I am truly a mom over the top! I have been a compulsive overeater for most of my life. The first time I remember specific over the top eating behaviors was when I was 13 years old. That was 24 years ago. I started on this journey to health, to abstinence, to sanity in May, 2010. I hope that by blogging I can help, not only myself, but help others to know that they aren't alone. My tools on this journey are Overeaters Anonymous and SparkPeople.
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Happy New Year



As I sit here listening to my nearly six year old twins whine to stay up until midnight my headache multiplies exponentially.  Still, I can't help to be grateful for what this year has brought me.  I wish that I could say that I have been abstinent for my nearly 7 months in OA but I can't.  I can say that I have spent more than half of that time abstinent and that the times I have failed to keep my abstinence I mostly haven't been as far out of control as I was a year ago.   For each time that I have been able to walk away from a trigger food, for each time that I have stopped before I went into a full fledged binge, for each time I have sat and crocheted,  or written a letter, or made a phone call I am grateful.  I am ever grateful for the courage I found to walk into that first OA meeting.


I couldn't be more grateful for my friends and family this year.   During my journey to health, my journey to recovery, they have been unfailingly supportive of me.  Some have brought meals to help out post-surgery, some have helped with the kids, all have helped by listening.

Right now I am realizing that I have been neglectful in thanking God enough for His help in this journey.  As I sit here typing I am lifting my voice to praise Him in one of the best ways I know how.


There are so many things this year that were incredibly difficult but so many more good things have happened and I don't want to forget it.

Happy New Year!
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A couple of tips

Although I wouldn't recommend having surgery to anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle sometimes it can't be avoided. 

I am 12 days into my recovery from ankle ligament repair.  I have been completely non-weight bearing for those days, either in a wheel chair or on crutches the entire time.  It has been entirely frustrating.  That this whole thing coincided with the holidays hasn't made it any easier.   Friends have been super helpful by bringing meals and holiday treats. 

Apparently I am still struggling with handing my will over to my higher power because I have not resisted one single sugary temptation.   I am trying hard to get back on my plan now by tracking all of my food. 
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Oh the Most Turbulent Time of the Year



There is a reason for us to celebrate this year.    I am battling to find the joy in my heart.  The past few months have been terribly difficult.  Financially we are struggling so hard to stay afloat, we are facing the hunt for a new place to live, I have been battling to get into school.  Add injury to my ankle and resulting surgery and I have been very down.

I am struggling to remember my blessings.  I am 64 pounds lighter now than I was less than 7 months ago.  I am 64 pounds healthier.   I have a gorgeous and healthy family.   I have amazing friends who have chipped in to help while I am off of my feet healing.   I have parents who have done everything possible to make my recovery easy.  My mom has been helping me with the toddler and transporting the kids back and forth to school.   My dad installed a chair glide and handrail for me to use to transfer to crutches at the top of the stairs so I don't have to crawl up and down them.  They borrowed my grandmother's retired wheel chair for me to use so I don't have to crutch around the main level of the house.   Even the big kids have been pitching in.   Between the down time and the gloomy weather I have been battling food.  There are benefits to being non-weight bearing on one foot though, it is way too much work to get up and snack on a regular basis.  

Today was the first day (day 5) that I have been pain free.  My ankle aches a bit and itches while it heals but there is no significant pain.  I am so grateful for that.   I did crochet myself a cast cozy to keep my toes warm.


I did get a wild hair to make last minute Christmas gifts and you can check that craziness out at my crochet blog if you are at all interested.  Crocheting is fantastic.  It takes two hands so I can't do it and feed my face at the same time.

By the way, my New Year's resolution is going to be to stop calling myself a "fat girl".  
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There are benefits to foot and ankle surgery

Believe it or not, recovering from ankle surgery has a plus side.  Yes, I am in pain, yes, I have to deal with crutches but I don't have the desire to snack because it is way too much work to get up and get one.  This has not been a pleasant experience so far but at least my fear of overeating isn't proving to be reality.  
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Being broke stinks...like dirty diapers!

I keep telling my very nearly two-year-old that he had better be grateful that he is so stinking cute.   If he wasn't I would toss him out with the trash as payback for the little presents he leaves for me in his diapers.  There is nothing as stinky as a toddler who eats solid food and drinks soy milk.   Thankfully, he is too cute for words so I continue to forgive the stench.


I feel the same way about our finances right now.  We have spent months trying to dig ourselves out of the hole we are in and it seems like it just keeps getting tougher.  It is so hard to plan meals and eat the right way when your finances are limited.   With my surgery coming up in addition to the financial stresses I have decided to switch my food plan to maintenance.  This way I can have a bit more flexibility and still know that I won't gain weight during my down time.  


I am pretty blessed that many of my friends have offered to help out while I am required to be off of my feet.  Some are bringing meals, some are going to help me take care of Chance and some are helping to get the big kids to and from school.
I have never reached out to my friends for help before, not even when the twins were newborns, but I am very grateful that when I did so many stepped up to pitch in. 


I am really grateful that we are able to schedule my surgery this month.  It might seem crazy to schedule it just before the Christmas holiday but the holiday is what will make this whole thing easier on us all.   I am having ankle surgery and have to be non-weight bearing for three weeks.  I run into several obstacles to this.  First, we live in a split level house and our only bathroom is downstairs.   The only place I can really supervise the entire house from is the living room.  I can see into the big kids room, the master bedroom and part of the baby's room from the couch.  I can obviously see the living room and I can also make sure that no one is goofing off in the kitchen.   The kitchen is also where the kids are allowed to have their craft supplies out.  Add to that, the baby's room is upstairs and he naps during the day, he is ready to turn 2 in a couple of weeks and has quite the stubborn streak.  I have no idea how I could manage to get him down for nap on my own, unless he actually wanted to go.


