Posted by: innerpilgrimage | August 14, 2011

Infrequently Asked Questions: A Little More About Me

Actually, this is kind-of funny, because I was dealing with vulnerability today in my SLAA meeting. See, we are an Acting Out/Acting In meeting, so we address the sex and love addiction and the anorexia. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool anorexic, having had my last acting-out experience with a romantic intrigue years ago. Most of that was internal–except for flirting and acting coy as I fished for approval. I still owe that person amends, though I did a lame attempt at it when I disclosed that I had self-serving motives and I apologized for it and shut that part down.

So, this comes out of a wonderful commenter, Sam, who was very kind in her comment about my post earlier today:

I would be interested in asking you some questions about your food plan. I don’t know how tall you are, but our weight is very similar. Except that I am where you started. I am in the process now of trying to figure out a food plan and am feeling a little lost. I’m headed to a new meeting tomorrow and hoping to meet someone that will be a food sponsor, but if you had any advise, I’d love to hear it! You can e-mail me, or stop by my blog if you have any time. Thanks!!

What, exactly, is my food plan?

Well, my food plan is based from the USDA food pyramid, with some adjustments. See, I am a junk-food binger. So, my food plan couldn’t simply be, “reasonable calories for my height” and be left at that. I also wanted to start respecting my hunger, which isn’t clock-based. Some people do well with times, but I wanted a more natural and freestyle food plan. So, this is what it looks like when I prepare it the night before:

Grain      O O O O O O O
Milk        O O O
Fruit       O O
Veg        O O O
Protein    O O O O O O

750 DC

So, what does it all mean? Well, first of all, this is a 2,500 calorie daily plan–just over the amount an average person theoretically is supposed to eat. One circle of Grain and Milk is 100 calories of the product. One circle of fruit is 60 calories. One circle of vegetables is 50 calories. One circle of protein is 75 calories. I usually do a little give-or-take, but I measure them using the Nutrition Facts labels or by going online to any number of websites which give calorie values. I color in whole circles or fractions based on what I’m eating. It’s imperfect, but I consider it’s close enough (as does my HP, since I’ve been at normal weight-fluctuation range for 8 months).
My permanent red-light trigger foods are out for my life, not like I want to bring the drama in of obsessing about them. Yellow-light trigger foods are ones which I can eat without being triggered sometimes but will obsess over when certain emotions get too painful. At that time, they don’t come in the house, and I avoid them completely. While I do still emotionally eat in moderation (accidentally, since I don’t generally realize it’s triggering until after I have a serving and crave more), I can tell when it’s time to surrender it to HP. At that time, I tend to offer it to the normal eaters in my life, just to get it eaten and gone!
My initial food plan was just over 2,000 calories–such a cultural standard as a “normal amount to eat” that it’s at the bottom of Nutrition Information panels. It had one less grain, 1/2 less vegetable, 1/2 less protein, and 350 fewer discretionary calories. With the 750 calories, I can have a serving of nearly anything out there. The freedom to decide I want a piece of pie (or a half-piece, if the slices are obnoxiously huge) actually tends to keep me from eating it altogether. This food plan base works for me, and it has for nearly 2 years. I get the nutrition my body needs, and I don’t deny myself pleasure foods in moderation. The freedom to choose instead of being abusive and shaming toward myself (which is how my diets always were, before) actually keeps me less likely to eat that kind of food.

How does 155-160 lbs. translate on me body-size and health-wise?

I am 5 foot, 11.5 inches tall and have a large frame. Basically I look like a 5-foot, 6-inch woman framewise, yet when you get close? I am sorta tall. Not willowy at all.
Now, since I did lose about 110 lbs. since last October, I have extra skin. Good news, however . . . with patience and lotion and giving it over to my HP, it’s shrinking up somewhat. Will I ever be a hardbody? I doubt it. However, since the only person I want to see me in any state of undress is happy with me at 275 lbs. as much as 155 lbs., this isn’t a problem. Well, until my ego steps in and promises me a perfect life if I just reach yet one more impossible and arbitrary goal (Yay. Toxic love addiction . . . ). However, I surrender to HP when it happens–usually with the patient sigh a mother has toward a child who is fussing over something that won’t mean anything to them if they had it. Once surrendered, I am grateful that I am alive, that I have a body that functions pretty darned well, and that this weight loss was NOT out of me, so using it for ego-driven purposes is just . . . no.
The food addiction, by the way, was a cross-addiction, brought on by the need to distract me from the real problem–toxic love addiction and emotional/social anorexia. Once abstinence uncovered the real reasons I ate, I was reluctant to deal with the emotional and social anorexia until real anorexia struck.
Um, well, let’s see . . . my adjusted (for a large frame) BMI is 19.26 right now, so that would translate to about 120 lbs. on a 5’6″ woman with a medium frame. Dayum. That IS skinny.
To put it into more perspective, I am a 4-6-8 tall and wear a medium-tall shirt. It depends on the maker. My waist is about 30 inches (all that skin does make a difference and fits differently in clothes than out of ’em), and my hips are probably about 38 inches. I am a 38C (down from a 46DDD). Yeah, that part kinda sucked. I can’t wear push-up bras because they don’t really work that way any more.

Am I getting surgery for the extra skin and, well, uh, the loss of chest?

