Food budget Friday, Feb 24: Health is wealth

strawberries.JPGHello lovely friends,

I am still in California visiting my mom. The past few days we’ve had beautiful sunshine and some warmth which has been very nice.

It’s been a bit of a funny week: on Tuesday night I got very ill with food poisoning and am still recovering. I think it was a bit of a perfect storm to be honest; the past week or so I hadn’t taken very good care of myself so I was already a bit run down, then I had a long plane ride out here and then the food poisoning on top of that.

I’m grateful I’m doing as well as I am. I still have muscle aches, headache and a runny nose but overall I’d say I’m 60% back to normal. I’ve been semi-fasting and I think it’s definitely helping my recovery. Yesterday all I had was water and chicken broth. Today I will probably do the same and maybe tomorrow. Pretty much I’ll keep fasting until my stomach/intestines don’t feel so weak, tired and inflamed.

Before I left I did quite a bit of stocking up on canned goods and frozen food so I’d say my food spending this week has been slightly less than usual but not dramatically so. I haven’t kept good records because of being sick and my mom’s helped out with some of the groceries. I’d say I’m about $10 under budget.

Whenever I get really sick like this it is such a strong and important reminder to me just how precious and valuable good health is. Nothing can replace feeling strong and healthy. I’m feeling more motivated than ever to heal my binge eating and take better care of myself now.

I’m praying that this passes in the next few days and I feel back to normal soon 🙂

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Willingness to let go of things that don’t work

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Note: I wrote a response to this article 

Having the willingness to let go of things that aren’t working: I’m seeing more and more how important this is for healing.

As I look through my journal and older blog postings I’m seeing obvious behaviors that I do which keep tripping me up on the road to healing my eating disorder; and I think it’s very important to honor them and take them seriously.

Letting go of old, unhealthy behaviors for me however is often much easier said than done. Why is this? I’m not a behavior expert but for me I think the main contributing factors are:

  1. I’ve used these behaviors as a (admittedly unhealthy) way to cope with my fear, stress, boredom and anxiety. They have been a crutch to help me “get through” life and situations that are uncomfortable.
  2. Habit. Habits can be notoriously hard to break, especially ones that have deep emotional links and strongholds. Despite bingeing being obviously bad for my body, health and soul I have kept coming back to it because in the moment when I feel stressed a binge can temporarily ease my pain. The old habit pattern over rules my better judgment because I know a binge, which lasts only a few minutes will bring me hours of pain including indigestion, inflammation, bloating and feeling really bad and shameful about myself.
  3. Weak faith and not trusting God enough that he loves me and is looking out for me.

So what am I trying to let go of?

  • Sugar. Without a doubt this is my #1 battle. I could write pages and pages of the destruction my sugar addiction has ravaged through my life over the years. But that’s for another time.

Sugar for me is seductive, deceptive, deeply and profoundly harmful, and I can never, never, never get enough. I could practically eat sugar-rich foods; chocolate, cake, cupcakes, ice cream, white bread and pasta until I died.

Another level of difficulty I have with sugar is that much of the binge eating disorder literature I read does not advocate cutting a certain food out of your life because it’s not a healthy, balanced approach to healing and will almost always boomerang back at you in the form of a binge(s).

I have tried everything to make it work with sugar; for example just eating it in the form of fruit, just eating dark chocolate (you know, with 70% or more cocoa content); just eating it in condiments such as ketchup, bbq sauce and ketchup to add extra flavor to otherwise savory dishes, I could go on and on….

I can bottomline this quickly: none of it works for me. I am hopelessly and completely addicted to sugar. A well-intentioned apple will eventually lead to a binge. BBQ sauce on my chicken burger will eventually lead to a binge. One cookie will lead to eating twelve (or more!).

So I have decided to break up with sugar.

Now, please don’t hold me to this….because like in any bad relationship I might go back for more suffering to see if “maybe it will work this time.” But I am putting my very strong intent out to the universe. Sugar and me are done.

