Being shy in a group

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This is my 4th week going to OA meetings at one location in Greenwich Village, and I’ve only talked to one woman.  I’m usually shy in big groups where I don’t know people, where I feel like I don’t belong, or even in small groups where I know people if there’s someone who’s more outgoing than me (which happens a lot).  Part of OA is that you’re supposed to get support from the group and talk and text with other OA members on the phone.  I have yet to do that.  I don’t even know how to begin.  I don’t really want to put myself out there.  And that’s part of the problem.  I think I just need to do it.  Ask for help.  Text someone.  Call.  There’s a list that goes around, but I’m too nervous to write down peoples’ names.

This week has been pretty stressful, with the situation with my boss’s car, my back going out on Tuesday, and starting school again (which I actually really enjoyed–one year down–two more to go!).  I binged a few days ago and today.  Yesterday I overate but didn’t binge.  Ugh, I feel so stressed, I just want to sit somewhere in the sun and read and not do work or worry about anything.

Next week I’m going to try a location in midtown.  Really I just want to hear someone mention their kids instead of always talking about their parents.  Sometimes I just feel like I don’t belong anywhere.  When I’m in Queens I feel like I should be in Brooklyn.  When I’m in Brooklyn I feel like I should be in Manhattan.  When I’m in the Village I feel like I should be on the Upper West Side.  Why can’t I be happy where I am?

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Self-hate

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This weekend was a rough one. And today was no better. My back is out and I’m in a lot of pain. But Saturday was traumatic. And I had been feeling so much better since starting Zoloft again and starting OA.

We live in Queens without a car so occasionally I gripe that it takes so long to get places on the weekend with the bus or subway. My boss was going away so he asked if I could watch his car. It would save him the trouble of paying for airport parking since we have to move cars in NYC for street cleaning once or twice a week. I would be free to take it on trips. The only thing is that it’s a manual/stick shift. I had one for years in the 90s but haven’t driven one since 2001 when I moved back to NYC.

So I was looking forward to taking lots of little car trips this past weekend and next. And I wouldn’t have to pay for a Zipcar or an Uber. Saturday we were supposed to see my extended family up in the suburbs. My husband couldn’t come because he had to work, so it was my first time driving with the girls without someone to help entertain them/keep them from whining/crying/screaming. 

I think I was riding the clutch too hard in the stop and go traffic because I kept seeing the RPMs go up and it would rev too much. On the highway by Yankee Stadium it was smelling like something was burning and when I got on the George Washington Bridge the clutch stopped working and I couldn’t move the car. I felt like an absolute idiot stalled on the GW and was so scared someone would read-end us. And my youngest was screaming to get out of her car seat. Had to be pushed by a port authority guy to a gas station in NJ. There I was on my phone trying to get a tow truck trying to see if we could still see my family, while still dealing with tantrums and corralling the girls. But ended up being towed backed to Queens. 

I’m very thankful no one was hurt but I’m still so upset that I couldn’t drive it properly, now my boss knows what a bad stick driver I am, I have to pay $1100 to fix it plus $270 for the tow, and our 4 days of happy day trips are ruined. My adrenaline was pumping Saturday and now I just feel like I’ve crashed. A zombie. 

It seems like it just takes one little bad thing to cause me to back into a depression spiral.😞

I suppose at least I don’t have to worry about parallel parking it for a few days…

And apologies if you were stuck in horrible traffic on the GW because of me. But thanks for not rear-ending us!

another obsession

Warning: some sexual content and obscenities below (no pictures, just text).  Please do not read unless you are comfortable reading about sex, masturbation, pornography, and what might be considered sex work. 

So, this week has been a busy one:  I went to my first OA meeting and wrote a bit about that.  I went to my psychiatrist and agreed to give Zoloft another try, with the addition of Ritalin to keep me from jumping around in my head from anxious thought to anxious thought, and to perhaps snip some of the expected weight gain in the bud.  Still getting used to the Ritalin though; I do feel a bit too hyped-up, and when I took it first thing in the morning it made me feel panicky, so I ended up taking a half a Klonopin, which might have defeated the purpose.

I went back to my chiropractor since last October, since I had been doing physical therapy for my hip and was feeling overwhelmed by appointments and stressed by missing too much work or home stuff.  Then had some mild kid sickness issues, but ending up having a nice afternoon with the girls.  Glad my workplace is so flexible!

