Friday, January 28, 2011

When It Rains It Pours

I feel like my life has always had a "kick me when I'm down" theme.  I often wonder if it is just me that feels this way?  Obviously not, or there wouldn't be sayings like "kick me when I'm down" and "when it rains, it pours."  I am wondering recently if it is an 'addict' thing?  Like are we just more sensitive to it because of a lack of coping mechanism outside of our addiction?  Same thing with the "woe is me" reaction that I get when things go wrong?  I don't know if it is addict thing, a learned behavior, or if it is just who I am, but I am trying to change that.  I have been reminded again this week, that I don't have to change it.  I just have to make the right decisions and God will do the rest.

I had a bad week as far as stupid food.  Well, not so much a bad week, but a bad few hours.  I had a crazy busy few hours this past week. My daughter was throwing a temper tantrum about wanting candy while I was running around like an asshole trying to get stuff done and out the door.  So I grabbed her candy and took it with us.  Before I even knew what was happening I had eaten a mini Kit Kat and mini Reese's cup!  WHAT THE F?!?   I survived HALLOWEEN without even licking my fingers!!!!  But one week of letting my guard down and not working on my recovery and I do that???

So I beat myself up about it, I get pissed off, I tell myself I won't do it again.  Then two hours later, I go through the drive thru at Wendy's and get the a chicken sandwich AND fries AND a Diet Coke!  UGH!!!  So I eat it, telling myself I already ate the candy, I hadn't eaten lunch, so it was OK!  After every last salty delicious fry was gone, I knew that I had messed up.  But I stopped.  I prayed.  I knew that this moment could be just that, a moment that I "slipped."  That I made a mistake.  That it didn't have to mean total relapse.

I vowed to get on the computer and e-mail my sponsor the MINUTE I got in the door.  I have not needed to do that YET; to check in with a fellow addict after a slip!!!  So I get in the door, sign on immediately, and as I open my e-mail, there was already an e-mail from my sponsor.  She sent it TWO minutes before I logged on!  I was like WOW, God is in control, he had her thinking about me right when I needed it.  I opened the e-mail with so much anticipation, like it was going to tell me I won the lottery or something!  Then my stomach sank... One sentence, saying sorry, I've decided to leave the program to start a different journey...  awesome.  Bring on the woe is me...  kick me when I'm down... when it rains it pours!

So I spent the next few hours pissed off.  I told my hubby that I was going to quit too.  I was done!  So I left my family to their dinner and went up stairs to my bed to wallow in my misery and play mindless computer games until I fell asleep.  I turned on the laptop, looked at the time, and it hit me that an on-line meeting was starting in one minute!

So I logged in to my first meeting in a week, shared my day almost immediately and felt so much love and support.  I knew in that moment that I couldn't give up.  That I was not as alone as I felt!  Then, I had someone reach out to me and offer to pick up sponsoring me where I was.  I felt humbled.  Why did I doubt so much?  My bad day of big slips turned into yet another fresh start!  Slowly but surely I am working on being more positive and learning to roll with the punches!  So for now, I am picking myself up, putting on my rain gear, and splashing in the puddles!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pittsburgh's Goin to the Super Bowl

Pittsburgh's Goin to the Super Bowl!

I am a Pittsburgh girl... born and bred to bleed black and gold.   I CANNOT describe what it is like to be a football fan in this great city.  We are the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The only NFL team to win 6 Super Bowl Championships.  The best thing about  being a Steelers Fan is being part of something so BIG!  

Steelers fans do not just reside in Pittsburgh.  It really is a Steelers Nation. 

One of the reasons for this was that when the big booming steel industry started to die down, jobs were lost, and many people had to move away from Pittsburgh and make homes in other cities.  They may have left the Burgh behind, but they took with them their Steelers Pride. There are Steelers bars all over this country.  Since that time, many others have moved for countless reasons, but you can't take away the Steeler fan attitude that means so much!  If you are not a true Steeler fan, you cannot understand what it feels like to be one.  It is beyond the sport.  It is a religion!

To be a Steeler fan living in Pittsburgh is the best feeling in the world.  The electric emotional feeling I get when I watch those boys run out onto the field, terrible towels waving, pure passion pulsing through everyone's veins, cannot even be put into words.  It brings me to tears almost every time!  As of last night, it is official...  we are heading to the Super Bowl again!  I cannot wait for these next two weeks!! 

To live here in this City is something that I am very grateful for.  I have learned so much about being proud of where you came from, about respecting our history, and about how to work hard, live hard, play hard and love hard.  On days like these, the excitement and anticipation can be truly felt just walking out of your house.  Excitement, passion, joy, and absolute faith in our team are evident everywhere.

