The Cliff

November 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

On Thanksgiving day

We were in Florida visiting my brother

And we went to Thanksgiving at his friend’s house

It was a wonderful buffet of food

But as you can imagine

Much of it I can’t eat due to the rules of my game

I avoid sugar completely

And here is a great explanation of why

 

Sugar isn’t the only reason I struggle with food

But it’s definitely a large part of the problem

And knowing that

Gives me some power to control it

 

But when you go to a buffet bar

Or to a friends house

The food before you is a mystery

Because you can never be quite sure what is in it

or ON it

Unless you brought it yourself

 

This means if the turkey or ham is glazed

Or has been marinated or basted in any sauce

I must be super careful

I picked up some turkey on Thanksgiving

And it was good

Really good

Too Good

And for me

TOO GOOD = BAD

So I put it down

 

It took great effort for me to put it aside

But in my mind I knew

I was probably already in trouble

Because I picked it up in the first place

Knowing it probably was dangerous

And then I had a bite

And then I ate a few more bites

Before stopping myself

 

This was also on the table

Salmon

 

For me, the best choice available

I was so grateful that this was there

It had no sauce on it either

Nothing to trip me up

 

My brother also told me

That he always brings something with him

That he can eat for sure

In this case a plate of ham/turkey and cheese roll ups

With olives

 

When I went through the line

I picked up the following

Salmon, olives, turkey roll up

HOWEVER

I picked up a little bit of the turkey and ham from the grill

And for me

That was wrong

Because I put the turkey and ham on my plate

Knowing FULL WELL it would have a sauce on it

And so the lies begin….

 

The lies I tell myself

The lies that will trip me up

Because I told myself turkey and ham is protein

It’s good

And that’s true

But don’t you know

That the enemy ALWAYS sprinkles his lies

With just a little bit of truth

To make them easier to swallow

Because ham and turkey ARE great choices

Unless they have a sauce that includes sugar

And then for me

They are a no-go

 

But I pretended as if the sauce wasn’t going to be there

Even though deep down

I knew it most likely was

And I ate some of it

About 3 bites of ham

About  4 bites of turkey

That was all

THAT WAS ENOUGH

 

The damage was done

Not massive damage

Not complete damage

But it was in there now

The sugar

And I knew that most likely

It would kick in the next day

And sure enough it did

I was much hungrier the following day

I suddenly was craving things I normally don’t crave

Now believe me

This was manageable

It was annoying but manageable

Because I only had a little bit of the poison that invades my body

And flips me upside down

BUT

It was totally avoidable

By having just not eaten those things in the first place

Because I don’t like the feeling it stirs inside of me

The hunger

The cravings

 

What I like

Is not being hungry all the time

What I like

Is not craving sweets all the time

What I LOVE

Is feeling in control

Not living with nonstop obsessive thoughts that never leave my mind

 

By eating only a few small bites of something with some sugar in it

I experienced an increase in hunger

Can you only imagine what I could have done to myself

If I had eaten more of it??

 

I did not use to understand how much power sugar had over me physiologically

It never crossed my mind that often times the hunger and the cravings

Are a direct result of something I ate

Like an allergic response

But now I know better

And that makes me far more responsible for my actions

 

Someone wrote me an email the other day

That said this

Holidays are tough

Because they are “culturally sanctioned pig out days”

And how true that is!!!!

Thanksgiving especially is one day of the year

That we are all allowed to overeat

Stuff ourselves senseless

And depending on who you’re hanging out with

It might even be offensive to them if you don’t

You might make THEM feel uncomfortable if you don’t eat yourself

Into a food coma

 

Thankfully I was in a supportive environment

Where no one cared what I put on my plate

There was dessert

But I didn’t eat it

The amazing thing about this

Is that when I don’t already have the sugar running through my veins

It’s not that hard for me to pass it up

But once it’s in there

The trouble begins

 

Regardless of the environment you’re in

Whether it’s one like mine

Where the people respect your food issues

Or one where they don’t

The question remains

IS IT WORTH IT??

 

I know this

The piece of pie I could eat on Thanksgiving

Doesn’t end on Thanksgiving

But for most people it does

Those people without food issues

They can overeat on Thanksgiving

And go right back to their life

But not me

 

That one day is not a solitary day

It’s nothing more than opening the door

To a landslide

I can’t fool myself

I can’t pretend

That I’m like them

If I sit around and say to myself

Well this is just an exception

Just today I can overeat

Just today I can eat glazed ham

Just today I can have pumpkin pie

Then I’m nothing more than an alcoholic on New Years Eve

Saying just today I’ll drink champagne

 

People will say

But I want to be normal.  I want to partake.  I have to indulge.  I cant just deny myself forever”

Or

“I can’t live this way.  I want to have a normal life

To them I say

What is normal??

