Thursday, 23 February 2012

Acknowledging accomplishments ~

Abstinence day #: 6 !!

91 lbs is a lot of weight lost, and I've more to go.
When I started this journey, I weighed 315 lbs and now I weigh in at 223.
That is something worth celebrating, for sure..
I was going to hold off on pictures, but I think I will get some pictures for comparison in the next couple of days..

As I travel this journey, my self-esteem grows and I feel tremendous, seriously.. I know everything comes in steps and I have to work my ass off to achieve it.  That's fine because no matter how hard the work is, if it feels rewarding in the end then I am a happy girl & know it was very worth it..  What I struggle with though is looking in that mirror and seeing the girl that weighs 223..  I can focus on certain areas and know that I am changing, lots.. And I can accept compliments and love that other people see these changes in me, however, when do I get to look in the mirror and not see that 315 lb girl.. Is this something I will carry around with me for a lifetime? Working on this, daily.. I have hope & fight daily for ways to feel & see my beauty!

So each day, I do a few things which help me celebrate my accomplishments without guilt.. And to do that it has to be things that keep me level headed and feeling good..For instance, I practice gratitude daily - SO important to never lose sight of gratitude, whether on a journey or not, because life is so precious and beautiful and should be appreciated on a daily basis.  Paying it forward, is also very important to me, whether lending advice or picking someone up & dusting them off, or simply practicing a random act of kindness.. It all, in turn, brings a sense of positivity and my mindset and awareness changes, and it helps me feel better about me, the people that surround me and life in general.. And lastly, acknowledging my accomplishments.. When I have a list of accomplishments, it helps me to really see what I have achieved in this journey and reminds me to pat myself on the back, and that I am deserving of feeling this good because I have worked hard for it..

Today, I have decided to share my accomplishments (big & small) , as a means to motivate, or maybe even help someone celebrate their own successes with weight loss.. I know listing these accomplishments makes me feel so damn good and there are SO many things that people might not even realize I struggled with at 315 lbs, so no matter how small these accomplishments may seem to you, each and every one of them are huge wins for me..

So here are my accomplishments, in no particular order that I can think of up to date.. 