I wish I could face each day with this same excitement and joy.  I know that my little life is not something that my city will be behind cheering for, but I want to make the decision right now to have that kind of belief and faith in myself, and in God, everyday.  The same kind of faith and belief that my great city has for the Pittsburgh Steelers!  I wont have theme songs and news coverage and a towels waving to cheer me on every step of the way.  But if I can wake up everyday with that kind of excitement about life, I know that I can make even bigger changes and get out of this "stuck" place that I have been in for the last few weeks.

So my preparations for this years big game won't be about food planning for the parties.  No Pierogies, chipped ham barbecues, chips, dips and Iron City for me...  Just soaking in the energy that is out there and using it to make more positive changes in my life!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I Can Move Mountains

Maintaining recovery from this food addiction is very much like maintaining my mountains of laundry.  If I can stay on top of it, then it doesn't feel so overwhelming.  If I do a load or two of laundry a day then I don't get stuck with mountains of laundry that are overwhelming. Obviously, based on the picture below, I have not been able to do that!!

If I do my meetings and my readings and put in the work that it takes to remain aware of this disease, then it isn't so overwhelming.  If I live it one day at a time I don't get angry and scared.

I have always hated laundry.  I love the feeling when it is done, but because I hate every minute of that particular chore, I blow it off.  I wait until no one in this house has anything to wear.  When my husband has to wear the hot tamale flannel boxer shorts that I bought him for valentines day eight years ago, I know it is way past time to start the dreaded task!  If I could just make myself stick to a laundry routine, it would not SUCK so bad.

As opposed to the laundry, I actually enjoy taking care of myself and working on my recovery.  It makes no sense to me why I can't get into a daily routine with it.  When I do work on it routinely, I feel so good about it all.  I feel positive.  I want to exercise.  I want to learn as much as I can about how I got this way and what it takes to make the necessary changes.  When I pray and focus on my recovery, I feel like I can move mountains.

So my continued goal is to carve out daily time for me and this journey.  I don't know what it will take for me to learn how to maintain the chores in this house.  But, if I can recover from this crazy ass disease like I have been, if I can move those mountains one day at a time, SURELY I can move my mountains of laundry too.... right????

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Do I Want to Be When I Grow Up?

Part of living in the haze of food addiction is just settling for the life you have created around you, believing that you don't deserve more or better.  My adult days, up until starting this journey, have honestly just been about going through the motions.  Being numb, anxious, irritable, and not even thinking that it could be better.  All I wanted in life was to take care of my kids.  To be there for them. I have been here, but have not been my best self and have not been as good to them as I could have been.  That is changing. I know it is. But on my "blah" days, I just get upset about how much more I could have done.  I cannot live in the past and need to keep moving...  But then I stress about the future.  I need to master this living in the NOW thing!  

Lately as the haze is lifting and I am feeling better about my life in general, I realize just how unfulfilled I am at times.  I know that I am getting better.  I am being a better mother.  There is much less TV and much more mommy time.  I am able to better manage my time so that I do not feel like I need to be doing 500 other things than what my kids need and want me to do.  But I have also been worried lately about what ELSE I can do with my life.  I am grateful to have this time to work on me and to be home with my kids, BUT I need to know what else I am going to be able to do when my daughter starts school.  I would love to just blog and write and help other people start their own journey, but that doesn't pay the bills! 

I have a degree.... a four year degree from a good school and an accredited social work program.  But it means very little.  Much less than I thought it would mean.  The reason that I am a stay at home mom is that it is not worth working and paying for day care to bring home very little money.  It is incredibly frustrating to continue to pay over $200 for my school loan every single month (for what feels like the rest of my life) when I can't even use my education! 

Some days I struggle with that part of my life more than others.  There are babysitting days when I am pulling my hair out, getting paid shit money to take care of other peoples needy kids, that I dream about running away.  Running away to a place that I am only a career woman, living alone, waking up without taking care of the needs of pets and small children before my own.  I know that is selfish!  I know that if I honestly think about life without my family I am sad. I know that I am not meant to be some career driven, high class woman who knows exactly what she wants out of life.  But some times I feel like I just want to know what I am going to be when I grow up!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

God Grant Me The Serenity

Stress and anxiety... A recurring theme in my life! I wish that  I could say that this process has already relieved me of all of these issues that I suffer with.  But, I know there is no quick fix.  And, just as I will always have this disease of addiction, I think I will always have the anxiety issues as well.  But its learning how to cope and move on that is making a differnce in my life.  