All the planning ahead for this simple surgery has been crazy.   The thing that is really frustrating me is the surgical center.   The surgeon scheduled my surgery for the 16th but the surgical center won't call until the day before to let me know what time I need to be there.   I have three young children to plan care for and it is really annoying not to be able to plan ahead.
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Emotional Eating

Falling into the trap of emotional eating is my greatest fear.  It has been my downfall in the past and we have had such a stressful few months that I know the trap is lurking.  I see myself craving carbs and maxing out my calorie allowance.  These are things I hadn't been doing or thinking about in a while.  I will get through this.


Oh, by the way this week marks my 6 month anniversary with OA.  It took me six months of thinking about going and two months of talking about going before I walked into that first meeting.  That moment of courage has changed my life.  


I have hope for the first time that I can live a healthy and happy life.  So even while I am terrified of falling into old habits I know that I have the support of so many people around me.


My ankle surgery is scheduled for next Thursday.  Now comes the panic mode cleaning of the house and the crazy catching up on the laundry.  We also have to figure out where our little man is going.  One of my oldest friends and his girlfriend have offered to watch the baby but Chance doesn't know them so I am a bit anxious about that.  It is a good back up plan if no one else is able to help though.  The big kids will be in school.   My husband will be using his last vacation day until next May to be home on Friday.  My parents are going to get me to and home from the surgery.   Our only bathroom is upstairs in our split level and since I will be on crutches for at least 3 weeks I am nervous about my tiny bladder.  Oh well!  It will work out. 
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Good things going on

It has been so easy to focus on the tough stuff lately that I wanted to sit down and write out some good things.

Recovering from surgery is going to be so much easier now that I am almost 65 pounds lighter.

I have amazing family and friends to help me through all of the tough stuff.

Our landlords are willing to "work with us" if we want to stay in the house and can't get financed, we aren't sure what that entails but it is still good news.

If I hadn't been enrolling in school for next semester I wouldn't found out that my student loan consolidation was missing some loans in time to add the missing loans to the account (you only get six months to add new ones).

DH was able to get a "new to him" computer that enables him to finally do some work from home that can bring in some extra money.
 
My parents bought us diapers and a few groceries to get us through the week and they have been driving the kids to school and picking them up for me since I reinjured my ankle.

I have actually had a chance to talk with friends this week that I don't usually get to talk to very often.

Even if I have surgery 2 days before Chance's birthday party we will still be able to do it because my mom offered to host it at her house and it will just be our family and a couple of close friends.

There are so many more but I won't bore you with it.
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Staying positive whole facing huge obstacles

I am having a really difficult time these days.  I injured myself 3 weeks ago and have been very inactive since.   Today I found out that I need surgery to fix the years worth of damage to my ankle.   I have to have ligament repair which will have me completely off of my left foot for 3 weeks and in a walking cast for 4 weeks after that.  I have already been battling with food urges these past weeks.   It is so difficult to stay positive but I am continuing to hand things over to God and I am working on having a positive outlook.  Instead of frequently suffering the same horribly painful sprains over the next years I will be able to continue on my way without pain.  I do worry a bit about the scarring as I heal keloids so I do need to mention that to the tech when he calls to schedule.  I am praying to be able to schedule it for the 17th of this month.  That will give my husband a couple of days home with me and then the big kids will be off to school for two days and home for 15 days straight.  The thought of trying to use crutches and take care of the toddler on my own for three weeks is horrifying so I think that having the almost 6 year olds around will be a huge help.  Their Christmas break would get me nearly to the point of getting my walking cast.   So here is hoping.
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Starting Fresh

I wrote this to my amazing sponsor this morning


"I am starting fresh today.  I am working the steps.  I am getting back on track.  It is a new day and I can do this.  It has been so difficult the last couple of months and I can't thank you enough for your support.  I realized last night as I tried to fall asleep that I hadn't completely given myself over in step three yet.  I prayed, and I prayed and then I cried and prayed some more.  I prayed for release from my burdens and prayed to let go of my will and listen to God, actually listen instead of hearing what I know is right and doing the opposite.  What I had before OA was not a complete life and I refuse to go back to a half life of sneakily eating things that are not good for me.  I refuse to be an angry person who snaps at the people I love with very little reason.  I am going to embrace this freshly and begin again.  I realize my life is unmanageable and I will find my strength through God and through working the steps.  Through being open with others about my struggles instead of internalizing and hiding behind my fears."

I need this song today even though I have posted it before.



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Trying to find some inner peace

I am having a terrible time. So much stress lately, health, financial, etc. I did really well for the first several weeks and now I am really struggling again. We have been so tight financially that we are eating more cheap stuff and aren't able to buy as many veggies. I can feed us all for $2 on pasta with spaghetti sauce but it's another $3+ to add a full serving of veggies to a meal. I know that when I am not hitting the veggies and protein as hard as I should that I hit the carbs. The money that went missing while we were at Disney was basically there as a backup and we had counted on having most of it when we came home so we have been so broke. I had completely cut chocolate out of my diet because it is a trigger food but then Halloween hit and everything has been such a terrible battle since then. I ate a bunch of candy while it was here (I sent it to work with DH the next day) and I have just hit more and more sugar since. I knew it was a mistake at the time but I still bought a chocolate bar the other day and ate it in the car on the way home from the store so no one would know I hate this. I am terrified. I know that I just need to start tomorrow as a new day and get back on the program but that is so easy to "know" and can be so hard to do. I have come so far and I don't want to stop. I have gained a pound or two (the scales are balance scales and aren't perfectly accurate) and I don't want to add to that. This time of year is so hard because of the gloom and weather. Add my crappy ankle and the inability to exercise because of it and life freaking sucks. Oh, and MIL decided she would rather ply the kids with goodies (that we don't have room for) for Christmas than get us the community center membership that would benefit us all, DH and the big kids agreed because they all want goodies too. I get that she wants to play Santa but the ability to take the kids swimming in the dead of winter would be wonderful in addition to me being able to be active. UGH! If you made it this far thanks for letting me vent and stress and worry, sorry for jumping back and forth all over the place.
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Holiday ramblings and Disney update

