Friday, December 24, 2010

service for recovery & celebration is my trigger

Yesterday I completed 9 days of abstinence & completed an 82 minute bicycle ride! It feels so good to be able to say I've hit over a week of abstinence! It's rare for me to have hit a full week of abstinence from compulsive binge eating.

Last night I received a call from someone who is in their 2nd week of going to overeaters anonymous meetings. I now know why service is one of the tools of recovery. We talked almost exclusively about his recovery, but by the time we got off the phone I felt like I was the one who had become closer to abstinence. He was telling me how he feels hope for the 1st time in his life. And he told me about his new plan for recovery. We talked last night for an 1 hour 20 minutes, after the call I felt closer to God & farther along in my recovery than I have ever felt. I felt strong & refreshed. Mostly I just listened to his excitement about his recovery from a life of overeating, & that in turn made me excited about both of our recovery.

I gave him two pieces of advise last night. One was not to confuse success or failure on a diet with recovery. I have failed following my plan for weight loss but was still able to follow my diet plan for recovery. A diet & recovery are different & shouldn't be confused as the same thing.

He told me one of the tools he was going to implement was to bring his lunch to work to avoid temptations at restaurants. The other advise I gave him was that if he was going out to eat he should figure out what & how much he was going to eat for appetizers, main entrée, & dessert before he got there. That way he didn't have to worry about opening up the menu & seeing all those temptations & trigger foods. Early in my recovery I'd arrive at a restaurant with a VAGUE idea of what I should eat, but once I opened my menu I fell apart. Either I'd see something I knew I should never eat & I ordered it anyway which caused me to to relapse into compulsive binge eating. Or I'd order something that was on my list of foods I could safely eat, but ended up eating too much of it, & eating to much at one meal is one of things that can trigger a binge for me. Adjusting my meal plan at a restaurant even a little bit was often times the 1st step to unraveling my entire recovery. So I suggested he know what he was going to order so that he never even has to open his menu. & also how much he was going to eat before he got there. I've found asking for a to-go box to be brought out at the same time as my meal has helped me stay true to this.

I'm excited about receiving more out reach & crisis calls. I felt amazing afterwards. I suspect I'll be making more than a few outreach phone calls myself the next couple days. 2 of my biggest triggers in my life present will be present:
1) celebration: I relapse most frequently because of celebrating! I'm happy & feel good, so food makes me feel even better.
2) My Mom: She is the biggest trigger in my life. I try & avoid contact with her as much as possible. She's an unhealthy person who is an expert at making me feel unhealthy & unhappy also. She seems to find absolute delight in ignoring & crashing through any boundaries I put up to make myself feel safe around her. Anytime she doesn't like the way anything is going she claims to be a victim & makes others look like abusers when it is all to often the other way around. She's a control freak & I feel unsafe around her, which sends me diving head first into the nearest food. I find comfort, security, peace, & unconditional acceptance from food, which are things I've never felt from her. The only way I'll be able to stay abstinent this weekend is by grace! In the past I've tried every single thing on my own that I possibly could to stay on the wagon when I'm around her & nothing has ever worked. I'm not strong enough to handle her on my own. God knows this & He is willing to help. God loves me where I'm at, but "He" loves me too muchto leave me there. He'll help me if I simply throw myself at His feet. I must try to remember that food doesn't make me ok. Eating doesn't make me safe or secure. I'm not dealing with things when I eat, I'm sedating myself & my feelings. There's no problem that cannot become a crisis and no crisis that cannotbecome a disaster -- if I eat to try to escape it. Only God can turn a messinto a message, so I need to keep my focus on Him this weekend.

I will be at my most vulnerable to my disease this Christmas weekend & I ask for your prayers from you out in blog land.

Dear Jesus give me strength!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Why I use

I sedate my emotions with food. Up until recently I had convinced myself I was eating to help deal with them. I realize now that I was using food to avoid dealing with my stess, emotions, problems, & fears. I was self medicating.

When I 1st started going to Overeaters Anonymous I was told to try & make the connection between the foods I crave to binge on and the feelings I'm having at the time. I had convinced myself I was unable to do that. Figuring out that connection just seemed too scary for me. I had convinced myself that all my attention needed to be on fighting my urge to binge, & that any effort spent trying to figure out what emotions I was feeling when I wanted to binge would have taken away my focus & ability of staying on the wagon. I realize now I was fooling myself. The truth is if I had figured out the food cravings I was having & the feelings that those cravings were connected to I wouldn't be able to avoid those emotions any longer.

