Tears In the Dark

If you’re looking for a post with my signature humor, this definitely isn’t it.

First of all: if you’re unsure as to what night eating syndrome is, please visit MD Junction’s night eating syndrome site.

Yesterday I visited my doctor and essentially said, “I’ve had it. I’m done. I’m at the end of my rope.” regarding night eating syndrome. Before my appointment I had made a list of all the negative ways it was impacting my life. Here are a select few excerpts:

  • lighting food wrappers on fire in the microwave (trying to get food unfrozen)
  • cutting apples in the dark with a sharp knife (not sure why all my fingers are yet intact)
  • ruining my teeth (brush and floss all you want, if you eat sugary things all night you’re not going to have perfect pearly whites)

And of course, there’s the big one: if you are on a weight loss plan, and you eat 1/3, half, or most of your calories during the night, where does that leave you during the day? It leaves you royally effed. You can choose to either a) starve or b) not care and eat way more calories than you can consume and still lose weight.

Then there’s the guilt. It would take me pages and pages to detail the emotional effects. Deep down, I know it’s not my fault, but when I felt so strong and confident in my abilities to lose weight for so long, and now to feel like I’m a complete failure… It’s brutal.

Why hasn’t it impacted my weight loss before this, you may be asking. First, let me say that I’ve been hovering around the same weight since November. When you’re on Weight Watchers, you receive a certain amount of points to eat every day. The more you weigh, the more points you receive. The less you weigh, the less points you get. When I had more points to consume every day, I had more leeway to screw up, if that makes any sense. Now, I get so few points as it is, that night eating has at times left me with as little as 7 points (approx. 400 calories) to eat during the day.

I’m feeling very thankful for my doctor this morning. Not all doctors would have listened as patiently as I told her I can’t even buy bread anymore because I’ll eat the entire loaf at night, or taken the time to read the articles I had printed out and brought with me, and searched her database for solutions.

Which brings me to the solution: it’s something that I never, ever wanted. And I debated even posting it here, because there is such a stigma attached to it. But I consider my weight loss journey an open book to anyone who wants to read it, and this is part of my journey.

My doctor’s suggestion? Since night eating syndrome is related to a drop in serotonin at night, let’s try 20 mg. of Prozac every day.

I am, in general, opposed to what I feel is an overmedication of America. I have never, ever, wanted to take drugs of this kind, for any reason. So I consider it a mark of my desperation and essential surrender that I am agreeing to this.

I’m giving it five weeks. If it doesn’t correct or drastically improve my night eating, then it’s getting the boot and I’ll be sitting in my doctor’s office near tears once again.


Fabulous Friday #7

Well, this week has oozed fail all over the place. My ticket is secured on the S.S. Failboat, seriously.

I say no to a lot of things. It’s the reason I don’t buy the boxes of doughnuts and cookies that beckon seductively at the entrance to my local grocery store. I’ve said no to restaurant fettucine alfredo for the entire time I’ve been on Weight Watchers. I don’t think I’ve scarfed down a Blizzard from DQ in more than a year.

And yet… sometimes I just can’t do it. I still can’t let go of the Princess Mentality – if I want something, why shouldn’t I have it? Argh. Why indeed.

So I’m honestly not sure what the scale’s going to look like tomorrow. But whatever it is, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to keep going down this crazy and incredibly difficult journey. The only way I’d give up is if someone pries my points calculator out of my cold, dead hand, to use an extreme cliché.


Help Wanted

As the saying goes, I’m down, but I’m not out. I know that I can be successful and reach my goal. 

So I stocked my kitchen: 

Trader Joe's trip = mission accomplished.

Apples, peppers, bananas, and potatoes, oh my!

 After I filled my fridge and cupboards with good stuff that is mostly unplanned snack-resistant, I decided that I need a more personal outlet to get out issues that are non-weight loss related. So in the fashion of my old college notebooks, I handcrafted a journal that I’m going to use to try to pour my stress and troubles into: 

The front of my new "Feelings Trash Can."