 I both love and hate this time of year.  It is so exciting and so frustrating at the same time.  It starts with Halloween where candy is pushed in our faces for six weeks before the little holiday occurs.  Talk about nerve-wracking.  Then it moves to Thanksgiving where the entire point of most people's holidays consist of not just overeating but binging to the point of near illness.    Add the gloomy and increasingly colder weather and it makes this battle with food much more difficult.  We had a fantastic vacation and I did good with my food while we were gone but now that I am home I just want to eat.   I hate this.  63 pounds gone and I all I want to do is feed my face.   UGH!!!!   Sooooo, I have decided to go on maintenance for the next two months.  I just want to maintain and not focus on losing.  As long as I manage to get through this season without gaining a single pound I will consider it a success.



Our Disney Adventure



Forgive any typos and/or ramblings, we haven't been up terribly long and it was a short nights' sleep.



On Monday morning we loaded up and headed to the airport. The kids were fantastic and did a wonderful job through check in and security. We flew Southwest and the flight attendants were super helpful. My mom was able to board first because of her handicapped status due to her knee and back so my parents were able to save us seats all together. I managed to leave my phone on the plane when we disembarked and ended up without a way to keep in contact with my sponsor.



Chance didn’t like being trapped in his car seat so he fussed some but nothing too drastic until we started making our decent into Orlando when he started wailing and pounding on his ears. We tried to get him to drink, to eat, to chew gum but he wanted nothing to do with any of it. He was totally distraught. We were very grateful to have filled an antibiotic prescription for him on Sunday. He was a pretty miserable little man on Monday and Tuesday but perked up by Wednesday.



Christian was amazing! Every fear we have had about his behaviors over the years was blown out of the water this week. He enjoyed every new experience. He loved flying, he loved the hotel, and the parks and meeting other kids. He loved meeting the characters (except the princesses who he completely snubbed).



Patience was little miss high anxiety all week and was easily moved to tears but she was in heaven meeting the characters.



On Monday we headed to the hotel and spent the evening relaxing. The kids and I went swimming in the hotel pool.



Because of my sprained ankle last week I spent my time on a motorized cart. My mom had one too. The big kids were able to spend some time on our laps so they didn’t end up too worn out. Let me tell you that spraining my ankle just before our trip turned out to be a good thing in some ways. We were able to get fast pass handicapped access to almost all of the rides we wanted to go on.



We went to Epcot on Tuesday. It is really beautiful there. The big kids and Mike and I rode Spaceship Earth together. It was very cool. We had a character lunch with the princesses while we were there and got to eat traditional Norwegian food. Patience was so excited through it all. We also went to the character spot that day so the kids got to meet Mickey and the gang there. Chance was napping but got kisses from Minnie while he was asleep and woke to her nose in his face. Amazingly he wasn’t afraid.



Sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday $150 of ours went missing, it was our Christmas money and we planned to buy goodies for the holidays with it, I was also going to use part of it to pay for internet access for a couple of days while we were there so I could track on SP.



Wednesday we went to Magic Kingdom. We had character lunch reservations that day so we just kind of roamed for a bit before our lunch with Pooh and friends. Patience and I stood in line to meeting Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen because they weren’t at the princess lunch. , Then we went to the buffet. It was great to just sit there and have the characters come to us. I have never seen anything as precious and Chance’s reaction to meeting Tigger. He was soooooo excited. My dad has most of those pictures though. The big kids had a blast meeting Pooh, Piglet and Eeyore as well. The buffet was fantastic.



We had planned to go to the beach on Thursday but we woke up and it was quite chilly so we ended up back and Magic Kingdom upon the request of the kids. Between the two days we saw the big parade once and two smaller parades. We saw one castle show all the way through and bits of it several times. We rode at least 10 rides. Patience rode Space Mountain with my dad and I and thought it was incredible. We went through the Haunted Mansion which the kids all liked. We road Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin with all of the kids who had a blast. Chance had a meltdown when he had to get off of it. We went through Minnie’s Country house, road the teacups which Chance loved too, went on the It’s a Small world ride which was just beautiful, drove on the tomorrow land speedway, and more. It was a blast.



We went to see the “Hoop Dee Doo” dinner theatre which was sooooo much fun. The kids were clapping and singing and everyone was laughing. The food was truly wonderful and served family style. Our last day was planned as a beach back up but because of computer issues it took 2+ hours to check out of the hotel. Since that was our travel time to and from the beach we scratched those plans and ended up going to the World’s Largest McDonald’s Play Place instead. We also stopped at Target to get souvenirs which would have cost us almost 2-3 times as much at the parks.



Our flight home was full of Chance and Patience melt-downs but we survived it. Chance fell asleep as soon as we landed and we were able to carry him off of the plane in his car seat and using the stroller not only get him to the car but get the seat appropriately secured in the car. He woke up for about a minute as I slid the belt through the back of the seat. We made it home safely.



