My Disordered Eating

Food is essential to life. That makes it impossible to give up if you need to lose weight. When food becomes an addiction it’s a lifelong battle to control one’s intake and the types of food eaten. Other addictions can be controlled by abstinence. We can’t just stop eating entirely. Some people find 12 step meetings helpful. Some people go to therapy. I’ve used both of those treatments. I even had weight loss surgery. I’d say I’m doing ok at this time. I’m at an acceptable weight, although according to my BMI I’m overweight. As a result of the surgery, I get sick when I overeat or when I eat too much sugar. That can be a good thing in a way but why do I continue to overeat and make poor choices?

I was a skinny kid. I had hyperactive thyroid which caused me to lose weight. I grew into a slender teen and young adult but as I reached my mid 20’s it became harder for me to stay at my 100-105 lb goal. So I became bulemic. I don’t know how or why it happened. I became obsessed with having a flat belly which meant restricting what I ate. I guess I might have been anorexic at times. I would go all day without eating and then eat 1/2 a small meal. If I did eat too much, I made myself sick so I wouldn’t gain weight. I did keep my weight at around 103 for several years. In addition to restricting, bingeing and purging I also exercised excessively which is another form of purging. I went to the gym and worked out on the machines like a wild woman, then took a cardio class, sometimes two, one after the other. Then at home, several times a day, I exercised to burn off calories. Once or twice I passed out at the gym from not eating and then overdoing the workouts. I truly needed help.

In my early 20’s I took amphetamine diet pills intermittently. I saw myself as being fat, so if the numbers on the scales went up 2 lbs I freaked out. The pills took away my appetite almost completely. I took them at work and at home. The upside was that I could work circles around anyone on the job and my apartment was spic and span. The downside was that I couldn’t sleep and was putting my life in danger.

I hit 115-120 lbs around age 29 or 30 and felt gigantic. I was in a committed relationship so it was hard to hide my bulemia. I was still ok as far as appearance. I kept exercising which was easy because my partner was a fitness enthusiast. I got pregnant at age 33 and my weight went to 150 lbs. I was very uncomfortable. I haven’t mentioned that I’m only 5’1″ tall. I don’t carry weight well. I know many people who are overweight and look beautiful. I’m not just being self critical about this. I have pictures to prove it! I always felt and still feel that it was so unfair how some women weighed more than I did and they didn’t have a double or triple chin like I did at my highest weight. I still carry weight in my face if I gain a pound. I wasn’t solidly built either, like some of my friends. I stopped exercising around the time I gave birth to my son. I weighed 135 after he was born.

I didn’t mention that I had a baby girl when I was 23. I weighed 110 when I got pregnant, gained to 122 then weighed 108 the day after I gave birth. She was 3 weeks premature and weighed 5lbs 15oz. She was healthy and normal which was a blessing.

When I was 35, things started going downhill. I lacked self-esteem and felt horrible about my weight which made me eat more. I can see now that 135 was a great weight for me! But at the time I felt so fat and unloveable. That’s part of what led me to leave my partner. I felt so unworthy. He worked out and ran without fail, even on vacations. I was still able to hike and remain somewhat active but I didn’t go to the gym anymore. After I left him, I became a compulsive overeater. My mental health declined so I started seeing a therapist and psychiatrist. The therapy helped me with some of my life issues but didn’t touch the overeating. My psychiatrist put me on meds for my depression and anxiety. I didn’t see improvement until many years later. I went through a cycle of ups and downs with lots of side effects from the meds. The doctors kept switching my meds and each one was worse than the previous one. I started gaining weight–as much as 50 lbs one year. I went through several doctors because of the insurance I had which also made my treatment inconsistent. Finally I was sent to a doctor who regulated my meds and I started feeling less depressed. By this time I weighed about 200 lbs. I kept going to therapy which didn’t help my eating problems. I had a lot of anxiety so I ate to calm myself. I tried diet after diet. I lost weight but each time I gained back the weight I’d lost plus more. I tried Overeaters Anonymous. I went to meetings in several locations but I didn’t feel the passion for success that I was looking for. I kept gaining weight until I reached 250lbs. I was having health problems from it and like I mentioned before, I don’t carry extra weight well at all. I went from a size 3 jeans to a size 22. After I had a knee replacement from carrying all that weight, I had weight loss surgery. That worked! I lost 120 lbs and I later lost 20 more. I learned about a new way of eating that was healthy and would help me maintain my weight loss. It was also the first thing that helped me come to terms with my eating disorders. It was like a light came on in my head.

