Monthly Archives: April 2005

Day 40: Keeping busy

I was feeling a little bit overwhelmed yesterday, and wanting to get this out of my system… to sort out my own thoughts. I wrote it down, and here it is. Today, I feel fine – looking forward to going home and sleeping, but otherwise fine. This passage I wrote last night didn’t really bring much clarity – I find that much of the time when I feel feelings (now that I get to do that), I can’t name them. I have no idea what I feel, but I feel *something*, and because I don’t know what it is I don’t know what to do about it. So last night, I simply wrote it down. Here goes:

I tend to keep busy… always have, I don’t enjoy sitting at home by myself (besides, boredom is a major trigger in terms of food). I can only enjoy a quiet day at home when I’ve really used up all my “social batteries” and just want to be by myself, which happens, maybe once a week or every other week. Another thing is that I knoe I won’t be 24 and single for the rest of my life, and there’s just SO MUCH I want to do! Fitting it all into my life requires tight scheduling as well as budgeting.

Right now, this is a typical week for me:

  • Monday – work 8-4, ESL course 6:30-9:30pm, home by 10:45pm
  • Tuesday – work 8-4, prayer meeting 7:30-9:00pm, in between I might go home for dinner or go running somewhere to get some exercise
  • Wednesday – work 8-4, ESL course 6:30-9:30pm
  • Thursday – work 8-4, tutor 2 hispanic ladies in English from 5-7pm, home group 7-9pm, home around 10pm
  • Friday – work 8-4, night off (groceries, cooking, laundry)
  • Saturday – every other Sat. church ladies meeting in the morning, usually some sort of socializing afterwards; a flexible day, but rarely empty
  • Sunday – church 9:30-12pm, tutor 2 hispanic ladies in English from 12:30-2pm, visit old lady in nursing home 2:30-3:30pm. Afternoon/evening free for socializing with church family, or household chores.

I do pull this off, wouldn’t know what else to do with myself if I weren’t busy… except that I feel my body getting tired and worn and despite the fact that I really want to do all these things and enjoy doing them, I find myself getting tempted to skip some of them. And then I regret it because I wanted to be there. I’ve been thinking of catching some sleep in our school counselor’s office (she has a couch!) on Mondays & Wednesdays before the ESL course, after work, but I find I can’t fall asleep that fast and even if I manage, I don’t wake up rested – I wake up wanting to go back to sleep. So I exercise, but sometimes I skip that because of the tiredness and then I’m on guilt trip. I know that when I do it, I feel so much better – energized – afterwards, but getting there is just tough.

Anyway, today I will go home as early as possible and go straight to bed. And I won’t eat, no matter what.

Day 39: 10/10 meals

I’m learning that not all of my meals are going to be delicious. Dinner yesterday was actually dreadful – I had used a canned protein in it, and I think it went bad during the day. It turned green in places, anyway. By the time I needed to have dinner, I was ravenous, but I wasn’t home, so I had to eat what was there. And I did. Can’t say it was good, but my stomach has been abused in a much worse fashion, so I was fine physically.

It’s still a big priority for me that my breakfast is good. Looking forward to breakfast keeps me abstinent in the evening. Then it starts my day off with a true grateful heart, because I get to have this delicious food and have a good conscience as I eat it. The other meals, as much as I’d like them to be good, aren’t so easy – just because I’m never home for lunch or dinner (but for lunch I generally have a microwave, which makes having a cooked vegetable a lot easier, whereas for dinner I don’t have any preparation facilities). So lunch tends to be good – after all, I can freeze stuff and microwave it – it’s just repetitious, but I’m fine with that. I used to repeat my binge foods as well… I’m not bothered by lack of variety. I vary my proteins every few weeks, as I run out of the reserve I’ve frozen (that way, I only have to cook once every couple of weeks!). Dinner, however, can only be something I can eat cold. It’s a challenge to make that taste good, but perhaps I’m just not experienced enough, I’m sure there are GS’ers out there who are facing just what I do and can help me out a little here?