It was very nice staying at a Disney resort. The food plan was worth it just for the character lunches. We would have gotten better use out of it if we had really understood it. If you go and decide to purchase a meal plan use your snacks for breakfast (or even stop and pick up some yogurt and fruit) at the hotel or snacks at the parks, then use your fast service meals for lunch or dinner at the parks and your full service for character meals. We blew our fast service meals on breakfast which was pretty much worthless and we could have paid 1/3 for at McD’s.



It was a wonderful vacation but if I had to do it all over again I would have waited a couple of more years. First, Chance didn’t really get what was going on and was out of sorts most of the week. He was sick so it is hard to know for sure but I think he just wanted to be home and was mostly confused by it all. Christian and Patience had lots of fun but were still easily worn out and Patience hasn’t outgrown the little emotional outbursts that will hopefully become fewer with time.

All in all it was a fantastic vacation. I did great with my food. I was up one pound yesterday but I figure that I am retaining at least a couple of pounds from eating salty foods on the run and not drinking as much water as usual.

We came home to the cats having knocked my laptop off of the table and they broke the cord so I am computing from the ancient beast of our 7 year old computer. Trying to figure out where Christmas money is coming from now. Again I am going to work hard at letting go and letting God lead me to where I need to be.
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Let go and let God

The past two months of my life has been more than chaotic.  If I didn't have OA, online meetings, f2f meetings, other OAs to call I know what I would have done.  I would have gone back to being completely out of control.  In the past two months we have battled rotavirus in our toddler, a child being bullied at at school, another child battling anger, our daughter was diagnosed with asthma, our car broke down, our landlords told us that they need to put our house on the market and we discovered that we still can't get financed to buy it or any other home, our money issues have been a mess, I have had chronic bronchitis for nearly a month, the kids have been battling severe allergies, our gifted son was being ignored by the staff at school, and the list goes on.  To top it off my parents are gifting us with a trip to Walt Disney World next week and I sprained my ankle two days ago.  

Through it all my sponsor has been beside me.  When it has been overwhelming she has been able to talk me down.  If I needed someone and she couldn't be reached I grabbed my phone list or wrote an email or wrote a blog entry.  My food has not been spectacular through it all, it hasn't even been good but it has been okay.  I have not binged (which is a huge success for me), I have not turned to sugary foods, I have not gone over my daily calories but I have been carb loading which can lead to problems for me.   

The other day I realized that I haven't been reviewing the steps each day and I decided to start.   I told my sponsor that my theme for each day right now is "Let go and let God".  After I sprained my ankle not only was I devastated but my parents were upset by the money that has been spent to make this a fantastic vacation and now I am injured.  However, after just letting go and asking my HP to take my burdens and to guide me I have been able to, with the help of family and friends,  stay almost entirely off of my feet for the past couple of days.  I have crutches to use for the times it just isn't possible.  The big kids were taken to school yesterday by my parents and picked up by a friend.  Someone else stopped and picked up soy milk for the toddler when I ran out before my husband got home from work.  My ankle feels a ton better than it did two days ago and I think I will be healed enough by Monday to spend some time on my feet each day. I was a bit panicked about not having internet access while we are gone (we can't afford an extra $50 for the week) and a friend from OA handed me $10 so I can log in during the middle of the week and enter my food into sparkpeople and touch base with my sponsor and anyone else I feel a need to reach out for.   I just had to share how amazing things can turn out when you allow yourself to be led and you do accept the things you can't change.   

There is a serenity to be found.  I can't undo my injury but I can rent a motorized cart to ride around the parks.  I can't change our financial situation at the moment but I was able to talk with our landlords and they are giving us until spring to move so we have our income tax return to finance the venture with.  They also gave us the name for some lenders who could possibly help.   I can't be on my feet making the house sparkle before we leave but I can get the family up and working and at least get it completely picked up so we don't come home to chaos. 


The whole point of this ramble is that I am incredibly grateful.  I could weigh 20 pounds more than I did 8 weeks ago, instead I have lost 4-5 pounds during that time.   I could have been on the path to destroying all of the progress I have made with my help but instead I am still (at least mostly) on track!

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I am not alone




Sometimes it is hard not to feel isolated when much of the world doesn't understand the struggles I face each day but them I remember....

I am not alone.  I will never be alone.   I know that if I listen I will be lead on the right path.  

I am so entirely grateful for the support of friends and family as well.  I can't do this on my own.   I am grateful for my sponsor and my OA friends.  I am thankful, in this month of Thanksgiving, that I have found a new way to live.
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Addiction is such a dirty word

ad·dic·tion  [uh-dik-shuhn]

–noun
the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.
I think there are lots of people around who have compulsive eating problems who would never come to a realization that the way they were living was the life of an addict.   It saddens me to see other people living like I did, in denial about the problems facing them.   It breaks my heart.   I spent so many years making decision after decision that would lead to my early death.   I wish I could travel back in time and tell my 16 year old self that in 20 years weighing 165 pounds would feel amazing to me.  That I would be one of the thinnest of my acquaintances.   How dreamy it would have been if I had sought counseling, an OA meeting, or even talked with a Dr. before I had done so much damage to my health and to my self-esteem.
During high school I was so incredibly shy and my feelings were hurt so easily.  There was a small group of boys who  I was friends with but the oldest of the bunch not so much.  I would love to go back and ask him if he was compensating for a small penis by picking on the insecure teenage girl.   As for the mean and nasty teenage girls, well most of them look like I did six months ago.  Karma.   I reacted to all the sadness, shyness, insecurity, depression and insecurity by sneaking food.  By eating crud instead of making healthy choices.  I pray that my children somehow escape the teenage years without lasting scars.