I have an addictive personality. Over those years I dealt with other substances and habits that caused me problems. So I’m still a recovering addict today. I’m currently in recovery for a spending addiction. I go to AA meetings because they’re better than the “specialty” 12 step meetings. When an addict goes from one thing to another it’s called switching addictions. I still see a psychiatrist who does 30 minute therapy sessions. He’s the best doctor I’ve ever had. I feel good mentally and I feel confident about my life. I’m happy. I’m at the weight range my bariatric surgeon said I’d even out at. I’d like to weigh 10lbs less so my clothes would fit better. But I’m ok where I am now. Yes, I still have issues with food but when I relapse into overeating, I get back on my feet and eat normally again. I’m not cured. I’ll always have a food addiction and like I said, you can’t totally stop eating to solve the problem. We need food to sustain life. Besides that, food is fun! Social activities revolve around food. We meet people over lunch to talk and have fun. There are picnics, Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas dinner, birthday parties, potlucks and so on. Dessert tastes so good after a meal too.

Sweets can be addictive, sugar to be exact. And chocolate! I’ve heard that chocolate causes feelings that are close to how we feel when we’re in love. No wonder sugary snacks are so much fun. I’ve jokingly heard it said that Oreos are as addictive as crack! And salty snacks can be a problem too for people like me who lose control. Potato chips are one of those weaknesses I have. I can get into a cycle of sweet then salty, then sweet again. I tend to go for the unhealthy carbs when I’m bingeing. In contrast, when I’m eating well, I eat healthy carbs — fruits and veggies. After bariatric surgery they recommend a low carb, high protein diet. I modify that to include more healthy carbs and a little less protein. I’ve read studies about dietary habits and have come to some of my own dietary guidelines. Ones that feel right for my body and general lifestyle. Everyone is different. I embrace everyone’s different views and choices as long as they don’t harm themselves or others. That brings me to another thought… I believe that my body is a temple and to harm it with food is wrong. Overeating isn’t the only wrong thing I do by any means but it’s something more for me to keep in mind and to keep working on. I also use excuses as to how I eat sometimes. My family eats differently than I would choose to eat on my own. Going out to eat can be a challenge too. I used to fantasize about having my own vegan chef to prepare all of my meals and snacks. But I can do it all on my own if I make up my mind to do it. We are given choices in life. What we do with them depends on our commitment to follow through and change course when necessary. Life is good so not a moment should be wasted.

~~~ Darlene


Working With Miracles

To me, there’s nothing more beautiful than a newborn baby. My heart swells with love whenever I see one. They have such cute faces, soft skin, tiny feet and hands. I love rubbing their little feet and the way they grip my finger with their little fingers. Even when newborns cry, it’s music to my ears. Healthy babies cry. Most critically ill ones don’t. I worked the last 10 years of my career in a Level IIIB NICU at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio. I worked with the smallest premature infants and attended high risk deliveries. Some babies only weighed 1 lb at birth. All premies and newborns lose a little weight after the first day so that made them even more fragile. We saved babies as young as 24 weeks gestation but since I left there, they now save 23 weekers. Most of the babies we got were 2-3 lbs and a good percentage were twins or even triplets. Part of the reason was the in vitro fertilization program at our hospital. During the procedure, multiple eggs are fertilized and inserted into the mother’s womb, in hopes of achieving a viable pregnancy. This often led to multiple births. We seldom lost a baby. We had a very high survival rate due to modern technology and meds.

We had a 60 bed open unit which has since been renovated into 51,000 sq ft on 2 floors of private rooms. The rooms are made to feel as much like a womb as possible with soundproofing, dim lighting and climate control. They have special incubators with in-bed scales and rotating mattresses. For the parents, there is a kangaroo chair so they can hold their babies if they are stable enough, skin to skin on their chest. They can do this even when the baby is on a ventilator. This creates bonding and improves the baby’s chance for a faster recovery.

There are several neonatologists with at least one on duty in the unit around the clock. I participated in morning rounds where a team of professionals went from baby to baby to discuss their case, to make a plan of action for that day and beyond. The team consisted of a neonatologist, a nurse practioner, an RN, a respiratory therapist, pharmacist, social worker and occupational therapist and others. Everyone had their own expertise but it was all coordinated by the doctor. There were over 200 employees working in the unit; we all knew each other. We worked so closely, side by side, especially during resuscitatiions. We had three resuscitation teams that responded to crises in the unit. We attended C sections in the operating rooms and also vaginal births on maternity when babies were in distress. We had a resuscitation room on the unit, connected by two C section surgery suites. They brought high risk births there so we could stand by to resuscitate. Otherwise we went to the birthing room where emergency equipment was set up. We also carried a resuscitation box with life saving equipment.

We often used a drug called surfactant which was injected into the babies’ endotracheal tubes and bagged into their lungs. They were on mechanical ventilation and received repeated doses so their lungs could heal. It decreased surface tension in the lungs, allowing the lungs to fill with oxygen instead of having the alveoli stick together. It’s like a miracle drug. It hadn’t been approved for general use when we started using it in 1987. We were participating in a study which required a lot of documentation each time we dosed them. All premies have underdeveloped lungs so they spend a long time on ventilators. The doctors had some standing orders that I could use in cases of emergencies. I wrote orders for chest X-rays, arterial blood gases and surfactant, etc, on the patient chart and the docs would sign them later. I had a great deal of responsibility on my job. I won’t go into more technical details here. There were several experimental treatments we did which all had great success. We had a higher survival rate than smaller NICUs because our skills were kept sharp due to the constant stream of infants in the unit.

I have some stories I’d like to write about in other posts. It was a highly stressful job and though I loved the work, the stress eventually got to me so I left there when I was 43 years old and officially retired at age 55. The 10 years I worked in the NICU were an experience of a lifetime but I don’t miss it. It was good to have a job where I was respected and could be counted on. Now I’m unburdened of all that responsibility and stress. I have a happy life where I can look back on those years and feel amazed at all I was able to do with the wonderful professionals I worked with. It’s been 18 years since I left there. I’ve forgotten a lot of what I knew. But I still remember the moms and dads who unfailingly visited their babies during visiting hours. I saw the babies go from very critically ill to going home with their families. That was the most rewarding part of the job. Each year the NICU has a reunion party for our success stories to return and let us see how they’ve grown. There are some babies I will never forget. Some that I got attached to more than others. But they were all miracles in my eyes.

~~~ Darlene

It’s okay to feel the pain

June has been a hard month for me for 17 years now. The first day of June, 17 years ago, I said hello and goodbye to my daughter all in the same day. I consider myself a strong woman, but that literally brought me to my knees. By God’s grace and love and with the love of my family, I came through it. But I’ll never come out of it. Sometimes I wonder if I even want to come out of it. Not that I’m severely depressed or always sad. But I think it’s okay to let ourselves feel the pain.

If that weren’t bad enough, I lost my mother the first week of June four years ago. Time has healed that wound and I feel confident that she’s happier. She wasn’t all that happy here. Pain and loneliness for my dad hit her hard and she never recovered. Our family started a tradition of honor to have a big family picnic the first week of June to honor our parents and to keep our promise to mom that we will stay close and always love each other. That’s not a hard promise to keep. I have wonderful siblings who I love dearly.