- weight loss, 91 lbs so far..
- being able to slow down & take my time to eat
- starting to now recognize when I am full, which is something I really struggle with as a binger.. 
- eating in a calm, quiet setting - mealtimes were always so chaotic and felt impossible to me..
- I am now able to run up the stairs from bottom to top, no holding onto rails to pull myself up anymore..
- I can cross my legs!!!! (and LOVE that I can) - I continually squeal about this one.. 
- I can now do pushups & situps, & increasing them as time goes on, what a great feeling..
- I can put my feet up on my chair underneath me or knees up in front of me on the chair..
- I have lost inches from my hips, thighs & arms since starting this journey - I need to remeasure for my updated measurements..
- my increased energy level, is through the roof.. i often offer to do the footwork because i 'can' when at one time i made excuses and sought ways out of getting up & moving ...
- an immense boost in self-esteem, self-confidence and self-love.. <3
- my self-bully (my inner critic) rarely shows herself, when at one time i couldn't shut her up...
- I am able to do things to take care of my well-being without being told to, but merely because I want to, and feel deserving of that.
- I always look out for my best interests now.
- I always seek new things that will help me on my journey..
- I follow through with things now, such as a Newcomer Orientation in December for Overeater's Anonymous, i attended & completed the course..
- I attended a family get together in December, first one in years & years, because I was isolating myself and pushed everyone away.
- welcoming friends & family back into my life, old friendships, & gaining new friendships.. Lots of time to make up for.. 
- I get out with friends, make plans and am the one to initiate making those plans often - & i keep them and getting my life back, finally..
- I not only make appointments now, but I keep them rather than make excuses and not show up.
- I now defend myself  (I know, this one surprises me too!)
- I can now compliment myself (& do so daily) - & accept compliments from others without finding a way to put myself down..
- pampering myself & taking care of myself, appreciating my beauty and loving the girl I am & feeling deserving of that.. 
- I got on a plane and travelled to Oregon in October - when most of my life, I wouldn't even leave my house to go anywhere..
- I approach people and say hello with a smile, rather than put my head down and hope they won't see me.. \
- I am now a pro-active parent, and have that feels amazing, because being a good mother is so important to me, & I've a lot of guilt to work through in terms of that..
- I haven't touched Diet Pepsi, potato chips or my binge foods since April of 2011, amazing!!
- I have just recently started counting my days of abstinence, though I've been abstinent a long while, I didn't feel deserving of that acknowledgement, until now!
- I can jog, not just walk, when at one time I had difficulty even walking.. 
- I started a running program yesterday, and am training for my first Marathon in August with some girls at the gym!
- I can now keep up with everyday chores, be organized & work on a less chaotic environment each and everyday..
- I can wear shirts with no sleeves, because of that self-confidence - even if I feel self conscious about my arms still.
- I can look at myself, naked and appreciate the skin I am in and the beautiful girl looking back at me & feel confidence naked, again. 
- finding my own motivation now daily, without struggle, & not having to depend on other's for motivation each & everytime..
- I can now look in the mirror, head to toe, when at one time I would only look and focus on one area that needed to be focused on .. 
- SMILING - all the time, when i greet people, when I talk, I love getting back that part of myself, I've missed her.
- opening up spiritually, finally,  meditation & finding a Spirituality that is for me.. 
- allowing myself peace of mind daily (taking "me" time) whether reading, meditation, doing something for myself , just because..
- finding forgiveness for others and being open-minded for change.. 
- accepting and owning up to my own wrong-doings, making amends and continuous, honest self-work..
- having a more positive mind & thought process - enjoying that the glass is not only half full, but brimming!
- being more mindful of all the beauty that surrounds me daily, with nature, people i love, & all of the good in this world.. 
- appreciating things, no matter how big or small .. 
- finally starting to get a handle on my finances now that i am not bingeing anymore, that feels amazing to say, let alone feel.
- more control over food when surrounded by the no-no foods (my binge foods).. 
- being able to share about my compulsive overeating & eating disorder so freely, publicly.. 
- no more isolating myself... 
- no more hiding to eat, & no more hiding foods to keep for myself..
- I attend daily meetings, for compulsive overeating with Overeater's Anonymous, both online and f2f (face to face) when possible..without fight!
- I am successfully distancing negative people from my life..
- paying it forward, inspiring & helping others & giving myself the recognition when I do.. 
- I push myself daily, no matter how hard and challenging it all seems, because I am determined & deserving.
- I challenge myself to try new things, almost daily now.. 
- no more swollen ankles !! & no more pain in my legs !!
- got myself off of high blood pressure medication & have a healthy blood pressure now, wow!
- no more breathing heavy when i walk normal now.. 
- difference in the way my clothes fit, wearing a size 20 (when I was a size 26, and size 20 is now loose on me!)
- I have fit into an extra large shirt for the first time in years.. 
- no more pinching at my tummy & bruising it, no more self-abusive behaviors, period.
- I very rarely set myself up anymore, when I would continuously set myself up and then enjoy watching myself downspiral.
- I have a Sponsor, that I work with daily..
- I have been trying new things (bellydancing, Zumba, pilates, running, getting out and doing fun things at home!)
- finished my Jillian workout DVD for the first time from beginning to end (Jan 26)
- letting go of my Diet Mentality 
- not obsessing the numbers as much (weight, calories  burned, etc when i would over obsess those and calculate all day everyday)
- no more bingeing, no more purging - while the thoughts are still there - i work daily to overcome that.. one step at a time.. 
- accepting I am deserving of being loved, loving relationships & am able to be present, honest & love with all my heart...
- no more manipulating or making excuses.. 

