Binge Eating Recovery During Special Occasions

Binge Eating Recovery During Special Occasions

Yesterday I had my physical. My doctor told me I’d gained a few pounds since my last visit. I was expecting this, as mentioned previously I’m on a new medication that causes weight gain. It didn’t stop that sucker- punch feeling, right in my stomach. In addition to the guilt of gaining weight, I was completely drained from spending so much time waiting in the exam room. I had to bring Anna with me, and although she is very well behaved, three hours in an office can be especially trying.

 

When we finally left the office, I had to run into Walmart for some groceries. Anna was spent, and I was right there with her. My feet felt heavy, my shoulders huddled forward as my confidence and energy quickly depleted. I tried to keep a running total in my head as I threw items into my basket, and my anxiety grew as I watch the total rise. We are broke, really broke. What can we do without?

 

There were so many negative feelings inside of me when we reached the seasonal department. Exhaustion, depression, financial guilt, anxiety and frustration caused the sting of new tears in my eyes. I fought them back as I walked through the aisle, Valentine’s day merchandise surrounded me. Pink, red, and glitter should have lifted my mood. My eyes were drawn to all the little hearts and stuffed toys. I was tempted to buy Anna a little something for being such a good sport with our errands, but I knew it would eventually end up just being another piece of junk at the bottom of the toybox. The last thing we need is more useless junk. Then, there I was: standing in front of a wall of chocolate.

 

034000666140Oh, how quickly I found those Reese’s hearts. Thousands of justifications popped into my head. I deserve a treat, peanut butter has protein, it’s only 97 cents, I could use a sugar pick me up, I haven’t eaten yet today. I held one in my hand for a moment.

 

Guilt. Instant guilt.

 

Why am I wasting money on something so trivial? I was just told this morning that I gained weight, why would I buy something like chocolate? I’ve worked so hard cutting out sugar, is this really worth keto flu?

 

It wasn’t worth it, and I put it back.

 

On the drive home, Anna dozed off. I found myself alone in the quietness, which is never a good thing. My thoughts wandered as jouska set in. I started to think about the days that I would have bought that chocolate. I remembered that I would have not bought just one. I know I would have ripped that first package open while I stood in that long line to pay. Probably two or three more while I was alone in the car. I’d hide them when I got home, not because I didn’t want to share, but because of the shame that comes with buying them in the first place.

 

I thought about how I’d have handled stress that evening, knowing a bag of Reese’s were hidden in my nightstand drawer. I’d shut the bedroom door, and while I was alone I’d start tearing open one after another. The sugar would drowned those unhappy feeling for a few seconds. I’d chase that feeling of happiness by eating more and more, trying to extend those few seconds to maybe a minute or two. Eventually I’d look down at my lap, which would be littered with all the empty candy wrappers. Guilt sets in again, the unhappiness creeps back. What have I done? Why have I dug myself deeper? After bingeing I’d feel even more sadness, exhaustion and guit than before I started eating the chocolate. I’d want to be immediately free of that guilt, that heaviness, that sugar. I’d purge. I’d cry on the bathroom floor wondering what’s wrong with me.

 

Anna stirred in the back seat, bringing me back to the “now.” I could take an outside view of all the feelings I’d just been thinking about. I know that I’m not in the habit of making bad decisions anymore. I can say no, I can walk away and not buy the chocolate. Notice I didn’t say “I’m not that girl anymore.” The truth is, I will always be that girl.

 

Food for me is a drug. For most addicts, they are told to avoid their addiction all together. Don’t drink a drop of alcohol, stay away from the people you spent time with while you used drugs, don’t even walk into a casino if you’re recovering from gambling. Food is different. It’s required for basic living. I’m not able to keep away from my addiction all together, and the temptation to fall back into my old ways is always right there in front of me.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATomorrow is my birthday. I’ve had to plan everything out ahead of time to avoid the temptation to “treat myself” too many times in one day. I know that I’m going to the juice bar for lunch, and what I’m ordering. The same for dinner, right down to the dressing and side that I’m omitting. I’m looking forward to a great day, but also scared of the sugary bait that awaits me. It’s not just food I discover on my own. So many people think it’s kind to bake a treat on my birthday, and as much as I appreciate the thought, it’s like offering a drug addict heroin “in moderation.” No day is special enough to make me forget how hard I’ve worked to get here, and how awful it would be to go back to my old ways.

 

I mentioned that people like to offer treats on birthdays. It’s also holidays and gatherings, where the buffet of food stretches all the way down the kitchen table. It’s not okay to tell me to “treat myself” for one day. It’s not okay to have a birthday surprise delivered to our table. It’s not okay to make me a plate, or guilt me into eating something I shouldn’t. That’s enabling, that’s pushing. You don’t realize the negative ramifications of that kind of behavior. I can’t always depend that others will be as strict as I intend to, so I’ve had to change my own way of thinking.

 

Originally, I thought “yes! It is my Birthday! I’ll treat myself to as much as I want!” Then, with lifestyle changes came, “no, I can’t have that.” I’m not sure why, but that statement seemed to invite negotiation. Using “can’t” made others want to rationalize the bad choice, like it was up for discussion. I’ve now had to change my mantra all together with, “ I will not have that.” It seems to be strict enough to end the nagging, but can still be said in a friendly, lighthearted way.

 

My vice is still hidden deep inside of me. My demons are easily accessible in every grocery store, bar, restaurant, drive thru, party and fridge that I visit. It is a minute by minute battle, and I fight it every single day. Sometimes I make mistakes and give in, and that’s an easy way to unravel. I always appreciate the support of my close family and friends, but rely on my own moral compass most. The most I can do it try to be better each day. Addiction recovery is a very long, very difficult road but I’m gaining coping mechanisms every day. Getting help was the best decision I ever made. It gave me my life back, and it makes every day a little bit easier. If you’re struggling, I encourage you to do the same.

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

Advertisements

Schedule Your Darn Physical Exam.

Schedule Your Darn Physical Exam.

img_0626Who has time to make it into the doctor’s office for a well visit? It’s never convenient, and it seems like it’s never a quick visit. You’re going to put it off, you’re going to dread it.. but it’s time to put your grown up pants on, and schedule your CPE!

 

CPE (clinical physical exam) is a necessary evil. These days diabetes and heart disease run rampant. It’s important to get ahead of the game to prevent these conditions, or catch issues early on. These appointments are typically no cost to patients through all insurances, as long as the visit adheres to preventative care.

 

img_0629Physical exams are also an important time to ASK questions! It’s the time to have that dark freckle looked at real quick, or ask if your menstrual cycle is within the realm of normal. What about birth control? Skin conditions? Diet questions? Trust me. Just go and get it over with.

 

Physical exams reduce the risk of chronic medical conditions with well visit monitoring. Your vitals during a CPE can be used as a baseline for comparison if an issue does arise at a later date.. and women, make sure you’re getting your pap and breast exams done!

 

img_0627As with most things, it seems that are own physicals always end up at the bottom of the to-do list. Funny though, that we keep our children adhered to their recommended well visit and vaccine schedule.

( #momproblems. )

Make your health a priority. Make an appointment for your 2019 physical. Schedule it today!

.. and if you’re feeling really productive, call your grandmother, too. It will make her day to hear from you.

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

 

S.O.S Blueberry Muffin Fiber Bites (recipe)

S.O.S Blueberry Muffin Fiber Bites (recipe)

img_0658Jacen’s had a long road with Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome. This little known disease is a chronic medical condition that affects muscle and ligament elasticity. img_0661

Jacen has the obvious weakness in muscles like his arms, legs and abs.. and tons of joint dislocations. Specifically in his case, the weakness also extends to his cardiac tissue and GI tract.

 

 

img_0656Since the day Jacen was born he’s suffered with his tummy issues. Periodically, his tummy becomes so distended he looks pregnant. At its worst, he’s even needed hospitalization and an NG tube.