I intensely want to heal my eating disorder and finally become healthy, well and whole. As it’s said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

What else am I wanting to let go of?

  • TV. I am also hopelessly addicted to television. If I start watching it at 8pm I can easily watch until 3am and if I wake up, at say, 5am I’ll start watching it again. It’s pretty bad. And like sugar it’s just another way that I unhealthily cope with stress, anxiety, fear etc.

My tv addiction is not as bad as my sugar addiction and I think it is secondary to sugar. What I mean is the nights I watch the most tv are after I’ve binged.

But the two of them are part of the same vicious and terrible cycle. If I binge then I stay awake most of the night and watch tv because I’m way over-wired on sugar (and shame); then the next day I’m exhausted physically and emotionally….and what I often do to get myself going is….eat sugar. And the horrible cycle starts all over again.

So my goal is to have the willingness to finally let go of this self-defeating, self-sabotaging behavior. As I said before, if I slip and fall please don’t hold it against me. I am simply one vulnerable little person who very much wants to get well and finally be free.

Food budget Friday, Jan 13

appleThis week was kind of all over the place…I’m glad I was able to save my receipts!

My cash system broke down and I ended up going over budget by about $23. I was just reviewing my receipts to see what happened. It seems that it was a mixture of buying too much stuff I didn’t *really* need (for example, a jar of coconut oil) and my old impulse buying/bingeing reared it’s ugly head the past few days sadly.

Differentiating between wants and needs is an on-going learning process. My goal is to make sure I have my needs covered, such as having enough healthy carbs/veggies/protein in the house before buying the fun stuff such as tea, coffee creamer, a new type of hot sauce….stuff like that.

I was reflecting on why I binged a couple times this week. I can boil it down to three main things:

1. For about 2 days I was really in a funk and feeling very bummed out, depressed almost

2. My sugar addiction was rearing it’s ugly head and I wasn’t able to shake it successfully

3. To put it simply: old habits can die hard and some days/weeks are better for me than others. I’ve been carrying this eating disorder around with me for decades and despite my best efforts sometimes I still fall into my old habits (and it feels really, really bad). I accept this and my plan is to pick myself up and carry on. Healing is a journey and I try to remember: progress not perfection!!

That pretty much wraps up this week 🙂

Spending for the week:

  • 1/7: $7.86
  • 1/8: $31.99
  • 1/9: $30.50
  • 1/10: $0
  • 1/11: $5.10
  • 1/12: $25.17
  • 1/13: $22.90

Total: $123.52

My current grocery budget is $100/week. I eventually would like to reduce that to $75-85/week.

What about sugar?

cupcakeSugar and me definitely have a love/hate relationship. I love how it sweetens up everything from BBQ sauce to cookies; but I don’t like how it makes me feel physically, emotionally and spiritually.

On a practical level I’m also becoming more aware of how sugar pops up in many unsuspecting places such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, pasta sauce, hot sauce, non-dairy milks, and salad dressings, among many others. It’s frustrating how sugar is hiding in a lot of our every day foods so we are possibly eating more than we really want to unintentionally.

I know sugar is also the #1 culprit in triggering my binge eating (with anxiety and stress being a close #2) and has been a major food addiction issue for most of my life. I’ve been a heavy sugar eater since childhood, with unhappy consequences, such as being overweight.

When I say “sugar” I’m referring to it in it’s many forms: cane sugar, molasses, maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, etc.

What I wrestle with is this: Since I am a person with an eating disorder that I am trying to heal, I really try to avoid the temptation to say I’m, “never going to eat a certain food (ie. sugar) ever again!!” It’s an easy mental trap for me to fall into, and it never works. I’ve tried this, oh maybe 1000 times.

So, what’s a girl to do? I have no easy answers for this one, I really wish I did. At the very least I can try to be mindful and aware that sugar is a problem for me. Perhaps not make any grand gestures, like saying I’ll never eat cake again because…that’s ridiculous and unrealistic. And the first thing I would probably do after I say that is go eat cake, probably a couple slices, in a dark room all by myself 🙂

So I am hoping that mindfulness and awareness are the first step in healing my relationship with sugar.