I continually add to my list and keep the paper nearby, so I can reflect on it and be proud of myself.. It also helps motivate me to keep going, I've so many more things I want to conquer, and I know I can do it.. If I could offer any advice to anyone wanting to lose weight, it would be this.. Seek every bit of positivity in your day and hang on to that, believe in yourself and it all happens in steps, baby steps even... It won't all happen overnight, so take it one step at a time, and celebrate your success, every single day..

Here are some things I do daily & had to change in order to make this happen.. 

- be honest with yourself, always .. 
- drink water, water, water.. Can't even stress that enough.. It's all I drink..
- I gave up the Sodapop, potato chips, chocolate, etc.. I, personally, can't eat in moderation (that's me being honest with myself).. 
- Eat lots of fresh foods.. I don't eat processed foods anymore - because I super watch my sodium intake as well.  Clean eating!
- I make healthy choices when eating out - look for menus online and familiarize yourself with the menus..
- Pre-plan !! I pre-plan my meals, my exercise routine & what time I am attending a meeting the day before, helps keep me accountable.. 
- At least 30 mins of exercise a day, works for me.. I aim for more, but on busy days (long work shifts) I fit in at least 30.. 
- Challenge yourself - try new things .. & learn something new everyday..
- Pay it forward - practice random acts of kindness.. 
- Do things for yourself - take 'you' time.. meditate, read, pamper yourself..
- Compliment yourself - practice gratitude & list your the positivity! 
- Healthy up your favorite recipes - no feeling deprived that way!
- distance negative people and negative situations - it does a world of good!
- learn to do things for yourself (like going to the gym or going for a walk).. don't depend on others..
- set small goals, big goals overwhelm me, so i aim for 10 lbs at a time or set exercise goals, etc..

Just remember, you are worth it, if it's what you want & need.. I am a firm believer in beauty comes in all shapes & sizes.. My healthy journey was for my  health & well-being , and because I wasn't happy in the body I was in, that was dangerous to my well-being.. My depression, the isolation, the disease and what bingeing and purging was doing to my health, my high blood pressure and my complete disconnect with the world... So I needed this for my own peace of mind - I see more & more each day, that I was beautiful even at 315 lbs and that I can look back now and realize it wasn't about my size, but about my disease and own inner happiness.. Making the changes I am making (for my health) is helping me lose weight.. I am working hard, daily, to ensure I don't get caught up in the weight loss and numbers, because this journey is about being healthy, finding happiness, building self-esteem and of course working on my Recovery.. The weight loss is an added plus to my journey, and one that I accept with gratitude.. I have no set goals, and am very much just enjoying the experience and the journey itself..

In recovery,
- sylvie

Saturday, 18 February 2012

~ History

Days of Abstinence: 1

First i'll say, it feels a little surreal counting my days of abstinence now.. It's something I have procrastinated for quite some time, mostly because I had an abstinence list the size of a book, and had figured everything from portion sizes and ways of preparation were counted in there as well..For instance, shake a little salt on my food, that would ruin my abstinence day..If I ate an extra spoonful or two of something, it was ruined too... Now, KC and I worked together to cut down my abstinence list, because I tried for a week panicking every time by myself.. It was a safety net for me to stay away from all foods that weren't healthy for me, but I've brought it down to my binge foods only... And now, I feel like I can count days of abstinence without setting myself up (which is exactly what I was doing)..Gave me a means of being hard on myself, which I love, of course.. So no more getting overwhelmed continually failing.  I think I got this now!

Thought I would share the history of my Compulsive Overeating, though these aren't ALL of the facts, they are some that led me up until today and give insight of a young girl through to today, and the challenges of my disease.. I do not blame the people in my life, I am merely listing what felt like challenges to me.. Much of the challenges I left out, because I'm struggling with my need for privacy, but I am sharing what I feel is okay to share.  I started the 12 Step Workbook today, and this was part of Question One..

