Recovery from Food Insanity

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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.



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.


Good Girl ~ III August 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 3:21 pm

Friends  wondered if I was performance oriented – that I got significance from my job.  (With friends like these, who needs enemies?  No, really, I’m grateful to have people in my life who have the courage to tell me the truth about what they see)

I considered that for a bit.  But it didn’t seem to fit right – like the shoe was on the right foot but maybe I needed an extra wide, or something.

Upon reflection, I realized that it wasn’t my job that gave me a false sense of worth.  It was my work ethic.  I look pride in the fact that I was a hard worker – when things got rough, I hunkered down and did the right thing, no matter what.  In my job.  In my marriage.  In every aspect of my life.  I was noble.  Enduring.  Loyal.  I took care of things.  Self sacrificing.  (yeesh, make ya sick yet?)

I was a good girl.

Now don’t get me wrong, the attributes I mentioned above are positive.  Definite character assets.

Where things got mixed up was when I clothed myself in those attributes, found my identity in them.  I was playing a role, hiding behind what the Catholics call a “false self”, rather than living authentically.

I was bowing to the altar of self, rather than responding in love to God’s initiatives.  It’s subtle deviation from the lifegiving road, but one that was leading me further and further astray the longer I walked on it.

But the alternatives?  I didn’t want to be a bad girl (ok, so sometimes I do).

I want to be His girl. Loved by God and ok, no matter what.  Free to fail and to be weak.  Taken care of.  Cherished.  Beloved.


Good Girl ~ Part II ~ Clipped August 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 4:21 pm

“That’s it!  I’m tired of being pooped on!” Kirk grabbed a disinfectant wipe, and tried to scoop the bird plop off the back of his shoulder.  “Time for Solomon to be potty trained!”

I was skeptical that a cockatiel with the brain the size of a chick pea could learn to poop in appropriate places, but Kirk had already taught him to fetch, do card tricks and give you five with his little claw.  I prepared myself to be amazed.

However, Solomon himself was unconvinced, flying away whenever Kirk tried to move him to the pooping perch.

“We’re going to have to clip his wings so he can’t escape the training,”  Kirk was sad, “I hate to take away his flight, but otherwise he’ll never learn.”

So a couple days ago we wrapped Solomon up in a towel, spread out his wings, and clipped the tips off his flight feathers.  After a couple failed attempts at flight, he gathered his dignity and began to re-acquaint himself with the low road.

I’m feeling clipped myself these days.  Formerly able to flit freely from one task to another, I feel like I’m just creeping, struggling to make my way.   I’m confined by my own weakness, but is it because there is a critical lesson that needs learning, one that I would fly away from if I was able?

Solomon and I are both feeling a little disgruntled.  A little vulnerable.  Missing our former freedom.  But maybe we’ll both learn and make fewer messes.


Good Girl ~ Part 1 August 5, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — gohopchick @ 2:26 pm

I’ve always been a hard worker.  Reliable.  Dependable.

Friends called me driven.

Driven?  No, you must be mistaken, I’m just hard working.  Disciplined.

And I was.  Up at four.  Prayer and meditation.  At the gym for a six am workout most days.  Couple hours in the gym.  Full day at work.  Taking care of my family and managing my home.  Self improvement reading.  Fitting in my OA meetings and phone calls.  Bluetooth for the car so I could use driving time productively.

I had my day planned in fifteen minute increments.

“I could never do what you do,” one of my friends said.

I swelled with pride and accomplishment.  I had it all together.  Overcoming adversity.  I was making it happen.  With God’s help, of course.

Somewhere around last September I began to fray around the edges.  And then in March of this year my little Energizer Bunny stopped chugging along.  Stalled in mid hop.  I caved in on myself and collapsed.

“I don’t know why this happened!” I complained to my pastor.  “I was doing all the self care I knew how to do.  Eating right, exercise, support groups.  I did everything that God told me to do that I’m aware of.  I don’t understand why I fell apart despite doing everything right!” (notice my exceptional humility)


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