Blank now, filled to the brim with "issues" later.

Sidenote: if you’ve never made a notebook or item similar to this, I highly recommend it. Grab some old magazines, and cut out images and items that appeal to you, even if it seems strange or you’re unsure why you like it. With a little glue and clear tape or contact paper, you end up with a book covered with bits and pieces of your personality, essentially – very cool. 

I even ate a cup of spinach this weekend for the first time EVAR. Yes, I’m that serious… I’m willing to eat plants. Sort of. When I was done with it, it looked like this: 

I'll take spinach puree for 400 please, Alex.

And after the addition of some chocolate Almond Breeze, a banana, and a cup of strawberries, the result was this: 

Yes, it really turned out kind of a black-ish color. I definitely was wishing for the wine behind it, instead.

I am committed to giving up every excuse and forcing myself to make hard decisions. But I know I can’t do this in a vacuum. 

So I need your help. I need you to share with me your best tips, your tales of triumph over tough situations. Anything you want to tell me, I’ll listen. I need the support of everyone who reads this blog more than ever.


Days of Rectangle Pizza and Lemon-Juiced Apples

Thanks to Mr. Jamie Oliver (who is pretty awesome, let’s just get that out of the way), school lunches seem to be the hot issue right now. With all the talk, I’m starting to think that perhaps my cafeteria days were a bit unusual.

For starters, Mr. Coke and Ms. Pepsi were persona non grata at my elementary school, as were their generic equivalents; once my mom tried to send a can of “IGA” root beer in my lunch box and it was quickly confiscated by the eagle-eyed principal who happened to be policing the area at the time. “We drink milk in this school,” he sternly informed me, the fourth-grade miscreant who was already plotting at how to get back at my mom for the embarrassment she caused me by placing this banned substance in my possession.

Drink milk, we did. I’m from Wisconsin, after all – have to support the local industry. (You graduate to keeping brewing business afloat about the same time you receive your diploma, by the way.) Most high schools have gymnasium scoreboards donated by and emblazoned with one of the aforementioned soda brands. Not so with my school – ours were branded with the word “KEMPS” and some stereotypical cow clip art.

We also had no soda machines in my school district. There was a milk (are you surprised?) and a juice machine, and they were turned off most of the time. While some schools had fast-food a la carte items (I remember being insanely jealous of my cousin’s lunchtime Pizza Hut meals), we had none – but you could buy some ice cream sold by members of the FFA.

Though I didn’t eat lunch at high school (see http://wp.me/ppaqG-2R for details), I remember my elementary school meals very clearly. Who could forget industrial peanut butter that had the same consistency as ketchup? Or apple slices you couldn’t eat without screwing your face up at the sourness of the lemon juice poured on them to keep them fresh while indecisive kids shuffled their way through the food line? And who didn’t love the rectangle-shaped pizza, with square pepperoni pieces? My school’s cafeteria must have had a vendetta against roundness, I guess. Vegetables like corn and salad were frequent residents on our plastic trays, and I really don’t remember us ever getting items like cake or brownies. Maybe once in awhile.

Overall, I feel like kids in my school may have fared better than a lot of schools around the country. And yet, I still ended up obese – and the why’s and how’s of that are best left for a future blog post that will undoubtedly be incredibly lengthy.


The Bite Thief

Considering today’s pop culture climate, one might assume that this post is going to be about vampires, sparkly or otherwise.  However, I assure you that it is not.

I have become one of my own worst pet peeves – the bite thief; the person that steals exactly three of your hot, golden, delicious french fries while you internally seethe and think “Why don’t you just order your own?!”

But I don’t want my own – I’d rather steal yours! Yup, that’s me.  Ordering a gigantic plate of fries would be far too much temptation for me, or a whole slice of cheesecake, etc.  So instead, I’ll just sneakily dig my fork into yours so I can have a bite of “pointy” food. (There’s some great Weight Watchers lingo for you, by the way.)

While my less-than-stealthy attempts are sometimes met with outright annoyance or a faux-smile plastered over a grimace, there are those who offer to share: the willing victims.

