Saturday, January 22, 2011

And the dream begins...again

The last month has been fantastic. My original goal from mid December to now was to try & stop binge eating & get back to consistent triathlon training. In the last month I've lost 12 pounds & haven't missed a workout! Even better than I had hoped!

I'm now at 222 pounds, & determined to get back to the fitness levels I was this past summer & get back to my dream weight of 185.... again. I was 184 in July 2010, & then my mother got back in contact with me after 14 months of peace, to trauma, no stress, & no communication at all. Having contact with her caused a colossal back slide of missed workouts & mind blowing emotional binge eating. I gained 50 pounds in 2 months. But I'm back on course & I'm on a roll! I've set a goal of hitting my dream weight of 185 by June 3rd, which will be a weight loss of 37 pounds in 4.5 months. That's an average of 1.85 pounds of weight loss a week. Not crazy. Doable.

I've got on a roll like this a few times before. After months & months (seemed like forever!) of eating healthy, following a food plan, logging my calories, working out hard, & being just a little bit hungry everyday I'd finally got to my goal weight. The problem with me is maintaining my weight. I've never once in my life been able to maintain. I'm either gaining weight fast or losing it slowly, never staying the same! I'm hoping with my revitalized relationship with Jesus, & my work in the OA 12 & 12 I'll get to my dream weight & maintain it for the first time. If I could get to & maintain my dream weight of 185 until November when I compete in Ironman Arizona I'd be 52 pounds lighter than when I set my Ironman personal best time of 14 hours 37 minutes. At 52 pounds lighter I'd CRUSH my old PR! So now I start my quest & dream of being triathlete thin & shoot for Iron glory once again. I'll keep you updated on how I do. Thanks for your support.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

it works if you work it

Last Saturday I'd mentioned I was struggling writing out my character defects & flaws (step 6). I didn't know exactly what it was that I was afraid of, I knew whatever it was I was trying to avoid was a big part of who I am & it frightened the heck out of me!
I finally got over the writers block I had by getting onto a role playing game web page that had an endless amount of character flaws & defects listed. There were a ton of personal flaws that screamed my name all over it. I then had a personal break through. As I was copying down the character flaws that matched who I was I started to see a pattern. aha moment #1. The majority of my character flaws were the same as my Moms & ex-step Dads (for ease of writing the remainder of this post I'll refer to them both as my parents even though my ex-step Dad isn't in my life any longer). My greatest fear is that I'd end up being just like them, & I am, in enough ways that I started freaking out. So this is what I was afraid of the other night when I had writers block!

Aha moment #2. Once I realized that I was so much like my parents, I was thankful that I have what I call "good child syndrome". Since I had a Mom who was a narcissist, I learned the only way I could get her to focus on anything other than herself was to be the best son imaginable. By doing things that were above & beyond what most children were willing to do to make others happy I was able to force her to focus on me, at least temporarily.

Shortly after I realized I am just like my parents I had aha moment #3! I feel like as long as I am able to continue to be the "good child" in all relationships & aspects of my life then I'm able to feel like I'm not at all like my parents. & that's when a big truth hit me, aha moment #4! Anytime I start to feel any of my personal defects that's similar to my parents start to bubble up, I become uncomfortable, so I self medicate with food. Once I get a good food buzz going the traits that were similar to my parents go away & I'm left feeling good about myself again while simultaneously hating myself because I am binge eating & am unable to control myself.

So, every time the person I am deep inside pops up, I eat to send him away. The only way I can control myself is by losing control of myself. The only way I can like myself is to hate myself. The only way I can be myself is by not being myself. Dang, no wonder I'm an addict.

Aha moment #5. If I eat to send who I am away, then I am a fraud. Not only do I not know who I am beneath this shallow exterior, but neither does my friends, my wife, or even my own precious children.

Aha moment #6. As I continue my abstinence I'll be allowing this person who I've been hiding to come out. I'm hoping & praying that person & the good child I've always forced myself to be will combine into someone who is honest with myself & others, who isn't an addict, and who others & I like. Gulp.

I'm getting close to hitting a month of abstinence for only the 3rd time in my life!

