Friday, December 9, 2011

Ten Things I Do to Keep Those Nearly 100lbs Off!! (AND more Before & After photos! :-))

I realize that most of you do not have an eating disorder like mine.  But maybe some parts of the things I do can help you too!  I can only share from my own experience, but here is how I've lost the weight & maintained my recovery for the last four years.  Trust me, it was not "willpower!"  I don't have any when it comes to food!  You already know what I EAT (I wrote about it here and here ), so here is what I DO!

#1:  I Write It Down:  
I write down my food report, my food plan, my step work & then I journal when I'm feeling emotions that may be challenging for me to handle without food.  For the first three years of program I emailed my sponsor nearly every night to report what I ate that day.  This made me accountable to her and to myself.  I also tried to quickly jot down my plan for what I would eat the next day. My committing my plan to paper removes the need to think about food the next day.  I know what I will eat.  For my recovery (and everyone in my 12 step compulsive eating recovery group has a different program) I don't HAVE to eat what I plan the next day--I just do my best. I don't food report right now unless I'm feeling shaky but I do still try to write a food plan in my journal the night before.  If you are not in a 12 step compulsive eating recovery group or another similar program, I recommend getting a buddy that you can send your food to--it REALLY helps!

#2:  I Eat TWO cups of Vegetables with Lunch & Dinner. 
My sponsor told me to do this so I do.  It was hard to do at first because that is a LOT of vegetables but its easy now.  I can't eat as much other food because it fills me up. It also gives me the nutrients I need. I usually stick to dark leafy greens like kale & spinach.  I like those tossed with a few dried cranberries (not the ones with added refined sugar, the ones sweetened with apple juice:  Whole Foods has them!)  Its really yummy like that!

#3:  I Cook in Bulk:  
We cook in bulk once a week & refrigerate or freeze all our meals in BPA-free tupperware.  We do this mostly because my husband & I usually do not have the time or the energy to cook during the week plus we need to bring our food to work (there is barely anything we can eat at our hospital cafeterias AND we are trying to pay off my massive student loan debt by being frugal).  See my posts on our methods of bulk cooking: herehere & here.

#4:  I Don't Weigh Myself:  
I stopped weighing myself regularly at the beginning of my program.  I did this because EVERY time in the past (in my many, MANY years of dieting before I started this 12 step compulsive eating recovery program) when I lost enough weight to get down to near 200lbs, I shot right back up.  I don't know why--it just happened that way.  So I only weigh myself every few months--sometimes I've gone 6 months without stepping on a scale.  We don't own one.  And removing the "weight game" brings so much sanity to my life.  I measure progress by how I feel, not what the scale says!  I only mention numbers now because people always want to know how much weight I've lost.

#5:  I Use My Community Support:  I tend to seek my main support from my 12 step compulsive eating recovery community because they can relate to my history of obesity and food dysfunction.  My phone has about 20+ 12 step compulsive eating recovery program members from my local meetings so I can rapid dial when I'm in a bad situation--like very hungry driving home from work & obsessing about food because I forgot my snack!  By the time I'm done with talking--even if all I do is leave messages--I'm sane again.  Its a miracle!  I reach out to my non-compulsive eating friends and my family too!  I also have great support from my husband, the Happy Nurse (he is ah-maze-ing).  Very grateful.  Other things I do:  I go to 12 step compulsive eating recovery program meetings and I listen to free podcasts from iTunes of 12 step compulsive eating recovery program speakers in Los Angeles that inspire me (just search for "12 step LA speakers" in iTunes & you'll find them!).  

All that said, you don't need a 12 step compulsive eating recovery program to build a community of support to stay healthy--reach out and ask for help if you need it.  You'll be surprised at how powerful it is!
#6:  I Don't Watch TV:   
Yup, that's right!  Our TV is for DVD viewing only.  No cable.  We download shows one episode at a time on our computers when I want to watch something & my hubby watches Hulu.  TV for me is another addiction and that is why I avoid it. And of course, due to work, we are rarely home!  As a side benefit I get to miss all the commercials about foods that are not good for me! 

#7:  I Keep Emergency Snacks:  
I always have an emergency snack--a few flaxseed crackers, a date or two, some trail mix, a piece of fruit--available in my glove compartment or my work bag.  Raging hunger is a dangerous thing for me so I try to avoid that.  