Which brings me to a phone “interview” with a mutual acquaintance at a big insurance company.  She really liked my resume and wants to shuffle some things around in her department to accommodate my leadership and analytical skills!  Going to meet her for coffee in two weeks after her vacation to see if it’s as good as a fit as it sounds.  I might be able to do more stimulating work (which I seem to need since I spend too much time at my current job blogging and doing personal things online…), get paid more, and be able to work remotely 2 or 3 days a week!

Since I confirmed with my hip surgeon today that I can stop PT, I joined a Planet Fitness  near my office (only $10/month!) and went one morning before work.

Now that I’ve gotten through the usual, let’s get to what’s really on my mind this week: sex.  Posting those pics of me over the years reminded me that there was a time before I started dating my husband when I was seriously addicted to online porn and masturbation.  I had lots of fantasies about being double-penetrated and tied up.  I took anonymous (no face) sexual pictures of myself and posted them on some amateur sites and even messaged with some people.  I bought lots of sex toys and felt so much pleasure, but I still had conflicted feelings about my body image.  On the one hand, I thought I looked hot in some of the pictures I took (and LOVED getting positive feedback from others), but on the other hand, I was still ashamed that I was overweight.  I was even “size-prejudiced” in my own porn consumption:  I loved looking a pictures of slim, busty women and buff guys.  I almost considered meeting someone I met online to have a sexual encounter, but didn’t go through with it.  I was having a bad time dating on traditional sites, but still craved contact…

Then I started dating my husband and slowly masturbated less and less and hardly looked at online porn.  I threw away my vibrators and dildos.  I thought we should be “enough” for each other sexually.  We picked a date for our wedding even though I loathed the thought of dress shopping and having pictures taken of me at that size.

Then when I was pregnant for the first time and had those awful panic attacks for four weeks, I found a picture of a naked skinny girl on our computer.  I confronted my husband about it and cried and cried.  Here I was suffering: unable to work, eat, read, sleep, or doing anything but rock, shake, and pace–with our unborn child inside of me–and my husband was jerking off to a small-titted bitch.  I felt so betrayed.  He apologized, and I implored him to not download pictures to our shared computer for me to see.  I realized he probably needed a major release from the constant worry of taking care of me those 4 horrible weeks.

Since then, I’ve had serious ups and downs with my sexual desire, most likely related to adjusting to parenthood, lack of sleep, my continued anxiety, depression, weight gain, and negative body image, and my semi-alcoholic and majorly panicky brother living in our living room.

But…now we’ve been having amazing sex again.  In May I had an orgasm that lasted for what felt like 5 minutes, I saw colors and was almost paralyzed by pleasure.  My husband had expressed interest in the past of taking sexy pics of me, but I was always too ashamed, and didn’t want my face in the picture, in case someone I knew found the pics.  But I’ve been watching Orange is the New Black, Younger, and reading some chick lit (normally I’m more into the New Yorker!), and feeling my kinks bubbling up again.  In both OITNB and Younger, the characters start or attempt to sell dirty panties.  Vice reports that

“Google trends shows the search term “sell used panties” experienced the biggest global spike ever following the June 12 premiere of Orange Is the New Black‘s third season.”

The idea instantly and crazily appealed to me.  I like to blog & design simple websites, I always wanted to sell something online, I wanted to make money creatively, I love the smell of my dirty underwear, and I need some external positive feedback that my overweight body is still sexy and that many people would want to have sex with me or fantasize about me.  Wait.  Does that sound like crazy low self-esteem talk?  As a happily married, intellectual, feminist, working mother of two girls in the 21st century, do I really want to start doing what is essentially sex work?  Maybe I do.  It can be anonymous.  I can involve my husband in taking the pictures of me in my panties–which he’s always wanted to do.  I can do it all by mail and never in person.  I can create a separate user account on my computer so that my kids and babysitter won’t see naked pics of me. It gets me really excited just thinking about it.  In fact, I’ve been obsessing about it the last week.  Researching other sites and methods, ordering new panties, picking a pseudonym, setting up a new email account, website & twitter account, etc.  I used my phone at work so much yesterday that I ran out of power at 3pm.  That never happens to me.

BUT. Thinking about the OA meeting and podcasts, and seeing my therapist later today, I can’t help but think that I’m replacing my obsession with food with an obsession with sex.  And I still have an unhealthy/disjointed body image.  And I’d be contributing to the objectification of women, right?  But if we’re all aware and willing it’s ok, right? As Dan Savage would say, I’m trying to be “sex positive” and GGG (Good, Giving, and Game) about this.  And Googling him I just see that he was named Humanist of the Year in 2013.  I’m a Humanist, too!  Now I’ll be really crazy and think that this is a sign that my OA Higher Power is telling me to trade this obsession for my old one until I can learn some non-obsessive coping mechanisms…

tried OA yesterday

Yesterday afternoon I went to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting.  I think I liked the vibe better than WW since there is more intense sharing, although I’ll need to get used to the higher power aspect.  I ordered some books and materials to read through and listened to the Step One podcast on the way to work this morning.

