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!"