#8:  I Follow What My Sponsor Says & I Give Service & Sponsor Others:  
So much of food addiction recovery involves surrender.  I kept doing things "my way" for years and guess what--it doesn't work!  So I look to my sponsor (another member of my 12 step compulsive eating recovery program with a strong recovery) to guide me.  I give a lot of service--I sponsor people, I help with meetings, I make calls to my people in need and I look for opportunities to give.  When I give to others I get out of my own head and turn my thoughts to their needs.  I share my story as often as I can because I have a responsibility to give the gift of hope as others have done for me.

#9:  I Keep My Abstinence No Matter What:  
Everyone's "abstinence" in my 12 step compulsive eating recovery program is different & defined by the member & their sponsor.  To use more familiar terms, "abstinence" is the equivalent of "sobriety" in AA.  I don't care if I'm exhausted from work, sad because I lost a patient, upset at my husband/family/friends, joyous over an accomplishment or sick with the flu--I will not eat the foods that my sponsor & I decided were unsafe for me to eat.  If I have one bite--I will binge--it is impossible for me to only eat one serving.  I am NEVER going back to the way I was before.  And I know with the support of my Higher Power (HP) & the life skills I have learned from OA, I will not have to feel the pain of working my way towards 300lbs & hating myself for it.

#10:  I Meditate, I Pause & I Listen to My Higher Power:  
I meditate to guided meditation because I have NO ability to silence my brain.  I need someone talking to me and telling me how to relax! My fav right now is a free iPhone app called "Spiritual Healing by the American Monk."  It is awesome--8 mins long.  It helps me stay centered.

I PAUSE.  If my eating disorder is active, when I sit down to eat I feel like a train running out of control.  I have to eat as much and as quickly as possible.  All I can think is MORE MORE MORE!  The way I stop this is by pausing--I sit before my food and take a deep breath.  I close my eyes for a quick second and make my whole body completely still.  And I listen for guidance from my heart (my HP).  And then I start eating--a much calmer, saner person!  Physically stilling myself before meals seems to be the key to not overeating.  I don't need to do this all the time, but I do practice it fairly frequently. 

For me, my Higher Power (HP) is the voice in my heart that is the best version of myself, the version of myself that wants only the best for me, that is kind & can see things clearly & calmly. The way I understand this program concept is that everyone defines their own HP in the 12 step compulsive eating recovery program--it can be God, it can be nature, it can be the recovery group, it can really be ANYTHING greater than yourself that can stop you from acting in your addiction.  

OK!  So that is all I know right now.  Remember that I am not a spokesperson for any 12 step compulsive eating recovery program--I'm just one member sharing my honest experience, strength & hope the way we are taught to do.  Thank you for letting me share this with you!

Coming Up Next Week:
  • BOOK REVIEW:  "29 Gifts!"
  • SuperImmunity for Kids ~Part 2~!
  • Practical Stuff:  Kitchen Tools That Help & Products I Like! (Gift Ideas?!)
Coming Up on Medical System Tuesday
  • Tip #9 For The Best Hospital Care:  Pay Attention ~ Insider Tips on How to Get the BEST Medical Care in the Hospital ~
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  1. Your number six is very true for me too. TV is an addiction for me just like food can be. Ralph and I only have a TV that plays DVD's and if we want to watch a show we will watch it online. That way I have consciously picked the show and do not sit there flipping through the channels. I use to have Netflix, but got rid of it because I started to do the same thing with that. Like you said, another great thing about not having TV is the money saved! Whenever I start to think....well maybe we can get it, I look at the cost and think, well I could use that money to buy me or someone I love a gift. Plus, not having a TV helps prevent the mindless action of eating.

  2. Good for you foodgirl! I love that you mention mindless eating while watching TV--this was such a huge characteristic of my disease! If you asked my roommate during medical school she would tell you that nearly every night I would be zoned out in front of the TV with enough food in front of me to feed a family of four. I would inhale the food and have to lay on the sofa because I was still full. And the whole time I never stopped watching TV! Don't get me wrong--I love movies/tv shows etc but I can get them other ways: cheaper & safer!

    Also I read this article not to long ago on infants brains being very negatively effected by television watching--the babies & toddlers put in front of the television for a period of time daily actually developed slower than non-tv watching munchkins! So continuous viewing is not only bad for our waistlines & wallets--its bad for our brains!!

    Thank you for sharing & so happy you are a follower!!


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