I went away (an entire 1 hour drive) to college with a very low self esteem and shortly after I started school my 22 year old boyfriend of 15 months decided to dump me because weekends weren't enough.   I moved forward by spending time with friends, including guy friends.  A word of advice.  Don't become friends with the boyfriends of your girl friends.  Eventually it will bite you in the ass.   Whether it is your friends' resenting you or you picking the wrong guy to befriend who takes advantage of you (or worse) it just isn't a good idea.   I am not saying that girls and guys can't be friends, just try to avoid situations that could make your life complicated and difficult.

After some pretty intense stuff went down I ended up with a private dorm room a few months into college.   I think that was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.  Not only did I eat crap in the cafeteria but I came back to my room and drank soda and chose very poor snacks.  If I hadn't made some good friends I can't imagine how much more weight I could have put on.   

Another bit of advice.  Unless your grades are perfect and you actually have study skills (high school work came easy to me so I never really developed study skills or the ability to manage my time well)  make sure that your parents are monitoring your progress.  I had some problems financially and also ended up in a pretty severe depression my third year of school.  It led to me skipping classes, dropping classes and eventually transferring in an effort to salvage my academic career.  I failed to salvage anything.  I had some close friends left from high school but wasn't able to keep in touch with many of my friends from my first years of college.  

Another sage bit of wisdom.  If you can possibly get through college without student loans do everything you can to make it happen.  Go to a community college and pay cash, apply for grants and scholarships, transfer to a state school with great grades and get a scholarship.  Don't blow it.   What I wouldn't give to have been an educated professional for the past 14 years.

There are definite advantages to how my life moved forward after college though.  One of my very best friends and I were reintroduced to each other by a mutual friend.  We had barely known each other in high school but it was amazing to find someone so easy to love.  She is the reason I met my husband, over 12 years ago.  I turn 37 in February.  I will start back to college in January.  I am attending the local community college.  I am determined to ace my classes and begin the process of forgiveness---forgiving myself for all of the bad choices I made and the damage I caused myself.  In so many ways I was more a victim of myself than of any high school bully, purse snatcher, credit card company or poorly chosen friends.
 
So, if you are a person who eats to illness often, who hides food, who eats in secret, who binges, etc.  Please step back and figure out that this is an addiction and that no diet alone can make a lasting change in your life.  You have to move forward and heal all of the things that lead you to self destruction.   Find counseling, find a support group, check out an OA meeting online, on the phone or face to face, talk to your doctor, talk with a friend.  Whatever it takes to start the healing process and change your life for the better just do it.


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Step 3

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him

This is just a partial definition of the word Will in its noun form


noun, verb, willed, will·ing. –noun
1.
the faculty of conscious and especially of deliberate action; the power of control the mind has over its own actions: the freedom of the will.
2.
power of choosing one's own actions: to have a strong or a weak will.
3.
the act or process of using or asserting one's choice; volition: My hands are obedient to my will.
  
Each of us was born with free will.   We have made our own decisions.  We have made our own mistakes.  We are either people who learn from those mistakes or we aren't but we are always in possession of an ability to choose where we will go. We use our experiences, intellect, conscience, feelings,  wants and our needs to guide us to those decisions.   Sometimes our wants outweigh the rest and sometimes our emotions guide us to decisions that we know are mistakes but somehow we keep making the same decisions over and over again.
That was and continues to be the center of my compulsive overeating.   I have spent more than 2 decades making decisions about food when I am being led by emotions and wants.   I can no longer rely on myself alone to make the right decisions.   I must turn my life over to God.  I must turn my will over to Him.  I have spent so many years trying to assert my own independence that it is difficult to listen to another voice.  When I remember to start my day with the first three steps from OA my days move by so much more easily.   I am able to listen to God speaking through my mind, my conscience, my heart and make the right decisions when it comes to food.  
When I decide that I am handling things okay and I can do it on my own is when I begin to fail.  My self absorption leads me to believe I am infallible that I can have a bite of chocolate and move on from there with no lasting ill effects.   Oh boy, how I am wrong and how I fail to meet my goals when I don't trust this God that moves in me.  I am not a "religious" person.  I don't push my faith on those around me but I hope that as I continue on this journey that they can see my faith shining through.   
I am Tina, I am a compulsive overeater.   I am learning to heal not just my body but my spirit and my psyche by working the 12 steps of OA.   I have lost 61 pounds over the past 5 months.   I have made amazing changes and have seen myself blossom over these past months.  I am enrolled and am going back to college in January.  I have been actively looking for jobs that will work with my husbands' schedule, around my school and let me be home with all of my children in the evenings.   I have been building my crochet business instead of just talking about it.   I have been seeking out new friends.
Life is in chaos right now.  We found out just a few days ago that we have to find financing for our home or move, our landlords just can't afford to keep renting it.  We are hunting down mortgage lenders who work with people with lets just say less than perfect credit.  We have been juggling back and forth about staying here because if we can find financing we can probably find more house for the same amount of money, maybe even less money.   We love our home though and have put a lot into it, we have put new flooring down through most of the house, we have painted and decorated, we fenced the yard.   We have loved this home and our babies have grown into Kindergartners here.  Our youngest came home to this house as a newborn.  We have been here exactly five years.   I love our neighborhood, I have friends here that I would miss but we are looking at the positives of the situation.  We can no longer sit around on our duffs and let the world move past us, we have to be proactive and figure out where we are going from here.   Luckily our landlords are great and we have some time to figure out financing and exactly what we are going to do.
We are getting ready for vacation, we are taking the kids to Walt Disney World in a few weeks.  The baby won't remember it but the big kids are so incredibly excited.
Needless to say there is lots of extra stuff going on with us.  Halloween was a killer for me.  5 months without chocolate and in 18 hours I ate about 20 bite size candy bars.  Not my proudest moment. 
I woke up the next morning and prayed.  I asked God to guide me, to lead me in each decision.  The past 3 days have been blessedly peaceful.  I will continue to succeed.  I cannot do this without my higher power, I can't do this without my supportive friends at OA and I certainly can't do this without a sponsor who keeps me from getting too far ahead of myself.  I am blessed to have a wonderfully supportive family and amazing friends. 

