora Fulvio’s Reclaiming Yourself from Binge Eating, as well as a bariatric surgery prep workbook. The decision to pursue gastric sleeve is not one to be taken lightly. 85% of the stomach is removed, leaving only a narrow banana-shape. It is a life-changing choice that is irreversible. I have not changed my mind about pursuing it; I am glad that I have the ability to prepare months in advance instead of waiting until, say, February, to begin doing things like getting off caffeine & carbonated beverages. Right now, I begin every morning with a Diet Coke. My consumption has gone down dramatically in the last several months. I now only drink the morning one, and sometimes I can’t finish it.
I will be discouraged from consuming sugar because there is this thing called “dumping syndrome” that can make one nauseous. Doughy breads will be out.
It’s possible to sabotage one’s success by overeating and stretching out the banana-stomach, or by not exercising.
Which brings me to why things are rough. I’m in pain, and one of my binge triggers is physical pain. I have chronic migraines, and, while I knew that headaches are a trigger, until I really began to focus on being aware of my eating (it’s like muscle memory since this ain’t my first rodeo at attaining “sobriety” again), I did not realize how pain so AUTOMATICALLY triggers my “go to” (eating copious amounts of carbs) AND how automatically this self-talk in my head starts rationalizing why it’s okay to go off the deep end.
The thing keeping me from doing it right now is the fact that if I gain ANY WEIGHT over this 4 month period of preparation, my insurance company will refuse to clear me for the surgery. When I first met my surgeon, Dr. Malladi, I asked her, “If I lose too much weight on my own, will the insurance company say I am not cleared?”
She told me, “You can’t GAIN weight on this program, but the most important weight that matters is the one you have today.”
So I’ve got that in my head while fighting with the urge to pig out.
I ended up with this migraine because I worked out. I used to get headaches each time I worked out when I was healthier, but I always assigned their cause to something else.
I walked my dogs for 40 minutes tonight–the first half is uphill–and my dogs’ cumulative weight is just shy of 250 pounds. It’s a workout. My dogs are essentially well-behaved, but it is still a workout.
I didn’t run; if someone was chasing me with a knife I could probably barely run, because I had to have foot surgery a few years ago that involved cutting a metatarsal in each foot to shorten it since it was too long, and screwing it down. In the doctor’s words, the outcome is “Okay but not perfect,” because of the arthritis doing so much damage that I was essentially crippled until I had the surgeries, a year apart, to try to repair the devastation I did to my feet by becoming a runner. Who knew I had a birth defect?
Not me, until it was too late.
The doc took one look at my feet and pronounced, “You don’t have runner’s feet.”
I said, “Well, NOW I know!”
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is, a “good” outcome of the surgery is 40-70% of your excess weight. If I am going to have this radical step done, it’d better by God be able to get down to my lowest weight. So I’m working right now to eat super-healthy, drink lots of water, and exercise daily. I’d like to lose about 10-15% of my current weight prior to the surgery.
I’m fallin’ asleep, so I guess I’ll stop. I’ve gotten through an evening without binge-eating. I’m feeling irritable–my husband eating ice cream next to me about made me pull my hair out–but I made it through today.
That’s how a lot of days are: one day at a time.
Just as I woke yesterday to music, this morning I woke to music via link in an email my daughter sent, with a short, sweet message: Thought you might like this song 😘❤️
She thought right. This song is amazing. I’m sharing, first, a version that shows the lyrics, then the video my daughter actually sent me, which is really cool because it is interspersed with real people talking about their challenges and how appearance plays a part in them.
“Real People Interspersed” version:
While I have numerous scars on my body, none are as deep as the ones I have on my mind. I have been out of therapy over 7 years, but, as noted in the “When I Made Up My Mind” piece (a blog entry and a separate page on this site,) I’m still kind of a walking wound when it comes to my eating disorder. I will reiterate my characterization of B.E.D. (Binge Eating Disorder): It is a mind fuck.
The past week, I’ve been managing it quite well; that is to say, I have not binged. I have been INCREDIBLY careful and I’m already working on drinking more water, cutting back even more on caffeine (I normally guzzle caffeinated (sugar free) iced tea all day), and being oh-so-mindful of what and why I’m eating.
At times, I’ve been holding on by my fingernails, y’all. As noted yesterday, the onset of a migraine was an auto-thought-process of, “Well, let’s find some sugary stuff, Beth! NOW NOW NOW!”
On top of that, I’m just edgy as hell. My husband was just eating a popsicle and I snapped at him. I have that thing where sounds get on my nerves REALLY badly (Misophonia: the struggle is real, y’all)– but since I’ve crawled/heaved myself –onto the metaphorical “wagon” of managing my B.E.D., I’m especially pissy. If I didn’t have to be around anyone eating–and, hell, that includes my OWN eating sounds–that’d be one less thing to make me feel wired.
Here’s the thing that’s a mind fuck about B.E.D.–or, actually, I’m thinking any eating disorder, addiction, or compulsion: I had a grip on it for so long, then I lost it. Haven’t lost it right now–(the word “yet” is echoing off my inner skull. Which pisses me off. )
It’s not that I can’t lose weight. I am losing weight right now. It’s keeping it off, and even more than that, it’s being able to maintain what I think of as “abstinence”–that is, maintaining healthy management of my eating disorder. I am highly motivated at this time to maintain it. But that doesn’t mean the whispers of “Just this once” are silenced. I hope I am approved for this surgery because I have seen how it has helped my oldest daughter manage her own B.E.D.
One of the B.E.D. book exercises is to write to your eating disorder as it will be in 15 years if you don’t stop doing it.
I can foresee the future: my hips will deteriorate. I will be walking even worse than I do when they are really painful right now. I fear I’ll be one of those people at WalMart who can only shop if they use one of those scooters.
I don’t even want to think about how much worse the sleep apnea could get.
And the self-hating/self-loathing torrents of shame that accompany a binge will, essentially, be kind of like an alien inhabiting an unwilling test subject’s being.
I guess I fear that I will have given up, and giving up is not in my D.N.A. If it was, I would not be here to type this right now.
Another favorite song: