This year is going by so fast! It feels like just yesterday we were celebrating the winter holidays and now we’re like two weeks away from Beltane, and Passover starts this Friday! I feel like we’re only moments away from summer, which will hopefully mean some beach time and swimming for me. I figure it’s a good time for a spiritual update because I feel like I’ve really been focusing on my wls journey on here and although it is a big part of my life right now, I created this space to talk about my spiritual life so I want to kinda get back to that. Continue reading
This surgery got me messed up.
I didn’t realize how hard it would be. I mean, Dr. Z (the evil psychiatrist) told me that because of my eating disorder history (specifically in regards to restricting) I might not be a good candidate for this surgery– for the first 6 months or so it’s basically a medically supervised starvation diet. It takes months to get up to 1200 calories a day. And to be honest, they really encourage eating disordered behavior. At my last preop class, they were talking about how much food we should take in per meal (by the way, snacks are not allowed in this program), and the dietitian said that in the beginning we can eat 1/4 a cup of food at each meal because our stomachs are still healing. After awhile you can eat a 1/2 a cup per meal, but “try to stay at 1/4 a cup for as long as possible so you maximize your weight loss”. Now, maybe it’s just me and my eating disordered brain, but that totally feels like encouragement to starve. In case you are wondering, eating a 1/4 a cup of chicken three times a day (which is what I’m mostly doing these days) is 255 calories. FOR THE WHOLE DAY. And you want me to do that “for as long as possible”? I know it’s probably well intentioned, and the whole point of this surgery is to eat less than you did before so you can lose weight and prevent/decrease your risk for chronic illness, but that is a little extreme, don’t you think? The body can’t handle that kind of diet for too long, I know from experience. Continue reading
Getting back into Shabbat was the best choice for me last week. I know I have yet to fully experience it as a true converted Jew, but even observing it in the small ways I did was not only meaningful but also something my mind really needed– a time for rest. I made a commitment to go through the blessings, light the candles and bless the food, but also to stay away from my phone for just the night. It was totally worth it.
Right after work I went to the grocery store to buy my dinner (rotisserie chicken– perhaps this week I’ll make my own chicken in the slow cooker?) and get some grape juice since I can’t drink alcohol. Let me just say, it’s so nice being able to get off work at my regular time, be able to stop by the store and still get home before it’s time to light the candles. In fact, I had enough time to get home, prepare the meat for my weekend meals, do some dishes, and get the table set for myself. Of course I loved the ritual of it all, it felt really good to be a part of something bigger and older than myself. I could just imagine all the other people in the world doing the same thing I was doing, saying the same blessings around the same time and it made me feel like I was a part of something really cool. Continue reading
In the last two weeks I’ve become really obsessed with numbers. The numbers on the scale, my BMI number, how many weeks it will take me to get to X weight, now many inches I’ve lost, how many calories I’ve taken in…. numbers numbers numbers. I’m getting obsessive in a way that I haven’t in a long time, and part of me is getting a little worried. But there is another part of me (or part of my disorder) that is excited, that feels happy and hopeful. If you’ve never had an eating disorder, you won’t understand. It’s just too weird for most people to wrap their heads around because it’s an excitement over hurting yourself! I would you want to be miserable all the time when you could be happy? I can’t really answer that. And I’m trying to fight it. But the disorder that takes up space in my head? It’s trying to buy more real estate and losing weight, having a smaller stomach, it’s a CHALLENGE. How can I turn this opportunity into maximum weight loss, it says. How can I turn this into a reason to restrict? How far can I make this girl go?
It’s really hard to separate myself from the disorder because it sounds like me. It sounds like me making plans to restrict myself as much as I can after the effects of the surgery start to wear off and I’m alone again. It sounds like me calculating the weight I would need to get to in order to be classified as “underweight” according to BMI. It really sounds like me thinking, Just let me get to that weight, and then I promise I’ll bounce back– I just want to prove that I can do it.
I just want to make one thing clear: I have a rational mind. I know that this type of plan is 1) dangerous to my health and 2) totally unattainable, regardless of weight loss surgery or fasting. My body is not meant to be at that weight. I will never be skinny. That’s not why I got this surgery! But now that I’ve had it, I’m SO TRIGGERED by it. I find myself on Bart sometimes fantasizing about that number. It’s so special to me. It feels like I hold it in my heart. I’m walking around in this world trying to be normal but I carry it with me everywhere and it speaks to me, encouraging me, taunting me.
I have a rational mind. I know that this is a problem.
Maybe this is just a phase and once I get past it, I will be able to focus on healthy weight loss and my real goals– hiking, having kids, being able to keep up with my niece and nephew, having a long and healthy life free from chronic disease. I’m hoping I can fight the disorder and get past it. Maybe it’s just my hormones going crazy since the surgery. I don’t know. Also sometimes all I want to do is just graze all day on food, so maybe that’s to counteract the fasting and I’ll be okay.
As I said in my previous post, last week I made a spontaneous trip to Berkeley to visit Kourtney at work. While I was waiting for her to meet me, I found myself wandering into the bookstore down the street. Now, I love my kindle and I use it often, but there is just nothing like reading from an actual book. I’m kinda excited because I think I got a pretty good haul for books about Judaism and Jewish life. Continue reading
Since surgery I’ve really lapsed on my observing of Shabbat (I hope the Divine will forgive me, I was recovering from surgery after all). Now that I’m on solid foods I’m thinking about starting back up again tonight. One of the things I’ve been struggling with as far as observing Jewish holidays is not having anyone to celebrate with. Judaism isn’t really made for solitary practitioners, I mean there are some prayers you’re not even supposed to say without at least 10 people. So it can feel especially isolating when you’re trying to celebrate on your own, especially when you’re a newbie like me and have no one knowledgeable to walk you through it. However, I don’t want that to stop me from at least trying to make it work (baby steps, ya know?) so here I am, back at it again.
Since I still can’t eat bread or drink alcohol I’m probably going to skip the challah tonight and drink grape juice instead of wine. After eating my little baby meal, I’ll get settled in with some of my new books (see my next post for a rundown of the haul I got in Berkeley last week) and try to accomplish my Shabbat challenge for the week: I won’t use my phone the whole night. I don’t know about you, but for me it’s incredibly hard for me to unplug. I’m constantly on my phone using time-wasting apps. Shabbat has quite a few restrictions, and I’m not looking to tackle them all at once because that’s just setting myself up for failure, but I do want to eventually get to a place where I’m pretty observant most of the time. I don’t want to half-ass it, okay?