Tag Archives: Annie

Accountability

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Good morning.  My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about accountability.  I say that I want to do certain things with my eating and my exercise.  I am even good at keeping up with it for a day or two.  But when the “newness” and “excitement” of whatever it is I’ve decided to do wears off, I stop doing it.  At least I stop doing it on a regular basis.  I still track my food.  I still read my daily literature.  I still ride my stationary bike.

I just don’t do those things every day.

I don’t even remember to do them all on the same day.

The OA group that I am a part of recently started an accountability group.  For a few weeks now, I have thought about going.  This week I actually went.  It was one of the worst OA meetings I have ever been to.

OK, so calling it a bad meeting probably isn’t fair, especially since I could see that the others in the room were getting a lot out of the meeting.  But it didn’t work for me.  I don’t know if the meeting was a bad fit or if I was just in a bad frame of mind for it.  Heaven knows that I didn’t put puch into the meeting.

It was odd for me from the beginning.  Rather than using the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of OA, they were reading from the AA 12 and 12.  Why that was uncomfortable to me, I don’t know.

Anyway, one thing they talked about was emailing their food plan and action plan to each other; they said that keeps them accountable for following through with what they are committing to do.  Now THAT is something that I can get into!!  Nearly every morning, I make up a plan of what I am going to do that day, and I have in my head what I will eat for the day.  But I have yet to share it with anyone.  If no one knows what I have planned, they can’t get on my case to make sure that I am doing it.  Yeah, OK, so I know that it’s not up to anyone else to stick to my program.  But I do think having some encouragement throughout the day would be helpful for me.

Who can I ask to be my accountability partner, though?  I suppose I could post it all here on my blog.  Only I don’t know how many actually read it.  (It’s not like I have been very good about keeping up with this blog in the past few months!)  I’d prefer to share with someone I KNOW will respond to me daily, pushing me to stick with my plans.  Maybe my sponsor will help.  And my best friend.  I suppose I will have to ask them.

Proof in Pictures

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Hi.  My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

I’d like to show you a couple of pictures today.  As you may remember (and as it has been oh so long since I have written anything here, I fully understand if you don’t remember), I had weight loss surgery on May 23, 2011.  My weight before surgery was 455 pounds.  The expectation was that I would lose 60% of my excess body weight, or a total of 253 pounds, in the first year after surgery.  Of course, we didn’t expect that I would have a herniated disc in need of repair during that first year.  Yeah, that has hampered my weight loss.  It is a part of the reason that I haven’t kept up this blog as I intended.  To say I have battled depression issues since the problems with my back developed would be an understatement.  But the back and depression are only a part of why I haven’t kept up with this blog.

The other part is my laziness.  That is one of those character defects that I have to face when I work on Step Four—and in all honesty, is one of the reasons that I have avoided that Step.

Anyway….  I wanted to share with you a picture of me before my surgery.  As you can see, I look like a whale.  I even wore black that day, knowing that I was going to have my picture taken.  Black is supposed to be slimming, right?  Well, if this outfit made me look any slimmer, I would honestly HATE to see what I looked like in a color that wasn’t black.

Before surgery picture. Weight 455 pounds. YUCK

I went yesterday for my one year checkup.  It’s been more than a year, I know, but the back issues messed up my schedule a bit.  When I stepped on the scale and say my weight at 359 pounds, I wanted to cry.  I was so mad at myself!!  That weight is actually 9 pounds heavier than I was at my 6 month postop checkup.  I swore going into this that it wouldn’t matter how much or how little weight I lost, once the weight was gone it was not going to come back.  And I had allowed 9 pounds to sneak back onto my frame.  Now, that I didn’t lose more, that I have no problem “blaming” on the back issues.  It’s kind of hard to exercise with the balance issues I’ve been dealing with.  But regaining 9 pounds?  I can’t blame that on anything other than the bad choices that I have made.  I’ve not been paying close attention to my food choices.  The number on the scale showed it.  I left the office feeling really down on myself.  Sure, the dietitian had given me a diet to follow for a few weeks, something to help kick start my metabolism and help me get back into losing.  She also gave me some exercise ideas that will help and shouldn’t hurt my back much.  But all I had in my head right then was that number.  I was mad at myself about the whole thing and felt like a failure because I hadn’t done more.

Just before I settled in to watch the Olympic Opening Ceremony last night (hey, just because I don’t like to compete in any sport, doesn’t mean I don’t like watching the world celebrate sport!), I opened an email from the dietitian.  She had taken my picture again and had sent me copies.  My jaw about hit the floor when I looked at them!

Fourteen months after surgery. Weight 359 pounds. Loss of 96 pounds.