Anyway, as for yesterday… I ate my not-so-tasty dinner, then got some black coffee to wash it down with, and it was fine. I had breakfast to look forward to. So I guess the moral of the story, for me, is: make sure at least ONE of your daily meals is a 10/10! 😉

Day 38: Dreams

I had such a weird dream tonight. I dreamed that I had spilled my abstinent dinner in my car (I always make lunch & dinner at home and just bring it wherever I go) and was so frustrated. I distinctly remember trying to scoop it out of the plastic bag back into the container – not sure if I was going to eat that – but some had spilled onto the floor, so I scraped it off there (eww!), all the while thinking how on Earth I would handle this because I really don’t have time to cook anything else and I have to eat but I was grossed out as I deliberated whether I should eat the food I had spilled on my car floor and… well, I woke up incredibly frustrated and stressed out (and I have made VERY sure that my food was placed safely in the car this morning). Just funny how my inner addict is trying new approaches because the old ones don’t work.

Overall I feel more stressed about being abstinent now than I did 20 days ago, or so. That’s because I don’t want to become lenient, I don’t want to be caught off guard – in the beginning, that was easy to do because I had my guard up at all times and it was all new and fresh. Now it’s not so new any more, and life happens in between meals. I’m scared to lose my abstinence due to feeling invincible, because while I KNOW I’m not, my built-in forgetter is hard at work in my subconscious mind.

I want to plan a lot of things. I catch myself thinking ahead, and I need to let go of this, to some degree (I still think planning is a good thing). I already think ahead to weigh day on Sunday. I think ahead to my trip to Toronto in 3 weeks, which will be a one-week vacation that I need to prepare for in terms of GS (but my sponsor told me it’s too early to worry now). – but for today, there are no no-matter-what’s as far as I know, and it will be a regular day, so for today, I will be abstinent. And when those days come, I will tackle them.

Abstinence MUST come first.

Day 37: Weigh-day approaching

Interesting how my clothes keep getting looser. All the while as they do so, I keep trying to convince myself that the scale won’t reflect it, because if it does (just in case), I’ll be happy – rather than the other way round, if I expect to see a drop and it hasn’t happened. I know, I know it’s several days until then. But still! I’m already thinking about it.

It’s just that my history with losing weight has always been so tedious. I don’t lose weight quickly. I gain it quickly, to be sure, but losing it is a whole different story. I once did Atkins *perfectly* for two full months, and by the end of that time, I hadn’t lost a pound. (So I went out and started a three-week binge.)

So, because weigh-day is approaching and I am committed to CGS no matter what – weight off or not – I’m planning my internal response now, because failure to plan is planning to fail. I must not fail.

Day 36: Staying honest

This weekend, my sponsor was away. I’m happy to sit here this morning with a clear conscience, able to say that I kept myself honest.

Every single meal I had this weekend was committed to a qualified person. I felt bad, since I have to call in the morning between breakfast and lunch, and who likes to wake people up on a Saturday/Sunday morning? As a matter of fact, I did wake someone up (apologies again, if you read this!) but that eventually didn’t keep me from calling someone else. On Saturday mornings, there’s a great meeting, so I went to the Phone Bridge to see who was up, so I could call them afterwards. In the process, I got some great inspiration out of that meeting (which I’d never been to before). I called someone I’d heard on it right afterwards, and that took care of Saturday.

Sunday is always a busy day for me, with church and all, so it happened that I was about to put my lunch into the microwave as I remembered that it wasn’t yet committed! This wasn’t even at my home, but at a hispanic lady’s place (I tutor her in English). Had a bit of struggle there – again, how would my sponsor ever know? And haven’t I eaten this very thing many times before? But, I got out my phone and called. And called. Said to myself that if the third person I try doesn’t take it, I’ll eat anyway. Then tried #3. OK, I said to myself, if the fifth person doesn’t take the call, THEN I’ll eat. Eventually, person #6 took the call and graciously took my food. Heh, the mind games I had to play to get there!

I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that I’m an addict, and that’s why I’m treating myself this way. I cannot allow myself the liberty to take back power over my food program – even if it’s all in “legal” foods, and there’s no compulsiveness, as such, involved. But, one liberty leads to another. It’s a downhill slide. I have experienced this more times than I care to remember, and that’s why I hold on like this – I cannot, will not, do not trust myself in food issues. I have to stay dumb and treat today like I did day 1.

