The Personalities in my head and other things…

September 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

I think I’m the Sybil of Weight Loss.  For me losing weight is not only about finding a good nutrition and exercise plan.  It’s also about finding a way to keep the various personalities living inside my head under control.  I try to run it like a democracy giving everyone a fair chance to speak but a few of them are bossy.  A few of them have to always push their way to the forefront and insist on taking over.  These are the voices that tend to make me lose a week or two of progress.  Sometimes longer.  Because not all of my personalities really have my best interests at heart.  And some of them are really sneaky!

A lot of times I get off track and wonder how it happened.  All I really have to do is say, “Hey! Which one of you decided that was a good idea?” and then wait to see which personality fesses up. That’s why I try to take time for a little self-analysis.  A time to look back on those days where it all went wrong and say “What the H happened?“.   Yes a little therapy is good!  It’s good inside of a room with a trained professional counselor but since they won’t let you live there 24 hours a day we sometimes have to practice on ourselves.  Self-therapy.  Or should I really say GROUP therapy?  Because  it’s me and the ‘others’ living in my head.

Now don’t get me wrong. Not all my personalities are bad.  Some of them have great intentions.

Except the one  who is especially fond of McDonald’s.  She really needs to shut up!

The past few weeks one of my more extremist personalities emerged and started running the show.  And due to her nonsense, I fell in two traps.  Traps I’ve been in before and traps I’ll probably be in again.

Let me first set up the scenario with some background information

I have a system of eating that WORKS for me.  This is what my system looks like:

1. Liquid during the day (Atkins protein shakes bc they have almost no sugar and low carbs).  I actually start in the morning when I wake up alternating liquids so I am constantly drinking something and I never get hungry.  It goes something like this—

8:00 AM   Coffee

9:00 AM    Atkins Shake

10:00 AM   16 oz Water bottle

11:00 AM     Coffee

12:00 PM     Atkins Shake

1:00 PM      16 oz Water bottle

(This rotating cycle continues exactly like this through the whole day except that I switch out hot tea for coffee after the first 2 or so cups bc I decided drinking a pot of coffee a day was probably not a great idea)

5:00-7:00 pm   FOOD! Somewhere around this time I allow myself to eat food that you chew!

I keep the meals very simple.  Usually I eat the same meal every night for a few weeks before switching it up . Too much variety and too much time spent in the act of cooking and preparing food is a trigger for me.  That is why I stick to the same simple meals.

The meals I eat in the evening usually consist of:

Salad

Meat (Fish, steak, pork chops, chicken)

And that’s about it.

Now here is the reason why I like to only do liquids during the day.

No matter how many times I try to do it any other way, I always come back to the same realization.  

And it’s this———>

The very act of eating makes me want to keep eating

 You see a “normal” person becomes LESS hungry or LESS interested in food the more they eat.  They become SATISFIED.

BUT NOT ME

You see,  the fact that I started chewing on something—the fact that a spoon or a fork went into my mouth numerous times until the meal was done—all of that starts a process.  It triggers something in my brain that says “THE PARTY HAS STARTED!!!!!!! LET’s EAT!!!”

This may not make sense to anyone and it’s actually taken me over 2 decades to figure it out but THAT is one of my biggest problems. The fact that once I start chewing—game on!

For me trying not to eat again after I’ve already started becomes torture. From the time that meal is over until the time of my next meal the obsessive food thoughts begin.  I spend my time checking the clock and trying to talk myself out of continuing to eat.  It’s like I flipped a switch in my brain and now it cannot get flipped off.   Trust me when I say I WANT to flip it off  (in more ways than one) but I can’t.  Once it’s on…it’s on.

Now if I drink only liquid that doesn’t happen.  It might happen AT FIRST—-maybe the first week or so—but then I get used to it.  My appetite lessens.  I’m getting a steady flow of protein shakes in which keeps my blood sugar stable. And  I know that I’m going to be eating at 5 or 6 pm. I don’t have to freak out that I’ll never see food again. In the meantime, though, there is no need for me to deal with food and worry about flipping the “Let’s Eat” switch on.  I feel calm and at peace.  There is also an added bonus.  Knowing that I was able to stick to liquids all day makes me go into that evening meal feeling strong and confident in my ability to have some self control.  I don’t worry as much that I will face dinner and go off on a binge.  That feeling of strength makes everything go better when I do actually have to interact with food.

