Saturday, January 9, 2016

No comfort for me


Today I want to analyze my past eating habits and influences. 

I grew up in a Mexican Family.
 Food is central and sometimes the main attraction to most events, parties, gatherings and everyday life. Planning out breakfast, lunch and dinner usually takes place right after the previous meal is consumed.

Now, being in a Mexican Family does not imply that the only thing we ate was Mexican food. Far from it. Living in the border, there was a lot of variety of food. Pizza being a Saturday night favorite, Burger King, McDonalds; all those were family favorites. 

When I was young, under 8, I was allowed to eat anything and everything I wanted. I wanted ice cream, “sure thing!” I wanted flour tortillas with butter (OMG), “how many?” Things like quantity and quality didn’t really factor into what I was eating. And honestly, it was the best time ever. Now, I believe at this time is when I started to get plump. Bear in mind, that I had my go at any food that I wanted to eat. I think to this day, I long for those days. 

I digress. 

The kicker was the way it changed, overnight almost.

I began to be told “no.” There was less on my plate. I was denied the foods that brought me comfort. No more gansitos (Mexican snack cake), twinkies, and other snacks. Chips were only when we had a party or during the Super Bowl (I think this is when I developed my love for football) I could only have one soft drink and then water. (Now, why I would have soft drink at 8, well, that’s marketing for you. My kids don’t even touch that stuff) My food consumption had drastically changed. 

And then my sister started eating solids. Now, I love my sister with all my heart, and there is nothing she can do that is wrong in my eyes. I defended her with my life, growing up. She was my baby and I would be dammed if someone or something hurt her. That said, she was a very picky eater. So much so, that there were things she wouldn’t eat. And so, my parents would buy the things she would. Like mini pizzas, cheese, flour tortillas, chicken nuggets, apple juice, the thin ham (sliced to almost tissue paper thickness) etc. I was told these foods were for my sister, to not eat them. If I wanted juice, I had to drink the orange/grapefruit because it burned the fat. (I WAS FREAKING 9 yrs. old!!) The apple juice was reserved for my sister since that’s the only juice she liked.  Anyway, all those foods that were bought, were for my sister since she didn’t eat anything else. I didn’t get mad at her, though, it wasn’t really her fault. I was upset that all of a sudden, I had my go at food and then it was taken away. I was mad at my parents. How was it fair to deprive me of food that EVERYONE ELSE was eating?

So of course, I did what any kid/teenager/adolescent would do, I started sneaking food. This began around that time. I would get food from other places; grandparent’s house, aunt’s house, friend’s houses. I would hide my candy from parties and if they gave out chips, I would hoard them and hide them. I would wake up in the middle of the night and go to the kitchen and make myself a sandwich (one of the small pleasures in life) and eat it in the dark corner so no one would hear me. When the boy scouts would sell chocolate at school, I would use my allowance to buy 5-8 of those things. Wouldn’t tell a soul and eat them in my room and hide the wrappers. During lunch (we couldn’t buy our lunch ourselves, parents had to pay for the school lunches at my catholic school) I would sometimes throw away my lunch before going into the cafeteria and the teachers would feel bad for me and get me a hot lunch. This was usually when there was pizza, lasagna or chicken nuggets. 

* I learned all the tricks to get the foods that I wanted.
* I learned how to sneak eat.
* I learned that all diet food was gross. 
* I learned that I was too fat to eat all the good food (looking at my pictures from back then, I was certainly not fat, not even close.)
* I learned that what I wanted was not important.
* I learned that the foods for others in the refrigerator is not for me (hence why I still have a hard time eating food from my refrigerator if I bought it for the kids or my husband)
* I learned that I would eat just to spite my parents
* I learned that I would eat to feel good about myself.

Food brought me comfort. Food has ALWAYS made me feel better. The association of food with celebration was ingrained in me early, and it has never subsided. 

It is these factors that I learned that has prevented me from realizing that food is just an energy source. I have heard the term “EAT TO LIVE, NOT LIVE TO EAT” many times, and I really, really want to make this my motto. 

But inevitably, I fall back to emotional eating.
 If I feel sad, I eat.
If I am happy, I eat. 
Depressed, eat. 
Bored, eat. 

I know that I have to work on this. It’s one of my major, if not the biggest obstacles I have in obtaining my goal.

Food is not my comfort, I’ll have to remember that.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