I now understand why the 12 steps is so effective at helping people to find abstinence. The emotional & spiritual growth & healing I've gone through recently is truly amazing; a gift straight from God. The progress I've made hasn't been easy, at times it's even been painful. But it's worth it. I'm worth it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

resistance to step 6

My sponsor told me steps 4 & 5 are the hardest steps for people to get through & that's when most people fall out of program. I knocked steps 4 & 5 out of the park in 2 days & for me it was relatively easy. She then gave me a hug & told me I did a great job. Felt good to finish the steps so quickly & honestly, then get a well deserved hug & praise. Even now at 35 years old I thrive on praise like a child.

So if steps 4 & 5 are supposed to be the hardest steps why the heck have I been sitting here trying to convince myself to start writing down my character defects & flaws for the last 8 hours? Normally when I'm having a hard time writing my assignments given to me by my sponsor I can hop onto a few fellow compulsive eaters blogs & find focus & inspiration. I've read every recent blog post of everyone on my blog roll this morning, & here I still sit with a blank page in front of me. Perhaps there's something about myself I'm desperately afraid of uncovering? I'm not usually one to stress out about things. I'm great about rolling with punches both real & imaginary, so I'm very surprised at my reactions from this. My jaws ache from subconsciously clinching my teeth. I can only remember a few times in my life I've had this kind of a physical response to stress or emotions. What's going on deep down inside of me? I'm fascinated, yet frightened all at once.

My sponsor just went on a vacation & won't be available until next Friday, so that option of encouragement is out. If by later this evening I can't find the motivation to do this I'm going to call Charlie, author of the blog "Diary of a mad overeater 2.0". He has a phone number link on his blog, & I feel a connection to him. He has the same type of eating disorder as I do, & we're both followers of Christ.

I'm scared of doing this & have no idea why. Dear Jesus help me, I'm not able to do this on my own.

Friday, January 7, 2011

a "step" in the right direction

"A person doesn't achieve abstinence, they receive it." Thanks for those great words Jusme.

I finished my writing of step 4 last night. I met with my sponsor & read about my resentments, angers, & ways I've hurt others (step 5).

Step 4 wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about myself. There's still a lot to be done, a lot more to learn. This is going to be a process. It isn't going to be as easy of a process as I'd like. But then again, if it was easy there would be no addicts left in this world.

My sponsor is now having me write on what I think my character flaws are, then I need to decide which ones I'm willing to let go of (step 6). I'll be using my writing on my resentments, fears, etc for step 4 as a guide. My sponsor told me not to worry about how I'm going to go let go of those character flaws, I should leave the "how" to God. I just need to decide which ones I need to let go of.

I realized the person I harbor the most resentment & anger towards is myself. This was surprising & humbling for me. I've felt I have always (well since my mid 20's) lived a safe & drama free life whenever it was possible. I've learned I've hurt much more than I thought I had.

A group of people I knew I'd hurt was my ex-girlfriends. I've been dreading this self inventory knowing I'd have to face how I'd treated them. With only a couple exceptions I have been blessed with great women in my life, & I've cheated on all but but a few of them In the romantic (I.E. physical) relationships of my earlier years I was usually unfaithful & I always left the relationships in a hurtful way. I've always been afraid to think about how badly I may have hurt them. Did the ripple effect of my actions cause problems in their future relationships? Fear, resentment, intimacy, trust, self esteem problems? Did I cause them to run from promising relationships like I had done to them? I'd do anything to be able go back & reverse the pain I've caused. Especially to Koleena, Audry, & Bianca. They are great people. They are the kind of women a man should have been willing to fight for. Instead I got scared of the feelings I felt & I tried to push them away. When they showed me what great women they were by staying with me regardless how hard I tried to push them away, I ran. I ended up just leaving. Never breaking up with them, never a goodbye, just disappearing. Without an explanation. If they came to my apartment, I wouldn't answer the door, I'd ignore phone calls..... I left them in the worst possible way. I left being a coward. I pushed my natural father away in the same way, & ended our relationship in the same dramatic fashion, with no contact at all for 23 years. They all deserved more. Heck, so did I.

I have not cheated on anyone since 1999 when I accepted Jesus as my savior, and I never cheated on my ex-wife.

The next step for me will be to ask God to remove my many character defects & shortcomings. To forgive myself will not be easy for me, but it'll be ok with Gods intervention. I don't use the word intervention lightly. That's exactly what it'll have to be. & I'm going to make amends whenever possible (step 9). Gulp.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

cycling towards recovery

Today our church had communion. As we were leaving I saw there was a lot of flat bread left that hadn't been given out to the church body. I was obsessing about the bread. I kept thinking of how it was probably going to be thrown away, wasted. I was dreaming about all the options there were if I was able to have the flat bread (eat it eat it eat it!). I could put in in queso, if it was stale I could dip it in salsa like chips, I could pop em while driving like little fun bite sized pieces of stress relief, ..... There's no doubt in my mind I'm a food addict. Who else would obsess about old used bread that's been broken to pieces.

