Days 37-46: Circle the Wagons!

DANG it has been a while since I have blogged! A LOT has been going on! We visited Silverwood theme park in Idaho for 5 days then headed up to Hood Canal for the 4th and am now back at the Lake trying to get caught up from all that vacation! It was a good vacation…lots of family…lots of laughter…lots of frustration…some off-plan indulgences…and no weigh-in. You mash all that up you have some good times even though it was not all pretty.

Days 37-42: Silverwood

For a small theme park they sure pack in a ton of action! Their water park was awesome and their theme park was equally pleasing. I really appreciated the fact that it was not huge. You could do all the rides and the water park in one day…the whole park was clean and the people were friendly…and the attractions were just my style! We were traveling with Grady’s family and my little almost 4 year old nephew. He of course had a BLAST. Who could not have fun swimming and playing all day!

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The only downside of the whole trip was the HEAT. When we arrived on Sunday it was 115 DEGREES. That is like desert hot…and they were all camping! We stayed in a hotel…A/C, Wireless…yeah sign me up for that. They have nice big camper trailers with AC but man that did not help when you are cooking and eating and socializing outside. I am NOT a heat person. Unless I am in Hawaii and next to a beach with my swimsuit on I don’t do heat. I was not a happy camper. One day I think I had a touch of heat stroke. It was all I could do to find some shade and sleep it off. The heat drove me to a few bad decisions. The second day in the park it was HOT and FULL SUN…no puffy white clouds and NO shade to really speak of. There is a lazy river with a swim up bar and it was calling me to it’s cool slurppee like adult beverages. I had two and they were DELICIOUS. As Callie would say…BOMB.COM!

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The first one was tasty…the second not so much. I have not had a drop in 6 or 7 weeks so I they had a mild affect…it did however cool me down. I also had some soft serve ice cream that was NOT worth it. It was too sweet and too filling and not as awesome as I had anticipated. Slushy drinks= YES…soft serve= NO. But other than that I really stuck to the plan. I ordered salads and hamburgers with no bun for lunch in the park, drank a TON of water and only ate dinner meals that were on plan! We had pre-planed to dinner meals before leaving and that made a HUGE difference. We all ate on plan every night and that was the only way I could have stayed on plan. Thank you family! I was however not feeling so great about some of my decisions. I knew that I had gone off plan and was starting to get the feeling that I was losing track of all of my “indulgences”. That was NOT something I wanted to do. So every night I would go through the day food wise and review what I had eaten. But when you are not writing things down your brain has the ability to make shit disappear. Was I now off the wagon? Was I in relapse? Did I totally screw myself?

Our final night in Idaho we all went into Coeur d’Alene to see the lake and walk the boardwalk. I resisted having an adult beverage or a snow-cone or all the other goodies that were around every bend. I stuck to my water and enjoyed the scenery, the boats, and showing my nephew around the joint. It is a beautiful place. Very green, very clean, very inviting. Grady and I made the decision to return in September, early October to enjoy the lake and get in some golfing. It also kinda gave me a new goal to reach towards. Where do I want to be numbers-wise by this mini-vacation? What was I going to do in the next two months to earn this trip? I asked my sister-in-law to take this picture of Grady and I and I am so glad that I did. Not because it is a lovely picture of us but because of what other people saw.

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I posted this pic to Facebook about an hour later and my phone BLEW UP with text messages and FB messages from people. Everyone commented on how good I looked in this picture. They were seeing the difference in my shape and size and let me know that. It was a shock to say the least. I was not expecting that reaction to this picture. I still cannot tell any difference…my clothes fit the same…I feel the same…nothing on my end has changed. But to know that others are seeing the difference does make me feel better about the whole thing. Not that I am doing any of this to change my looks but when I cannot see or feel anything it is really nice to know that others can. So that was a really nice way to end the trip.

