Thursday, January 27, 2011

Slow Road To Normal

Venetian Waterway Bike Trail - Venice, FL
December, 2010

These past ten days have been some of the longest of my life.  Between the infection and the meds, I have just about gone out of my mind.  For four days, I was too sick too read or look at the computer and that was downright depressing.  But things are looking up.  The tide seemed to turn Saturday and I was excited about going to church on Sunday, but when I woke up Sunday morning, it was like it had started all over again.  So it was back to bed for the day, but Monday morning really did feel different.  And each day since Monday, I've gained a little strength and actually gone out to walk or run an errand.  Thankfully, the winter weather we were expecting dealt little more than a glancing blow to us this time and was actually pretty.  But temps stayed above freezing, so no driving problems anticipated and we are expecting sunny skies today. 

I fought the Prednisone for all it was worth and am happy to report that I have not gained any weight.  I have three more days, but the dose is now down to 5 mg once a day, so the worst should be over.  I made sure every morsel that went in my mouth was full of nutrients and little sodium as I fought the increased appetite and water retention associated with Prednisone.  Only a couple of times was I tempted to gnaw on the sofa because I was so hungry!  It has truly been a battle and if it had to come, I am thankful it happened while I was so motivated to stay in control.  I am very, very proud of myself and don't mind saying so!

The road back to my "normal" will be slow.  Walking leaves me tired and I can't imagine hiking, but I think my stamina will rebuild quickly once I get fully recovered and working on it.  I am scheduled for a CT scan on Feb. 3 to see how much of the infection this course of treatment actually eliminated.  Then we'll determine where to go from here. It's just so comforting to be told by a doctor, "yes, there is a very real reason you've felt so rotten these last few months."

There is another "normal" I'm feeling better about largely due to feedback and support received from and through this community of bloggers.  Something "clicked" when I got the wake-up call and I can honestly say, right now I'm enjoying the process of eating healthy and watching the scale go down.  I have now been away from refined carbs and most processed foods for several days - enough for the intense cravings to have passed.  Except for the days I was so sick, I've spent time reading and planning strategies for staying on track and seeing results.  Right now, it is not hard!  I can't explain what changed, but that feeling of calm and in control with little effort is currently present. 

Here are some of the things I'm sensing and observing:

1)  These periods of calm are coming more frequently and lasting longer.  They are generally interrupted by an incident such as I described here and then further fueled by the emotions I talked about here.  Having done the really hard and painful work to identify these things, I'm finding it easier to get back on track quickly and efficiently. 

2)  It is so very important for me (and for YOU!) to always, without exception, remember that my "normal" may look very different than your "normal."  There are strong opinions out there and I occasionally see those who have adopted the "my way is the only RIGHT way" mindset.  And that is simply not true.  There are many paths to "normal" and if the path you choose is healthy and sustainable for the rest of your life, that can be your "normal."  Personally, I have learned that the analytical/statistical side of me LIKES researching, planning, creating spreadsheets and keeping track of EVERYTHING related to my eating plan and weight loss.  I also do this for every other area of my life and that's when I realized that this is my "normal."  It's o.k. I do it because I WANT to and because it brings me a sense of satisfaction.  This, for me, is normal. 

3)  And maybe thinking about food often isn't so bad if the context in which you are thinking about it is a positive one.  I'm struggling here because I can't explain this.  I just know there have been some circumstances lately where I've caught myself thinking, "whoa!  This must be what it feels like to see, smell or visualize food without wanting to devour it!"  This must be what Mr. B experiences when he watches Food Network for hours on end and wants to copy what they are doing, but has no immediate desire to eat it.

4)  At this point, the only concrete observation I can make is that I've noticed that more often than not, I STOP and THINK about what I'm doing between the "what can I eat" and "what have I done" stages of a binge.  And more often than not, I am identifying which emotion it is that's talking and taking steps to deal with it in a manner that doesn't involve food. 

There is so much more revolving around in my head and my posts gets so long, I can't believe you actually read them, but I read them!  Over and over and over!  And in the context of the entire blog, this stuff is beginning to make sense.  I guess the true test will be on July 30 when the "wake-up" call  becomes the "Hallelujah Chorus!"

