Recovery from Food Insanity

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The Dreaded Swimsuit January 3, 2014

Filed under: Body Image,Exercise — gohopchick @ 11:55 am

Over my holidays I’ve been devouring blogs written by bariatric patients. It’s been massively inspiring to read their stories of transformation.

Yesterday I was reading this one

And o boy did I ever find it challenging! Like the author of the blog, I have knee issues, due to my weight. The doctor says that swimming and water aerobics would be the best for me.


That means a swimsuit, right?

In my Eating Disorder program, as part of our body image therapy we were challenged to do things we avoid doing due to our negative feelings about our bodies.

“You could go swimming in a swimsuit in a public pool,” Michelle, my psychologist encouraged us.

“I don’t even own a swimsuit!” I replied.

“Well then it’s time you bought one.” she countered.

So I bought one. I’m a proud owner of a swimsuit. It sits oh so happily in my top drawer with my other articles of clothing that will never see the light of day.

But after reading Holly’s blog, maybe I can summon the courage to dig it out.



Brave Bariatric Bloggers January 2, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 3:20 pm

Over my holidays, I’ve been extensively researching bariatric surgery. I’ve found blogs very helpful. It’s been illuminating to walk alongside women on their journeys to better health, physically and emotionally. I had decided to keep my (potential) surgery private, informing people on a need to know basis. Mostly because everybody seems to have an opinion about bariatric surgery, and I just don’t want to have to deal with their opinions. But obviously, I’ve reconsidered.

I’ve been really blessed by those brave, bariatric bloggers. Heres a few that I particularly enjoy:

As they have shared their experience, strength, and hope, I’ve been the benefactor. I’ve been blogging for years on other topics. Why avoid this one, other than my motivations of fear and shame?



Breaking the Silence January 1, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 6:43 pm

I have not posted in several years.  Much has happened!  Most significantly, I finally entered and successfully completed the Binge Eating Disorder program at St. Joes hospital in Hamilton.  Under the tender loving care of their expert team of dieticians, psychologists, nurse practitioners and psychiatrist, I’m experiencing a level of recovery I never thought possible.

For the last year I’ve been eating like a normal person.

For the first time I can remember.  (I have childhood memories, as early as 6, of abusing food).

I eat within the guidelines of the Canada Food Guide.  I rarely have cravings.  My weight is stable. I don’t remember the last time I binged.  I discovered last summer that I have gluten and dairy intolerances, and I have made the necessary adjustments without much upheaval.

I feel normal.

Not bingeing. Not dieting.

Here’s the catch, however.

When I gave up the crazy making of dieting and obsessive exercise (which they called exercise bulimia – who knew?), I had to come to grips with the fact that the body I’ve got is the body I’ve got.

So I’m not crazy anymore. But I am 245 pounds. And on my little 5 foot 4 inch frame, that’s a lot of weight. Genetics (we jokingly call my family the Essex (my maiden name) endomorphs), and a lifetime of disordered eating have ruined my knees and my metabolism. Fortunately I’ve dodged the co-morbidities bullet, so no blood pressure, cholesterol, sleep apnea or type 2 diabetes issues, thank God.

So since my eating disorder program ended last May, I’ve been settling into my recovery, letting my mind and body settle into new healthy habits.

But I’ve had to reckon with the question. Am I willing and/or able to live the rest of my life just shy of 250 lbs? I’m only 42. A youngster really! Lots of miles left on the odometer! I find climbing up and down stairs to my third floor bedroom difficult, and if I get my daily walking in, the pain in my knees flares up and makes the climb a real hardship. I can no longer hike, which I really used to enjoy. I can fit into an airplane seat, but just barely. The load bearing has also taken it’s toll on my feet, and I can only wear Birkenstocks in the summer and Keen hiking boots in the winter, because they provide enough support to ward off the plantar fasciitis that plagues me. Reflux from being overweight has damaged my vocal chords, and I can sing only infrequently now (which is a big deal for me, because singing was a large part of my job description for work). Am I willing for this to be as good as it gets, physically?

I don’t think I am, but going back to my eating disordered ways is not an option.

A third alternative was presented to me, when I was in the ED program at St. Joes. One I had never thought of. But one that I’m now taking seriously under consideration.

I have an information session in early February with the bariatric program at St. Joes to learn about bariatric surgery. Wow, it’s scary to even see that in print. I’ve been talking to my mentors and supports about it for quite a while, but to actually put it out there in a blog is something else entirely.



Mirror Mirror on the Wall October 9, 2010

Filed under: Body Image — gohopchick @ 12:57 pm

Here’s a skit I wrote for a body image workshop…

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

(2 women face each other, one holding a picture frame in front of her.  The other is wearing black)

Girl:               Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all?

Mirror:             Why, Drew Barrymore, of course!  Especially since she lost those last ten pounds for the Cover Girl ads.  She’d certainly been packing that load around quite long enough!  But, she made it happen, and now look at her!  Who knew that the little cutie with pigtails from ET would grow up to be such a looker?

Girl:                 Sorry I asked.  So, how are things looking today? (poses in front of mirror)

Mirror:             Look honey, I’m going to be perfectly honest with you.  I’m not going to lie to you like that rearview mirror in your car that you use, you know, the one where you position your face low enough to hide those chipmunk cheeks, and think about how skinny your temples are?  Nice eyes!  You think men are looking at your eyes when they talk to you? (snort) Not bloody likely!

Oh, waitaminit!  You put dressing right on your salad last night, didn’t you?  Instead of dipping your fork in it before each bite, like they told you on the Dr. Oz show.  You’re lumpier.  Definitely lumpier, in fact, I see a whole new roll developing, and baby, I’m not talking about photography here!  How many times do I have to tell you?  Dip, don’t pour!  A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.

