Going Cold Turkey

I love soda. LOVE IT. Pepsi, Coke, root beer, Sprite, Dr. Pepper. Elixir of life. The bubbles of the carbon dioxide tickling my nose, the syrup tantalizing the sweet spots of my tongue, the acid sweetly burning my throat as I drink and drink and drink.

Addicted, much? Definitely.

I have a huge sweet tooth, but my main vice is soda. I don’t like alcohol, diet drinks have too much of an aftertaste, and I think the tar taste of cigarettes is disgusting, but wave a glistening bottle of Pepsi in my face and I’m drooling.

I’ve tried to kick the habit several times. The first time I tried to switch to caffeine free drinks because of my anxiety. This was during my college years when I was still as skinny as a toothpick.

Once upon a time when I was thin

That didn’t last long, but I mainly stayed with Sprite. At the time, Sprite was, what I thought, the only drink that could calm my stomach. And since I was nervous most of the time, Sprite was my drink of choice. On road trips to Houston, I would make sure I had a cooler next to me filled with ice and a 6-pack of Sprite in case I felt nauseated on the road.

I don’t know when I switched from Sprite only to the variety of darker syrup drinks, but it definitely wasn’t a good decision to expand those horizons.

As my medications changed and I started taking sleeping pills, I relied on caffeine to keep me awake. I’m not a big coffee drinker (although I get a tall decaf soy mocha from Starbucks every so often), so it was to the vending machine for a Pepsi or something else refreshing. I would get that sugar high and then crash. But I loved the sugar high so much that I wouldn’t quit.

Bottles upon bottles would collect on my desk at work and in the recycling bin at home. If we didn’t have any in the house and I had a craving, I would drive to the nearest convenience store to buy a bottle or two.

I was probably drinking at least 2-3 bottles a day. Add that to how I was eating overall, and I was packing on the pounds.

I was told by my doctor that the ideal weight for my height and age is around 120.

I am 170.

This is the heaviest I’ve ever been. I don’t fit into most of my clothes anymore. I have been asked if I am pregnant twice.

Me, Buddy, and Blue

There’s a part of me that wants to dress for the shape I’m in now.

The other part of me has decided enough is enough.

Not that I haven’t tried to lose weight before. I went to Weight Watchers meetings for a few months and lost a total of four pounds. Those pounds have found their way back, by the way. I initially liked the way the plan worked, but found there were still too many temptations for me. Have you had their Dulce de Leche ice-cream bars? I couldn’t eat just one. In fact, all of their snacks and protein bars and desserts were extremely tasty. And Prince Ambien loved them around midnight.

And I knew how many points one carbonated drink was, so I tried to work that in. It was too much temptation, and I felt bad about myself when week after week I would weigh the same or gain an ounce.

So I gave up. I fell off the wagon.

But I got to feeling so run down, so tired, that during the weekends all I would do was sleep.

So as of Sunday, July 17, I started to cut out as much sugar from my diet as possible. The main rule is NO SODAS. This is not just for losing weight, but for my overall health as well. I hope this will help my depression and anxiety, as well as my general mood.

As tempted as I am, I can gladly say that I am on Day 3 and have not given in. Even though I’m tired and my body is still adjusting, I’m proud of myself.

I just have to take it one day at a time.

Love Lost and Weight Gained

My hypnotherapist suggested for future sessions to find a photo of me at a time when I was happy with my weight. For me, that would be around 2001-2002, so I started looking through photos to find one that I could post on my bathroom mirror. The problem with this time frame is that most about that part of my life I would rather forget. Going through those photos made me very emotional, but at the same time I am glad I brought those memories forth.

Obligatory Sears posed photo. My ex had a matching outfit.

Most of my life I was underweight. I believe I was around 80 pounds in high school. It wasn’t that I wanted to be that skinny. I had a high metabolism and could basically eat anything I wanted. My parents were like sticks, too. I was teased about it, but I was also teased about my first and last names, so it wasn’t too big of a deal to me.

The only time it did bother me was when I went to Planned Parenthood to get birth control pills. I was constantly harassed about my weight, and kept being asked, “Do you like yourself? Are you anorexic? Do you want to throw up?” I felt like I was part of the Spanish Inquisition. I thought, “If I had great self esteem when I came in, I’m certainly feeling pretty ugly right now.” When I came to get my thyroid test results, I was told they were normal. However, the receptionist looked me up and down and told me I should eat some ice cream every night.