Can you see the differences?  I actually have a SHAPE now, a shape that is not just blob-shaped.  Sure, I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be, but now I can actually see the difference.  I can see that I am losing weight.  No, I don’t feel wonderful about it, but I feel much better than I did when all I knew was the number.

Now to get myself back on track and really working to get the weight off.

Willingness

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Hi. I am Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

I am also a terrible procrastinator. If you have followed this blog at all, you have probably figured that out. Of course, I have a feeling that most of my followers are no longer following. It has been a while since I’ve updated. Looks like the last update was one month after my gastric sleeve, and that was May 23, 2011. Nearly a year since I have updated. I could tell you why, but honestly no matter what I say will sound like a load of excuses. It’s been an interesting year, to say the least, and my compulsive eating recovery hasn’t been at the forefront of my mind for a while. Thanks to my surgery, I’ve lost nearly 115 pounds. Clothes that I couldn’t fit into last spring are falling off me now. While I am happy with that and happy with the way my body is recovering from all the junk I have put into it over the years, I am not at all happy with the state of my mind. Illness and injury have kept me from regularly attending local OA meetings. It seems that the more meetings I miss, the louder the voices in my head, telling me to eat, get. I want to make those voice SHUT UP already. So I am making it a point to go back to my meetings. Trying very hard to not make excuses to stay home. I figure if I am looking for an excuse to stay home, then I probably REALLY need to be at the meeting.

In meeting Monday night, we talked about Step Ten. The group that meets that night is still working through The Twelve-Step Workbook of Overeaters Anonymous. One of the questions we discussed was “How willing am I to do a written daily inventory and occasionally share it with another OA member?” I said that I am willing to do that. I even mentioned this blog and said that it shows my willingness—not only am I sharing my recovery with other OA members, I have it out there in cyberspace for the entire world to read. How much more willing can one be than that?

Only the lapse between posts brings that willingness into question. If I am really and truly willing, shouldn’t I be updating a little more often? The question does say “occasionally share.” I don’t think, however, that it means once a year. Occasionally probably means something different to everyone. To me and my recovery, I think it means once a week.

So that is the goal I am setting—to update this blog at least once a week. It has only taken me about 20 minutes to write this post. That is 20 minutes that my fingers have been dancing across the keyboard instead of popping food into my mouth. Small step, perhaps, but it is a step in the right direction.

Other Addictive Behaviors

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I’m Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

As I typed that, I thought of how icky that statement makes me feel.  It seems so odd to identify myself that way all the time.  Yet I know that is part of what keeps me moving forward in my recovery.  There is no way I would stick with all of these life-style changes if I did not keep my disease constantly in the front of my mind.

In my reading of Drop the Rock, I came across this sentence on page 65: Where else in our lives are there addictive patterns?

                Does the desire to change myself count as an addictive behavior?  Because that has been at the forefront of my mind lately.  I’ve been changing my eating habits and my exercise habits.  The surgery I am planning will mean major changes for the appearance of my body, which will mean changing the clothing I wear.  Finally I will be able to wear cute clothes without fear that I am too fat for the current styles!  But I don’t know if being excited about the changes that are coming really counts as addictive.

I recently discovered Miche handbags.  LOVE those things!  In case you’ve never heard of them, they are purses with changeable outer shells.  There are three sizes.  I use the medium size, the Classic Bag, for everyday stuff and the larger Big Bag for carrying my computer and trips to the library (because I always get more than just one book and I need something carry them home in!)  As of this moment, I have six Classic shells and two Big Bag shells. The first party that I am hosting will be on May 17th, and I have made a wish-list of the shells that I would like to earn for free.  But that’s not an addiction, is it?  Obsession, maybe.  I don’t know.  I have always been a purse girl.  This bag allows me to be able to change the look of my purse without pulling everything out and transferring it to a different purse.

Hmm….  Another thing that we talked about at Monday night’s meeting was defending our actions.  I just tried to rationalize why the Miche bag is a good fit for me.  But if I have to defend my choice to carrying them and spend my money on new shells, perhaps it does point to a deeper issue.  Maybe not an addiction, but it could lead to it.  That just might be something that I need to examine a little bit closer.

Happy, Serene, and Sane

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I’m Annie and I’m a compulsive overeater.

There is a small group within the OA group I belong to (is that the right term for it?) that is working on a study of the book Drop The Rock.  This is not specifically an OA book, but it is an in-depth look at steps 6 and 7 in the 12-step program. The section we read last night was on step seven.  One thing that really popped out at me was the author saying something about needing to act as if he wants to be happy, serene, and sane.  He didn’t say that he needs to act as if he already is happy, serene, and sane, but that he has to act as if he wants to be happy, serene, and sane.