- I began COE behaviours as a child, stealing food & hiding it, hiding to eat food even at home, feelings of envy over food children ate at school, going to friend's homes and taking food and hiding someplace to eat it so they didn't know.. my fave hiding places at home were behind the stove in the kitchen & in the doghouse early mornings with my dog.. I was very manipulative about food already at an early age, and that would only get worse over time.

- I was an emotional eater even as a child, food comforted my anger, sadness & frustration with all my different babysitters, my parent's breakup, my father having a new family & my being moved away from my father & friends when i was 11 years old.

- My 1st job at 16 yrs old in the fast food industry - sneaking food when people weren't looking, paying for food but serving myself extra size portions, spending my pays on junkfood binges even back then, making excuses constantly and eventually, losing my job....

- strict rules re: food in both parent's homes.. As to how much food could be eaten & making food last.  As a teen, i would gather food when no one was home and hide it in my room, so when people were home I could easily hide in my room and binge foods I shouldn't be.

- Stealing change from my mother's change jar each day to bring to school, equalling anywhere between 10-20 dollars, and buying all junkfood and restaurant foods, stuffing it all in a bag and finding someplace by myself to eat it all, with no one around until I got caught stealing.  Also stole 20 dollars when I was 9 from my babysitter, which I spent on a Michael Jackson book and junkfoods which I ate all at once..And an Uncle would give us 10-20 dollars when we would visit to go to the store, again all junkfoods and I would eat it, in a sitting..

- At family gatherings for holidays or parties - I would graze constantly around food and goodies and would sneak pocketfuls of food and hide to eat it in peace, feeding my anger, sad & frustrations ... I would hide usually in a washroom, or sneak off quietly into a dark bedroom and shut the door, just long enough to stuff everything in quickly..

- Purging as a child & as a teenager.. starving myself during school days because I didn't have the privacy to purge what I would eat, becoming obsessed with my weight and body image .

- Living on my own with a friend as a teenager, still in high school, didn't work and relied on my father's help for income to eat.  I would then overeat and leave us short for most of the time, and would resort to bingeing things like ketchup, pickles or pantry items to compensate for foods I usually binged on.  I would sneak in her room and steal her chocolate and candy to eat when she wasn't home. I would also deny having done so.

- Pregnant age of 20, super binged through my pregnancy, gaining 80 lbs. Binged & purged through to age of 22, my doctor confronted me on purging and it scared me that she could tell and knew.  I stopped purging, (but still doing so occasionally), but did continue to binge.. Purging was my control, without purging I feel like I've lost control and everything felt (and still feels) chaotic to me.  I began behaviours such as pinching at my stomache and bruising it all around, since I couldn't purge.. My last time doing that was in 2011.

- Age 23, second child, 69 lbs gain during pregnancy.. Eating 2-3 meals as one meal, continual junkfood binges, which carried through after birth..i left my ex husband and moved back to Saint John with nothing except the children, myself & our personal belongings starting from the ground up.. The bingeing increased through the years..Financial difficulties, bad relationships, and obsessive behaviours emerged more & i began isolating, pushing people out of my life..Fad diets, desperate attempts to quick weight loss.. Everything revolved around food and I started disconnecting from the outside world, hating my body.. spending bill money on binges I couldn't afford and what would leave to a downspiral path of destruction in every aspect of my life, affecting the lives of much more than myself.

- In 2008, I began purging again, being in complete isolation led me to believe it was okay & that I was getting my control back. Took a self esteem course, and thought I was taking steps to a better me when all along I was just circling in that same vicious circle... I was miserable in my weight, but the food was still my comfort.. The very last day of bingeing in  December 2010, my calorie intake was 12,487 calories.. I have that number written down in my book as a reminder and as a motivator that I was killing myself and I needed to change.

- In 2011, has been an up and down battle of conflicted feelings and confusion, overeating, behaviours and purging.

Today is February 18, 2012. This week I have an amended abstinence list, a Plan of Eating and am ready to start counting days of abstinence, today being day one.

Dose of Reality & an Intro..