Despite my best efforts l figured it out. When I'm wanting to binge on foods like pizza & fried chicken it's because of emotions. If I'm craving cakes, pastries, ice cream, etc I'm doing so because of stress.

As soon as I figured this out I realized I had been using food my whole life so that I wouldn't have to deal with the emotions or the stresses of my life. also realized I had no idea how to deal with life without binge eating. I realized if I stopped binge eating I'd be forced to deal with my life, my emotions, & my stresses. The thought of doing that petrified me!

I started making outreach phone calls to OA members who I had developed trust with & asked them, "if I stopped bingeing how would I learn to deal with my emotions? How long would it take to learn healthy ways to deal with my life?"

The 1st person I called told me they had no idea how I'd learn to feel & how I'd learn to deal. She simply said to pray & take it one day at a time. That wasn't the answer I wanted. I felt I had a problem & that I needed answers for it! Real answers! I called 3 people that night & each person gave me the same aggravating answer. "Put it on Gods shoulders & concentrate on today, don't worry about tomorrow."

I felt like they were no help to me at all! I remember being in a panic. That night I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking, "I'm not going to be able to hide from my emotions without food! I don't know how to do that! How the heck could I be expected to learn to cope with my emotions suddenly after 30+ years of avoiding them? I feared being abstinence from destructive eating because I'd have to stop binging cold turkey! I wasn't going to be able to slowly & gradually stop drowning my emotions with food. There was going to be no weaning the food binging away slowly as I felt I was capable of dealing with more emotions. I was going to have to deal with whatever I was feeling right then & there as soon as I became abstinent fron compulsive eating.

The next couple days I stressed & worried, yet I DID NOT allow myself to binge. Without deadening my emotions with food I was able to figure out a few things about myself. I learned that my fear of coping with my emotions was there because my Step-Dad & my ex-wife had never developed the ability to handle stress. They'd allow stress to build & build until they'd explode & physically abuse. I realized my greatest fear was that if I didn't use food to sedate my feelings, fears, & emotions I'd start to store up everything inside me & I'd end up exploding & hurting my loved ones like my stepdad & ex-wife had. Very quickly I also realized I didn't have to worry about that. I wasn't that type of a person. When there's a problem with my loved ones I've always desired to talk the problems out. I have never been the type to make myself feel better by abusing others. I have never been the type to use my loved ones as whipping boys. That's just not who I am. I'm not an angry & explosive person. I've learned it's ok if I feel my emotions, it won't cause me to become an abusive person. I'm not saying I'm comfortable feeling my emotions yet, but I acknowledge it's ok for me to do so. Feeling my emotions won't cause me to hurt my family or become abusive.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

a heart breaking transition

Although I've been abstinent for awhile, I'm not losing weight. Mostly, I'm ok with that. My concentration right now should be on my recovery, not worldly things like looking like a triathlete should & wanting to be physically attractive. I'm well into my recovery (for me at least). I'm making outreach phone calls, I'm working the 12 steps, I'm calling my sponsor regularly, & most important is I'm praying & turning to Christ. Like I had said in a post last week I've gained a lot of weight & have grown out of most of my clothes. I'm having to go out & buy new XX-large shirts, larger pants, & larger under wear. I think I could handle my habitual weight gains & losses much better if I had bigger & smaller clothes available to grab & wear without having to go buy more. Up until now I'd get so excited when I lost weight & was on a roll I'd throw out my fat clothes, I was so sure I had made a LIFE LONG life style change. When I gained a bunch of weight I'd be so upset I'd end up throwing out all my skinny jeans because I was convinced I was a failure & I'd never be thin or attractive again. I've realized some of the things that is so upsetting to me when I gain weight is wearing my clothes that no longer fit until they are so tight it's intolerable, & having to resign myself to go buy more fat clothes for this new fatter & miserable person I had become. I'm almost certain if I had clothes on hand that I could simply pull out & wear, the transition would be so much less heart breaking & disturbing to me. So from here on out I promise myself I will no longer throw out any clothes that no longer fit. I'll keep all the clothes I get to big or to small for & have them available for me to grab without a ton of hassle & misery. I also am promising I'll be gentle with myself. If I gain or lose a ton of weight I'll do my best to turn it over to my Lord Jesus Christ & I won't dwell on the weight & beat myself up. I'll try my best to remember that my eating disorder isn't a moral issue. I'll try & remember when I binge I'm not a bad person.