This plan has worked better for me than any food plan I have ever tried. It is the one that has essentially given me back my life.

So why would I EVER go off that plan then, right??

Why would I trash that plan and do something else?

Well I WOULDN’T—but that personality I mentioned to you earlier in the blog? The one who pushed her way to center stage the past few weeks and took over??  Her name is Polly Perfectionist. And she’s to blame.

ALL HER FAULT

She threw the rest of us under the bus.  Straight into two traps.

I introduce you to Trap #1 which I will just title as—

NOTHING IS EVER GOOD ENOUGH

It all started out innocently enough I’d say.  I was back on track. I’d lost 10 pounds.  And things were going great.   But Polly Perfectionist decided it was time to come out and play.  Could she be happy with the plan that was working?   NO WAY!!  This chick is NEVER satisfied.  Not ever! She always has to “tweak” the system, you know?

Darn Polly….she sucks.  If it wasn’t for her I’d probably have lost another 5-10 pounds by now.  Instead she got me thinking about how the Atkins shakes aren’t actually that good for me health wise because they are processed and contain chemicals in them.  I’m not saying she’s wrong either.  I mean I know that Atkins shakes are far better than eating Big Macs all day BUT is it the healthiest protein shake out there? Probably not.  All ready-made shakes are processed and have chemicals in them.  So why not make my own shake, right?  Wouldn’t that be better?  And that is why upon Polly’s suggestion I start googling protein shake recipes.

Now here we already have the beginning of the trap.

There is a reason why I drink these ready made shakes instead of making my own.  Whenever I start reading about food…looking at recipes on Pinterest…..spending too much time even in the act of preparing or cooking food….the “I want to eat”  switch gets flipped again.  It’s me playing with fire.  This may seem like no big deal to a lot of people but for me…it can create a serious problem.   The more I read about food the more I want food.  All food!  Now that doesn’t mean I should just give up.  It just means that I have to be AWARE of it.  Like a person with an alcohol problem should be careful when they walk past the beer aisle.  It doesn’t mean they can never ever go to the grocery store again.  But it means they must be cautious.  But Polly had me looking for hours and days at recipes.  And she knows where all this leads. She knows I have an issue with this sort of thing.  (JERK!)

So there I was trying to find a protein shake recipe that had no sugar, no dairy and no fruit.  Why all those restrictions you ask?  Well that’s simple.  One of my personalities is a sugar addict.  And even the natural sugar in fruit gives her issues.  (yeah yeah…I know…High maintenance this girl…) If that wasn’t enough, though, another one of my personalities has a problem with food that comes to you in pieces.  She thinks grapes and nuts are M and M’s.  If you start eating one you end up eating the other.  Don’t ask!

Anyway, since all these gals are crammed into one body I have to take each one of their issues into account.  I don’t have names for these two personalities  yet so feel free to suggest a few.  I figure if they don’t start wearing name tags pretty soon I might not realize who I am dealing with quickly enough.  And since some of these personalities are very manipulative I really need to know upfront!

So here I am trying to find shake recipes with those restrictions.  And when you try to find shake recipes with those restrictions you end up in pretty much ONE location on the internet——GREEN SMOOTHIES!

That is how I stumbled onto several blogs of individuals who had cancer and were healing themselves with green smoothies and other things related to a raw vegan diet.  The whole thing was incredibly interesting.  I started thinking how it’s pretty amazing that food can actually be our friend.  That if we eat certain things they can even help heal cancer.  For someone like me who has experienced a lifetime of food being more enemy than friend—that was a foreign concept.

So all of this is good, right?  I mean it sounds good at least.  Trying to find a substitute for my Atkins shake that is less processed.  How can I go wrong??  Well if it had just been ME things probably would have been ok.  But the perfectionist Polly is a pain in the *!@!**  and she screwed me up.

At FIRST I was just simply going to  try replacing my Atkins shake with a green smoothie shake.    I would just try it as an experiment.

But all of a sudden that wasn’t enough for Perfectionist Polly.