But the pain of losing my baby girl has been harder to let go. She would be 17 years old. I see young people come in to my job every day who are her age and I look at them and wonder what she would be like. Would she look like me? Would she be a happy bubbly girl? Because she would’ve had a lot to be happy and bubbly about since she had some amazing siblings who were crazy about her even in momma’s womb. Once-in-awhile when I pray, especially on her birth/death day, I ask God to give her a kiss and hug from mommy, tell her I love her so much, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. But I’m content and blessed because, thanks to God’s amazing grace, I will see her again one day. That doesn’t mean I’m not sad many days. The days before and following June 1st my mood changes. Sometimes I don’t realize that first day or so what is making me so irritable and moody, but when I do realize, I just let the mood take over and allow myself that time to feel sorry for myself and let the grief do its thing. Again, I think it’s okay to allow ourselves to feel the pain as long as we don’t let it consume us. A few months ago we got the following picture at our ladies group at church and I’ve loved it since I first laid eyes on it. Any time I feel sad, worried, moody, or inadequate, no matter what it is, I can look at this picture and smile and know everything is going to be okay.


On a lighter note (literally) I lost two pounds!! ūüôā ¬†That is the equivalent of a rack of baby back ribs, an iPad, two Guinea pigs, a big ole pineapple! Try carrying around a one pound dumbbell in each hand. That’s how much I’m no longer walking around with every day. When I see results, it motivates me to keep going. I had a little bit of craving sugar last night but having no junk in the house helped to keep me on track. It also helped to have a new toy to play with. I got the Amazon Fire Stick yesterday and had fun watching movies and adding apps. I’m still learning about it so if anyone has any tips for good apps or tips in general, please pass them on.

Now let’s have a good weekend!


Weight Loss Surgery

I lost 120 lbs after weight loss surgery. I’m Darlene and this is my weight loss story.

On November 28, 2007, I had a roux en y gastric bypass at Sycamore Hospital in Miamisburg, Ohio. I had gained weight steadily for over 7 years. I’d never been overweight before. In fact I was slender since childhood. My gaining weight was probably because I had hypothyroid disease, where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone leading to weight gain and also because I was taking some medications that caused weight gain. But I gained mostly because I was eating a lot and not exercising at all. It seemed like one day I was a normal weight then before I knew it I was morbidly obese. Being overweight caused me a lot of medical issues including fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, pre-diabetes and severe fatigue upon the smallest exertion along with shortness of breath.

I tried diet after diet and would lose weight only to gain it all back plus more. I would get depressed about gaining which only made me eat more compulsively. I spent a lot of money on different weight loss programs and the foods and supplements they offered. I tried Overeaters Anonymous, diet pills and music with subliminal messages. I could only walk about 4 minutes before having to sit down. I didn’t have a dishwasher at the time so standing at the sink to wash dishes wore me out. I could only stand there for a few minutes before my back started paining and I had to sit down.

It wasn’t until my doctor told me I was pre-diabetic that I got really scared. She sent me to a dietician and put me on a walking program. I joined Weight Watchers and did my best to walk as much as I could each day. I was scared! I knew that diabetes type 2 was a serious disease. I did lose 35 pounds but it wasn’t long before I started eating large portions again and gained back 45 lbs.

I had to have a total knee replacement on May 30, 2007. That was extremely painful and was caused by me being so heavy. I went to my brother’s wedding in Jamaica in September of that year and had to be wheeled through the airports in a wheel chair by my teenage son because I couldn’t walk that much. I saw pictures of me at the wedding and realized how big I was. When I got home, I decided I was going to have weight loss surgery. My mom and I went to a weight loss surgery seminar a couple weeks later and I made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon. He was so thorough, explaining the different options and taking over an hour with me to answer questions. His recommendation for me was the roux en y gastric bypass.