Monday, December 20, 2010

day 5 of abstinence

I'm day 5 into my abstinence! Yesterday I did a 2 hour 23 minute bike ride & followed immediately by a 37 minute run.

These are some of the things I've realized recently with my compulsive eating. Some of these realizations are life changing for me, some of them are merely interesting at best. But they all have to do with my recovery.

Food is the most intimate, private, & intense relationship I've ever had. Even more than sex. It's something I can always find comfort, solace, or company with. Food is always there & it always feels good.

The 12 & 12 of OA works if you work it!

It's ok if I fail at eating like a triathlete as long as I don't eat like a compulsive overeater. Don't get the F'its! The F'its are when I make a small mistake & then say F'it, I can't do it perfectly so I may as well just do whatever I want. Like when I eat an extra serving that wasn't on my food plan, so I say F'it & binge eat all I want on whatever I want the rest of the day.

I have to do something OA related everyday otherwise I get amnesia to the fact that I have this disease. I begin to feel like I can eat like everyone else, next thing I know I've relapsed.My disease is not a moral issue. When I'm binge eating I'm not a bad person.

Have and follow a food plan!!!

Pray for help. God will help.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

day 5 of abstinence

Day 5 of abstinence completed! I'm doing well on the diet & I'm training consistently. Yesterday I completed a 2 hour 30 minute bike ride on my rollers followed by a 35 minute run. I'm hoping to get to the point soon where I feel good enough about myself to no longer be embarrassed about my physique & have the self confidence to ride my bike outdoors.There are a few different kind of food cravings that I experience.

1) real physical hunger. The kind that the body is telling me it needs sustenance.

2) emotional hunger. I'm wanting to eat to sedate emotions. I used to think food was how I dealt with my emotions but I realized this week I'm sedating myself so I don't have to deal with the emotions.

3) & then there's the desire to binge! I always thought these were going to be a life long problem I was going to have to deal with. My sponsor told me a few days ago that they are usually caused by eating my trigger foods & that these desires to eat & eat & eat can be minimized by simply avoiding my trigger foods. She said of course there will still be some of these desires when I see or smell certain trigger foods of mine. But the large part of my cravings will go away once I stop eating those trigger foods of mine. I'm so excited for me to get to that point. On December 15th, my 1st day of abstinence I cut out all sugar, processed foods, & grains. I know this is extreme, but the disease I'm fighting is extreme. Eventually as I learn more skills about my eating disorder I may allow myself to eat some whole grains, but for now they are gone! At this early stage of my recovery I'm better off overly safe than sorry. So I'm only going to eat fruit, veggies, meat, and moderate amounts of nuts until I feel more comfortable with controlling my compulsive eating.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Ironman training

My favorite video of all time.

progressed to step 4

Tonight my sponsor told me she believes I have fully embraced step 3. Step 3 reads: Made a decision to turn our will & our lives over to the care of God.

I was very excited about having progressed & learned as much as I have. I was excited about starting work on step 4. Then I read what step 4 was & I became a bit scared. It's not going to be easy! Step 4 reads: made a searching & fearless inventory of ourselves. OUCH. Now this step is truly frightening. It's a good thing I have decided to turn my life & my will fully over to God, because there is no way I could do this on my own! My sponsor asked me to write a statement about step 3. I wrote it, & although I mean what I wrote with all my heart I feel like it's not a grand enough statement for such a wonderful & amazing thing as step 3!

My statement is:
I have realized that I have to fully turn to God in all things in my life big & small. When I lean on Him everything is easier & is accomplishable. When I try & do anything on my own I kill myself with stress & effort. Although I may be successful for a period of time, ultimately I'm destined to fail on my own. There's nothing He can't handle. There's nothing that is to big or small for Him to help me with. He loves me, He wants to help me. He wants fellowship with me. He knows what my eating triggers are & He's willing to lesson the load on me if I simply throw myself at His feet. God knows what I need every minute. He knows what I will need long before I do & He'll help if I let Him!