 I know I have already seen a huge difference.  My anxiety on a daily basis has not been as bad!  I do not overstress about everything.  I am not consumed with negative thoughts and a desire to eat them away.  They still pop up every once in a while, sometimes a few times a day, but not all day every day, and that to me is HUGE!

As soon as there is a "change" in my life however, I start to get that pit in my stomach.  The racing heart, the irritability and short temper come quickly, often before I even realize that I am stressed out!  These changes can be as simple as a doctor appointment for me, my husband or my kids...  or a day like today when school is canceled and I don't know if I'm babysitting, will I have to drive in the snow, etc.

Nothing gets me more stressed than someone starting to get sick...  especially my daughter.  She has a bladder reflux issue that she takes an antibiotic for on a daily basis. Most days, I don't even remember that she has it.  But it isn't getting better and no one has real answers for us about what to do.  Do we wait it out and hope it heals itself?  What if the waiting it out has a permanent effect on her kidneys? What if we do the surgery that isn't guaranteed to fix it, and there is some kind of complication?  Right now, we have decided with the guidance of the doctor, to wait a little longer and hope for the best.

We found out that she had this problem when she had a seizure at 11 months old.  This was very close to the scariest thing that has ever happened to me.  I now know that febrile seizures are pretty common, and they don't often have any effect on kids later in life.  But when my baby was shaking violently and I was having a full body panic attack, nothing else mattered.  My husband was on the phone with 911 and I was trying to help my baby girl...  then her little body went limp and lifeless for a few seconds, I wanted to die right then and there! 

Fast forward three years to last night.  A normal night.  It was snowing pretty hard outside, the kids were excited, I was starting to fix dinner, and was a little worried about my husband getting home, but all was well.  Then the kids saw our neighbors playing outside in the snow.  Of course they wanted to go out too.  At first I was a little overwhelmed.  Dinner was started, dishes needed done, I had "things" to do.  But I told myself, suck it up.  Enjoy life.  That is what I am working on...  letting go!

So I turn off the stove, bundle us up and head outside to play!  I was diving and running and having fun.  I am feeling good.  Feeling strong and definitely noticing the changes in my body and in my energy.  Then only after like ten minutes of being outside, my daughter starts to cry.  I figured she was tackled by her brother, or had snow in her boots etc.  But she is crying that her "pee parts" hurt.  GREAT!  I try to distract her, we keep playing, but she is not getting better.  

Inside we go, unbundle, and she is now SCREAMING!  This goes on for a good thirty minutes.  I finally get her to calm down, thanks to Dora the Explorer.  Give her some ibuprofen and her antibiotics, get her to eat some yogurt, and then within the hour she feels better.  But then I can't help but freak out for the rest of the night.  My nice relaxing evening turns into me obsessing about middle of the night seizures in a snow storm.  

This morning she is fine, all is well, but I feel like I am still "coming down" from the stress and anxiety.  This is when I want to eat. And eat. And eat.  But I haven't.  I shoveled the driveway and the walks, I had my oatmeal, and have been blogging away.  I am processing all of this.  Working on my anxiety and my reactions to it.

The one constant that most people know about recovery groups is the Serenity Prayer.  This prayer has been most helpful to me in regards to my anxiety, more so than with my food addiction.  As I shoveled away all of the snow this morning, I sang it over and over in my head.  

I will never stop worrying about my kids.  I will always want to do everything I can to keep them safe.  But I need to keep living and not miss out on life.  I can only focus on the things that I can control and continue to give the rest to God! 


Monday, January 10, 2011


I have been at the same weight for weeks!  Up and down a pound or two and that is it!  I was ok with that because it was the holiday's and I didn't GAIN weight.  More importantly I didn't relapse with my disease! Which I know is the most important thing!!

I have gotten a little lazy as far as putting in the work.  I have not been overeating, but I also have not been doing as much as I could be doing for my recovery.  I know I can do more.  I have not been going to meetings as often.  I have not been doing my daily reading and work like I was for the first 70 days or so.  When I stop focusing on that part, this whole thing becomes more of a "diet" again!  I do not want this to feel like a diet!  That is when I am tempted to give up!  This is a life change!

So as I have learned thus far, this thing is one day at a time.  Just because I have not lost much recently and just because I have lost some of my spiritual and mental concentration, does not mean that I can quit!  I can start again right now!  I have started over right now.  I read my "For Today" reading.  I have prayed.  I am blogging.  Today I will read some of my other recovery readings and attend and on-line meeting. 

