Fighting Like An Alley Cat

So it’s too soon to hang out the flags, but I think I’ve managed to claw my way back into the game. My food sobriety is fragile, but after a couple more false starts it’s now seen two sun-downs. I’m feeling better. Calmer. I wish I knew why, I mean I haven’t done anything differently than I did on all those other days where I set off with the same steely determination then crashed and burned. Well, apart from not crashing or burning, obviously.

Somehow, on Wednesday I just held it together. And I managed to do the same again yesterday. It wasn’t without challenge…stocking up in the supermarket, the words just give yourself today and start again on weigh day were chanted at me over and over by the Asshole voice but I fought like an alley cat, and I didn’t give in.

It’s a complete head-fuck of course. I’m almost afraid to breathe, as I wait for the hammer to fall again and shatter my new-found resolve. Life would be much simpler if I could get even the smallest clue as to what it is that tips me in or out without warning, you know?

Wrestling my head back into the game has been harder than ever this time and I really struggled to get under the skin of why. I know I’ve had a tough time over the last few weeks but it feels like a cop-out using that as an excuse…life is always going to get in the way. There’s a difference between cutting myself a bit of slack, and throwing in the towel altogether isn’t there? The thing is, a fair weather recovery is no use to me, because sooner or later life is going to pepper my path with shit. Shit happens.

As I’ve reflected on how badly the wheels came off this time, I replayed some of the conversations I had with the God of Pain towards the end of last year, when he began to appreciate just how deep-rooted my issues with food really were. At the time, I was stepping in and out of my food plan like the flaming hokey cokey, and he nailed me one day in an impromptu counselling session, cleverly disguised as a bollocking.

We talked, not just about my go-to foods and my triggers but about the environment I was in when the binges happened. Where I was, who I was with, what I was doing…all of it.

He helped me to see that if I were to stand any chance at all of breaking the cycle, it was no good removing just one of the elements, you know? They all had to go because it wasn’t just about the food. My head would make associations with places and situations, and those subliminal associations would be powerful enough to undermine my food sobriety. Annihilate it, actually.

So sitting for hours on end in my big fat reclining chair, watching TV on my own was a no-no…it put me squarely in the danger zone, even without a bag of snacks because over the last seven years or so that’s where most of the magic happened.

In the first few months of this year, when I was refined sugar-free and completely in control of my eating, I barely went near the chair or the TV. I made sure that I was too busy.

So, let’s think about that. Where have I spent most of the last two weeks whilst I’ve been recuperating and resting my knee..? Yep…feet up in the chair. On my own, with just the TV for company. That’s a bit like leading a reformed but wobbly crack addict back into the crack den, just without the crack.

I’m all of a sudden inclined to be a bit more forgiving of myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s okay…the car crash that greets me when I hop aboard the Shitbird Scale tells it’s own story. But I do begin to see how all the events of the last few weeks came together and created a shit storm that has been really bloody tough to navigate.

But I’m still here, right? I might have fallen down a lot but I never stopped wanting to get back up. And I’m not claiming it as a victory, not yet. My whole focus is on one day at a time. I’m walking better and further. I’m putting in the hard yards with my physio and although my knee was sore yesterday, I’m going to have good days and bad days as I push myself towards a full recovery.

That doesn’t just apply to my knee.

But I’m out of the chair. And watch out day three, I’m coming to get ya 🙂

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12 thoughts on “Fighting Like An Alley Cat

  1. I had strong food pairings with my
    bath tub/book

    And they were super hard to break. Super. Hard.

    I spent an entire year only watching TV if I was on the treadmill at the gym. I can now watch TV without food. I only watch tv in the evening, totally ready for bed, teeth brushed. I watch lying down, with a blanket, hands under the blanket, quiet. I record everything I watch so I am watching on my schedule and avoid all commercials.

    I switched to audio books so I could listen on the go. For years now I have listened walking or driving or working around the house/yard. Currently listening to podcasts rather than books. But for years I worked my way through the classics, audio form, it kept my mind busy and interested. Major major positive distraction.

    I can get in the bath tub now. No book, no food, short duration baths. I keep my hands under the water.

    I lived with my purse on the trunk of my car and no cash. For years. Still do. I try very hard to only eat food from home.

    I totally stopped talking (long drawn out) to people on the phone. I pretty much only talk to my kids on the phone. Sometimes with a headset, walking. Sometimes sitting in my car in the garage with nothing. It is like a phone booth. It allows me to really focus on them.

    Cell phones helped a lot with this. I used to be tethered to a phone in the kitchen. And we got rid of the house line totally when we all got cell phones. That decision had nothing to do with food, but it helped hugely. So hugely that if we had just disconnected the kitchen phone, years earlier, it would have made a big difference. We had a landline in the garage. I should have sat out there, with nothing, but I never thought of it.

    And most of my communication is now texting. Or in person communication – I go visit a few close friends or my mom, in person, not at meal time. When they offer food, I ask for water.

    I feel for you. I have recovered from multiple surgeries. And it is hard to have it be non triggering. The need for food in order to take pain meds, around the clock, gets one into a cycle of so much eating.

    One time I cross stitched, a lot. One time I moved upstairs, far away from the kitchen, and I just stayed up there. One time I was in my bed, with the rule that I could only eat at the kitchen table and I could only stand to be up for very short times.

    My surgeries banned all exercise, even walking, for months sometimes. A sinus surgery kept me down from November to March one year. Female surgery, almost six months, and then it took a very long time to slowly build. A broken foot meant I could do Pilates or free weights, only, for months. Lower back injury, triggered by another female surgery, kept me down for months another time too. Weeks of physical therapy and months of a very slow rebuild.

    I learned to sew without eating.

    I have a window of time where I eat, around noon and then again around six. And I now do two meals. I didn’t start that way. I started with lots of small meals. But now, thinking about food much less really helps. I taught myself to only eat at meal time, long ago. That was hard and smart. Defined food, on a plate, meal. Another positive pairing of food and plate.

    My biggest asset is only keeping real, whole food in the house. I always cook proteins as soon as I walk in the door from the store. I keep a carton of plain egg whites. I count my fruit at the store so I have enough for 1-2 a day and they are the lower sugar kind. I stock a lot of green veggies in the freezer, so they are easier, no cleaning, no prepping. Etc.

    I pulled my cart over to the side and really looked at its content, looking for non-food food for years, until I learned what to buy and what not to buy. I switched grocery stores. I used the non candy checkout. I did a better job of stocking a safe kitchen.

    I learned to drink water, plain water. I make it convenient.

    So many things. Moved from almost everything I did being tied to food, to now nothing being tied to food. And because if that I now think about food very little, instead of 24/7.

    It is like I changed my reflexes. Changed what I think about and what I reach for.

    I currently walk a neighbor’s dog, while she is at work, every week day. Dog is waiting for me. Dog is lovely and likes a long walk. So I walk an hour or more, every week day. I walk with ear buds, listening to podcasts. So that is a non food multiple pairing that really helps.

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