I cried a lot listening to other people’s stories and then got two people’s phone numbers at the end for support.  Going to check out another meeting later this week or next.  Interested in using the tools and learning more about the 12 steps and 12 traditions in order to help me learn to recover from binge eating.  I’m a little worried about whether I need to totally eliminate my trigger foods from my food plan, or whether I can ever learn to eat those foods in moderation.

Anybody else out there go to OA?  What worked for you?

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pics over the years, serious yo-yo-ing

Here are some pictures of me over the years.  One of the reasons I want to lose weight is selfish.  I don’t want to hate looking back at myself in photographs, especially now that I have two girls and we’re constantly taking pictures.  I know some people say you should love the body you have, but I keep thinking back tot 2012 when I was at goal…

Now in 2015 I’m back on meds, trying ones that aren’t supposed to increase weight gain, but I still feel very depressed and hopeless.  Here I am in May 2015.  I should give up on skinny jeans for a while, I think:

may 2015 v2may 2015 ph v2

In the fall of 2014 I went back off meds and went back to grad school for the second time:

sept 2014 v2

Here I was in May 2014 after gaining my 2013 maternity leave weight and being very depressed and anxious, back on Zoloft.  Since then I’ve lost a few pounds, and gained them back again.

2014 may v2

Here I was a week or so after my second was born in 2013, only 7 lbs above goal, before I started having serious postpartum depression and anxiety .  I was freaking out and binge-eating Nutella on Petit Lu cookies like crazy when I was on maternity leave:

2013 july v2

One of my favorites, at Lifetime and my goal weight in July 2012, before getting pregnant with my second, off meds:

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Here is what I looked like in 2011, on my birthday, 9 months after my first child and back on anti-depressants, and a few months before I started Weight Watchers for the 3rd or 4th time, about 20-25 pounds above goal:

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In 2009, I was lost a few pounds on Jenny Craig, and some from tapering off my meds, still 10 away from goal, just before I got pregnant with my first:

2009v2

And here I am on my honeymoon in 2008 😦  Makes me cringe.

HM 2008 v2

Here I am at my wedding.  I really hate looking at my wedding pictures, which makes me sad.  I hated shopping for a dress, and I postponed picking a date for two years because of my weight.

wedding 2008 v2

Here is what I looked like in early 2008, before my wedding, about 20 pounds over goal.  At this point I had been seriously struggling with my weight since 2000, although you could argue that even as a child and adolescent I wasn’t happy.  I had tried doing things on my own and programs like Weight Watchers a couple of times, but I couldn’t lose more than 5 or 10 pounds, and then I’d yo-yo back up.  I was always crying at meetings and at the gym because I hated my body so much.

FEb 2008 v2

In 2005 and 2006 I might have been at my heaviest post-grad school…probably 30 pounds over goal:

poland 2005 v2

Here I was in 98 or 99 in college, after my breast reduction in 1996, probably around my current goal weight:

98-99

And a real flash from the past: me back in middle school in 1991 or 92, I think.  Compared to other skinny pre-teens/adolescents I was quite curvy, but I thought I was too fat.  I think I was probably 10 or 15 pounds below my current goal, in the middle of a healthy weight range for my height and age.  In high school I think I was 5 pounds heavier, and then in college, another 5 pounds.  In my first grad school period my infrequent exercise habits could no longer compensate for my binge eating and I gained another 15.

p_v14alcyc4mp1204 1992ish

So over the last 15 years, there has only been one year where I remotely liked the way I looked in pictures.  Although even in 2012 there are some pictures where I’m not happy with how I look.

thoughts on “May (or May Not) Cause Weight Gain”

I was just reading this article in the New York Times by Diana Spechler from March about depression, weight, body image, and going off her meds.  Here are some excerpts that resonated with me.