While I have started my journey some time ago, and decided I wanted to get myself back on track,  I have pulled myself along for months & months, finding ways to push myself a bit further everyday and to put myself in a healthier place.  Successfully, I have lost 91 lbs to date, but that comes with many challenges, many hard days & many ups and downs.. I thought I knew full well I have no control over food.. When I am honest with myself, I procrastinated actually finding a sponsor and working the steps, because I think there are a lot of things I don't admit to myself just yet and that I am dishonest with myself about. Not fully accepting the fact that I am indeed powerless over food (Step One) is one of those things..Another is that i have truly believe i was working on curing myself of this disease, and a reality i have had to come to terms with today is that it's not a curable disease.. And it's where I need to begin, and why today, I feel like I am taking some major steps backwards.. But that is okay, because today is the day I begin my steps with my Sponsor and I know I will be taking a deep, hard look within for many days to come and so this is where my complete  honesty with myself begins.

To quote some lines within chapter one of the 12 Steps & 12 Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous:
"As long as we refuse to recognize that we have this debilitating and ultimately fatal disease, we are not motivated to get the daily treatment for it which brings about our recovery.  Denial of the truth leads to destruction.  Only an honest admission to ourselves of the reality of our condition can save us from our destructive eating.."

This is admitting a lack of control not only with food, but with my life in general.. What a hard realization this has been for me today.. I lack control in so many aspects of my addiction/eating disorder affects every part of me, as well as all of the people in my life in some way or another - no wonder I've felt so stuck in this.   It's hard to work things through this head of mine.. It is so hard to find ways to make peace with food, the thought of letting go overwhelms me, because now I am faced with all the different aspects of my life my disease affects & all of the people in my life it affects.. How does one come to terms with that?  Food has been my source of peace & calm for so many, many years now... How do I let go of my peace & calm and allow what feels like chaos back into my life again to work through them?.. The stuff I have stuffed down inside for so very long.. Chaos brings me anxiety, fears & makes me look at a very hard place within, where I have much anger & sadness from the past.. Over time, however, I have worked on ways to be a stronger me and am in a much more positive mindset to be able to take this on.. One year ago, it wouldn't have been possible to go where I need to go.  I have been procrastinating some things in fear of "going there", but today that changes.  I have my literature in hand, and will open it the moment I post this blog.  I have a support system around me that is incredible, and I can and will do this.. For my well-being, my health, my loved ones & mostly, for me.

I have decided to keep a blog to share  my challenges here from day one, because not only can someone benefit from knowing my daily struggles, obsessive behaviors & working through my issues & how I did this, but I can benefit from being able to look back and reflect, to see my progress or my stumbles and see the work I have done each and everyday.. I may have embarked on what could be the most difficult fight of my life & I owe it to myself to have a place where I can keep myself accountable by putting it all out there.. It's not easy having anyone read my struggles, in fact I am completely embarrassed and guilt-ridden confessing for all  to see.. But I am a firm believer that holding myself accountable and putting it here for all to see helps build me strength, and that knowledge is power.  I learn so much daily about my addiction/eating disorder and about myself & it brings me growth, much needed growth.. So I know that  today is day one of my REAL struggle in this, that this passed year I have been growing and working hard at getting myself to a place where I could really take on this fight... I crave change so much and I am ready to take this on.. Every emotion, every hard realization & every angering issue that arises from within... with complete honesty & every bit of strength I can find within me.  I will work on the guilt, the self-forgiveness, making amends... Whatever this journey requires of me, I am stumbles, lies to myself, trying to stuff things inside rather than deal with the feelings , because by habit for years and years, it's the safe thing to do.. But I will find new ways to challenge myself and do my very best to give this the fight of my life.. I want to feel deserving.. That is the one word I seek in all of this, the one thing I struggle daily to feel... "Deserving"..

My name is sylvie, compulsive overeater, food addict, sugar addict, bulimic... & I 'am' powerless over food. i will be working also on self esteem, balancing my life, amending relationships and self forgiveness. *breathes*
  Let the journey begin!