Pediatric constipation has become a wide spread epidemic, as low income families rely on prepackaged, high preservative food to make ends meet. American diets are high in affordable items like cheese and bread, as access to produce continues to err on the expensive side. Even children without medical conditions like Jacen’s struggle with chronic GI issues.img_0663

 

We are currently mid-struggle with a severe GI flare. I’ve been in constant contact with his doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital (bless that man, I love him.) It’s not looking good, and we are trying some home remedies to avoid being admitted.

img_0664The Doc is pumping him full of medicine, but diet and water intake is crucial in these times. I whipped up a batch of emergency fiber bites to help him out, but really the whole family loves them!

img_0665

 

 

 

 

 

 

img_0683

Semi-Homemade Emergency Fiber Blueberry Muffins.

 

Ingredients:

1 box cake or muffin mix (whatever you have on hand.)

1 cup almond milk

1 bag frozen blueberries

2 cups almonds

1 cup steel cut oats

⅔ cup (or one individual container) applesauce

 

Choice of toppings

(We chose sprinkles to try and cheer Jacen up)

 

Directions:

img_0672

 

 

 

Soak almonds and oats in boiled water (off heat) for 15 minutes to soften.

 

 

Strain excess water, immersion blender almonds/oat mix. img_0671

 

Combine 1 cup almond milk, ⅔ cup applesauce and cake mix in a bowl. Add blueberries (we chose to also use the immersion blender on the fruit to reduce the choking risk for our 1 year old. This step is completely optional.)

 

Combine batter, oats&almonds, and blueberries.

 

Transfer to cupcake molds.

 

Bake at heat and time recommended on box mix. (Because we have not used egg, cooking time may be reduced- it also means it’s safe to lick the spoon!)

 

Cool and add toppings.

 

You’ll notice the batter goes much further with the added ingredients, usually doubling the net batter. These freeze incredibly well, and are easily transported for breakfast on the go. Try heating them up with a scoop of ice cream for dessert- YUM!

 

The nutrition facts on these little guys vary depending on brand of ingredients, ours worked out to be 25 grams of fiber per serving! Almonds, oats, and applesauce are fiber POWERHOUSES!

 

For best results with tummy issues, drink plenty of water with your high fiber foods.

 

You’ll notice no where in this recipe does the word “keto” show up. It’s definitely not low in sugar. Sometimes in emergency situations, we have to balance getting the right nutrients in our bodies via the most efficient method. In this case, I need my son to get his fiber in, and disguising it as little cupcakes works best.

poop_emoji_7b204f05-eec6-4496-91b1-351acc03d2c7_large

 

If you try this recipe, I hope everything comes out okay for you!

 

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.  

Don’t brush this one off, take a moment to breathe today.

Don’t brush this one off, take a moment to breathe today.

 

I preach a whole lot about slowing down, being mindful, and taking a breath. It dawned on me this morning how pointless it is to continually write about this if my readers aren’t practicing these things too. I wasn’t born with the innate ability to breathe in a mindful way. Calming my body has been a LEARNED skill, taught to me by my therapist or my own research. If you haven’t been exposed to this, you might not know where to start, so let me help you.

 

The very first step (in my opinion) is learning how to breathe mindfully. Slowing your breathing will lower your heart rate and blood pressure in a moment of high anxiety. In turn, your body will decrease the amount of adrenaline and cortisol it is releasing. You will be able to calm your body down naturally.

 

I use this method in both moments of high emotions, like when I’m overwhelmed, and also at the beginning of my meditative sessions. I find this type of breathing gives me the opportunity to connect with my internal self, and step away from the stresses of the outside world.

 

This exercise is portable. You can use it anywhere, any time as a coping mechanism. That’s what makes it so great! While learning this technique, I find it best to find a quiet spot where you can focus on yourself without distraction. Olympic athletes do not learn their skills during competition time, it takes years of practice in a private gym. The same philosophy should be applied to your mental health skills. Learn them in times when you DON’T need them. Practice your skills routinely, then they will be perfect and helpful during “competition time” or for our purpose, moments where you need to calm your body in the real world.

 

Learning calming breathing is quick, and easy! Let’s start now!

 

Sit in a chair. Square your body off so your shoulders are over your hips, and your feet are side by side, grounded on the floor. Place your hands where they are comfortable, for me I rest them on my thighs.

 

Close your eyes.