We left Idaho a bit early; I had a 7pm appointment with David, my therapist. I was looking forward to talking with him about the trip and also about my fear that I had fallen off the plan wagon, that I had relapsed, that I was headed down a dark path with a crappy flashlight. He asked me how it went and I was honest about everything. He started laughing a bit…that trucker was finding humor in my misery! What an ASSHOLE! No…he was laughing at my description of the soft service ice cream. turns out he too is sugar free and every now and then he and his wife indulge in something sugary-sinful. When I told him that the soft serve was the worst decision of my life and that I felt like total garbage right after and all I wanted to do was vomit up the hay like rock of mush in my guts he empathized. Apparently that is just how humans feel after going for no sugar to total sugar. Ok so I am not the only one who regrets these decisions…check. He also assured me that an off the wagon moment would have been me consuming what ever the hell I wanted all weekend or continuing to drink until I was wasted…or binge eating _________ and never looking back. I had of course done none of these. I was able to eat or drink something that I was really wanting without going overboard. I never wanted more of anything because for the first time in a long time I was satisfied with my choice- it had either done the trick and filled some empty food void or had proven a point to myself…that some of the things I used to enjoy are just no longer enjoyable. How else do you know how far you have come without testing those limits? This is a DANGEROUS slope I realize and we spent some time talking about that. Had I done this in private…had I continued to consume…had I eaten everything in sight…drank myself to oblivion YES I would have a problem here. But I did none of those things. I did not sneak treats or drinks, I let everyone know I was going to have ________ and ate/drank it right in front of them. No one really cared except Grady who-I think-was thinking I was falling off a cliff strapped to the wagon. But he and I were able to talk about why I was doing what I was doing and then talk about it’s worth afterwards. Sometimes I didn’t want to talk about it…if I want a fucking ________ I am going to have it. Not the best attitude but geez…sometimes I get tired of someone always asking me “Can you have that? You really should not have that. That is not on plan.” YEAH. I KNOW ITS NOT ON PLAN! Was the Diet Coke the best decision you ever made? How about those candy bars? Were those good choices? NO. I have a brain that is functioning and to keep it from staying sane I am going to have a fucking ________. I know where these questions come from- a place of only the best intentions. And I appreciate them- after the fact. You are worried about that slippery slope just as I am. But by including you in my treat I have created a safety net for myself. You are going to see me lose it and you will be able to help me back away from the ______. Did those things make or break the trip? The ice cream-no. The drinks- yes. Having those drinks made me feel kinda normal again. I know that sounds weird. But I was able to float the river with Grady and his brother and wife, enjoy a beverage in moderation, have it taste good, and take down my anxiety about food and consumption. It kinda proved to MYSELF that I can do this in the future. I can be normal and have a drink or have a meal and not go backwards. For those 30 minutes we were floating in the river everything felt normal. Everything felt like they used to. It was a really good feeling. Anywhoos…David applauded my choices and decisions that week and was very impressed that I stayed THAT on plan. So a second victory for me that week. There were actually a lot of victories for me that week even though they came at the cost of staying on plan.

Days 43-45: Hood Canal and the 4th

Oh man…was I excited to see that blue water of the canal. Cold, crisp, just the right temperature to bring down your body temperature but warm enough to swim in it all day. It was a BEAUTIFUL weekend but again…HOT AS SHIT. We Washingtonians are not built for this shit. We start melting at about 80 degrees. I remember as a kid it is was 60 degrees out we could wear shorts to school. You PRAYED for those 60 degree days. It was 90+ degrees ALL WEEKEND. Thankfully the nights cooled down to 70 or 65…it was the only way the tar on the pavement could solidify again before the sun baked it the next day. The ONLY thing I wanted this weekend was a S’More. It is just not the 4th without that gooey treat. I was SO looking forward to it. My sister was doing all the food that weekend and I had given her specific instructions: I was HAVING a S’More so be sure to get all fresh ingredients. She texted me Friday ambivalent about purchasing that food. She was feeling like an enabler…like those people on my 600 Pound Life brining their loved ones fast food in the hospital when they should be on a strict diet.  I had never though of this before. Was my eating placing other people in a bad spot? If I wanted to indulge would other people feel like they were putting a bullet in a gun that was destined for my mouth? Is this going to be the new normal? 5 years from now are people who know I did this always going to be thinking that I am off the wagon if I eat a S’MORE? Holy shit this is not what I wanted or intended. But then again- I know recovering alcoholics and every time I see them I think the same thing about them. If they have one drink will they relapse? What is relapse even? Should we just never do anything anymore that involves booze? But how am I supposed to do this…people HAVE to eat! Is my life really a future of s’moreless hell? This thought had never crossed my mind but it really made me think. I assured her I had planned for this treat and that I was looking forward to it. That was not good enough. She came with fresh supplies but I never saw them. Turns out ALL of Washington State is on a burn ban. You can’t even have fires in your own private fire pit. I was BUMBED and ANNOYED. All I wanted was that freaking S’More. It just was not going to be the 4th without that damn S’More. It also didn’t help that my aunt, uncle, and my cousins came for the weekend and brought everything sweet sugar and carb dreams are made of. Cookies and chips and Hawaiian Punch! I have a VERY difficult time saying NO to HP. Its like my summer crack. That is one of the smells and tastes that reminds me of summer. It is summer to me. So I had been resisting these temptations all day and then came to NO SMORES. Time to punch some walls. There were times this weekend that I just up and left the space filled with food. I just could not take it anymore. I had a safe place to go and I just went. I might have been rude…I have no idea. But I also cant justify why I am leaving every time. It gets old talking about it…rehashing my issues and struggle every time I become overwhelmed. All of us”kids” were playing Phase 10 and pretty soon the chips and crackers and cookies came out and at one point I thought I was going to lose my mind. I looked at Maria and said- “I’m hungry.” I think she saw the look in my eyes and quickly declared a pause in the game so we could go back to our cabin and make our lunch. I felt like I was making the great escape. I think I am just sensitive to it all now. I notice everything…other peoples eating habits, how they eat their food…how often they eat…what they eat. I am looking and learning from everyone. Why did I NOT ask them to stop eating in front of me? Because this is not their issue…this is MINE. I do not want to dictate other peoples lives to that point. Will I demand an on-plan meal? HELL YES. Will I coordinate with my friends and family to make that happen. OF COURSE. Will I ask my 17 year old boy cousin who I am convinced must consume 20,000 calories a day to remain alive to stop eating in front of me so I can do me? HELL FREAKING NO. Chips and HP and cookies and _______ will always be there. I HAVE to start figuring this shit out. And I would like to do it without totally killing someone else’s food buzz. So my coping mechanism this weekend was to focus on the game…to crack jokes…to keep multiple on-plan beverages around me at all times…to swim often and stay in as long as I could…and to just leave when it because too much. I think it worked out well. I had a blast with my family…got in a lot of swimming and a lot of visiting…We all had a blast playing Phase 10 and I WON the game! Thats what winners do…WIN! (Notice my 3 beverages!)