I need to make exercise part of my DAILY routine.  I really struggle with how and when to fit it in to my life.  I need to just do it when I can.  I want to have a set time, but I am never good at that!  As a stay at home mom no day is ever the same!  So when the kids are good and content... that needs to be when I exercise.  I have tried the early morning thing so many times...  I just can't make it work!  Although I would like to.  Maybe I can just try it one day a week or something for now!

Oh well, I'll figure it out.

Today's goals:  Exercise, Meeting, Read and figure out how to break through this plateau!!!!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - The world through the eyes of my little man!

 Gamma bought Jack his own digital camera
for his Birthday!  These are just a FEW 
of the pictures he has taken!    

Totally unrelated to my weight loss journey :)    
Self Portrait

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 100 is a Day of Rest

Last night I felt fine.  I went next door to catchup with friends for the new season of the Bachelor, one of my mindless guilty pleasures.  I had a really nice late evening, but felt good!  I came home and crashed!  I woke up at 6:00 with horrible cramps and the worst headache I have ever had.  I am a bit of baby, and I am no stranger to being sick and feeling like crap, but I really felt BAD.  My husband is used to me being sick, but he knew this was different. He told me to go back to sleep and he got the kids out the door to school for their first day back since before Christmas.

So, hubby stayed home, my son has been in school all day, and my daughter was invited to go to Chuck E Cheese with a friend.  I had a very unexpected, but much needed day of rest.  I got to spend some time reading and focusing on my recovery.  I got to be lazy with no guilt and watch stupid tv shows on our new bedroom TV, (a wonderful christmas gift from my in-laws).  My husband even did the grocery shopping that needed done!  These times are so rare.  Normally it takes weeks of planning to get this kind of rest.  But today, dispite the killer migraine that comes and goes, it feels like a gift!

 Today is day ONE HUNDRED of this journey!  Craziness!  But I can honestly say that for the past one hundred days I have felt the best I have felt in years!  I know that there are several reasons for that.  One is just the food itself.  The quality of food that I have been putting into my body has physically healed me.  Very little heart burn and indegestion.  I haven't felt painfully full of anything in months.  I used to like that feeling (in a sick f-ed up way).  If I was really full then I was "ok".  I was rarely hungry because I ate constantly and I didnt' like to be hungry.  Now I like to feel that I am hungry.  True physical desire to eat instead of purely mental!

I have spent so much of the last five years exhausted and feeling sick.  Sick from the side effects of the sugar and fast food garbage that I was eating.  Sick mentally from the effects of the disease of addiction.  Tired of hating myself and the way that I felt!  I am so grateful that my attitude about food itself is changing and that I am slowly breaking free of this addiction.  I know that need to maintain my focus and keep putting in the work.  I know that I need to focus this month on getting back to regular exercise and continuing to seek help from my recovery program.  So that is the plan for the next few weeks...  but the plan for the remainder of day 100 is more quiet time, reflection, reading, a meeting and rest....  Who knows when I'll get this opportunity again....  could be years!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

NO Resolutions

Every January, I start my list of resolutions.  I would get very overwhelmed thinking about all of the things that I am unhappy with.  The list would go on and on.  I would beat myself up thinking about all of the things that NEED to change.  Thinking about all of the ways that I was not good enough!  I would look around at my house, my kids, my closets, my body, and think... "Wow Meg, you SUCK!"

Then, in an attempt to make myself feel better, I would resolve that I could change it all. It was a new start, a new year... the best time to change!  I would muster up enough willpower and inner strength that I felt like I could move mountains.  I would make a trip to the local super store to stock up on everything from ONLY healthy food, to cleaners and storage bins for organization.  I always put several new notebooks in my cart as well, because after all, a new start means a clean slate.  My clean slate notebook would quickly fill up with lists, food plans, current weights and measurements, goals, and then a journal entry about how this year would be different!!!!

By February those notebooks, that represented my "new organized healthy life," were covered with pages of scribbles from whichever child stole it and decided to color on top of it!  Then they were normally stuck in the bottom of my kitchen drawers, buried under the clutter that makes up most of my to-do lists!

So this year, 1/1/11 marks a year that I don't hate myself.  There are still hundreds of things that can be cleaned and organized.  I still wish my children were better behaved, well-mannered and a little less destructive.  I still have at least 100 pounds to lose. I still need to exercise much more often and with more intensity.  BUT I do not need to make any huge life-changing resolutions.  I do not need to make empty promises to myself and my family.

 One thing I have learned after years of disappointing February 1sts, is that will power and self control do not work!  Alone they are not enough.  Before we can declutter our lives and fix our bodies, we must declutter our minds and fix our spiritual health. It starts from the inside out.