 

Start to become aware of your breathing, without trying to change it. Focus on the air coming in, and try to mentally map it’s route. It comes from outside your body, it enters through your nose or mouth. Follow it down into your lungs, and feel your chest expand. Repeat the awareness a few times. Are you breathing quickly? Does the air make it all the way into your chest? Are you expanding your lungs to their full extent?

 

You’ll notice quickly that your breaths will naturally slow and become deeper, even without trying to change it. Take note of your body sensations. When you’re relaxed, how do the muscles feel in your back and shoulders? What is your core body language? Do you feel the heaviness and grounding in your feet? These will become your baseline goals for calming in the real world.

 

This is mindfulness.

 

Shutting out the world for a moment and focusing on what’s happening right now is the definition of mindfulness. When you are able to just focus on the breathing that is happening now, without trying to change anything, you are thinking about this exact moment as it happens; not future breaths, not previous breaths. Just this breath.

 

I encourage you to practice breathing regularly. Try to pick a time that you could make routine. Is it the few moments in the morning that you’re waiting for the shower water to heat up? Is it the last moment before you sleep, sitting on your bed and preparing to relax for a restful night? How about in the car, when you first sit down after a long day of work. You haven’t picked the kids up from daycare yet, and you are completely alone.

 

Mindful breathing doesn’t have to be a big deal. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. It’s an incredibly useful tool, it’s free, and it’s portable.

 

My writing is coming to a close. You’ve been able to take the time to stop and read, can you take another moment to stop and breathe? There’s no time like the present to start.

 

Wishing you luck, love, and calm.

 

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the Kids.

Love yourself, so she learns to love herself.

I’ll keep tonight brief: you have to be the best you, to be the best caretaker. Children learn from modeling and repetition. Don’t say things about yourself that you wouldn’t want your daughter to say to herself. I promise you, the things she hears you say now become the voice inside her head for life. Use that power responsibly.

Strong women:

May we meet them, may we be them, may we raise them.

With healthy hearts,

Kate and the kids.

Interrupt Anxiety With Gratitude.

Interrupt Anxiety With Gratitude.

img_0538I spent this afternoon with my older children at the ice rink. It brought back memories of my figure skating days (good and bad,) but it was so much fun to see the kids laugh at their mistakes, get active, and keeping getting up every time they fell. We are closer this evening than we were this morning, there’s nothing like getting a little silly to bring us all together. I am so grateful for happy children. Children who persist, and give their all.

 

img_0534I had to step a bit out of my comfort zone just for a babysitter. I agreed to bring Anna to a family member on Mike’s side of the family. I was hesitant at the offer, and almost put my phone away to act like I never saw her message. When I looked at Arielle, knowing how badly she wanted to skate with me, I realized I had to put my mom pants on and suck it up. There’s no doubt in my mind that the aunt I left Anna with is perfectly capable, and so sweet. Anna loves her and had a great time, and I’m actually very excited that I was able to see her on a day that wasn’t a major holiday. I hope this is the beginning of forging a closer relationship with Mike’s family.. But it didn’t stop me from anxiously rehearsing in my head the whole drive to her house. It didn’t stop me from feeling awkward or wanting to turn around or cancel.. But I want this. I want to have a good relationship with my in-laws. I want my children to grow up close to ALL of their family members. I want Arielle to be able to do the things she’s longed for, even when it means getting through my own anxiety. I am grateful for family who wants to be involved with us, and who want to help my children have special days. I’m grateful for their patience with me, as I work through my issues. I’m grateful for their ongoing support and love.img_0536

 

img_0533Walking into the rink is usually the worst part for me. I spent so much of my childhood in ice arenas, and like 96% of that time was excruciatingly awkward for me. I was so terrible at socialization, it was difficult to fit in. I was an automatic oddball, being so much bigger than the other girls on my team. Memories of being measured for matching synchronized skating outfits in front of my peers, or announcing my size to order team jackets- it still knocks the wind out of me just remembering. On the ice, I remember hiding in the corner. I obsessively feared that if I used the whole ice (as required to practice skills) I would get in the way of stronger skaters, cause an accident, or embarrass myself. I literally forced myself into a corner, and was famous for “holding up the boards.” I couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t getting any better or progressing to the next level when I spent so much TIME on the ice. Looking back now, I can tell you that I didn’t get better because I was anxiously doing footwork in a 4×4 square of ice, instead of practicing my routine as intended. I guess that’s the accountability you gain as you age. From all of this, I am grateful for the progress I have made. Today I was not consumed by my overwhelming memories of awkwardness. They did not send me into a spiraling panic attack. They were benched while I focused on getting the kids’ skates on. I’m grateful that I have family and friends who make me feel included, instead of a lonely oddball – now we’re all just oddballs together and it’s WAY more fun.img_0535 I’m grateful for how far I’ve come; to not feel heavy on skates or self conscious of my size. I’m grateful for the self worth that I’ve acquired- being able to skate with the public on the entire ice, instead of standing in a corner.