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Back to my S’More…Why the hell are my emotions so tied up with food? Its a FREAKING SMORE! Who the hell reacts like this to food? I am starting to realize that more people than I realize react this way and that other people have these same battles. You can see it in their eyes. People who are like me get this far away look…its like they are no longer in their body. They just stare at the food and go through the motions of eating/enjoying WITHOUT emotion. Its like they are on auto-pilot. I am starting to see this in others and it scares the shit out of me because I think I was/am one of those people. Eating mindlessly or eating because my addiction told me to. When I see them I see myself and I no longer want to be that person…that self. So…to bring this back full circle- my sister and I had a good talk about what I am going through…how sometimes my need to feel normal outweighs the consequences as long as I am doing it publicly and without shame. How my memories and emotions are still so very interlocked with food and smells and tastes and that sometimes I just want to feel normal again…even if it is for 5 minutes. My hope and dream is that my new normal will include a distance between food and memories but I cannot understand how that will happen. Food is culture…it is history…it IS emotion. Perhaps the distance will be greater and the memories more people based. I must continue to work on building memories without food.

My Ah-Ha moment of the week: This is addiction. It is easier to just eat what ever the hell you want than to take the time, sit back, and understand or think about why you are doing the things that you are doing…eating the things that you are eating. Vacation=free time to eat what ever the hell you want to eat…to drink what ever the hell you want to drink. I think I have treated so much of my life as a vacation it is hard for me to draw the lines of distinction. I spend my summers lounging on a lake…we travel often with family and friends…we go somewhere almost every month to do or celebrate something. If vacation= food/drink free-for-all then I have basically been on permanent vacation. This is what I realized over the 4th. Every weekend during the summer is vacation…shit…every day during the summer for me is LITERALLY vacation. But that mindset is what got me here in the first place. It is what totally screwed me before. I need to come to a happy medium someday where I can truly be on vacation, eat “normally” (meaning healthy and “on-plan”-whatever that future plan will be) and just have one or two things as a true treat. I feel like I kinda did this at Silverwood. The proof of this will be in the scale this Thursday. My goal for these two weeks was to maintain. To NOT gain…to just stay even-keeled and responsible. If Thursday comes around and I am up…then I still have not even begun to figure this out. If I have maintained or even lost a bit I am on the road to discovery.