She kept reading all these blogs and websites and by the end of the day she was convinced that I should  only eat 100% raw, vegan organic food from now on.  And nothing less than that would be acceptable! Let me tell you she is an unforgiving character too.  Nothing less than total perfection will satisfy her.

So off I went to the store to buy every fruit and vegetable that exists.  I announced to the children that from now on we are raw vegans!  To which they looked at each other and said “Here we go again“.   You see, I’ve spent a lifetime being a professional dieter.  Getting all excited about something and buying everything associated with it only to fail by day 3.  The kids are used to it.  I will say in my defense that I haven’t done that in the last few years very frequently.  When I found what worked I stuck with it for the most part.

But not on this day!

Now there is nothing wrong with being a raw vegan.  In fact I’m just about convinced at this point that it is probably one of the healthiest ways to eat.  But this new plan did not take into account any of my trigger issues.  It didn’t allow for any easing into it.  It was full steam ahead.  And even though I have mentioned why I have issues with too much fruit or certain KINDS of fruit—Polly didn’t give a BLEEP about any of that.  She decided that  I was  fine with fruit.  ALL FRUIT.  In fact, she read that some people eat ONLY fruit.   Fruitarians I think they’re called!  Maybe we should do THAT.  Because if it works for them it can work for me.

And I have now fallen into Trap #2  which goes like this

I SHOULDN’T BE THIS WAY

The “I Shouldn’t Be This Way” trap says that all those little idiosyncrasies which make me…ME….are not valid.

That all those food triggers I have….can be fixed.

That I don’t have to be this way . That I should NOT be this way.  And that with enough effort and willpower I can turn myself into a NORMAL person who doesn’t have these issues.

Maybe that’s true.  Maybe it’s not.  But let me give you an example of when I tried this and it didn’t work.

Most people can eat sugar in moderation.  They can eat cake and cookies and all those things.  They just eat one or two and then they’re done.   And since THEY can do that—-I should be able to do that too, right??

It’s the same rationale that says other people can drink 1 or 2 glasses of wine and go to bed.  So there is no reason why I shouldn’t be able to do that too!

 One entire chocolate cake, 3 boxes of cookies and the entire wine bottle later……

Remember when I said I have issues with eating things in pieces?? Well that is a legitimate problem for me.  Or at least it’s a problem for one of the personalities renting space in my head.   Grapes, cherries, and blueberries are all trouble.  Once I start popping these things into my mouth I end up in a bag of M and M’s usually.  As if one leads to another. Either that or I just end up eating and eating and eating.  Because when you eat things in pieces you are putting your hand to your mouth triple time.  This puts my desire for more food into hyper overdrive.  But do you think Polly Perfect cares about any of this? Do you think she has an ounce of compassion on this issue? NOPE! She demands that all these issues be gone!  She wants perfection and she wants it now. To her—-if it works for other people it will work for me.  And if I say I am a “certain” way then she says…”You shouldn’t be this way!”  It all ends with me feeling bad about myself and wondering why I can’t just be like everyone else?!

And that’s how Polly screwed up the last few weeks.  Luckily I got her in a sleeper hold and shoved her back behind a few of my other personalities who have a better grip on what works.  Let’s see how long she keeps quiet!

So in conclusion this is what went wrong:

Trap #1– “Nothing is Ever Good Enough”

What I did: It all started out with good intentions in an effort to find a healthier version of a protein shake.  It ended with me deciding that just substituting my shake wasn’t going to be enough.  I had to change everything all at once immediately. I had to suddenly revamp my entire food plan and I had to make sure that I found what the perfect food plan was.  That led to me diving headfirst into overwhelming conflicting opinions on that subject as I had done often in the past and then becoming confused, frustrated and ultimately feeling defeated.  I had opened Pandora’s Box.   It ended with me throwing my hands up in the air and saying “I’ll never figure this out.  Nothing will ever be good enough so it doesn’t matter anyway. Go eat a Big Mac”

What I should have done:  I should have remembered that small changes made over time work best for me.  I should have remembered that it isn’t about being perfect.  I should have just tried one recipe for a green smoothie in place of my Atkins shake.  And then let THAT BE ENOUGH.  At least for that moment.