img_0539

 

 

 

I am grateful for so many things today. I’m grateful for the past, as difficult as it may have been, it made me into who I am today. Into the mother I am today. I am grateful for my children who keep me laughing, and make every day of my life worth living. I’m grateful for the family who step up to help, who want to spend time with the kids, and who understand the work I’m putting into getting healthy. I’m grateful for the progress I’ve made on myself, and the help that has been made available to me.

img_0540

 

 

There have been times in my life where I felt like I was slighted by God. That I had nothing, was nothing, deserved nothing. Pulling out of a dark place like that isn’t easy. There were many days I did not want to exist, and even days I considered.. Erm.. taking steps to make myself not exist anymore. Things are different now. I love being alive, and I don’t want that to change at all. I want to spend every day with my babies. I want to have happy days with them. The ultimate blessing, the thing I am most grateful for, is being able to see how lucky I am to have this life. I can not take it for granted, and I will not let myself be in a position to wish it away. I am here, I am blessed, and I am so grateful.

 

With healthy hearts (and frozen, ice-rink toes,)

Kate and the Kids.

Bringing dadirri out of meditation and into conversation.

Bringing dadirri out of meditation and into conversation.

9013458-6634683-image-a-35_1548503588743

January 26th is Australia Day! Although there is currently controversy about moving the date of this holiday (sparking many celebrities to take a stand against celebrating this year) it didn’t stop me from thinking of my favorite Australian things. No matter the day of the year, I’m always celebrating the beauty Australia provides- the gorgeous scenery, the cool animals, and the God of Thunder- Chris Hemsworth.

 

hemsworth

 

 

9011268-6634683-change_the_date_hollywood_star_chris_hemsworth_pictured_pia_mill-m-14_1548495228136

 

Take a moment to soak in all that Hemsworth glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moving on, having Australia on my mind has reminded me of one of my favorite Aussie words: dadirri, (noun) meaning a deep, contemplative listening. This is one of the words that cross my mind as I close my eyes and settle in at the beginning of a meditation session. Thinking of Australian heat and sunshine brings me to a happy place. Using dadirri as it’s intended meaning, intently listening to nature, can draw meditation to an organic place bringing us closer to the natural world.

 

Dadirri also reminds me of applying the same deep, attentive listening to my social relationships. I often preach about the importance of support. To me, having support is not just an A-B closed circuit. Support is a web where we can reach out for help, but also provide help when others need it. Listening to those in pain and giving love can help us with our own confidence. Connecting with empathy releases serotonin (the love hormone.) It’s often a natural reaction to hug those needing aid and comfort. A hug benefits both parties. Being a support person is just as important as the party requiring the help.

 

1479300_10152133802835757_435915697_n

(there’s no support like sister hugs. those things help ALL tears.)

 

I haven’t always been a great listener. Not having a healthy mind affects the way you interact with others. Unsure of how to comfort, I’d often interject with my own stories to try and relate, or sometimes vent my own woes (accidentally giving off that “one up” or “I have it worse” perception. It’s not the appropriate time to make things about you.

 

Having anxiety, or overly wanting to be a supportive friend often made me try to think of what I’d say next. I’d be zoned out and rehearsing my next response in my head, then realize I completely missed the conversation. That’s an overzealous fail, but with sincere intentions.

 

What am I doing to improve myself? First, I’m focused on my long term goal – strengthening my relationship with my loved ones, and raising them up to be the best they can be. Next, I’m evaluating what hasn’t worked in the past: making things about me, or focusing on my own input instead of theirs. Finally, I’m making changes.