One of the main symptoms of my anxiety is nausea, so junior high through 2000, I didn’t eat much. If I went out to eat, I would be the nibbler. People would ask me if I didn’t like my food. I would have to have the “It’s not the chef, it’s me” conversation with the waiter. Sometimes I would have to leave the restaurant early because I would have a panic attack. I would just tell people I didn’t feel well. That was the easiest way to put it.

Once I started taking Effexor, things started looking up. As I’ve said in an earlier post, I started taking chances in my life. However, that does not mean that I made all the right decisions.

On Valentine’s Day in 2000, I came out to my car to find that someone had left me a rose and a balloon but no note. I had an idea of who left me these gifts, but I still asked my neighbor’s son if he had seen anyone. When I got to work, there was another rose, another balloon, and a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal on my desk. A lot of people knew that I was a WP fan at the time, but I already knew who left these tokens of affection. It made me uneasy, especially since this person didn’t leave any hint as to who he was.

He finally came clean and asked me out. I said I wasn’t interested in being anything other than friends. Truth be told, I was interested in someone else. Plus I felt E’s behavior was a bit stalker-like and it made me nervous.

But E kept fighting back. He would bring me flowers; he would ask me to lunch. When I finally relented, he asked me while we were eating, “Would you rather kiss a dog’s ass than me?” I didn’t know how to answer. I told my dad about the conversation, and his answer was, “What kind of dog?”

I guess I’m a sucker for determination, because I gave E a chance. But the whole time I felt it was wrong. When he called me drunk saying that he wouldn’t bother me anymore, I shouldn’t have called back. But I was mad, and I was also worried about E having alcohol poisoning. He initially answered the phone, but passed out halfway through. I called the police, and the information, of course, was played on the police scanner in the newsroom. Everyone knew my business. It was embarrassing.

Yet I let E back in again. It was as though since I felt a new lease on life, I could take on this challenge. E had been in an emotionally abusive relationship before, and anything could set him off. If I made one peep about breaking up, or that I needed space, he went ballistic. He would threaten suicide and ask me to hit him because he said he deserved it. He was broken. And for some reason I wanted to try to fix him.

So he came with me to Austin. E didn’t have a job, but luckily I did, so we were able to find a nice apartment. For a while it was nice, and the natural recourse was to get married. We ended up having a ceremony in Dallas, so that my grandmother would be able to attend.

After the ceremony. E's face has been blurred to my satisfaction.

Since E and I had settled into a nice routine, I was enjoying life more and more, including the food that went with it. Both of us were picky eaters, so it was mostly carbohydrates for me. That, along with me getting older, slowed down my metabolism and I started gaining weight. I thought it was also because I was happy and in love.

There were some bumps in the road. E had to have his thyroid removed because it was the size of Texas. Once it was removed and the doctor was trying to even out his hormones, E gained weight. He was a gymnast when he was younger and a cheerleader in high school, so he was very conscious about what he looked like. E became very depressed and started working out…all the time.

I decided to try to get healthy with him, especially since our apartment complex had a gym. The first time I went he worked me on the elliptical machine so much that I threw up when I got home. At the time I was proud of myself, but I didn’t keep up the routine. E did and got in shape. And sometime during this transformation, he lost interest in me.

It’s not all E’s fault. I didn’t really take good care of myself. I found myself thinking that E should love me for who I was, with all I did for him, that hygiene and weight shouldn’t matter. Instead, I found out it mattered very much, and it included a shouting match with E calling me “fat” and “a slob.” It went downhill from there.

By the time E asked for a divorce, which he once swore he would never do, I was in shambles. We had switched self-esteem places from the beginning of the relationship. I was the one pleading with E to stay. Even though I knew in the back of my mind that this was the right thing for both of us, I was afraid to be alone again.

I lost a few pounds after the marriage ended, but have since gained them all back, plus a few more. I know part of it is because I am very comfortable now with the way my life is going, but I also know part of it is because I don’t know how to eat right and I’m not exercising. Both, I’ve been told, can help my mood and my anxiety levels.

I’ve stopped and started many times, but so far nothing has stuck. So now I’m going to try weight release with the hypnotherapist. I have found a photo, one where E does not have to be cut out.

The last time I talked with E I found out that he had remarried and had children. I found out from his stepfather a year later that E’s mother had died. I am grateful that J told me because E’s mother was a wonderful woman who I think of often. I knew that she had Lupus and was in pain most of the time, but she always had a positive outlook on life.

I think of E from time to time, and wonder if he ever thinks of me. It’s not that I want to see him again, but I feel our time together was important and something I’ll never forget.

Now I just need to remember “me.”