Friday, March 2, 2007

Don't Stone Me, Part One

I am not quite buying the whole food addiction thing.

I can't believe I just wrote that. I have lost 65 pounds as a result of the addiction mindset.

Ding, bing, bong, ker-pow, zowey, light bulb comes on, epiphany. It is a mindset. Mindset, a mind which has been set. "Mind" means in my thinking, not in my body. And if my mind has been set it can be unset. If it can be unset it is not locked in one spot. Change is possible. I am not just at the whim of my physiology. I have a choice. I do not have to live one unguarded mouthful away from relapse and 245 pounds. Imagine me jigging around my computer chair. Woo, woo. woo.

Okay down to cases. A yearish ago desperate and despised (by me) I bought books by Kay Sheppard and Frances Kuffel. Both were a fluke and sort of fell off the shelf at me. I read Kay's "From The First Bite" first. Made perfect sense to my mind. Then I read "Passing For Thin." Touched my heart, and reinforced what Kay had said. I believe God sent both books to me. I began doing Kay's plan and found Frances and support at the "angry fat girlz" blog. The weight began rolling off.

Then we had to move. (This statement should be accompanied by a dull thudding sound.) I was at 179 when we moved. I went eating nuts for the first while we were here and did not gain a pound. I was unpacking boxes from dawn until dusk and eating three huge non-abstinent meals a day. I did not binge. I didn't have the time. I lost weight, 178. Bells should be ringing again here. Eventually all the boxes were unpacked. I quit eating like a demented mowing machine and went back to Kay's regimented plan. And I gained weight, 180-183. What the hey? I have kept on with the Kay's plan (sort of) but was/am very, very discouraged.

In the midst of this frustration I recently stumbled into the "Baby Steps V" blog. Vickie (author) is also following Kay's food plan. With a twist. She does not view her food plan as abstinent but as "healthy." She also occasionally has pizza or chinese with her family and does not seem to get bent out of shape about it or go on month long binges after. Very odd. In spite of my own experience with my Whopper and Hershey Pie unpacking diet I still believe/believed if one bite of sugar or flour passed my lips I was/am doomed to relapse. But something is niggling at my brain. Is there a difference between healthy eating and abstinence?

Next time... bad habits, cravings vs. stimuli, psychological dependence vs. physiological dependence, moral failure vs. disease, the Wendie Plan and much, much more. Stay tuned.

Take care of yourselves. Love Bea


Anonymous said...

Speaking of "stoning you" I use to live just a couple of blocks from Shirley Jackson's home in N. Bennington,VT. That story has haunted me for years. At any rate you are doing a great job on the diet as you keep going. Wish I could say the same. Marti D.

BigAssBelle said...

this is my perpetual tangle, beula. funny that you've had this turnaround when i've at long last surrendered to the concept of a disciplined food plan. again. again and again and again.

i wrote this morning about food plans and linked it to a post i wrote last summer about the M&M diet a shrink put me on. it worked great. for a while. and then it was crazy.

i do think the majority of people truly can manage these things in moderation. grains, for certain. less positive about sugar. i just don't know and part of my not knowing is the medical and psychiatric professions saying "no such thing!!" but my body screams "such thing!!" and i just don't know.

how much is my denial and the cunning, baffling and powerful disease finding a way around me to get the food it craves? how much of that is incipient insanity? i. just. don't. know. it is so frustrating.

where i am today, i need some discipline. i've been trying to eat like my husband and it just doesn't work for me.

the important thing is that you've had an epiphany and it's meaningful to you and working for you right this minute. maybe this whole deal is about intermittent epiphanies and life changes working for whatever period of time they work.

although i've done greysheet abstinence for years at a time, i was never quite as rigid as some of the folks i met from new york who weighed and measured down to the last 1/4" shred of cabbage. and it worked. it worked with my mental laxity in place that made it just not quite the have to be perfect thing that pushes me over the edge.

i talk and talk and write and write and it still feels as if i don't know what the hell i'm talking about at any given moment.

but thanks for writing this and thanks for listening :-)

Beula said...

Yeah Marti. Glad to hear from You!