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?    "And maybe thinking about food often isn't so bad if the context in which you are thinking about it is a positive one."  (Not the "what can I devour next" thoughts)


  1. Oh - watching the food network makes me want to eat! You'd probably have guessed that:)

    Glad to hear you are recovering. And, wow, making great progress, it seems:) Yes, normal is unique for each of us. I realized after some comments on my normal post that maybe that word was not misleading to some who don't experience it like we do.

    I agree with your statement. I think there is healthy food-think. Like planning meals and snacks.

  2. I sometimes worry my blog sounds opinionated, but the purpose of a blog is for a person to explore themselves, so I allow myself to go where I need to go. I agree with that statement. :) Behind all my rantings, I was really just trying to encourage people to trust themselves. I am passionate about that message because I was one who would be swayed off course based on what others were doing. I finally learned to stop comparing myself to others. The problem if you don't do things "by the book" is that you get a lot of emails from experts telling you what you could do better... lol.

  3. I think Number 4 is essential-and absolutely key for those of us who use food to medicate rather than for those who just tend to be "big eaters." There is a difference.

    As far as agreeing with the thinking about food thing. I don't know. I really don't think that food is that much on the mind of food normal people. But, then, what you describe sounds like a move a positive direction to me. :)


  4. I'm glad to hear that you're feeling a bit better. I was sick w/ the flu over a week ago & am still working on getting my energy back. It just zapped me. Went for a long walk today and I wasn't feeling so lousy, thankfully. Hope your scan says good stuff!

  5. Sharon,
    I am so proud of you! Not gaining weight on the steriods is huge, huge, huge! You've had some great break throughs too. Maybe the time spent ailing was good for you since you couldn't do anything else but think.

    I agree with the statement.

    It is good to have you back. I'm sure you'll get stronger & stronger from here on.

  6. The only positive thoughts I have about food is when I think that I don't want it. I cannot have a normal relationship with food yet-we can't 'just be friends' just yet...

    Polar's Mom

  7. Hi Sharon,

    So sorry to read that you've been ill. Uhhhgggg!!!

    I've never been on Prednisone, but I've heard what it can do to a body. Good job of fighting its evil effects!

    I think your statement has merit. But I'm not on drugs, so what do I know? (That's supposed to be funny.)




  8. No weight gain! That is awesome! I get what you are trying to day. You are so right that one size does not fit all when it comes to weight management.

    The right balance will be different for all of us.

    I guess I agree with your statement. I am the food planner, shopper and cook in my home. That means I am often thinking about food and not in a negative way or in one that is causing anxiety.

  9. Oh yes, I completely agree with that statement. That's what my (ex) personal trainer taught me. That you can be a 'foodie' (a person who loves food, loves cooking etc) and just direct it in a different direction, as in, how can I make that the most delicious and most healthy food possible.

    I do think that those of us with 'food issues' can have that good attitude and have it tip over into disordered thinking. So there is probably a balance in there.

  10. I am glad, Sharon, that you are on the mend. As I read your post there were so many things that resonated with me, too. Like my normal is different than others and the calmness.

    I know my normal is different. You know it, too. I am a slow and steady loser. None of that 55 pounds off in 60 days. Yesterday I really experienced a calmness like you describe. I credit that to my being present mindset, sabbatical, but to my healthy journey.

    Yes, Sharon. Let's plan to work toward our targets of July 30 together. We can both get there. Thanks so much, my blogger friend for stopping by with a thoughtful comment even as you are still recovering. Have a great weekend! Michele

  11. Glad you're feeling better and hope each day makes you stronger. We've got a visit in the Big Apple -- healthy food -- in the spring. Take good care. Sending hugs and prayers for your health.

  12. I want to comment about your statements about the periods of calm lasting longer. Back when I first started deep breathing, paying attention to my body, and eating better, I used to talk about these moments of intense peace and calm I'd feel. I wanted them to last longer. Eventually, they did. But at the time, I tried to just look forward to the next one... collecting moments like I'd collect a treasure.

  13. I agree with the statement. There is no need to not enjoy food. Enjoying food and being healthy and practicing moderation are not mutually exclusive things.