Through all of this I continue to ask God to lead me. 
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A Love/Hate Relationship

The reasons I love Halloween









And the reasons I hate Halloween
This is just what I dug into today.  I hit the stash for about this much last night as well.  It is amazing to me that after 5 months abstinent from chocolate how easy it was to put that first bite in my mouth and not stop.  I am done now.  The chocolate is heading to work with my husband tomorrow.  The kids are going to pick out two pieces for each day of school this week and the rest of it is going to go to a local dentist who is buying back candy and sending it to U.S. troops in Afghanistan.  

So, today is day 1.  One day at a time.  I need to remember that I have done this one day at a time.  I have become healthy.   I am sure the last month and a half of stressors combined with Halloween candy to push me over the edge but I just don't need the temptation of having it around the house. 

I am down 61 pounds.  I have done amazingly well over the past two months not binging, I have hit the carbs hard a few times.  I have hit the chocolate for the past 24 hours but nothing like I could have done in the past.   I am going to get past the Halloween Hurdle and move forward.

Hitting the veggies and protein hard today to make up for the extra carbs.  I plan to continue that through the week.  I have found that when I go through a carb loading stage if I back off of them a lot for just a few days that I am able to get back to a regular balanced diet and stick to it.
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So much for getting back on track

My ranges are fine, fat/calories/carbs/protein but I still find myself eating things that are trigger foods.  I have had Jiffy frosting mix sitting in the cabinet for a year.  Last night I was in scavenging mode and found myself mixing up frosting and eating it by the spoonful.  I have decided to look at the positives of the situation though.  Last night I mixed the frosting and ate it, but after 5 or 6 spoonfuls I stopped.  I walked to the sink and I ran the frosting down the drain.   In the past I could have eaten the entire package and possibly made another one.  As it was I ate under two servings of frosting.   I wish I hadn't hit the sugar but am very grateful that I pulled myself back from the brink.  

The good news for the day is that 36 hours into antibiotics I am beginning to feel a bit better than I was.  I am hoping to recover quickly from this nasty bronchitis and get back into shape before we head to Disney World next month. 
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Sick of sickness.

Wow, I don't have enough words to express how tired I am. The past month has been sooooo trying. I am perpetually overwhelmed. I am getting back on track and have cut the sugar out of my diet again. I did okay during the height of the stress but was taking in way too many carbs. I did manage to lose 3 pounds over the past couple of weeks. 59 pounds so far. I can't complain about that. I ended up with the cold that kicked my daughter's asthma back into gear and for me it has turned into bronchitis. I just want to be well. I keep tracking though and am hoping to get back to my Spark People forums after our trip to Disney next month. Our schedule is complete chaos until then.   I am doing well with OA and am so grateful for the support I find there.
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Turmoil




Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" performed by Josh Groban and Brian McKnight




When you're weary
Feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all

I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you

I'll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind


There are moments in time when you just need to hear the right song.  I heard the Glee version of this song in the car today.  This comes after two weeks of the 21 month old with rotavirus, my five year old son being bullied at school and my five year old daughter spending the weekend with severe asthma problems leading to a re-diagnosis with asthma after more than two years asthma free.  I was woken this morning by the phone ringing and my mother letting me know that my uncle had passed away early this morning.  He died of metastatic lung cancer after 45 years of smoking.  So incredibly sad.  I wasn't terribly close to him but feel terribly sad for my aunt and my cousins who I was close to.

We are still in financially murky waters which got murkier with the asthma re-diagnosis because of the $93 worth of meds we just had to fill prescriptions for  (that was after we got two sample inhalers from the Dr. ).   I did apply for many jobs last week but haven't heard back about a single one.


With all of the turmoil surrounding my life over the past couple of weeks I re-evaluated my Spark People goals and upped my calorie intake a bit.  I have spent so much time running and caring for everyone else that I was wearing myself down.  It is time to give myself some breathing room.  I have lost 56 pounds so far and for this moment I want to concentrate on healing my mind and my spirit more than I want to focus on what the numbers on a scale are saying.  I know if I continue to track my food and set reasonable goals that I will continue to lose the weight but it will come off slower than it has to this point.  That is okay though.


I am tired and am praying for some relief but it may be a while coming still.  I continue to be incredibly grateful for OA and for the people there.  Each week I am touched by someone else's story as I find myself relating to so much that is shared.


Time for baby nap and mommy lunch :D
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And the stress continues

It is 11:05 p.m. so I should be sleeping but instead I want food.  Why do I want food?  Because I am stressed, I am seriously terrified that we won't make the rent this week, that our water will be shut off because we can't get it paid on time.  It is like every time we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel something more hits us financially, one of the cars goes down, the basement floods, a child gets sick and needs medicine and a doctor's visit, the list goes on and on.  Eventually it snow balls until we don't know which end is up and how the hell we are going to get rent to the landlord in time. 