Beula said...

belle, I may be luny as a tune about all of this this.

I have read all the literature about the addictive process and food. It all makes sense. I have also taken care of "real" addicts. A body screaming out for meth at the cellular level is not the same as someone trolling the kitchen on a carb binge. I know I am comparing apples and tool belts here. It is also at withdrawal that the physiological food addiction model breaks down for me. Tweaking, turkey skin, hallucinations and not being able to pee are not the same things as sleeping off a three day pudding and donut bender.

I believe I am addicted to food on a psychological level. Yes indeedy. If that be the case, with God's help, I can change my mind. If I am addicted at a physiological level my cellular response to food can never change. I am doomed to fight the good food fight forever. Sigh. Maybe I am just in denial.

Thank you for your thought-ful and thought provoking response. If you have any more ideas I am open to them. God knows I need all the wisdom I can garner in this area.

"Incipient insanity" = it's all in our heads? I think that is what I am struggling to say. Take care.

Debra said...

I'm with Lynette (bigassbelle) on this one, especially the part about having epiphanies that tell you different things at different times. Sometimes you can handle food, and sometimes you can't. Sometimes the M&M thing works (it did for me in college when I was modeling -- allowing myself one candy bar per day kept me away from all other junk food and kept my weight down), and sometimes it's the entrance ramp on the Highway to Hell (didn't work so well ten years later and after that). How do you know which is when? You don't. Experience teaches you. Again and again.

BigAssBelle said...

hey beula, i just made a long rant on debra's blog, which pretty much addresses what you've said here.

i did not in ANY way mean to discourage you in this new look at what ails you. i am all for anyone doing anything to control this plague aside from putting a finger down the throat or simply starving, anorexic-style.

i know what you're talking about with the "real addiction" meth, narcotics, etc. it is very different from what i experience with food. i do, though, experience a withdrawal. it's pretty ugly, and was especially so early on when i was such a messed up little twit that the simple act of living through a day binge-free was sufficient to bring on the heeby jeebies.

sans food, i was a scream with skin on. with recovery and therapy a lot of that worked out and on any good day, i can say that i am as happy as i've ever been, at peace, content, joyful, with a great life. i am fantastic. and i am stuck with this food thing. it makes me crazy, that schizo way of living, one foot in the insanity and the other in my delicious life.

my craving for alcohol was subtle in that i would take a drink ~ the single one i'd planned ~ then find all sorts of reasons to take another. then another and another and another until some outside circumstance stopped me or i passed out. although sugar doesn't make me pass out, it surely makes me sick, and the effect sneaks up on me. i think i'll be fine if i eat a piece of that birthday cake.

the frustrating / crazy-making / insanity of it is that i may be fine. maybe for quite a while, then i find myself doing something like i did sunday night. coming home with mike, i made an excuse to run out to the store for milk so i could get a stash. ended up eating a hot dog(on a good day, ick!), two pieces of cheesecake, a huge hershey bar. then i came home and made fried eggs in toast, had hot chocolate and went to bed.

i'd had a great day. i can't tell you why i did this except ~ maybe ~ i've been taking sugar back just a little at a time over the last week or so and it finally really, really got me.

i don't know. i wish i knew. i know that today ~ today only, just for me ~ i'm good.

i hope you are NOT a food addict. please don't be dissuaded by anything i say because i go back and forth with this like the pendulum of a clock.

really, really enjoying your thoughts on this thing.

daisyk said...

B.A. Belle deserves a Nobel for "scream with a skin on," which is how I, too, am in the early days of coming off food. Your epiphany is an important one but remember that three meals a day, even heavy ones, isn't, quite, bingeing. You were doing heavy physical work & even having to digest much heavier food was probably your main calorie-burner of the day.

A lot of hard drugs lead to much more serious withdrawl than what some of us go through with food. But tobacco, caffeine, pot & even many alcohol/cocaine/etc. withdrawls are very, very similar -- & smilarly "mild".

I go back & forth, Beula. But I've really cleaned up my act, on a quite modified Kat Sheppard track, & am so much more at peace. Today that's priceless but I don't count on it to last more than a half hour.

Keep asking the questions!

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