Heyull no! HP landed me here naturally for a reason, and every bit of it is a blessing, a reminder that I was given the gift of having over 100 lbs taken away in just over a year. Plastic surgery would be about my ego desire to manipulate certain types of men into doing what I want. Since getting surgery would (1) leave huge scars and (2) the scars would defeat the purpose of getting the surgery? I am opting out. Plus, it would give in to the toxic love addiction, and if I gave into it, I believe I would relapse. Plus, the idea of having something inorganic in my body freaks me out.
That kind of surgery is best for people who have lost hundreds (plural) of pounds, if their extra skin is getting in the way of functioning. Mine isn’t, so it would be for my personal vanity–and nothing more.

Do I have a sponsor?

Yes and no. Officially, I do, but I am so freaked out by being vulnerable to anyone (again, the social and emotional anorexia) that I rarely contact her.
I have been approached a lot to be a sponsor, but I am still circling Step Four (because of fear of reliving the pain and feeling shame for being a jerk for so long). I’ve done it a couple of times, sponsoring up to Step Three.
These days, I just make myself available as a co-member of OA. I don’t feel the pressure (or the superiority) of being a sponsor, yet I can practice listening to others. I do care, though I admit I sometimes have to concentrate to listen because my ego is getting in the way. But with HP-guided practice, I am gently being eased into a life of OA service again.
Some day, yes. I will be a sponsor. First, I have to get through Step 4 and one-day-at-a-time the rest of the steps.
The weight loss is a gift I think I was not ready for, but I am grateful my HP gave it anyway. Of course, perhaps I lost the weight to expose the anorexia waiting at the “finish line”. The weight loss does inspire overeaters looking to lose weight to believe OA can work for them. I’m not sure how my struggle with anorexia helps food anorectics in program, but OA works for bingers as well as restricters. It’s the same disease, just a different manifestation of control. Trust me . . . as an overeater, I had white-knuckle control over those binges. I ate to get numb, and I ate because I deserved to feel good. I chose food hedonism, and I carefully chose my suppliers and my drug of choice. I ate and told myself that no one could control me, no one could tell me what to do. And I ate in bulk to prove precisely how little control people had over me, choosing to wear a wall of body in order to keep people away.
However I am saying right now, with me as an example: Work the steps to get the REAL benefit from the program. And the longer I hover in the lower steps, the more likely I will relapse. I accept this as reality. My HP has been gentle easing me into it. I have done some of it and did a 4th Step Inventory once before, but it was not complete. This one is rigorously honest, and I have cried more than once as I put entries down.

Do I have an email you can write to?

Yup, I do. I was ready to post it then remembered that there are boat-tons of digital crawlies all over. Since I already get enough email about enlarging the male organ I do not possess and giving money to desperate people who inherited money they can’t access in exchange for ten times the amount, I want the web crawlers to have to work for it. It’s like leaving my car locked or unlocked–a locked vehicle is less likely to be broken into if easy pickings are just down the block. Yes, it’s still at risk. I accept that. I just don’t want to contribute to that risk.
Okay, so I will go ahead with this deal for anyone who wants to email me: send me a comment with your email in it and a “Please Don’t Publish This.” See, I screen all comments because sometimes spam comments get through. I read each one and publish comments that are actually related to what was written in the post. I also don’t plug stuff in exchange for flattery. I will discuss books and DVDs which affected my spiritual journey, but not on demand. There are enough blogs which do that. This one is just me yakking about being a 40-something who decided to journal her mid-life crisis.
Luckily, I had OA to guide me into understanding I wanted to reunite with my soul instead of buy a luxury car. The added bonus was weight loss.
Oh, I won’t publish anything someone says, “Don’t Publish!” That’s disrespectful and harmful (intent to hurt). I am working toward a life of compassion and loving-kindness. Imperfectly, yes, but that’s how progress–and life–works.

Side Note: I learned that WordPress lets straight through to publication commenters who have previously-approved comments. So . . . my email is my WordPress ID at gmail.com. And if there’s an intense gut-draw to write to me, then write to me! Get it out. Part of being in OA is listening without judgment–mostly because I have probably been there already. Heck, I may be facing the same thing right now, and you’ll be helping me by tucking an HP-message in your words. Inspiration is being in spirit, being led by an HP. I was inspired to walk into an OA room, and I was inspired to walk into an SLAA room. Those two footwork actions have changed my life for the better–imperfect or not. So, yeah, I am definitely pro going with the spiritual flow whenever it strikes. Connecting with another person is always, always a life-affirming action.

My name is Jess. Still an addict, of course. Still capable of choosing to reject recovery and live a miserable life with food and toxic love as the demanding diva stars of the show called my life.

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Responses

  1. I really enjoy reading your posts, and I’ll be by to read more. Your honesty really stands out. I’ve been a member of OA for years, and I still find people who are honestly working their program to be inspiring.

    Thanks for being here,
    lilly~

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I try to keep mindful of the HOW (Honesty, Openness, and Willingness) approach to OA, and writing from that has benefited me and others over the last couple of years.

      It’s definitely not a perfectly-worked recovery, but it’s definitely one worked with intense progress. While I sometimes have momentary flashes of nostalgia for “easier” lessons, I remember that I wanted to be here working the really rough stuff back then. I thought I was ready for it, and being challenged by the scraping out of the addiction barrel right now in my life is letting me know that being guided to it was the only way to go.

      Thank you, Lilly, for being one of the many people who inspire me to get onto WordPress and tell people about my journey. Some days are better than others (as it is in life!) and sometimes I neglect this journal. I know, however, that having it here will allow someone just like me to see what the choice of joining OA looks like down the road.

      It may not be clean and pristine and perfect on this path, but it is worth it. Oh yeah. It is *definitely* worth it.


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