A final note: this is an interesting opinion piece I saw in The New York Times, called “A Month Without Sugar.” It’s definitely a good read.

As always, I love to hear your thoughts.

Hot chocolate recipe: dairy-free and sugar-free

I love dairy but recently dairy just isn’t loving me back and I’m finding that I get fatigue, bloating and just generally don’t feel well when I have dairy products.

I’ve been switching over to non-dairy milks, including almond, coconut and soy milks and I’ve definitely been feeling better because of it, so I think it’s a lifestyle change I’m going to try and stick with (although I do love real Parmesan cheese with pasta that’s a tough one to let go of).

Today was super cold and this afternoon I had a craving for a treat, specifically something chocolatey. However I didn’t want to have a calorie monster like a big slice of cake or a giant cookie and ruin my appetite for dinner, and also possibly bring on a binge.

So I gave it some thought and decided to try and make hot chocolate. I really enjoy hot chocolate, it’s delicious, soothing and warm and felt just right for what I needed today.

I had some of the ingredients at home already but I needed to buy the cocoa powder and vanilla extract.

I like the recipe I came up with, however because I’m not using standard ingredients like dairy milk and white sugar you may definitely need to tinker with it to have it fit your taste needs.  I made it for myself, so the recipe only serves one. As a bonus, it’s  also low in calories!!

The ingredients I used:

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Hot Chocolate: Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free

Serves 1

1.5 cups almond milk, unsweetened (sweetened is fine, you may prefer to use less stevia)

1/4 cup non-dairy creamer

1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon stevia powder, or to taste (note: check the label of your stevia as sweetness levels can vary widely)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt (optional)

In a saucepan add all ingredients except the vanilla extract. Over medium heat whisk in all the cocoa powder. When hot chocolate begins to gently simmer turn off heat and add the vanilla extract. Serve and enjoy!! 🙂

Simple dinner and an update

I have to admit: this is my first healthy dinner in a couple days. The past week my eating was not good, and it was 100% stress related. I blame only myself for this, no one forced me to eat all the cookies and ice cream 🙂 I just had some tough personal/family stuff going on, but much of it is better now thankfully.

Anyways, I’m trying to get back in the saddle with treating my body and spirit better. Having weeks like this shows me that even if I fall down I just need to get back up and keep sticking with my healing program. Hopefully in time I’ll handle stress and anxiety better and not eat to soothe my feelings as much.

Honestly all bingeing does is make a bad situation even worse! Because on top of feeling stressed out, I then also feel guilty, ashamed, bloated and sick. Using junk food to try and feel better is simply not a good solution.

I just have to give myself grace and love because this bingeing and overeating to soothe my feelings is an old habit and way of coping. When I’m in the moment and feeling bad it’s an easy way to try and feel better but man it sure has a lot of negative consequences for me.

Luckily today was better, I didn’t binge which is awesome. I’m just taking things one meal and one day at a time. Progress not perfection 🙂

Dinner tonight:

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  • Brown rice with mixed vegetables
  • Not shown: 2 servings of corn chips, 1 tablespoon butter, and ketchup

No one ever said healing was easy

The past day has been more of a struggle with my food. Nothing bad at all has happened in my life, in fact for the most part it’s been ok. It’s hard for me to say this but: I binged. Now it’s out there in the open.

I’m so grateful to have this blog to record my healing journey with it’s ups and downs. If I don’t keep things honest and pretend that everything’s always ok I really won’t be able to heal the way I need to.

I know my bingeing is a tricky beast: it’s a mix of old bad habits and complicated emotional “stuff” (family, stress, anxiety, etc).

One of my main goals with this blog is to honestly chronicle my ups and downs in the hopes of at least changing my behavior so that it becomes progressively more healthy. I truly believe that as I start to consistently take better care of myself I will, in time, become better.

I have to be kind to myself and give myself grace. No one said I could or would heal in a day or a week. This is a healing journey and I intend to stay the course.