I eat and eat until I’m horrified by all the eating I’ve done. I eat more. I speed-eat. I’m in a Dorito-eating contest with myself…On bupropion, food didn’t hold the appeal it had once held. It became a bit of a chore, chewing food. For the first time in my life, I would forget to have lunch, leave burritos half uneaten, find myself unable to finish dessert. It should be reflexive — to eat when we’re hungry, to stop when we’re satisfied — but this was the first time I could remember my brain receiving those messages. A genie had granted the wish that I had been making since I was a teenager: Release me from my food fixation…I wish that I’d aged out of this. I wish that my feminism protected me from this. But I’ll likely wind up dieting again, doing calorie math in my head, because few things make me feel as hopeful or invigorated.

Over the last few days and weeks I realized that I really hate myself so much.  I’m so ashamed of my life.  But instead of hurting or killing myself I stuff myself with food until I’m numb and high and my record-player thoughts slow down.  But the fix is short-lived and then I hate myself again until my mouth is stuffed again.

It was really rough with my in-laws staying with us.  My mother-in-law criticizes my father-in-law about his eating, which made me feel self-conscious about my own.  She also talked about her grandparents who were survivors of WWII who just kept going despite the trauma, which made me feel bad that my mom committed suicide, and that I have suicidal tendencies.

I don’t think the Viibryd (vilazodone) is helping.  My therapist recommended Lamictal, which is really a mood stabilizer.  Need to meet with my psychiatrist again.  I’m still so unhappy about my weight, our financial situation, our dumpy apartment and long commute, parenting, and my career prospects.  I realized over the last 18 months I spent about $750 on Weight Watchers and didn’t meet any of my goals.  I’m going to try Overeaters Anonymous, tracking food on my FitBit app, which is free.  I asked my husband to do the dishes because when I’m in the kitchen I just binge ridiculously.  I’m going to do my exercises for my hip and core and glutes, and buy a new Just Dance game for the Wii.

what a long year it’s been

So last fall I was doing physical therapy (PT) as a sort of “pre-hab” to see if I could avoid having arthroscopic surgery on the labral tear on my hip.  I also started my MS program.  I still managed to go to weight watchers but didn’t achieve my goals.  I ended up deciding to go off Zoloft in September 2014 to see if that would help with my weight loss.  Took one class two nights a week.  I did manage to lose a a few pounds, even after having my surgery in February.

My spring semester was really busy: classes four nights a week, plus working full time, doing PT and spending time with my husband and two girls.  I managed not to binge too much.  But then my therapist started mentioning that I seemed depressed and anxious and recommended going back on meds.  I was really scared to because I feared I would gain weight.  I tried Brintellix (vortioxetine) , which isn’t supposed to affect your weight, but I felt worse.  Really stressed out with all the kids’ whining.  Then school ended and I had to go home every day instead of getting to go to class and stimulating my mind.  I signed up for some free online classes to try to get ahead.  I also applied for a few new jobs and did one round of interviews before pulling out because it’s not a good fit.  I ended up officially quitting weight watchers because I only went a few times in the Spring semester, and I feel so stressed about money.  Thinking of seeing a financial counselor.

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I ended up stopping Brintellix and trying Viibryd (vilazodone).  I’ve been on it a month and now I’m at my highest non-pregnant weight since 2011: 158!  I’m thinking of joining a Binge Eating or Eating Disorders support group to try to improve my body image.  But then part of me just wants to lose weight so I feel better about myself.  I constantly feel judged.  By my co-workers, friends, strangers, in-laws.  What can’t I like me the way I am?  Should I just go back to Weight Watchers?  I’m crying all the time, and officially you’re not supposed to do Weight Watchers if you have an eating disorder.

But I really want to lose weight before my 20th reunion in 2016.  I also hate being so fat and ugly in all our family pics with the kids.

I’m trying hard to not feel like this year has been wasted, but that’s kind of what I feel like…

depression, hormones, and medications affecting weight

Sometimes I wonder how much my hormones and medications I take affect my weight.  I feel so stressed all the time that I wonder if my cortisol levels are high.  I remember my mom pushing me to get my thyroid tested to see if that was leading to my weight gain in college and then graduate school.  I think my results showed that things weren’t quite average, but not so far out of the normal range.  And then I’ve been on SSRIs and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRI, NERIs) for almost all of my adult life, and many of them have side effects of weight gain.  Also while breastfeeding I’ve also taken domperidone (DPD) to help with my milk supply, and weight gain is also a side effect.

depression ozanWhen I had success on Weight Watchers in 2011-2012 and hit my lifetime goal I had been off Zoloft for a few months.  All the other times I was unsuccessful at WW and Jenny Craig I was on anti-depressants.  I’m trying to taper off of Zoloft again to see if that helps, but now I’m feeling more depressed again.  My psychiatrist mentioned a few other anti-depressants with no weight gain side effects, but they aren’t compatible with breastfeeding.  I just tapered slowly off of DPD, but I’m still having trouble resisting my urge to binge.  I feel kind of down and wish that I had more time for myself to exercise and prepare healthy foods.  My youngest daughter is almost one, so I plan on gradually weaning soon.  Now that I’m not breastfeeding her and pumping as much I want to start taking yoga classes again.  I think if we can all get some more sleep in our home that will help too.  I wish I had more success at managing my weight when I was single and childless so that I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed now.

