Tuesday, March 30, 2010


I am happy to be able to finally report some weight loss since starting this blog monnnnnnnths ago. This morning I stepped on the scale to a 4lb weight loss. I am happy, but hesitant to get my celebration on because as I've mentioned before, my body weight likes to fluctuate a LOT in the course of a day. A four pound loss today might be a five pound gain tomorrow; it's all about the water weight. Whatever I eat on Monday, how salty it is in particular, will be a good indication of what I'll weigh on Tuesday and Wednesday. So until I see a steady pattern of weight loss, I tend to give the scale a big fat (no pun intended) "meh" when I first start to see the numbers go down.

I also have to admit to having a little help. Now that the quest for baby #2 has come to an end, I could switch from the less-effective-but-also-more-baby-friendly blood pressure medicine back to my very-effective-but-could-give-your-baby-3-heads blood pressure medicine. This one is a diuretic, so for the first three days of taking it, I shed a significant amount of water weight. We're talking maybe I should have just thrown on a diaper like I was a crazy, cross-country driving astronaut woman out for blood because I could not stop peeing. And I expected to lose some weight from it, since so much of the weight I gained during the fertility treatments was water weight. But I didn't expect, a week later, to see four pounds still gone from the scale.

Aside from my happy little blood pressure pill, I have doing a lot of thinking about my relationship with food and how it is impacting the quality of my life. I've never really been sure about the idea of food addiction, as it relates to me. I'm not morbidly obese, which I think I've always assumed you'd have to be to truly be "addicted" to food, unable to stop eating. I don't do things like throw food out my car window to get it away from me, but then go back to where I threw it out and forage around until I find it. I don't throw food in the trash and then go back looking for it later. These are the types of stories I've heard from people who considered themselves to be food addicts. "Well," I thought, "I don't do that! Whew! Guess I'm not addicted to food!"

And I am fairly certain that I'm not addicted. But my relationship with food? Is unhealthy. Not just physically, but psychologically. And it is perhaps the psychological part of that relationship that is the hardest to get a grasp on, and holds the key to finding a space where food and I can exist together without such a love/hate relationship. The "why's" of my eating habits are the root of changing them, I believe. And the "why's", I fear, are going to be painful to look at.

How about the "whats"? What are the things I do that make me think my relationship with food is not the norm, and outside the realm of healthy?

1. I eat furtively. Example--when I grocery shop alone, I will sometimes, okay, often. almost always buy a donut or a candy bar & when I get back to the car, I will wolf it down before leaving the parking lot. Especially if I am stressed about something at home--guests, an argument, a long day of chasing a defiant preschooler.
If I go out to the pantry to find ingredients for dinner, and I happen to spy the bag of chocolate chips on the baking shelf, I will pour a handful of chocolate chips and eat them as I stand in the pantry, so no one can see me.
As an ocassional treat? Probably not a big deal. And true, I don't do it all the time (if I gave in every time, I would most certainly be morbidly obese). But it is more what is going on in my day that leads to the sneaking & how I feel about myself after eating the donut or the candy bar--disgusted, frustrated, sick to my stomach, self-loathing--that are the problems. And if I KNOW I'm going to feel that way when I do this...why do I do it?

2. I eat when I am frustrated or angry with Ethan. Almost every time I have sent Ethan to time-out in the past 2 years, I have blindly made my way to the kitchen and found something to grab a handful of to eat while I am counting to ten. It became a part of my calming down ritual. I have stopped using time outs for a number of reasons, but not least of which is the fact that when I recognized I was using food this way, it freaked me right the hell out. And this is just one example of how I use food to quell an uncomfortable emotion. Let's not even talk about how much eating I did while we were trying to get pregnant, mkay?

3. I lie to myself about the food I eat. I can rationalize almost any indulgence ("we come to the Cheesecake Factory so rarely!" or "sushi is really pretty low-fat; I can have another roll"--which? not really true, hello!). I will gladly tell myself that tomorrow I will be better, when, as I've said in another post, tomorrow is often just the same as today.

I've been thinking a lot about my friend Corinne in the past several weeks. Recently, Corinne had an awakening about herself and began the journey towards sobriety. Watching her, through her blog, live from one day to the next without a drink, seeing how it in some ways brought her to her knees and in other, more permanent and meaningful ways, helped her stand back up again, I've felt mightily inspired. I know she's not had an easy time of it, and yet she is so grateful for each day of clarity, and graceful in her navigation of this new life of being present, I cannot help but feel that positive energy and be humbled. I know that most people find themselves in alcoholism because they are trying to numb emotion. I know, that for me, it is food that numbs emotion.

Reading Corinne's blog entries, seeing how she's seeking out different avenues of peace and comfort, seeing how she remains true to herself, for herself and her family, has motivated me. My eating habits are a matter of health for me--I am at an age and a size, and with a family history that does not afford me many more years of being overweight without paying a high cost; a cost I'm not willing to pay for the luxury of making excuses and sneaking "that one last" piece of crap food that I know is going to my arteries, or my butt.

I have been taking a lot of deep breaths, making my food selections slowly and thoughtfully and honoring the frustration I feel when I walk past the donuts on the way to bread aisle. I think so often, "dieting" involves pushing down those feelings of anxiety or frustration or just plain sadness that you can't have that blueberry scone or that piece of cheesecake. Eventually the neglected feelings erupt into "YOU CAN'T KEEP ME FROM THAT DONUT! I'VE BEEN SOOO GOOD (awful value judgment). I DESERVE THAT CUPCAKE!" and then it's all undone and you're (I'm) back to feeling like a gross failure again. Instead, I'm trying to recognize it when I feel the "so unfair! so unfair! I want that donut!!!!", sit with it for a few moments and then move forward, having given my feelings the space they needed. I am finding that often times, giving the feelings space and letting them speak to me for a moment or two is enough to make them quiet down. And with them goes the "need" for the food.

I believe this mindfulness, as well as the new medication, enabled me to let those four pounds go. I hope to never see them again.


  1. Sushi isn't low fat??? Don't tell me that!!

    Sarah, I'm all teary eyed... the part about looking past the doing and looking at the why really is the hardest part. It's no fun, but worth the discomfort.

    So much love to you! :)

  2. This really registered with me (I think realizing there are times when I sneak food - what the hell is that about?!?)- so thank you for sharing.

  3. I love these words "giving the feelings space and letting them speak to me for a moment or two is enough to make them quiet down." So, so true. Congratulations on taking this big step and discovering your own strength. Keep going, you deserve it!

  4. Thank you for your comments and encouragement! I truly appreciate and am grateful for your positive thoughts!