 

Finding yourself in a situation that requires your listening skills should first alert you to put away distractions. Put your phone down, shut off the tv, or step into a private place. (One of my biggest pet-peeves is when my husband scrolls Reddit as I speak.) If someone is reaching out to you, they deserve your attention. Make eye contact if they’re in front of you. If it’s a phone conversation, tell them to bear with you while you step into a quiet place to talk. If it’s via text, don’t set your phone down and walk away. Do your best to be responsive and involved.

Read the room/audience. The way I listen to my sister is different than the way I support my ten year old daughter. My tone is different, the questions I ask are different. Gauge your interactions appropriately, and accept that these situations present themselves in all different forms.

 

Ask questions, specifically open-ended questions that allow opportunity for additional details or emotions. Yesterday I called my sister before I acted on a particularly difficult task. I was looking for emotional support and validation that I was doing the right thing. She asked me questions like “what happened that made you want to do this?” and “how would it feel if this bad thing continued and you didn’t complete your difficult task to stop it?” I called looking for HER validation. Instead, her questions lead me to finding MY OWN validation. It was the difference between being pushed in the right direction versus being empowered to go the right direction myself.

 

As part of asking questions, ask for clarification. This makes the speaker go into further detail, or repeat the important highlights. This is just as important for them as it is for the listener, as it reinforces the most meaningful points of their speech. It also lets the speaker know that you ARE listening, and your brain is processing what they say.

 

Resist the urge to finish sentences or give unwanted advice. Let them speak for themselves. Interjecting in an overpowering manner can take the conversation in an unintended direction, leaving the speaker more confused or feeling that they have ‘unfinished business’ with their original issue still weighing on them. This can be incredibly frustrating. I once had a good friend who often fell into “circumstantial speech” which is a pattern characterized by rambling, unnecessary comments or irrelevant details. For example, she would tell a story about fighting with her boyfriend but get lost in the details of ‘was it Wednesday or Thursday? Oh, it must have been Wednesday because Thursday I went to the laundromat to make sure his work clothes were clean. He gets in a lot of trouble at work if his uniform isn’t just right. I’ve been using this new detergent that smells great but it’s a little expensive…” The temptation was always there to stop her to say that it didn’t matter what day it was, just tell me about the fight. That kind of interjection was not what she needed, I had to just be patient and let her get there on her own terms. Sometimes, the fight would end up being about the laundry detergent. She would want to spend the extra money on soap that smells great, but her boyfriend can’t justify the expense on something so trivial. If I’d gotten frustrated and tried to redirect her back to the fight, her flow and confidence would be knocked off kilter. Just be patient and let them get it off their chest.

 

I want the best for my kids, so I’m working hard to encourage good listening skills. We try to practice the “give me 5!” method.

  1. Give me your eyes- look at the speaker without distraction
  2. Give me your ears – listen to the speaker, even if that means turning off the radio or television.
  3. Give me your mouth- keep your lips still while you listen and resist the urge to talk over the speaker.
  4. Give me a quiet body- stay still while listening, stop what you’re doing with your hands, resist the urge to bounce your feet or legs. (motion in body language can often make the speaker feel that they are being rushed to finish the story, or that you have become uninterested.)
  5. Give me your brain- process what is being said to you. Formulate questions to ask at the appropriate times, think of consoling words or actions to use at the right time.

 

Listening is a skill, and needs to be practiced to be improved. No one is perfect, and organic body sensations can be hard to change (such as rehearsing your next comment for the conversation, when you should be listening.) The best we can do is have good intentions, and make ourselves available to those who need support. Even the worst listeners have the ability to comfort, even if it’s just physical contact or being present. I aspire to bring dadirri from meditation and into my conversation skills- to slow my own mind, and allow it to fill with the sounds of others. It’s difficult, it’s a process, and it’s a goal. I’m not there yet, I don’t know if I will ever be. Being aware of my own intentions, and my desire to support others is already the first step.

 

May you find your dadirri- for your own health, and the support of others.

 

With healthy hearts (and listening ears,)

Kate and the Kids.