Now, spin around, and give me the side profile. (woman turn)  Oh, ouch!  Let’s not and say we did. I don’t know where you inherited that backside from, maybe Tim Hortons was a distant relative.  You’ve definitely got lots of junk in the trunk – well, forget trunk, you’ve got a whole Chevy Cavalier goin’ on back there!

All right, face me again.  Let’s have another look at you.  Well, I’m sorry to say, honey, that gravity has gotten the better of you.  You are definitely in need of a little more support!  But we’ve got a little quandary here.  Not sure if we want to lift and separate – you might knock somebody out with those babies.  Maybe we should just strap you down with a good minimizing sports bra.

Now chin up, sweetheart. (reaches out to lift chin, but mirror frame begins to tip)  Here, hold this (woman holds up one side of the frame while mirror examines her face, slowly turning it from side to side).  We only want to see one of them, chins I mean.   Let’s see.  Yup.  Jowly.  You’re definitely getting jowly.  You know, like those wrinkly bull dogs, but without the cute and fuzzy factor.  Can you suck in those cheeks a bit?  Good thing you’ve got decent hair – you’ve got to have something going for you. (mirror holds on to frame with both hands again)

All I can say is, thank God you’re wearing black!  Could you imagine if you were wearing a floral print?  You’d look like a couch!  Black is the way to go – it’s very slimming, you know, and believe you me, you need all the help you can get!  There you go.  The whole truth, and nothing but the truth.  Honesty is the best policy, in my opinion!

Woman:        (sighs).  Thanks, I guess.  (and dejectedly walks away)


Ahhhhh, Exercise! August 19, 2010

Filed under: Exercise — gohopchick @ 8:42 pm

I got back to the gym this week.  What a relief!

A couple of months ago I broke a rib.  I was installing a hook on my bathroom door.  Couldn’t find the ladder, so I was standing on a kitchen chair.  Wooden kitchen chair on tile floor.  Biiiiig mistake.  The chair went over.  I went down.  Whack!  Chair leg, meet rib.  Rib, meet chair leg!

I can finally sleep on my side again (who knew that sleeping on your back was a skill that one had to learn?) and can rock and roll without pain.  So back to the gym I go!

And my body is so grateful.  It sighs, it stretches, it tingles and make happy sounds.

I never could understand people who hated exercise.  I have always enjoyed it.  Winter hiking up the Escarpment, risking life and limb on icy trails.  Kickboxing to Pink (the artist, not the color)- I love her attitude!  Lying in dusky quiet after a stretching session.  It is when I exercise that I get lost in the moment, and re-connect with the body that I divorced so long ago.

I love it.  I love it all.  And I missed it so much.

After a couple sessions this week I’m walking around like a granny – lactic acid pinging, muscles creaking and groaning.  But it’s so worth it, and the stiffness will pass.

Yay!  I’m a gym rat again!


I’m so noble August 16, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 11:52 am

I was doing a mini 5th step with my pastor a couple of weeks ago, and the topic of self pity came up.

Self pity wears many faces.  I don’t usually mope around crying “oh poor me!” I’m more socialized than that – but I recognized years ago that there is a big difference between being socialized and being holy.  The face self pity wears in my life is the face of nobility.  A lady at church yesterday asked me how I was, and I responded, “Trying to face life’s challenges with courage.”  How noble of me.  Poor brave longsuffering Jill, who makes the right choices, does the right things under pressure. (I hope you’re hearing the sarcasm in my tone)

“You’re right,”  I said to my pastor, “well, let’s deal with this self pity thing.  It’s ugly and deforms my personality.  I’m happy for God to remove it.”

“That’s very noble of you,”  he grinned.

Being a very mature and spiritually advanced woman, I stuck my tongue out at him.


Perception Management August 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 1:41 pm

I’m back from the cottage and today I am going to my first live OA meeting since I “slipped” and changed my date.

I find myself rehearsing in my mind what I’m going to say.  In our group, it is suggested that if you don’t have a week of back to back abstinence, that you just listen, but I find myself wanting to share.  About my slip and the changes I’ve made to my abstinence definition.

I don’t want  people to feel discouraged.  I don’t feel like I’ve failed.  I feel like I’m moving forward, getting more honest, getting much more peaceful with the food and with this whole process.  I want them to understand that a “slip” can be a good thing.  I want to share my experience, strength and hope around this issue.

Or do I?

Maybe I don’t want them to think I’ve failed.  To be disappointed with me.  To fill in my silence with their own personal extrapolations.  Maybe I want to manage all of their perceptions of me and my journey and maybe I’m trying to put a  “spin” on my story to show me in the best possible light.

I find myself choosing today’s clothing with care.  Don’t want to wear anything tight, that shows the little roll I’ve developed on my tummy.  If they are anything like I was even six months ago, I know that as soon as they’ve hear that I “slipped”, they will be checking me out to see if I’ve gained weight.  Yeesh, I’m even trying to manage their perceptions about my body!

So much internal chatter!  So much concern about what people think!  I could start my own personal PR company!  Ah, I’ve still got a ways to go yet.  One of my sponsors told me that other people’s opinion of me is none of my business, and it’s good to remind myself of that.

I’ve decided I am going to dress up.  Just a little bit.  Put on makeup.  Do the best I can with what I’ve got.  I want to feel pretty, comfortable, and relaxed.  And when I get to the meeting, if I want to share, I’m going to share.  Instead of obsessing about what others think about me, though, I’m going to try to be fully present for my friends, and focus on how they are doing.  God, free me from the bondage of self, so that I can better serve others.  I resign from personal PR.


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