Trap #2–“I Shouldn’t Be This Way”

What I did:  I started reading other people’s food plans for ideas which was not necessarily bad.  However, when I read ideas that I know for a fact don’t work for me I decided that I should change.  I decided that if other people can eat fruit all day long then I should be able to as well.  I already went into great detail of why I do better on liquids during the day. Yet suddenly I decided I shouldn’t be this way.  I should be able to eat food in meals all day without a problem.  I should be able to eat fruit whenever I want.  I should be able to eat food in pieces without an issue.  Eventually this led to me saying things like “Other people can eat one bagel in the morning at Panera with the coffee without ordering the dozen on the way out—I should be able to do that too!”  If I am not able to do that then I should train myself to do that.  I should not accept that I am this way because I shouldn’t be this way.  Who I am is not ok.  I should be like everyone else and I will force myself to fit that square peg into the round hole if it kills me!

(Well it didn’t kill me but it did send me to Panera for a bagel or twelve.)

What I should have done:  I should have respected who I am—issues and all.  I should have read other people’s food plans and said , “Good for them!  I am glad they found what works for them!” without then feeling as if I had to make it work for me.  Then I should have given all my multiple personalities a big group hug and said “We are who we are!” and been fine with it!

Here is the good news.  I recognize what traps I fell into and I’m aware of them.  Self awareness is awesome!! Without it we just wander around in a hall of mirrors trying to figure out how we got there and how to get out.  I’m thankful that when I do fall into these traps I am now able to figure it out pretty quickly.  Instead of going off track for months, it was only maybe a week or two.  In my book—that’s not bad.

So where does that leave me?   Still waiting on my Vitamix!  ( Did I mention Polly ordered one of those? Not only did she wreck my diet for a few weeks but she got a hold of my credit card one night.  At least she ordered a reconditioned Vitamix that wasn’t so expensive but SHEESH! When you let this one out for a few days she sure does make a splash!)

I still intend to attempt to make a green smoothie when the most expensive blender I’ve ever seen arrives.  And my goal is to attempt to see if I can replace my Atkins shake with something less processed.

However I intend to do it in a way that respects who I am.

 In a way that does not irritate all my food issues.

 In a way that doesn’t make me go crazy or make me feel like I have to be perfect.

We’ll see how it goes!

Thanks for listening to my psychoanalysis!  Feel free to leave me your feedback. I always love hearing it!  Have a wonderful day!

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Startingoveragain September 18, 2014 at 10:48 pm

It is amazing to me that I identify with so many of your blogs, and therefore, issues. I often think I “should” be able to eat like a normal person and have sugar once in awhile. I think I can handle it and then I go off the deep end. Also, when I get close to my goal weight, I think “I’ve got this. I’ve finally figured it out”. Of course, I never make it to goal and then spend weeks bingeing and then more weeks getting back on track.
I read once that when you have been in an abusive relationship (in my case, mental and physical) your experiences are felt more intensely. The I’m Not Good Enough syndrome. And, I too, struggle with perfectionism.
You sound much more sane than I feel.

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 18, 2014 at 10:52 pm

Well I am so glad that someone else identifies with me. I mean I think I’m glad!! I hate that we all have to deal with this but at the same time it is so good to know that we aren’t alone in it!!

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Kristi September 18, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Oh my gosh! This is my life. It’s crazy, isn’t it. I pretty have to put myself in a bubble to get started once I’m off track, and I’m off track A LOT. Thanks for your writing, I’ve really enjoyed reading, especially this week!

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Natalie September 18, 2014 at 11:57 pm

Oh this made me laugh even though it’s not really funny. I identify with so much of this! Especially not being good enough.
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Vicki W September 19, 2014 at 12:11 am

I too have been asking, “Why can’t you just be like OTHER PEOPLE?!?” Yeah, it would be nice to have birthday cake along with everyone else. But think about your daughter & her peanut allergy. Should she feel bad that she isn’t like everyone else? Of course not! Should she dip into the peanut butter to show her allergy who’s boss? That’s ridiculous! It’s the same for us. Sugar has an extremely adverse affect on us. Time to stop feeling bad for one of the traits that makes us unique. Everyone has their Achilles heel. But despite our “quirk”, we’re pretty darn great!