We have pretty spectacular landlords who take care of problems as quickly as they can.  They are nice people and we share mutual friends.  I don't want to rock the boat, I don't want to risk angering them.  I just want to be able to pay the rent and still be able to feed my kids. 

I am hoping that one of us can find an evening job for a while to help get us out from under the mire.  So far I have resisted raiding the 'fridge but I wish the stress would just magically go away so I don't have to keep fighting through this place.
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What a week!

If you have never experienced a young child with rotavirus be very thankful indeed.  My 21 month old has been so sick all week.  I bought a pack of 80 diapers on Sunday, not even needing them yet and have gone through about 70 of them.  The stench is unbelievable.  The house smells like air fresheners because the alternative is far too gross.   The poor baby's bottom was so raw and painful.




Changing that many diapers wore me out.  I spent the week carb loading.  I still managed to to stay within my calories all but one day and still stuck to about 2000 on that day too.   I am trying to reroute my brain back to the healthy side of eating.  It isn't easy.

I am hoping that the next week will be a little easier.  Little man seems to be feeling better.   My house is in good shape and I just have a couple of loads of laundry to get done.

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Progress

March 2010
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Started OA and SP on May 28th
July  - 20 pounds
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End of August down 40 pounds
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Today  down 54 pounds  (not much difference in the past month but getting more toned)
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Every day I feel more accomplished and I continue to see an increase in energy. Even days like today when 2 of the 3 kids are down with the rotavirus and I am just waiting for the 3rd to succumb I can smile and know I will get through this too.
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So worn out...but it is good!

I may possibly win the title of World's Worst Housekeeper.  Over the years I have seemed to be at a loss as to how to get myself organized.  Where to start cleaning and how to keep going until it was done the right way.  I basically gave up a long time ago and decided I would never get it right, or the way I wanted it so why bother?  I have spent years doing the minimum to get by.   Don't get me wrong, we don't live in filth but we do live in lots of clutter. 

This week I vowed to change that.

I had laundry from last year piled up in storage buckets sitting in our garage (where the washer and dryer are located).  Without exaggeration I had to have done 40 loads of laundry this week.  The last load is in the washing machine right now.  As I washed the clothes I found many things that were only worn a few times before they were lost in the mess.  I found bitty baby outfits from my almost two year old.  I found clothes that could have been saved if only stains had been treated right away.  I found many things that were already outgrown by the kids.  What a waste.   Now it has all been sorted.  Baby clothes have been passed on and the rest of the stuff we can no longer used is being donated.

Last Sunday we cleaned house.  Really dug in and got things looking nice.  As the week progressed I not only kept it clean but continued to do more detailed cleaning around the house.

This week my goal is to get the basement floor, which hasn't been right since it flooded in May, cleaned up so I can moved the stuff that belongs in the basement back down there and make my garage functional before it gets too much colder out.  I also want to get the flooring that we have had for about 9 months put down in our bedroom.

Hopefully within a couple of weeks we can get some painting done.  Our hall needs to be finished, the accent wall in the kitchen needs to be painted (at minimum) and our master bedroom is in desperate need of a paint job, the twins' room need to be touched up as well.

We discovered that our deck is literally falling apart.  Not good.  Hoping it is a low cost fix and that the landlords can get to it asap as it is our only easy access to the back yard.

I am really hoping to get this all dealt with in the next six weeks.





As for food...I have done pretty well this week.  I am not hearing the voices of the food items speaking to me nearly as often as I used to....lol.  Seriously though, it has been a good week.  I am hoping that I will have a better weigh in tomorrow than last week.
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Damn Mother Nature and the Horse She Rode In On




MOST DAYS!

The wonders of being a woman kept me from making my goal of 2 pounds this week, I was barely able to hold my own.  Water retention is not a beautiful thing.   In addition to that I missed my meeting Saturday morning.   This is the first time I have missed an OA meeting in the past 4 months.  

 Four months, I can hardly believe it.  I feel like this lifestyle change is starting to become innate.  I don't often struggle to make the right choices these days.  I ended up eating restaurant food 4 times last week.  It was just a fluke of circumstances but each time I chose a healthy meal and kept it light.  Not only did I make light choices but I enjoyed every bite of them.  I had a spinach, ham and mozzarella egg white omelet with whole wheat toast.  I was very satisfied afterward and it was amazing.


I worry that I will slip again though, I think that I will always worry.  It has been a couple of months since I have gone off of my food plan.  I feel better than ever.  50 pounds lighter feels amazing.  I have so much more energy and am just happier.  I am just beginning to really work with my sponsor and feel lucky to have found one.  I know many people who are trying to work the program without one and I don't know how they manage.


I found an amazing product at the store yesterday.  Flatout brand flat bread.  I picked up the light original as an alternative to a tortilla.  They are fewer calories and 2.5 fat grams which is the same as the tortillas I usually buy.  I smeared a full serving (could have used less but needed the calories and protein) of reduced fat peanut butter at one end and put a whole banana across it (too lazy to slice it) and rolled it up just like that.  It was amazing.  The texture and flavor of the flat bread was nicer than doing this with a tortilla and Hy Vee's reduced fat PB is really good.  Oh, and the bonus...each flat bread has 9 grams of fiber.
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Thankful



I could not be more thankful today.   My 10th wedding anniversary is in just a few days and I am blessed to have a husband who has spent our marriage making sacrifices to make my dreams come true and provide for our family.  We have been faced with so many obstacles during our marriage but we keep overcoming them together.   We have three beautiful children who know that their daddy loves them and wants the best for them.  We have a nice home and cars that continue to run after more than a decade each. 