That just really stuck in my head.  This whole acting “as if” thing is odd to me.  I’ve been real good at acting “as if” nothing is wrong and hiding my feelings behind food.  So I am not totally convinced that acting “as if” is the right thing to do.  But what really got to me about this issue was the idea of acting as if happiness, serenity, and sanity are things that I want in my life.  Don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need to act like I want that stuff.  I KNOW that I want it!  It’s the getting it that I am having problems with.

Food certainly hasn’t been the answer.  I might feel happy and serene at the moment I am taking a bite of something.  But as soon as I put down the fork, the feeling I am left with is anything other than sane.  And the surgery that I am planning isn’t going to bring happiness.  Health, now that is what I am shooting for there.  And I suppose I am hoping that being healthy will lead to a happier me.  But I am not expecting surgery to bring the happiness I want.

So I suppose knowing that I want to be happy, I might as well “act as if” I am already happy.  I don’t see that it will hurt.  In a way, it seems like a lie, though, to pretend something I don’t feel.  But if acting happy can “trick” my mind into believing I am happy, I might as well give it a shot.

Food Lies

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Hi. My name is Annie. I am a compulsive overeater.

Make a list of the food lies you have told yourself. Then, turn those lies into truths. (Paraphrased from The Emotional Eater’s Book of Inspiration, page 7.)

(The lie will be in bold. The truth of the statement will be in plain type.)

Just one bite won’t hurt.

Just one bite will turn into the whole package. One little bite will only fuel the addiction.

If I hide the receipt and no one knows what I bought, no one will know what I ate.

Hiding only postpones facing what I have done.

If no one sees me eat it, it doesn’t count.

Eating in private doesn’t take away the calories or fat and won’t keep the food from showing up on my hips. Eating in private does mean that I am probably eating more than even I am able to count.

No one will know what I ate if I hide the packages.

If I have to hide anything, then I am doing something that I know is wrong. And if I am doing something wrong, someone, somewhere, sometime will find out about it.

It’s just food. It’s not like I am smoking or drinking or getting high.

Overeating is just as deadly—if not more so—than nicotine, alcohol, or other drugs. The more I stuff into my mouth, the closer I move to death. And all the while, I am forcing my friends and family—the people I love more than anything—to watch me slowly killing myself.

I have to eat to live. Everyone does. So why is it such a big deal?

Yes, everyone does need to eat. But NO ONE needs to eat food in the large quantities that I do. They way that I eat is not eating to live—it is more like eating to die.

Less Alone

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Cover of "Idoleyes: My New Perspective on...

Cover via Amazon

My name is Annie and I am a compulsive overeater.

And today, I am feeling just a little less alone. There are two things making me feel less alone in my fight against food addiction today. One is abook. The other, a piece of jewelry.

The book is Idoleyes: My New Perspective on Faith, Fat and Fame. It was written by former American Idol contestant Mandisa. As much as I enjoy reality TV, it was not the American Idol Connection that drew me to this book. I heard about it on Smile FM, my favorite Christian radio station. Right after playing a Mandisa song (My Deliverer, I believe) the DJ mentioned that the singer had written a book about her struggles with food addiction and how her relationship with God help her to deal with it. That really caught my attention! As soon as I got home that day, I search Amazon for the book and placed my order. The book was an eiveeasy read, something I likely could have finished in a day. But I took my time with it, slowly savoring every word. In Mandisa I found something I have yet to find in the members of the OA group I belong to—a woman my age (Mandisa is almost exactly 9 months younger than I am), with a close personal relationship with Christ, who is battling an addiction to food. (Please note, I am not commenting on the relationships the women I have met at OA have with God. That is up to them! I am only commenting on what I see in Mandisa.) Reading through this book, I saw a lot of me and a lot of the woman I would like to be. I could really relate to her in so many ways. What I came away with was HOPE. God can—and will, I am certain—use this addiction to food to bring me closer to Him. I know that He has a reason I am going through this, and if I just listen and follow His leading, I will one day understand that reason.

 

My 12 Step Bracelet

The other thing that has me feeling less alone is a bracelet that I received last week. The ladies in my OA group had a craft day about a month ago that I was not able to attend. One of the crafts they made was a 12 Step Bracelet. Knowing I would not be able to attend the gathering, I paid for a kit and one of the women made the bracelet for me. I’ve been wearing mine on my left wrist ever since it was given to me. Each of the stones represents a different one of the 12 Steps. The stones really remind me of the women I see at meeting each week—different, colorful, something you wouldn’t think would actually belong together, but when placed together they make up something beautiful. Wearing the bracelet reminds me that there are others going through what I am. Not only that, it reminds that there are others who love me enough to really care about my recovery from this disease.