My cousin gave me a wonderful present this weekend. She made me a care package of sorts to help me along this journey. I went to Central Washington University just as her parents and her great-grandmother. That place just runs in the family. This package included a mini-marshmallow shooter (a way to play with food and not eat it- super smart!), crossword puzzle book to keep my mind occupied in moments of weakness, a delicious smelling candle, and a brand new CWU sweatshirt. This is significant for me…I was legendary at CWU in my prime. Every semester I bought a new sweatshirt or new sweatpants EMBLAZENED with the CWU logo. I lived in those things…I mean every day I was in a sweatshirt. Before or after work that was my attire. All my friends would make it a point to see me on book pick-up day to see what I had purchased then wait int he shadows to STEAL an old sweatshirt. CWU is also the place where I put on all my weight. I gained 70 pounds in the 7 years I was on campus. So its a mixed bag at the moment. I know why the weight came on…lots of drinking and lots of shitty food. But all those drinks and all that food was consumed with friends so again- those memories are somewhat tied. But when I saw that new sweatshirt- I did not think about the drinking or the food. I thought of all the things that had happened to me there…the good and the bad. I love that place for so many reasons that are not food related. It was where I first felt smart and appreciated for me. Where I found out I was really good at asking for money and raising awareness for causes that were important to me. It was where I made life-long friends and saw peoples “true-colors”. It was where I set my path in motion, learned the value of hard work, learned to live on my own, learned to love learning…all kinds of good things. So when I put that sweatshirt on I felt really good about it. It brought back nothing but good memories and nothing negative. Grady looked at me and told me that in that sweatshirt he could REALLY see my weight loss. It was a great way to end this week long vacation and it is a fabulous sweatshirt 🙂

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Days 45, 46: The Lake

As much as I love vacations…I love routines. We are back at the lake…getting back into the swing of things. We leave in two weeks for our last vacation of the summer. But for now I am just focusing on the routine. Getting back to the 30/10 food…the tracking…taking my vitamins…not indulging…just following the plan. There are no food distractions here and that makes it easier to deal with the cravings. Even if I really want something there is no place to get it. 

Tomorrow a very close friend of mine is coming with her husband and 3 kids to swim and play and soak in the sun. It will be an on-plan day for me and that feels good. We will have fun and be healthy. Then Thursday I weight in and meet with my coach and therapist. The work and the struggle of the past week will be known. I try not to weight myself at home. But I did step on the scale this morning and was 3 pounds less than what I was two weeks ago. I have NO idea if this will translate to 30/10 scales. I can only hope. But I did not fall totally off the wagon. I stuck to the plan 90% of the time and that HAS to be worth something right?

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4 thoughts on “Days 37-46: Circle the Wagons!

  1. April – You’re so right about the complexity of emotions being interlocked with food. If we could align what the rational mind knows and the emotional mind feels (about food) it would be so easy to eat/drink the right things. That is the conundrum of the ages! That is THE STRUGGLE. You’re doing so well. I’m so proud of you and you continue to be an inspiration to me. Thanks. NH

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    1. Thank you Nancy! I think you are right. I am starting to think that there is not an adult out there who does NOT share this struggle!

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  2. I’m so glad you are back. I enjoyed your update so much. You hit home with me on so many levels. I nearly gave myself whiplash agreeing with you throughout this.
    I have to tell you that the picture of you both together is darling. I love your dress. I also love that you are looking ahead to where you will be when you go back too. I’ve started doing the same thing and that’s a big change for me. So something has definitely clicked.
    As for the s’more, I completely get where you are coming from. I have been known to throw a temper tantrum over something similar and it might seem irrational to others but it’s because it’s not their deal, it’s mine. But that doesn’t make it less. Ya know?
    You whole update was great, I’m glad you had a good time. Can’t wait to hear about your weigh day. Good luck! You are so inspiring.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I had a visit from a close friend today and she told me that she enjoys my blog because I say things that other people would not say or just keep quiet. I think that TOO many of us were or are suffering in silence and it is time for that to end. This battle, although individual, is very similar for us all. There are just some things that are common in everyones battles. But if we don’t talk about it then we don’t know that we are not alone..that we are NOT the weird ones who only think these things! There is strength in similar stories and that is why I am just so honest in my writing. Its a waste of time if it is not the truth!

      And yes…some people just don’t get it and that is OK. I am OK with this because I know that they are battling their own struggle and I might not understand that. So empathy is key here. I appreciate everyone being worried I will fall off the plan wagon and I am too. But if I keep everything public it gives us all a change to talk and better understand the whys behind these struggles. It is just yet another opportunity for us all to learn new things about each other and find new ways of supporting!

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