 

The Amish don’t drive cars

That’s their normal

I used to live in Alaska

And it’s total darkness half the year

And total daylight the other half of the year

People say “How could you live that way?”

But an Alaskan might say to you

That’s our normal!

Because to them OUR days are the strange ones

 

Who decided what a normal life should be anyway?

YOU choose your normal

The reality of who I am will not change just because I want it to

Just because I want to be one of those people that can eat pumpkin pie

And not have it turn into a binge

Just because I want to be THAT version of “normal”

Does not mean I ever will be

This is who I am

A girl allergic to sugar

A girl allergic to pie

A girl who can’t take just one bite

Without losing years of her life

To the binge

 

Ask yourself this

The people around you

The ones who might insist you eat some of their pie

Are they going to visit you in the hospital

When you weigh 500 pounds?

Because that piece of pie turned into the 5 year binge

That led you into the darkness?

Are those people going to come to your home

And do all the cleaning that you can no longer do

Because that piece of pie turned into 100 extra pounds?

 

They may not get it

They may not understand it

The way you have to live

The way you have to eat

And that’s ok

Because they don’t have to get it

They don’t have to understand it

They just have to respect it

And if they don’t

They’re not safe people to be around

 

Because this is a battle to reclaim our lives

Even if it doesn’t seem that way

I needed to lose 300 pounds

And I’m 9 pounds away

From 200 pounds gone

I have far less weight to lose now

Than I did when I started

But it doesn’t change a thing

NOT ONE THING

 

Just because I am further away from the cliff now

Than I was 200 pounds ago

Doesn’t mean the cliff isn’t still there

 

14 months ago I stood at the edge of a cliff

I stood there in the darkness

And I was so close to the edge, my toes were hanging over

I could feel the cold air on my cheeks

I could feel the wind blowing

Knowing that all it would take was one good burst

To blow me straight off the cliff

Into the deep abyss

 

Just because you don’t feel the freefall

Doesn’t mean you aren’t about to get sucked in

Just because you aren’t standing on the edge of that cliff

Just yet

Doesn’t mean you aren’t heading for it

Doesn’t mean it’s not there

 

I have been to the very edge of that cliff

I’ve seen how far down it goes

And you can’t even see the bottom

It’s nothing but darkness

It’s far and it’s deep

And if you fall down

There is no guarantee

You will ever find your way out

 

It’s not worth it

When you know what triggers you

When you know what sets you off

IT”S JUST NOT WORTH IT

Because it could be the very bite

That pushes you to the edge of that cliff

 

Because the cliff is there

Whether you have 50 pounds to lose

Or 300

THE CLIFF IS THERE

And it’s waiting for you

 

The cliff is always there

And anyone can push you towards it

Even your family

Even your friends

Because maybe they don’t see it

Maybe they don’t understand it

But that doesn’t change the fact

That every bite of that food you know you can’t handle

Every sip of that soda you know will set you off

Takes you one step closer to the edge of that cliff

 

This year I’m thankful for the people in my life

Who don’t care what I put on my plate

Those are the people that make this journey so much easier

Because the thing I’m most thankful for

IS MY FREEDOM

And nothing is worth throwing that away

Not even

Pumpkin Pie 🙂

 

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Cindy November 26, 2012 at 5:16 am

Wow. This gave me a LOT to think about. You described many of my behaviors and thought processes. I really like how you analyzed and described different meanings of normal.
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rhondasaiz November 26, 2012 at 8:34 am

I just want you to know that you have a very great post! thanks for sharing!
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joy November 26, 2012 at 8:36 am

Thanks for sharing the video it was very eye opening. I have the same issues with sugar and you are right when you don’t have in your diet anymore you don’t crave it has much but just that first bite of a piece of cake can cause me to go into a two week binge.
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Linda Kuil November 26, 2012 at 10:25 am

“The pit of despair” is a good way to look at it, too. Once you’re in, it’s nearly impossible to get out, but it is possible. I have bad days, sometimes a few, but not to the extent that I used to. You have a full-blown epi-pen-needing allergy where mine is just a sensitivity, I guess! I’m glad you had a great Thanksgiving!

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Karen P November 26, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Awesome post Holly, as always. Food mixtures are problem for me too,your not alone. Thank you for posting and reminding me about the basics of my own plan.

So happy for you, getting so close to the 200 pound mark. Awesomeness. Keep up the good work and the great posts. Karen p
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Lady Amanda November 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

I am soo happy that you are soo happy. I am thrilled that you lost weight over the Thanksgiving holiday at a time when most people were gaining weight. I am soo excited that you are soo close to your next goal. It is soo exciting. Yay!