Day 33: Rewards and Consumerism

I shared some of this on the phone meeting this morning, but I really want to elaborate a little on the issue of my consumerism. (I’m not a very good “public” speaker, even if it’s just among friends on the phone bridge – I tend to forget about half of what I was going to say!) so here goes.

It’s all about rewards. When I first started GS, I needed all the motivation I could get, so I drew up a list of things I would reward myself with (non-food, of course!). Every 10 days, I would allow myself to buy one of these things. I’ve done this “reward” system many times before, on many diets, and when I went off the diet – as I inevitably would – I would still buy the things I had wanted. And eat.

But, I figured, I could use the motivation and it kept me from buying stuff almost every day in order to reward myself for abstinence – and if I’d had the money, buying something daily would have been exactly what I’d have done. This way, I could justify to myself buying nothing for days, but looking forward to the things I’d listed.

I would have bought 3 things by now, because I’m past day 30.

And you know what? I didn’t buy one single reward. The main reason for this is that I simply didn’t have the money… so I really can’t claim any discipline for this, hehe. The point is that today as I looked at my list (thinking it’s going to be awesome, I can get three things at once!), I didn’t really want any of the things I’d listed! I don’t really need them, and my passing fancy was just that: passing. Now if I had had the money and bought these things, it would have been wasted money, because I really don’t want/need these things.

What do I learn from this? Two things –

  1. GS abstinence is its own reward. I may not have bought material things to satisfy my consumerist desires, but instead, I have gained a much deeper, more lasting reward (of sanity, of appreciation, of joy even) that hasn’t cost me anything except the cost of my 3 weighed meals per day. And scales.
  2. In the future I will do my best to write down things that catch my fancy and make myself wait for a week or two. If I then still want it, I can get it, but I have a history of buying stuff and seeing my money disappear – I still do live from paycheck to paycheck – without really getting anything for it! Yes, I get a momentary satisfaction, but it’s fleeting. Barely there. GS teaches me not to go for the instant gratification, with food as well as with things.

So, for today, I’m very grateful for that. And, heck yeah, I *really* want a bike.

Day 32: Quitting smoking, quitting sugar

It’s interesting how my attitude towards this stretch of abstinence – 32 days! – reminds me of the time I quit smoking almost five years ago. At the time, quitting smoking was the hardest thing I’d ever done, and I had quite a few no-matter-what’s, because I had to relearn how to do everything without a cigarette. Everything I did for the first time without smoking was a trigger. I remember going to the movies about three months into my quit – at a time that I felt fairly stable already – but the moment I came out (as I’d normally light up immediately) I was hit by a wave of craving so strong I stood in front of a cigarette dispenser automat for minutes. Eventually I hit it, with my fist, hard.

When I quit smoking, I didn’t “cut down”. I just quit, period. And deep inside I felt like I only had this one chance – if I were to pick up again, I wouldn’t have the strength to go through this again, at least not for many years to come. It was precisely *because* it was so hard that I had the resolve not to pick up again. I feel very similar now about food. If I pick up again, it will take me a very, very long time to make it back to GS – if ever – and the next time will be harder. I’m cruising now. All is well, and food thoughts (yes they’re there) are easily redirected. But I know that I can lose all of this, and reading the posts on this forum I learn that not everyone has an easy time like me… people are out there, white-knuckling it, hanging on for dear life. That’s not the kind of abstinence I’d choose if I have a choice – it’s better than non-abstinence, but I’m not going to jeopardize what I have now, the ease and the surrender and the willingness my HP is blessing me with so abundantly.

Yes, I do the footwork. I go to phone meetings, I read the Greynet, I make outreach calls, and of course I weigh all my food. But there’s a grace about this, an ease, a naturalness. I’m letting myself be brainwashed by all the GS info I can get, and it’s a slow process of washing clean some very, very stained windows into myself. The more I see, the more I understand, and the more I realize how dearly I have to guard this abstinence.

Just exceedingly grateful for today, another abstinent day. Wishing you all the same.