I do not mean to discredit resolutions for anyone else...  If that's what it takes for you to make the changes you need to make in your own life, then keep on making them!!! But this year I am relieved that I do not need to make huge goals about changing EVERYTHING in my life. I need to make a promise to myself to take care of ME everyday.  To wake up and pray and make my DAILY resolutions to be the best I can. Every day is a new start.  I do not need a new year to make these changes, and that feels SO GOOD!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

December 31

New Years Eve.  My son's birthday and he is turning 8 this year.  I cannot believe he is that big already.  I had him in my early twenties when I didn't know anything about being a "real" grown-up.  Who am I kidding, I still don't.  However, together we have learned a lot.

I have taught him how to walk and talk.  To count, to say his alphabet and to spell his name.  I have taught him how to tie his shoes, ride his bike, and throw a ball.  I have taught him how to laugh and sing and dance and play dress up. I have taught him that temper tantrums do not get him what he wants.  I have tried to teach him to clean his room and be nice to his little sister.  I have definitely taught him that mommy is not perfect. I have tried very hard to teach him that all people are equal and he needs to always be kind and loving to everyone.   I have tried even harder to teach him how to love and respect himself.  I'm not sure how well I have done these things, and only time will tell.  I have taught him that he is the most loved little boy in the world!

He has taught me what it feels like to have a piece of my heart walking around outside my body.  He has taught me that I have more patience than I thought I would in some situations, and much less in others.  He has taught me that little boys have a lot of energy.  He has taught me not to leave glass in a garbage bag, even for a few seconds, or it could result in stitches.  He has taught me that one little human can love more fully than most adults.  He has taught me to laugh at life; to be silly and not to be so serious.  He has taught me that I need to love myself more! I have not hid this journey of mine.  He watches what I eat as much as I do right now and has been one of my biggest cheerleaders!

My little guy has definately changed the way we spend our New Years.  From the cold December night when he was born on that last day of 2002, to this year's festivities, we celebrate him on this day!  No big "grown-up" party for mom and dad.  Usually just a quiet night at home with our family.  In recent years, he has stayed up til midnight made confetti and watched daddy and the neighbors set off fireworks.

This year was much quieter.  His little sister fell asleep hours before midnight.  We curled up in bed and flipped between all of the New Year's Eve festivities on TV.  Instead of throwing his homemade confetti in mom and dad's bed, we agreed that jumping on the bed would be a new tradition.  So we counted down from ten to one, then Jack the dog and Jack the Boy jumped their way into 2011.  I cried as usual. But this year, I was crying because every year I am more and more grateful to have this kind, sweet, loving, silly, curious, and wise little boy in my life!

Stomach Flu and Peace of Mind

Danny's Hoagies, Bethel Bakery, and Sarris Candy!  Unless you live in the South Hills of Pittsburgh, those things mean nothing to you.  But to a food addict who grew up there, combined with family "coming home" for the holidays, those things are inevitable temptations.  The thought of those foods used to provoke joy and anticipation.  Each bite made me truly happy!  But I can honestly say that I hated the feeling that I had about those foods.

There was an anxiety involved with ordering the hoagies... worrying that there wouldn't be enough.  I would think how could I "accidentally" order extra and be able to eat it all alone later in the day or overnight!  I would desperately want to be the first to open the Sarris Candy, so that I could be guaranteed to have the good pieces.  I would be fighting the rest of my family for the piece of Bethel Bakery cake that had the most of the icing! 

I knew that I did these things, and I knew that I didn't really like the way I felt in the process, but the feeling after eating made up for that.  I also knew deep down that it was not normal to be worried and consumed with thoughts of food.  This year was different.

I wish I could take the credit.  I wish I could say that it was ONLY because of the hard work I have put into trying to recover from this disease.  I wish I could say that I didn't want some of the unhealthy binge foods of my past... But I can't.  I did want them.  There was a little bit of longing for the old feelings.  BUT, I got the stomach flu in the beginning of the week!  Looking back on this week, this flu was a bit of a gift. (For me at least, the countless other family members that also caught the bug, may disagree!)

I did NOT want to eat anything because I didn't feel well. I have learned to look at food as something that my body needs to be healthy.  Not something my mind needs to make me feel better. However, there was a definite difference this year in my thought process.  In the past, two days after a stomach bug, I would have ate the hoagie in a few mindless minutes and would have faced the consequences later.  This year, I was at peace with it!  I didn't include myself in the order of 7 whole sandwiches.  I didn't eat any of the leftovers!  I didn't WANT to!  I was ok.  I was not anxious and mad and sad and a million other emotions.  I was at peace again!  Woo Hoo!