I'm usually so busy on Sunday mornings getting our kids ready for church that I can't attend OA meetings. Today I went to my 1st Sunday morning meeting. I was amazed & awed by the meeting this morning. I read out of an OA book, page 128. It said something about a person driving & eating & they crashed their car. I used to struggle with my eating when driving to & from work. I couldn't refrain from stopping for food even though I left the house having just ate & I always brought enough food for work. So 5 years ago I started riding my bicycle to & from work. No matter what the weather is I ride my bike. Last week I rode to work in the middle of a snow storm that had dropped a foot of snow. 2 days ago the wind chill was negative 6 degrees. Any uncomfort or problems from the weather is nothing compared to the pain of being in the midst of a binge. I realized driving to & from work was a problem so I found an alternative. Up until now I never told anyone why I comute on a bike. I felt if I told anyone I commute on my bike to avoid binge eating regardless of how extreme or crazy the weather is it would make me sound like some kind of crazy nut job. Now that I'm going to OA meetings I realize I'm not crazy, it was one of the 1st times in my life I was admitting I was powerless over food & commuting to work is a tool I'm using to bring myself & my eating back to a state of sanity.

Thanks for tuning in & thank you for helping my in my recovery from a life of binge eating....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas & kidney failure

Against all odds I was able to stay abstinent during the Holidays. It wasn't a perfect abstinence, but I followed my definition of abstinence. I thought that was a huge victory for me, but I've realized I have a problem. I realized my definition of abstinence is way to lenient. My definition of abstinence currently is: Abstaining from a pattern of binge eating & completely abstaining from my trigger foods which are cake, chocolate, pies, pastries, & most especially ICE CREAM!!!!

Following my definition of abstinence I still overate on just about every meal during the entire Christmas week. I never binged, but I overate none the less. I also grazed on foods when I wasn't hungry. I realized this is inappropriate & I need a more stringent definition of my food abstinence.

One of the things that can trigger a binge for me is eating to much at one meal. I don't know why, but eating more than I need at even a single meal sends me running to bingeland fast! I overate on every single meal all weekend long! I wanted to binge yet I didn't have nearly the desire to do so that overeating normally triggers in me. I believe it was my prayers & God who was taking away my unavoidable need to binge. There's no other way to explain me walking such a slippery slope & still able to be successful! God was there for me. He was there to make me successful when I was too weak to do so on my own.

This morning I realized another reason for my need of a more stringent food plan & definition of abstinence. When I got off work and before I went to sleep I ate 3 pieces of pizza. I wasn't hungry, but I ate them anyway! This was a HUGE no-no because I was using food to relax, to wind down from work, & for stress relief. I use food to avoid dealing with my problems, stress, & emotions, that's my M.O. Essentially I am using a substance to avoid dealing with my life. Call me crazy, but isn't that what addicts do? Um, ya, I'm an addict! I know for a fact it's a good thing my drug of choice is food because if it was drugs or alcohol I'd be dead of an over dose long ago!

Avoiding the feelings that come with life is not ok with me. I need to learn to deal with my feelings. Avoiding life is not living. Not to mention when I binge I do it to such an extreme I've started to have signs that I'm overloading my kidneys. If I continue my binge eating I'll have kidney failure before I'm 40. No, I'm not exaggerating. I've been having problems with my kidneys when I binge eat. Most compulsive overeaters my age (mid 30's) know long term health problems will pop up if they continue their food habits. Things such as clogged arteries, heart attacks, & diabetes. My eating disorder is threatening to kill me in the short term, & kidney failure is a painful way to die. I have 3 children under the age of 6. I have to learn to deal with life & my eating disorder or my children will grow up without a Dad. My wife would have to start working full time at least, & probably 2 jobs to support them, so they'd essentially lose both parents. One to death, the other would become an absentee parent from working so much & it would all be my fault. This is not ok. I have to beat this, & I need to do it soon. I'll be praying for God to help, but this is, in my mind an emergency situation here, so if any of you out there in blog land are willing to pray for me, I'd be forever grateful.