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Patrick November 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Knowledge is indeed a powerful weapon in our war against obesity. But like any weapon, it is of little use if we do not put it use. Oh the many many many years I have known the ills of sugar, or trans fats, or binging… and all the while I have also known how to properly use & enjoy food. Knowledge, combined with Purpose, and wrapped in Belief; the three need to be deployed together to go from winning a day’s battle or a week’s or even a month’s, to winning the war for a lifetime.
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Adelyn November 26, 2012 at 3:16 pm

I decide normal for me. So true. Thank you for the reminder.
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Daphne @ Daphne Alive November 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for the video, it was pretty awesome and informative!

I’ve encountered a lot of people saying they just want to be “normal” and don’t want to count calories, exercise, or track their food. I tell them to stop being “wishy washy”. They got themselves into an addiction, and this is what it takes to get them out! This is a tough battle, but SO worth it to not be manipulated by food.
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Lori November 26, 2012 at 6:14 pm

I love you discussion of “normal.” I needed to read that.
Lori

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Susan November 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm

What an awesome post….wow…never thought of sugar that way. I will be having my WLS on the 4th of Dec….

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down November 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm

Congratulations Susan on your upcoming surgery!! I am going to pray for you that all goes smoothly! You are on your way!

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Dagny November 28, 2012 at 1:45 am

I’m always happy to see posts like this because you make the truth clear! That sense of “entitlement” to indulgence that people want to cling to, the belief that “moderation” is the same as control—the real truth is that for many of us, this is what can trap us in cycles of failure and struggle.

It’s a tough lesson to learn but it IS the truth! That real control takes…control!
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TheParisChronicles November 28, 2012 at 8:24 am

Thank you for putting up that video. It’s a terrific, clear explanation on why it is so tremendously difficult to lose weight and keep it off, and why WLS seems to be the most effective tool in this battle…as it removes some (but not all) of those hunger hormones. What I really liked about the video is that nothing is being sold nor pushed but pure information. Bravo, UC!

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Karin Canazzi November 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Thanks for the information.
I have wondered why I seem hungrier when I
have had a few nibbles. This so makes sense.
A little more ammo in my tool box
to keep me losing.
thanks

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Amanda November 29, 2012 at 2:53 am

Thank you so much for this post! You managed to type out exactly the battle that goes on in my head. Here I have wondered if I was just crazy (as in, literally mentally unbalanced) because no one else in my life thinks, feels, or operates like this. I have a life full of “all things in moderation” people, and they seriously DON’T GET IT!

Thank you!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Thanks Amanda! I promise you are NOT crazy! There is a whole boatload of people out there just like US!! The ‘moderation’ thing doesn’t work for me. I wish it did but with certain foods it never will. I am with you on this!

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Pam November 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm

So true Holly. I often call this maintenance battle a slippery slope. One slip and pretty soon you’re all the way down at the bottom, where you started, where you never wanted to be again. I hear about others who have changed their lives and lost weight, who have “cheat days” once a week. Like you, I know even one cheat just opens the door and allows me to choose more and more things I know I shouldn’t have. So for now, ‘JUST SAY NO’ has to be my mantra.

With our food addictions, we will never be normal. I have resigned myself to the fact that for the rest of my life, in order to maintain this weight loss, I will not be able to eat even as much as someone my same height and weight, but who has never been heavy. It’s a proven fact of life. And I’m okay with that. I had my fun. Thirty years of over-eating. Thirty-years of never caring how many calories I was putting my mouth, eating anything and everything I wanted, without moderation. And for giving that up, I have regained my life. It’s a no-brainer!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 3, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thanks Pam! I watched your Joy Fit Club episode and it was AMAZING!! I am so impressed and inspired by you!

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JoNita November 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm

Thank you for writing this. I really needed to see it. I am binge everyday. I used to weight 231 lbs and was tired of being overweight. I lost 99 lbs in 2010 and since January of this year have gained 55 lbs back due to my binge problem. My weakness is sugar also. Once I start, I can’t stop. My husband won’t let me go out to eat or to food parties just because he knows my problem.

One thing I would like to ask is what kind of things do you stay away from? I understand sweets but what about fruit? The natural sugars. Are those a starter for you also? And what about carbs like oatmeal, etc…

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 3, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Hi JoNita!