New Perspective

I have dieted and I have failed.
I have been bulimic and I have failed.
I have tried weight watchers, alli, meridia, the gastric band, HcG, Almased, Master Cleanse and I have failed.
Today, I will sit here and analyze why I have failed with these.
Bulimia: I was young and I was tired of throwing up all my food
Weight Watchers: Now this one, this one worked for a while. The combo of counting points and counting exercise. That one was a good one. Every time I have tried WW, I have succeeded in losing 30 -50 lbs. Depending on my age and how determined I was. The problem with this was that as soon as I stopped going to the meetings, I started gaining it ALL back. And more. I don’t think the problem was the program. The problem was me.
Alli & Meridia: These are grouped because I used them together. Now these worked great combined. They took away the hunger (Meridia) and when I did eat, it took away the fat (Alli). Thing is, I believe wholeheartedly that I got my high blood pressure so young because of these. Not to mention the disgusting side effects. Yeah, those side effects. No more.
Gastric Band: Holy shitstorm of bad luck, Batman. Now, when it was on for the first year, I did lose 80 lbs. I loved it. It became my limit bearer. I felt full faster, and I knew what to eat and when. I couldn’t just shove a ton of spaghetti because it would come right back up. I seriously loved the Gastric Band, and if I could do it again, I would in a heartbeat, but alas it was not meant to be. The 1st band was eating into my stomach so it had to be taken out and replaced. When the 2nd one was put in, my body rejected it. After 1 week in the hospital (4 of those in CICU) I was told that it would no longer be possible since I had created an immune response to it and would continue to do so.
HcG: Now this one was next. This happened the year after I had the Gastric Band taken out. Now in theory, this one should have worked as well. They inject you with the hormone HcG and your appetite and cravings go down. There is a 500 calories a day diet that goes along with it. Now, with 500 calories a day, OF COURSE you are going to lose weight.
And I did.
But, it was too expensive to maintain, I was losing weight very slowly and
it never really took my hunger away.
If it doesn’t take my hunger away, I don’t really want to continue on it.
Almased & Master Cleanse: I grouped these together because they are very similar in application. Basically, you go on a liquid fast for a couple of days and then you reset or cleanse your body and start new. Now, for both of them, I have been able to keep them up for up to 10 days (Almased) 15 days (Master Cleanse) I have learned that after that, my weight loss stabilizes and I’m just starving myself for nothing. The problem is the rebound. My body loses excess amount of weight during that time, so when I start eating solids again, it stores it all away and I gain the weight back, which freaks me out and I just say fuck it and start eating again. Completely wrong.
And so, I have come to the conclusion that all of these have at some point or another worked for me in the short term.
But in the long term, they have not. Why?
All me
My mind and my heart are not fully in.
When I lost 80lbs, I had all the motivation in the world. I was single and had energy. I didn’t have too many responsibilities. I wanted to lose the weight. But maybe for the wrong reasons.
I wanted to be thin. I thought that by being thin, I would get a better job, get a boyfriend, find friends, be popular, and be pretty. All superficial reasons, but powerful reasons in my mind. Those were the impetus I needed to succeed in my endeavor to lose weight.
Fast forward to me getting my Gastric Band off.  I almost lost my life. I almost died. My oldest son (only 18 months at the time) would have grown up without a mom, all because I wanted to be thin. And so, on that weight loss of 56lbs, I was driven to be healthy, and do it on my own. To be known as the one that could lose that weight because I was strong willed.
And then my world came crashing down. As I write this, my heart burns with sorrow, it is hard. My husband hit some a major bump in our marriage. My self-esteem went out the window. I was no longer happy. I had lost ALL this weight and looked better than I had in years, even better than when we were dating!
Towel thrown in.
I don’t think I have recuperated totally from this. I totally gave up. I just said fuck it. It doesn’t matter what I do. I’m still not good enough. I don’t have the will power anymore to continue on the journey, and well, I stopped caring.
And worst thing, this actually made me closer to my husband. See our relationship was and is partly based on foods we love. Our dates consisted on restaurants or movies that had a food integrated in them. OR, we would just pick up food (mostly wings and pizza) and go back to the apartment to play video games and eat. We would see commercials and decide what to eat based on what restaurant had new stuff. To give perspective, when the McRib would come out, it was cause for a celebration! We would plan our day on the day it came back. At night we would open up a new cheese dip and try it out. Food was the basis of our relationship. Heck, one of the first things I made for my husband was a cheesecake, his favorite. This led to our first real date.
Now, I’m not blaming my husband. Not in the least bit. We are both a sort of foodies. We love food. It’s comforting. It’s happy in a bite. And if I had the metabolism of my father’s family, we would not be having this conversation at all.
But alas, we come to the next problem on the list. My metabolism. My digestive system.
What is wrong with it?
At this point, I don’t know. I’ve been told I have food allergies, yeast allergy, gluten intolerance and celiac disease. I know that I have malabsorption issues and others that are underlying. I have PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which also causes my sugars to go bezek. I have pre-diabetic tendencies and I have high-blood pressure.
I can’t drink or eat anything with high fructose corn syrup or I get migraines from hell. I need all my vitamins in liquid or gel form so I can digest and absorb better.
At this point, I believe my body has been through so much, that it just said the hell with you, I’m storing everything you eat and will sort it out later.
Thanks body; I love you, too.
So what now? Am I doomed? Am I to live my life as a 300lbs woman?
No. I refuse to believe so.
But I also believe that I have to deal with my issues before I can truly change. I have to address my concerns and my limitations. I have to slowly change my perspective and decide what I really want.
It will be hard, almost impossible. But I have done impossible before. I have the will power in me. I have to believe that there is no one or anything else that can help me to lose the weight.
I just have to believe in me.