Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Meltdown at Walmart

Two weeks ago I had a melt-down at Walmart:

I am a recovering perfectionist. I am also idealistic. In my endeavor to eat better, create less trash, and be frugal I have been trying to eliminate single-serve, individually wrapped items from my grocery list. So, I took my daughter to the cracker isle to see if she could pick a replacement for the cracker sandwiches I had been putting in her lunch.  We compared prices, we looked at flavors, and we debated things that were actually cookies not crackers. Half an hour later I realized the crackers we had been buying were cheaper and the plastic wrapping took up almost no space at all.  If my daughter does not like the crackers we bought, they may end up in the trash anyway. Overall, it was a lose/lose situation. I felt like my goals were at odds with each other and went to bed frustrated. The next morning I came to the conclusion that I can only do the best I can do. I have had many victories in this journey. I don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes it’s best to do what works; sometimes it’s best to buy the chemical-laden, plastic-wrapped, yummy crackers.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

OA - Step 2 and 3

Step 2 "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity"

Step 3 "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him."


So, I think it's pretty important not to get stuck on step 1.  Yes, I am powerless, but that does not mean I am helpless.  There is a solution.  I just have to look outside myself to find it.

I thought step 2 would be easy since I have been a Christian from a young age.  Of course I believed in a power greater than myself.  I even believed in healing.  The problem was being willing to let God work in His way not mine.  I had prayed to loose weight and get healthy so many times.  However, what I really wanted was for God to heal me AND let me eat whatever I wanted.  I never put Him in charge of my food.  I had to be willing to change.  (step 3)

I also had to look at what 'sanity' meant.  I discovered that participating in self-destructive behaviors (binging, hiding food, covering feelings with food...) was not a recipe for sanity or peace. 

Step 3 meant I chose to let God be in control of all areas of my life and trust that His way was better.  I let go of my way which was only bringing me pain and frustration and chose God's way even though it was new and scary.  Change is scary.  I like the comfort of the familiar, but the familiar was slowly killing me.  It was time to step out on faith into the new and unfamiliar.

Many OAers like to summarize the first three steps like this --

"I can't, He can, I will let Him."

Saturday, April 25, 2015

OA - Step 1

Since I am blogging about different topics, I've decided to label my posts that apply to Overeater's Anonymous with OA in the title.)

Soon after I decided to abstain from desserts, I found myself getting very in touch with step one of OA -

"We admitted we were powerless over food, that our live had become unmanageable."

I was assailed by doubts (I can't do this), opportunities (just this one time, just a little bit), cravings (I had visions of chocolate-chip cookies dipped in Frosties), and emotions (all the frustrations and anger that I covered up with food came to the surface.)

The first month was tough.  I don't think I could have done it without all the supportive people who were in my life.  Family, friends, my sponsor, and even a website group I joined circled around me with encouragement and love.

When I first read step 1 I was hesitant to embrace the idea that I was powerless, but as I looked at my history with food, I saw that I had never been able to control my eating for any length of time.  I had searched for answers, tried diets, blamed others, and failed over and over.  I don't know if this is a disease or a genetic disposition or simply a choice, but I do know that my relationship with food was not normal or healthy and I had no control over it.

I also stumbled on the word "unmanageable".  I had just came out of a period of dark years of depression where it was difficult to get out of bed and move through each day.  That to me was unmanageable.  I was finally finding joy in my life and moving forward.  However, the food was a roadblock.  It kept me from facing my deeper issues and from embracing my life more fully. 

In step one I admitted my weakness but also my willingness to move forward.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

I love my new water bottle.

"Only through strictness do you find conversion."

All this eco-friendly stuff is so new and so foreign to me that I stumble along making lots of mistakes.  However, I'm learning that failures can lead to successes.

I went to a health store last weekend and bought an expensive glass water bottle.  I love it.  The water tastes better than it does in plastic.  No leached chemicals and it can be reused and/or recycled forever.  Still, the cost bugged me.  I showed a friend at school and she said, "Why didn't you buy one of those?" pointing to a water bottle with some trendy brand name on it that had been left on the counter days ago.  I checked, and sure enough, it was glass.  I scooped it up to take home. 