I completely understand what you are going through. I was a binge eater for many years. I understand how hopeless this feels and the drive inside of you to go for the food. It is overwhelming. It feels like you will never ever be able to resist it. You touched on the major problem which is probably leading you in large part to binge. SUGAR. Trust me when I say to you that sugar is over 50% of my problem. Of course there are parts of me that use food on an emotional level but the biggest part of my problem is the sugar. THere are many books on the subject which explain very well how sugar operates like a drug in your system. So know that you are not some kind of moral failure in life. You are most likely someone who has been ingesting a drug/poison that is causing you to obsess over food. Going off of sugar is much like a detox. So you may feel very horrible for a time with headaches etc. And it IS tough just as it is tough for anyone out there to come off any drug. BUT I promise that if you can get through that first 4 days or so….the first week….you will most likely experience a rapid decrease in hunger. The light will begin to shine. You asked what I stay away from. Basically I don’t eat ANYTHING with more than 4 grams of sugar in it. I am very vigilant about this. I check every single thing that I put in my mouth. If I am not able to discern whether sugar is in it…I don’t eat it. This includes going to someone’s house, restaurant, potluck. Some things are laced in sauces that you may not realize are there. But if you fought your way out of detox…you would not take a risk to go back! As for fruit..I cannot really eat that either. The natural sweeteners in fruit do set me off. This is just ME. I know others may not have that problem but for me it is no different than candy. I have lost progress by trying to add in blueberries, strawberry and apples. I won’t say they are nearly as bad as candy but I do find them to affect me even from the natural sugar.

You asked me about carbs…I limit them. I don’t eat oatmeal b/c it has a lot of carbs in it. Again..this is just me. A lot of people eat oatmeal including my brother and my Crossfit Coach who watches her sugar. You can get sugar free oatmeal and this is what I buy for my children. But I limit my carbs to about 40 or less a day and oatmeal takes up a lot of carbs so I don’t include it at least at this point. Anything that is bread related like bagels, pasta etc. I don’t eat ever. All of that still has a lot of sugar in it. I think the trick is to always check your sugars because you will be surprised where it lies!

I am sorry it took me so long to answer this question. I had a busy week getting back from vacation and returning to work. I will email this to you also and let me know if there is anything else I can do to encourage you!!!

Holly

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Sara Thornton December 1, 2012 at 5:51 am

Do you do anything at all, like eat Stevia on things? Or do you just not eat it AT ALL to have a sweetness? Does fake sugar like Stevia leave that craving effect? I’m still trying to learn it all.

I was bad on Thanksgiving, but not horrible. I had a few bites of things other than the turkey and ham that I prepared myself with a mustard sauce only but it’s just another proof that everything you write is true. And I want to follow in your foot steps so bad. I have lost 10 pounds in the last 3 weeks because of you when I had been in a month or so long stall because my carbs and everything was out of place.

Even though I made a mistake, I was still losing weight. I reached my goal I had in mind for my 5 month post op mark even, 70 lbs lost total. I feel so good but I know I could do better.

Slowly but surely I find new ways to take bread and pasta out of my diet. I’ve started learning how to use hydroponic lettuce for ‘bread’ because I had trouble understanding how to do anything with it, but I am getting the hand of it. It’s not easy to use although that sounds silly! It all just takes time and practice and a generous and kind person to help along the way. I <3 you 🙂 God bless!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Sara,

To answer your question about Stevia..it does not bother me. I will say that some people have mentioned artificial sweeteners do have a similar effect as sugar on them but I have not had that experience. I am pretty sure Stevia is the one that I have been told is the best out of all of them. However, I’ll admit I don’t really add sweetener to anything. I drink my coffee black. I mostly just try to stay away from anything too sweet although I do drink my Atkins shakes which have a sweet taste to them. I am not sure what sweetener is in them but it doesn’t set me off.

I love your experiments with the lettuce and efforts to find new ways to incorporate things into your food plan that will help you. Like you, I have to totally avoid all bread and pasta. TOTALLY. It messes me up big time!! So I understand that. I should try the lettuce you mentioned. I just eat the meat with a fork or I eat deli sliced turkey/ham and roll it up. But this is a creative idea you have!

Thank you so much for your kind words. But I am nothing special. I can promise you that. I have just discovered the secret…that if we keep getting up when we fall and going after the prize…we will eventually get there!! And I am SOOO happy for your 10 pound loss. I count my progress in 10 pound increments actually . I feel like focusing on each 10 pounds helps me not to get overwhelmed and it gives me more opportunities to claim a victory!! You are doing the hard work. You are making this happen. And YOU are inspiring ME!!!!!

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Sara Thornton December 4, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Awww but you ARE special. Your blog is a huge eye opener, inspiration, hope and a dream come true for so many people! You’ve helped me and I’m sure thousands of others to come to terms with their weight, and the right diet plan post WLS, getting back up after falling off the bandwagon, etc. Helping people is something. Being able to REACH people.. is special! <3

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Mike December 7, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Really love this Holly! You do a great job at breaking down the effect that sugar can have, I know I feel the same way after just a few bites. Thank you for posting this!

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 7, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Thanks Mike! Glad to know others have had the same experiences with sugar. Well…it’s not good that they have to deal with the battle BUT it’s good to know that we don’t fight alone!

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