Friday, December 17, 2010

training, storms, stolen blog posts, & OCD

Abstinence day 2 is just about in the books!!!

So please forgive me for stealing things off other peaples blogs, but yesterday I was getting some much needed inspiration from some fellow food addicts blogs & I read this, "I'm a food addict. I want want want. Food is just a weak substitute for what I want. Sometimes, I don't even know what I want. Sometimes, I don't want what i want because it is too scary or so intangible." I read this off the blog PJ's and pounds. I was amazed. I reread this probably 10 times. It moved me. I knew this was exactly what I do.

Friday night we got a pretty big snow storm. But because I had decided to ride my bike earlier in the week, & I'm OCD, I rode my bike to work through feet of snow, snow drifts, & the wind blowing through my bald head. Very cold bald head. Above are a couple pictures of my ride!

Friday I ran 5.5 miles in 65 minutes. My training & eating have been great for 3 days now & I'm pumped up baby!!!! I owe it all to God. He's answering my prayers. I'm so unworthy, & he's so gracious.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

abstanence day 2/candle light meeting

Yesterday I completed a 90 minute 25.12 mile bike ride for my training.

Every year here at my OA home they have a candle light OA meeting. This year we had the topic of the promises if we follow the 12 & 12 of OA. 12 individuals each was able to pick a promise & give a 3-5 minute share. Below are the promises. I'll post my share below the promises.

1. We know a new freedom and happiness.

2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

3. We will comprehend the word "serenity".

4. We will know peace.

5. We will see how our experiences would benefit others.

6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

7. We will lose interest in selfish things.

8. Self-seeking will slip away.

9. Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.

10. Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.

11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.

12. We will realize that God is doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves.

My promise was #2 We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.

The hardest lesson for me to learn is to be gentle with myself. Every binge I'd beat myself up, I'd punish myself, hate myself. My self loathing & stress over my bingeing caused me to binge even more. Even when I was doing well with my eating I'd be obsessing about my past or future binges.

It wasn't until many months into my program that I realized God put my eating disorder into my life for a reason. It's there to keep my focus on God. When I stop turning to God I end up falling into a binge. If God put this into my life why would I regret it? Regretting & fretting the past causes me to repeat it. Yet ignoring the past will also cause me to repeat it. The only way I can recover is by learning from my failures. Each time I fell off the wagon I try & learn what the causes were.

I should strive for progress not perfection! I've found when I strive for perfection it causes me to procrastinate. Procrastination causes paralysis Looking back I ask myself if I would have done differently if I HAD The chance. "Darn right I would!" But the gift of this promise is the realization that it has been the totality of life experience that has brought me to this stage of my spiritual journey. And I have come to love the man I ha e become & still becoming, having learned to love the lessons (at least eventually) that come with my struggles to live into the fullness of who God made me to be. It would be hard to imagine an addict coming into recovery who does not regret the harm they have caused themselves & others. But these promises are listed not at the beginning of the book, but after the part describing the 9th step, which is "made direct amends to such people that we have harmed wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. If I'm following the 12 step program of recovery I will have made a sincere attempt to do all I can to right any wrongs & move on to forgiveness. If I have committed myself to practicing this spiritual discipline on an ongoing basis, in the context of a relationship with God, I can't see that regret is of much use. At some point I, a recovering addict has to let go of beating up on myself & focus on gratitude for the opportunity to really transform my life for the better.

day 1 of abstinence in the books

I just finished day 1 of abstinence! All I'm focusing on is the next hour & following my eating plan। Then concentrating on the hour after that. I'm praying & turning it over to my Lord. For me my eating disorder is severe, but it's easy for Him to shoulder it, & He's happy to do it for me- & I'm glad to give it to Him!Today's workout was a 60 minute bike ride followed by a 30 minute run. During my workout my sweat smelled awful! It was truly revolting. My sweat smelling bad was a result of my 4 day binge eating. I was eating massive amounts of food that's packed full of salt, sugar, chemicals, preservatives, transfats, hydrogenated oils, etc. If my sweat smelled bad when it came out of my body, I hate to think what the crap I ate was doing to my insides. To my blood vanes, my heart & other organs. It revolting. I want to stop my compulsive overeating. I realize I am powerless over food & that my life has become unmanageable. I realize only God can restore me to sanity & I have made my mind up to turn my will & my entire life over to God.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Addictions are progressive by nature

I haven't posted on my blog in a long time. I didn't stop posting because I'm cured of my binge eating. Quite the opposite really.