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Lyn September 19, 2014 at 12:50 am

Oh yes, I can relate to this too! Being aware of what you are doing is half the battle in changing 🙂
Lyn recently posted..The Insanity of Binge Eating Disorder, and the Long Path to RecoveryMy Profile

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Rhonda W September 19, 2014 at 2:26 am

I think you are going to love the Vitamix..I have one and it is one awesome blender. I have to be honest however, I use my Nutribullet more lol. It is smaller and fits on the counter without being over bearing…. and it makes a fabulous shake! I use Beachbody’s shakeology every day. For us coffee lovers, I blend the chocolate flavor with ice and coffee (instead of water or milk) and it is awesome. You could probably mix your Atkins with ice and coffee also…just a thought. xoxo

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 19, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Great ideas. Thank you!!

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Adelyn September 19, 2014 at 2:27 am

I swear sometimes we are the same person. I have so many of the same feelings…it helps me to know that I am not crazy. Or I am, but have good company. 😉
Adelyn recently posted..Day 13: VegetablesMy Profile

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm

hahhaah yes at least we’re not alone!! In fact there may be more of US than the normal ones! lol

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Erin September 19, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I pinned a make it yourself Atkins shake awhile ago. It gets rid of most of the chemicals in the pre-made Atkins shake. Maybe you could do that!

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brittany September 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

I totally understand the perfectionist issue — it took me years to even START losing weight because I wanted the most perfect, healthiest meal plan ever. I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Never mind that I never actually ate all the kale I was buying and ended up at McDonald’s with a fry and a large shake, I was going to be the CLEANEST EATER EVER! Someday.

In the end I decided to start where I was instead of trying to turn myself into someone else who eats raw vegan organic and juices every day. So I got a bunless burger when we went to Wendy’s. I did bowls and no beans when we went Chipotle. I got a lettuce-wrapped sub at Jimmy Johns. And while I now mostly eat mostly homemade food (but NOT raw vegan organic — high-carb does not work for me!), I’ve learned to be flexible on some things. Perfection is the enemy of good, after all. Usually my meals are like your evening meals — meat + veg + fat. Yum!

Also, I don’t mean to be preachy, but if you know you have issues with sugar/higher-carb AND binge-eating AND specifically binge-eating things that come in pieces (like fruit!), then a fruit diet seems like a bad idea for you. Your blood sugar would spike if you’re only consuming fruit carbs, then an hour later, it would crash and you’d end up tired and hungry again. I’ve read some of the ‘fruiterian’ meal plans and they basically end up grazing all day from not eating foods that are satiating. I don’t think an all fruit diet would be healthy for MOST people, even those who process food ‘normally’, but I think it would be very detrimental for someone in your situation.

(And I know from your post that you’ve probably read a lot about that diet if you’re considering changing your whole family’s diet to something like that but please be careful. The science is truly not there for a fruit diet. One of the ‘fruiterians’ who does YouTube videos and eats bananas all day bragged about how she switched to an all-fruit diet and stopped having her period. As if that’s a GOOD thing! When you’re a young woman and you suddenly stop having a period after changing your diet, that means there is something WRONG with your diet. Your body is starving!)

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down September 19, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I love so much of what you said here. In particular, “Not seeing the forest for the trees” and “perfection is the enemy of good”. These quotes should be on my fridge! I really love your plan of the bunless burger at Wendy’s etc. It is much more do-able for someone starting out and needing to ease into these changes. By the way, I have eaten a boatload of bunless junior bacon cheeseburgers from Wendy’s in my days as a low carber. You are 100% right that eating fruit all day is by far the worst idea I have had in a long time. Honestly this is why I joke about having multiple personalities. Some of them are totally out to get me!! Thanks for your input,Brittany!

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Barb September 19, 2014 at 2:17 pm

WOW! I guess I’m not the only one in the world that has this whole battle going on in her head. It’s an awful feeling to be at “war” with yourself. Some days it’s very very draining and you just feel like giving up on it all. I wish there were a simple answer for people like us. Someone who hasn’t had this battle going on has no clue what it possibly begins to feel like. Thank you for expressing yourself here and being honest. It’s good to know I’m not alone but I’m sorry your know what this personality “war” feels like.