Has anyone else noticed a connection between their depression/medications/hormones and weight? What can we do to still have success at losing weight even with depression?  Sometimes I feel like there are so many things stacked against me, how can I still succeed?  I feel like I can’t talk about all of these things at my WW meetings, so I need to get some advice elsewhere…

Picture via Ozan

disgusted but still not motivated

I’ve been reading about emotional eating in this book, but still do it anyway.  I notice myself craving the numb, mindless feeling I get when scarfing three Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip bars, or two Yolatos, or half of my daughter’s birthday cake.  Why can’t I have just one thing/bite/piece?  I get so disgusted with myself, but I realize that I really don’t like some things about my life right now.  Feeling like I don’t have time to exercise because of the constant chores, work, pumping, and breastfeeding.  Feeling like my husband and brother are just as overwhelmed as I am.  I think that’s why I crave the happy, numb feeling I get from binging.  I think I’ll have to find a way to make myself feel happier at home (or at least distract myself from high PPV foods and have 0 point options instead!), otherwise I’ll just keep binging like this and make myself more unhappy.

Today at my weigh in I was up 2 pounds.  At least it took me a few days to go through my 49 extra points instead of just one day like the week before.  I went to Century 21 afterwards to get my husband a replacement shoulder bag/briefcase and saw two handbags that just screamed “buy me!”  But instead of getting one, or both, I’m using them as motivation, since my goal of getting back into my 135 lb clothes doesn’t seem to be motivation enough.

I saw a pool blue version of this one from Foley+Corinna and this one from Gryson.  I love getting bags discounted at Century, even if they are from past seasons.  As a reward, I’ll get one if I lose 5% and the other when I lose 10%, which will also bring me to my goal weight.  I find myself getting a little more materialistic as I’m getting older…I wonder why that is.  But, maybe it will motivate me more than just “being healthy” and “being a good role model” will.

What do you do when you’re unhappy but unmotivated?

binge eating

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via Laura Lewis

I feel like I have so many eating issues.  I have to decrease my daily points now that I’m not nursing my daughter as much, but I crave snack foods so much.  It makes my mind feel better to binge, but then I feel out of control and guilty afterwards, but stuffing my face makes me momentarily feel “high”.  How do I prevent these binges from happening?  I guess one idea would be to get satisfaction from something not food-related. I really want to be able to get back into my 2012 clothes.  It’s finally getting warm in NYC and I just swapped out my winter and summer clothes.  I was hoping I would be back into my smaller sizes by now, since I started back at Weight Watchers in December, but at this rate, I won’t be able to fit into them until the fall, when it will be too cold. 😦  I was also hoping that we could do another family photoshoot, but I want to be at or close to goal before spending the money on that.  I’m just so disappointed that a few weeks after my 2nd baby was born I was only 7 pounds away from goal, but I “ruined it” by binging during her newborn period, and now I have 17 pounds to get to goal. I was looking at these two blogs to get more ideas about cravings and binging: Before you Binge Printable from doesthisblogmakeuslookfat.com? Is food an addiction from canyoustayfordinner.com. Then I checked out the Mayo Clinic’s definition of binge eating disorder.  It sounds like I do have the disorder.  I’m trying to remember my mindset in 2012 when I wasn’t binging, but I can’t really remember what I did to prevent it… I looked up binging on the WW website, too.  There’s a Binge Enders Group on the Community Boards and one member listed these helpful books: 1.) “Brain Over Binge” by Kathryn Hansen ~~~ http://www.brainoverbinge.blogspot.com 2.) “Overcoming Binge Eating” by Dr. Christopher Fairborn 3.) “Food: The Good Girls Drug” by Sunny Seas Gold 4.) “The Beck Diet Solution” by Judith Beck 5.) “Life Without Ed” by Jenni Schaefer 6.) Various books by Geneen Roth 7.) “Midlife Eating Disorders” by Cynthia Bulick Any other thoughts or advice?  Anybody else struggling?  Maybe I’ll start with checking out these books on Amazon.