In July I was approaching three months abstinence from destructive eating when BAM! I fell off the wagon. I stopped posting from humiliation & embarrassment. Like most addicts, when I get overwhelmed by my disease I hide, become a hermit & cut off as much contact with the world as I can. I didn't want people to see me for what I was becoming yet again.

There's never been any doubt in my mind I'm a compulsive overeater. No one could binge eat like I do & have any doubt. Within 6 weeks from the day I fell off the wagon in late July I had gained 40 pounds. That averages to 6 pounds a week. Wow, that's even hard for me to believe. But the scale doesn't lie. As a matter of a fact the scale is brutally honest. I hate my scale.

This year I trained for triathlons like I had never trained before! I was on top of my diet more than I ever have been able to do before. All year I was impressing everyone who knew me. Everyone who had always known me as a big IE fat triathlete of average speed was amazed with my transformation. I was getting faster & thinner every week & each race the results were even more amazing. From February of 2010 to July 2010 I placed top 10 overall at triathlons multiple times & top 5 overall in 3!

In September I was scheduled for my last A race of the year. By then I had gained a ton of weight, but I was still fast. I knew even though I was weighing in the mid 220's I would tear that course up! The night before the race I put on my racing uniform & saw myself in the mirror. Not a pretty sight. I had more than an ample belly & a massive butt! They both jiggled like a bowl full of Jell-O just from walking. What would it look like when I ran? I knew what it would look like, & I wasn't willing to humiliate myself like that regardless of how many hours I had trained for that race. That night I unpacked my race bags, took my bike off my roof rack, & sedated my feelings with massive amounts of food. I wanted to race so bad. I deserved to race. But how could I show up to a race that all my friends were at with me looking like that? Having those same people there who had been amazed by my weight loss, then to see me put on a years worth of weight loss on in a little over a month was more than I could tolerate.I had been triathlon training daily since 2004. It was helping me fight my obesity & minimize my overeating behaviors. This was the 1st time in 6 years I had stopped training. Why did I stop? Humiliation. I was embarrassed my neighbors, friends, family, or co-workers would see me jiggling & shaking as I ran. Remember the dance Chunk was forced to do on 1980's hit movie The Goonies? Ya that would be me, only worse. I wasn't willing to bike either because my butt was so big no one could see my bike seat, it looked like my ass swallowed it.

Since then my weight gain has slowed down slightly, but I'm still gaining. I'm about 235 now. My size regular work pants don't fit anymore & I can barely move in my size X-large. Tomorrow I am going to a specialty store to buy a pair of XX-large pants. I have to get them from a specialty store because there aren't many in law enforcement officers that get as fat as I am right now.

I'm hoping this is my rock bottom. I'm hoping everything will get better from here. I tried to motivate myself by buying a slot to an out of state 70.3 that is scheduled for April 2011 & an out of state Ironman scheduled for November 2011. I chose races that are at least a 12 hour drive from my home because one of my 2 greatest fears is being seen in my current state of obesity by anyone I know or love. I'm far enough into my disease right now that I'll only leave the house for work, to pick up my daughter from school, & for church. I won't even go to the grocery store for fear of being seen in my new Jabba the Hutt physique. -BTW my biggest fear is that I continue to progress in my disease to the point where I'm living a life of total isolation, wearing a moomoo, & have a dozen cat's as my only friends who's only mistake was getting caught in my massive gravitational pull- anyway, back to my triathlon training for my upcoming races. I'm in my 5th week of working out. Do to my embarrassment I will only ride my bike on my indoor trainer, & I'll only run on an isolated dirt trail not far from my house- but dang it I'm training again!

So this is my story thus far. I'm hoping this is the part of my story that I start my recovery from my compulsive overeating, where I start a long & continuous career in triathlon, & that my Lord Jesus Christ hears my pleas for help & saves me from sinking any further into my addiction.I'll be posting regularly from here on out. It'll help me stay accountable & dedicated. Perhaps me posting my story of attempting recovery will help someone else with the same problem. Or perhaps it'll help others who don't have an eating problem understand. I thank you for tuning in, without knowing it you are instrumental in my recovery.