Now I have two bottles - one expensive and one free, but I never would have discovered the second one if I had not made the commitment to stop buying plastic, disposable ones in the first place.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My little recyclers

My girls are buying into the whole recycling/make less trash thing way faster than they latched onto the eat less sugar or clean the house ideas.  I guess they were probably ready for this before me even thanks to the American education system. 

The other day Sammi picked up some cardboard on our walk and took it home to recycle.  Yesterday Stephanie asked me how we could reuse a tic-tac container.  (We decided to fill it with red hots.)  We plan to visit the dump and the recycling center this summer. 

Sammi calls our attempts to reduce our trash a contest.  We count how many days it takes to fill up the large garbage container in the kitchen.  Before recycling we filled up 2 in a week.  Now it's 7+ days for one. 

Having buddies makes this adventure more fun. 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

OA - The Beginning

On Saturday, April 5th, 2014 at 2pm I joined Overeater's Anonymous and quit eating dessert.

 I just read a quote today that applies to me.  "Only a crisis -actual or perceived- produces real change." (Milton Friedman) 

In the weeks before April 5th, I had two realizations.  One happened when I conceded that I needed to go buy bigger pants.  I took the next large size to the dressing room and they were still tight.  Plus, they were tight in the knees.  'I have fat knees' I moaned.  I have always been round in the waist, hips, etc. and in recent years my stomach pooched out, but knees were a new embarrassment.  I think I cried that day. 

The second revelation was when I was eating a candy bar in the kitchen hoping not to be seen.  One of the girls came in and got something sweet for herself.  I realized that my children where adopting my eating habits which included 3-4 dessert type snacks a day.  I truly felt I was killing my precious girls. 

Those events were my crisis.  I did not want to continue down this road, but I did not know where to turn for help.  Luckily, God always intervenes when we need his guidance.  A childhood friend I had re-connected with on Facebook told me she had joined Overeater's Anonymous.  She shared some of her journey with me and encouraged me to look into it for myself.  I poked around the website and bought a book on my Kindle.  The book, Sweet Surrender, was one woman's story of healing through the twelve step program.  As I listened I knew this was for me.  My mind began to think about a starting date.  I mentally calculated the food in the kitchen and what things I wanted to eat before 'saying goodbye'.  Just then the author was talking about how she would binge before every diet to console herself.  I realized that was what I was doing and it sounded so stupid.  Right then, I looked at the clock and said goodbye to sweets.  I had no idea if I had the strength to abstain, but I knew I was desperate.  That moment began the first day of over a year of days lived one moment at a time. 

Sammi's bagels

So- where to start?  I want to write about the twelve steps of overeater's anonymous.  I want to share the book I'm writing about purging and cleaning the house and adopting minimalist ideals.  I want to explain why I am trying to reduce my trash production.  However, I think the best place to start is with making bagels with Samantha since that was tons of fun and all the pieces of this crazy puzzle seem to rotate around bringing joy into my life.

As part of an effort to eat less chemicals ('clean' eating) and create less trash (plastic bags) I decided to try my hand at making my own bagels.  I found a pretty simple recipe and asked Sammi if she wanted to help me.  She was totally excited.  She likes to cook and she loves to spend time with Mommy.  We combined the ingredients and mixed the dough.  Then it was time to knead it.  I showed Sammi how and she was a little hesitant to get her hands messy, but once she started she was hooked.  She squished, pounded, and pummeled the dough.  At one time she jumped up on the counter and tummy flopped on it.  It was hilarious!  Then we shaped the bagels, let them rise, boiled and baked them.  I might even talk Sammi into eating one.  =)  Who knew cooking could be so much fun?!

Monday, April 20, 2015

What a ride!

Just over a year ago I made some serious changes in my life including joining a 12-step program for compulsive overeaters.  Little did I know that working this program would reshape not just my body but my mind as well.  I have experienced spiritual and physical healing.  Then the changes started to expand into other areas of my life.   I became willing and able to tackle my messy house.  Then I started looking at reducing my belongings.  Recently I've even delved into recycling and reducing waste not to mention living frugally and ministering to the poor.  I have no idea where this roller coaster is taking me, but I'm enjoying the ride.