The procedure at the bariatric center was to attend classes before being scheduled for surgery. I had to go to nutrition classes, classes describing what would happen before and after the procedure; I had to see an exercise physiologist, a dietician and a psychologist. After all that I was approved and scheduled to go. My doctor asked me to lose a few pounds, just to show him I could adhere to a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. So the day of surgery came the day following Thanksgiving that November.

I was more excited than afraid. I knew this was my chance to live a longer life with better quality of life. I knew it wouldn’t cure my obesity. It would allow my body to shed the weight but weight loss surgery only provides a tool for maintaining. The rest of the journey was up to me. I didn’t have much pain after the surgery. The pain I did have was caused by the gas they pump into the abdomen during the procedure. I got up and walked around the nurses station every 2 hours. The worst thing was being on clear liquids and still craving solid food. Much to my surprise, I found that eating a couple tablespoons of jello filled me up! My stomach had been reduced to the size of a ping pong ball. I was released from the hospital the following day on a high protein diet.

The weight dropped off steadily over the next year so before long I was half my previous size. Family and friends were amazed. So was I. But the thing was, even at my highest weight, when I looked in the mirror I saw my thinner self from my younger years. It was in photos that I saw the truth. Weight loss surgery is something I’ve never regretted, in fact I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. This fall will be my 10th year anniversary and I’m still maintaining at the weight where my bariatric surgeon said I would be. I’m not tooting my own horn but I have been working hard to not gain. I’m still a food addict and always will be. Knowing that helps keep me on track when I have a rough time. I still overeat and make myself sick now and then. It reminds me that I don’t want to go back to those habits anymore. It’s not always easy but it’s doable.

The Great Saboteur and the Sweaty Dance

Tomorrow is my diabetes prevention class, so let’s do a little update. These were my goals:

  1. Avoid sugary foods and drinks except for my coffee creamer.
  2. Concentrate on my protein and vegetables. 
  3. Get a little walking in every day.
  4. Drink 64 ounces of water every day.
Many of us have that one person in our lives who takes the role of saboteur. This person, for whatever reason, sets us up for failure. I have such person in my life. She knows I want to live a healthy existence so she throws unhealthy nonsense my way. She knows I’m avoiding sugar – except for my coffee creamer – so she brings candy into my house! I’m concentrating on eating mainly protein and vegetables and avoiding carbs, yet she buys a big yummy ham and cheese sandwich with lots of mayo and a fluffy white carby bun. She knows I wanted to get in at least a little walking after work, yet she nags at me to “just sit and relax, watch your TV, you’ve worked a long 12+ hour day today, you deserve to take it easy and, by the way, eat this candy I bought for you. Exercise is¬†overrated anyway. You know you don’t like to sweat, and it’s a sauna out there! Besides, your hair is a mess today. Do you really want to go out walking all over town looking like that? And what’s with that big jug of water? Girl, you know you love your sweet tea!”
How am I supposed to succeed with that crummy person sabotaging my efforts?! Well, I’d better figure that one out because my saboteur is me! I have no clue why I do that to myself, but I have for as long as I can remember. Maybe I feel like I’m going to fail anyway. If we don’t believe in ourselves, though, how are we to expect others to believe in us, right? Most exercise is a drag to me, that much is true. But I do love to dance and we should get our exercise in ways that make us feel happy and alive. When I was going to the gym, which I hated with a passion, I didn’t miss a day when I had a personal trainer. I still hated it, but I wasn’t going to be irresponsible and just not show up or cancel at the last minute. When I started doing it on my own, my personal trainer gave me a copy of the workout plan for me to follow and I just didn’t do it. I still went almost every day and walked on the treadmill but I hated it. I had myself a nice little play list that helped to pass the time. Since it wasn’t fun for me, though, I eventually fizzled out and stopped going. I’d love to have all the money back I’ve spent on gym memberships that I didn’t use. That old saying, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got” pretty much makes my point. So we’re going to change things up a bit.¬†
New Goals:
  1. Continue to avoid sugar. That madness must stop! 
  2. Continue to concentrate on protein and veggies
  3. Add more and more water every day
  4. And dance!
That’s the key for me at this point…to dance! It’s not going to be easy. Most of my interests and hobbies are things done while sitting. Reading is possibly my biggest interest. When I was a little girl, I lived in the country and spent hours reading under a big tree in our back yard. Once I got started with chapter books, I’d get so lost in the story that I wasn’t interested in anything else. Mom and dad used to play baseball with us every evening before the sun went down, but I lost interest in that, too. There were four of us kids – mom and dad made 6 of us. If I dropped out there were uneven teams. So while many parents were encouraging their kids to read a book, mine were telling me it’s time to put down that book and come outside. That might be my first introduction to avoiding physical activity for something less sweaty.¬†
Tomorrow I’m going to dance!