My family is usually more than happy to share their higher-calorie treats with me.  I think they think that I live as deprived a life as a cloistered nun, so much that I’m often tempted to take pictures of me devouring a handful of Reese’s Pieces, print them on neon-colored paper and leave them on their windshields as proof. 

I’m guessing this is what motivates them to constantly offer me a bite of their food when we go out to lunch.  And as long as it’s just for a bite, I’m okay with that.


Plz, Don’t Watch Me Eat That Cheezburger

For a huge section of my life, I refused to eat even a crumb of food in the presence of strangers.  Or even my friends, at times.

Why?  I felt that as an overweight person, everyone around me must be playing Judge Judy and labeling me an incorrigible glutton with every bite.  I went so far as to hide out in a corner of my high school’s library every lunch hour rather than face a jury of my peers in the cafeteria.

This did not secure my place in the Popular Kids High School Hall of Fame, believe you me. 

As much as going to college changed my life, fear of public eating is one thing that remained unchanged during those 4.5 years of my life.  Even now, I don’t understand it.  As a plus-size person, I could join the cheerleading squad, put on a short skirt and jump in around in all my cellulitic glory in front of crowds of hundreds of people, but I couldn’t eat a french fry in front of them?  It makes about as much sense as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, I know.

My fear of judgement would increase ten-fold if guys my own age were there – I could only imagine their thoughts. “Whoa, dude, did you see that fat chick?  She was motorboating that basket of chicken strips like there was no tomorrow!  No way I’d ever date a chubster like that.”

I’d even get paranoid in traffic.  If I ordered an ice cream cone from McDonalds and proceeded to eat it in my car, I’d hold the cone below window-level, even if it dripped all over my legs and car upholstery. 

Now, I’d say I’ve done a complete 180.  I devour ice cream cones, cheeseburgers, and fruit cups alike in the company of complete and total strangers.  Who cares what they think?  I’m also fairly vocal about being hungry – “I can’t go that long without eating! We have to make a stop.”  Living a healthier lifestyle has given me the confidence to just be me and stop worrying about what other people might be thinking. 

Unless you see me and I’ve got ice cream all over my face/shirt/hair.  Then feel free to comment.


Birthday Cake Crisis

Having a winter birthday has always put a little bit of a damper on the occasion for me – there was always the threat that Mother Nature could dump three feet of snow on Wisconsin and effectively cancel my big day.  It put just the teeniest cloud of dark anticipation over my birthday, but usually nothing could quell my excitement.

This year was another matter.  In all honesty, the thought of having a party (or two, or three) with the usual huge amounts of food was near paralytic.  I didn’t want to go to a restaurant because I might not be able to calculate the pts. value, and I didn’t want to stay home because I knew then most, if not all, of the food served would be crammed with fat and calories.

In the end, I chose the lesser of two evils: my family came to my apartment this Sunday, and we attempted to make it a healthy eating event.  Sort of.  It started out with chicken and fruit, then expanded to chips, meat and cheese, cream cheese-garlic rolls (reduced fat, but still not the greatest for you), and chicken and cheese quesadillas.  I ate enough pineapple to be considered an islander, had a couple pieces of chicken, and, I’ll admit, a couple of cream cheese-garlic rolls. 

Even more terrifying than the food served was the question of birthday cake.  After I announced what I wanted to do with my birthday, the question that immediately followed from my mom was “What kind of cake do you want?”  Argh.  I researched carrot cakes, specialty cakes, bakeries, and even the possibility of making my own birthday cake before I realized I could have a treat once in awhile.  One cupcake, budgeted for and tracked, was not going to kill me or worse, suddenly cause my clothing to rip at the seams with embarrassment to follow.  White cake, chocolate frosting. It was small and delicious and I’m glad I let myself have it.

The sweetest part of the day, however, did not involve food: I beat one of my brothers-in-law at Wii boxing.  Knock Out! 🙂

There’s more partying to follow this week, but I’m less afraid of making it through now.