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) September 19, 2014 at 3:13 pm

I read this, nodding my head the entire time — I’m much the same.

I finally got myself out of the raw, vegan kick because it’s really, really flipping expensive. And the cheap side of me usually wins.

I do allow myself to chew & eat over lunch – but then? It’s raw & vegan (usually tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers…stuff like that – never more than 200 calories worth, and I make myself wait until noon), but that’s only one meal a day.

I’ve just started a single glass of wine at night, because there’s a voice in my head that says “it’s good for you,” and, I know it is. But I know this single glass misses its friends from inside my belly . . . I’ve, so far, avoided allowing the sorrowful cries of the wine from giving in to the play date. But I don’t know how I’ve done that.
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Shannon September 19, 2014 at 3:26 pm

I agree with the others who have said that they identify with what you have said here. I also identify with it. I really think this is an under-served area of the population who could really use some specific psychological help with these issues. I think there are a lot of us who feel this way! The more I eat – the more I want to eat and obsess over it. I’ve lost 115 pounds but I still struggle every day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! You were able to put into words how i feel but couldn’t articulate it.

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Tempi September 19, 2014 at 7:54 pm

I think as humans we are predisposed toward perfectionism so we are going to fight that regardless of our food issues, but having a food addiction can make the perfectionism seem insurmountable at times. I spent years trying different healthy eating plans: vegetarian, vegan, Hallelujah diet, high protein/low carb, low fat, no sugar, organic, blah, blah, blah. It’s enough to make you crazy!! I just couldn’t do any of it successfully. I have come to realize that, yes, those Atkins shakes may not be the healthiest, but dang it they are better than McDonald’s! If I have to choose an Atkins shake in order to be successful on my eating plan that day then so be it. I would rather take my chances with chemicals that might OR MIGHT NOT harm me, because I can absolutely guarantee you that the fat I was carrying around WAS going to harm me.
I have gotten to the point now that if someone comes to me with an idea or a product and their selling point is fear based or the goal is to obtain some form of “perfection” because their way is the only “right and healthy” way, I immediately walk away or shut them down. It is a recipe for disaster for me. So drink your Atkins shakes and stay focused on what works for you. At the end of the day, all that really matters is whether you were able to stay on track and look yourself in the mirror and know that you fought the good fight that day.
On a side note: The vitamix blender is totally awesome. You’re gonna love it. I consider it some of the best money we have ever spent and we bought ours new on QVC.

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greenie September 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Holly, I relate to ALL your posts, but this one in particular. You are not alone – I think exactly the same way. Thanks for putting into words what I struggle with daily. I can’t do pieces either!! Dammit! and I try and try to be “normal.” Chips, nuts and popcorn sabotage me daily. So WHY do i keep trying to pretend i can eat them in moderation like a NORMAL person?

My daughter did the master cleanse for 21 days (just to get healthier – she’s already thin). I thought she was crazy, but it inspired me to try it to detox all the sugar and crap out of my system and get back on the right track. I did it for 7 days and it really wasn’t that hard. I liked not having to worry about food at all! I lost 10 lbs. I eased out with veggies for 1 and 1/2 days before I started binging again. Albeit on healthy “pieces.” I felt like such a failure – what a waste of those 7 days of liquid diet.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to keep 5 of those pounds off, but it’s a battle everyday just not to keep moving up the scale, let alone down.

After the cleanse, I too have been striving to not eat/drink anything with chemicals – so my atkins shakes have been sitting untouched. I’m not a coffee or tea drinker and I’ve been successful giving up pop – which just leaves water. I’ve been making my master cleanse lemonade (which i could barely choke down at first and now like) and having it for breakfast and sometimes a snack. It seems to satisfy and I know it is all natural and healthy.

Now, I’m gonna try what you do just drink my MC lemonade during the day and not eat anything until dinner, because once i start – I CAN’T STOP!!! Just knowing that I don’t have to worry about food is such a relief. THAT will by MY “normal.”

Thanks again for continuing to fight the hard fight, articulating it so well and keeping me inspired. xxx

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