I consider myself a vegan although in the purest sense of the word I’m a vegetarian. A vegan doesn’t eat animals or animal products, meat and eggs, or dairy products including cheese. Yes, cheese… that is the hardest thing to stop eating at first but one quickly learns that life does indeed go on without it. I eat eggs occasionally and now and then some fish or shrimp. So instead of a vegan, I consider myself a veganist:

1. Someone sho looks closely at all of the implications of their food choices and chooses to lean into a plant-based diet.
2. Progress, not perfection. *

* Kathy Freston, The Veganist 

I am an ethical vegetarian/vegan/veganist. I am all for animal rights and against the factory farms that mass produce our country’s meat supply. I’ve seen videos of the cruelty that goes on there. Watch the movie call Earthlings if you’re interested. Paul McCartney said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, we’d all be vegetarian.” But that’s not the only reason I’m vegetarian. I have a sensitive digestive system making it hard for me to digest most meat, especially pork. Growing up, I always ate meat everyday. I didn’t eat much though because I was skinny. I knew-but-didn’t-know that meat and milk made me feel bloated and I had tummy aches. As an adult I was tested at an allergist and found out I’m allergic to cow’s milk. Later on, I needed to go to a digestive specialist and was advised there to take it easy on eating meat.

Another reason I’m vegan is because of my family history of heart disease. My father was killed by a massive heart attack. He never made it to the hospital. He loved to eat and ate anything he wanted. He would fry a pound of sausage in the morning and eat it all with eggs. He ate big blocks of cheese and lots of ice cream. Basically he ate anything he wanted without restraint. He was a caretaker for a cemetery where he’s now buried. He worked outdoors, mowing, trimming and he opened the graves and laid the footers. It kept him busy so he wasn’t sedentary, but his diet was killing him.

Other reasons I’m a vegan are because not only do I have the family history of heart attacks, I’m currently sedentary and my diet needs improving, I’m setting goals for myself in order to not only improve my chances of survival but also improve my quality of life. So one of my goals is a heart-healthy diet above all other things, more exercise, along with more sleep and mindfulness meditation. I already drink a LOT of water; I believe that’s one of the most important things a person can do no matter what type of foods they eat.

Sleep is also very important. Since I’m retired I do get a lot most of the time but I’m a night owl so if I have to get up early, I’m sleep-derived that day. I need to get myself on a regular sleep schedule. I also almost never eat breakfast. Never have in my entire life. I’ve always been told, prodded and scolded to eat a healthy breakfast! I’m just not hungry until the afternoon. Now I’m going to try to eat a light breakfast in the mornings. I like oatmeal or fruits and breads best. Bread is one of my favorite foods, probably my number one favorite! I’m sensitive to gluten so for years, I barely ate any bread at all except for expensive gluten-free types. For now I’m eating whole wheat and rye bread and I just suffer the consequences. I’m already not eating meat or dairy; I also limit oils because of my heart heath, so I feel I need grains instead of just quinoa millet and barley, etc, in order to have enough to eat. Also it’s hard to eat out with so many food restrictions.