Now we are going to have our health.  As I have walked this path toward health my husband has been so supportive and now he has begun to get serious about his own journey.  Adding diet changes to his already great workout schedule.


Today I weigh 50 pounds less than I did not quite 4 months ago.  I have hope that loss will continue and that my health and happiness will continue to increase.


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Let Me Fall--Josh Groban


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Let me fall
Let me climb
There's a moment when fear
And dreams must collide
Someone I am
Is waiting for courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me
So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear them
Let me fall
If I fall
Though the phoenix may
Or may not rise
I will dance so freely
Holding on to no one
You can hold me only
If you too will fall
Away from all these
Useless fears and chains
Someone I am
Is waiting for my courage
The one I want
The one I will become
Will catch me
So let me fall
If I must fall
I won't heed your warnings
I won't hear
Let me fall
If I fall
There's no reason
To miss this one chance
This perfect moment
Just let me fall




What I have learned over the past 3 1/2 months is that I have to be the one to change.  I can't rely on someone else to save me.  I can't listen to the advice of someone who hasn't been through this and learn anything, I have to rely on my ability to take risks and find out what works for me.  I am incredibly grateful to my friends and family.  Especially my OA sponsor and meeting friends, to my Spark People buddies who keep me on track with Challenges and just by checking in with me.  


On Sunday I weighed in and was 237 pounds.  That is what I weighed on my wedding day.  It seems like divine timing because our 10th Anniversary is this week. 


As much as my husband can make me crazy sometimes he is a pretty amazing guy. It was his idea to move forward with fertility treatments after we spent 3 1/2 years trying to conceive on our own. Our twins Christian and Patience were born 9 days after his dad died from metastatic prostate cancer. At the time my hubby was working full time and working on his masters degree, yet he woke up at every feeding for six months, he never hesitated to change a nasty diaper, he walked in the door from work and started helping with the babies. When I had a chemical pregnancy months before we conceived Chance he was a rock. When we, amazingly, got pregnant with Chance (after the shock wore off) he stepped up and started getting things ready. He worked two jobs. He helped me with night time changes when the baby came 4 1/2 weeks early in addition to the daytime stuff. He took the big kids to Karate. He loved me when I was 237 pounds and relatively perky the day we got married, he still thought I was at 285 pounds after two pregnancies, he has been an amazing support on this journey to health.


I feel blessed to have him as a partner.
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Good Neighbors

I had such a fun thing happen to me on Friday. I was loading the baby into my car and my neighbor drove past and yelled out the window "hey skinny". She pulled into her driveway and got out to tell me how great I look. I am by no means skinny, let's get real but it is heavenly that people are seeing the differences in me. The thing is I feel good. I don't think it is as much about the weight, although that has made a big difference, as it is about my spiritual and emotional growth over the past months.


I smile, ALL THE FREAKING TIME! Even when I am stressed out about something I try to take a deep breath and work toward the best case scenario resolution to the problem. I have energy. I have motivation. I am disappointed when the weather is crappy and I have to drive the kids to school instead of walking with them. I am not letting my mood be dependent on my husbands' happiness. That is a big thing for me. I am so co-dependent that in the past I have felt like I can't be happy unless he is. Now I understand his stress but am not going to let it affect my outlook.


I work hard to take the kids' attitudes as normal behavior for their ages and move forward. I am so much more patient with the kids now. I rarely raise my voice to them which is a huge improvement.


I am learning to hand things over to my higher power and understand that I cannot do this alone. The second step of OA is coming to believe that our higher power can restore us to sanity. I look back and realize just how insane I was. That my outward demeanor wasn't honest. That I let the world think that everything was okay while I moved through life angry with myself, hating who I was. I feel like I really robbed my kids of a calm life for their first years. I was so loud and over the top with my reactions to little things. For a really long time we were the "loud" family where everyone yelled all of the time. I hate that. I hate that I was the instigator. Kids are supposed to be noisy and mouthy and my reactions were not sane.


I spent lots of time hiding my eating behaviors. Getting rid of the "evidence" of overeating by cleaning dishes or burying wrappers where they wouldn't be found. I obsessed about food. I finished what was on the kids' plates if they didn't eat. I ate myself sick. I ate bags of chips, packages of cookies and cartons of ice cream. I didn't know what a portion was supposed to look like. I continued with my behaviors knowing that they would eventually cause my health to decline, that they would kill me before my time. I continued with this insanity even while crying inside because I knew I wouldn't live to see my grandchildren. I knew that I wouldn't grow old with my husband.



There is nothing so insane as continuing behavior that you know is killing you.



Now I am still tempted.  I had to grocery shop the other day and walking through the store everything seemed to call to me.  The difference between then and now is that I was able, for that moment, to walk past without giving into my addiction.  For that day I fought my way to sanity.  


Today I spent the afternoon at a birthday party.  There were hot dogs and potato chips.  There was lots of cake.  I had a small pink cupcake and a few bites of the baby's cupcake as well.  Instead of gorging on junk food I used common sense.  Never before have I been capable of that. 


There are definitely times when this journey is terribly difficult but the happiness has far outweighed the difficult.  Nothing about this journey is what I would call easy but it is peaceful.  I am living my entire life more honestly now that I have accepted that I need God and OA to keep me sane.  I need SparkPeople to keep me on track with my food.  I need friends to share with.  I need neighbors to notice.

 
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