I don’t think of my diet as punishment. I eat to live, not live to eat. I love food but I’m happy with my food choices. I don’t feel deprived at all. My biggest hurdle is living with my mother who cooks in the southern USA style including meats and fried foods. It tastes good but I don’t want to have a heart attack because of what I put in my body. I’ll admit that I have some health issues but they can be treated.

Another goal is exercise. Why does that seem like a dirty word to me? I used to work out in gyms three times a week when I was young. I enjoy walking but have been finding all sorts of reasons to not go outdoors and do it. That’s going to change. My body needs exercise! I used to do yoga but haven’t done a complete routine in ages. I do stretch everyday and I’m quite flexible for my age. I’ve toyed with the idea of taking a seniors yoga class but haven’t so far. I’m planning on taking a tai chi class though. Flexibility, balance and discipline are very important but I need to exercise my heart and lungs too. So I’m going to start walking more and incorporate some strength training.

I’m writing this both as an introduction to my blog readers and to also reinforce in my mind what I’m setting out to improve in my life. I consider it a health revolution instead of diet and exercise. But in order to lose any weight at all I need both. My doctor says I’m at a good weight but I feel better about 10 pounds lighter. I want a healthy body. Now it starts, from this minute, this day. So far I’ve only had water and green tea. Time for breakfast! ~~~ Darlene

Kicking off the summer with some good choices and some not so good

Four years ago this month my mother died. My siblings and I (four of us) made a promise to our mom that we would stay close and keep loving each other. We decided we would have an annual family picnic the first Saturday in June and an annual Christmas party the first Saturday in December. It has become one of the highlights of the year for all of us, especially with our growing families. My three have made a big contribution to the growing family, as I now I six grandchildren. Mom would be proud.

This past Saturday was this year’s picnic, one week later than normal. We normally have it at the same park in Kentucky where we had all of our family picnics throughout our childhood. Unfortunately, it has rained every year after the first one and there is no place at that park to shelter from the rain. This year we decided to go a little further from almost everyone and we had it at another park where we rented a shelter. The first year we grilled burgers and hot dogs and we all brought sides. Every year after that, though, the four of us buy a big family bucket of KFC (this year two of us got KFC and two got Bojangles). We each bring a side to go with it and enough drinks for our family, although we all dig in each others’ coolers for whatever drink we want. Our daughters (or daughters-in-law) each bring a dessert, and it ends up being plenty of food without just a few of us having all the work of preparing it, and we eat until we can’t stuff in another bite of food. We socialize with each other, catch up with those we don’t see as often, love on each other’s grandbabies, and take plenty of pictures. Then we eat again and start the whole process again.

This year I think I did a little better. I started a pre-diabetic class at work last week. I don’t have diabetes. In fact, all my labs are always perfect. I do have a family history of diabetes, though, so the class can’t do any harm. Our homework between each Thursday class is to write down every bite we put in our mouths on a little paper tracker or an app on our phone to show the instructors when we come to class. Now if you saw the table full of food we have at our picnics, those little trackers wouldn’t normally hold enough room for me to write down every bite I put in my mouth. I did things a little different this year, though.

I made plates for four of my grandbabies and fed one of them before I even made a plate for myself. I love feeding the little ones, and it also gives mom and dad a chance to eat a meal without a baby on their lap. So when I was just sitting down for my meal, everyone else was digging into the desserts. I probably would have been tempted to try some of each dish because our girls are some really good bakers and cooks. But I enjoyed my one small piece of chicken, a little mashed potatoes, baked beans, and some raw veggies. For my dessert I opted for the watermelon, strawberries, and blueberries. Then I spotted a big Tupperware full of fruits, and I was in fruit heaven! Strawberries, blueberries, cherries, raspberries and, of course, the watermelon. So yes, this is me bragging that I passed up the cakes, cookies, truffles, and pies and was happy with my berries and cherries. I did have one small piece of lemon pie but other than that I did great with food this year.

Then came the evening. I had my Florida granddaughter with me and one of my local granddaughters spent the night with me, too. They were hungry by the time we stopped to visit both uncles, so we got pizza for their dinner. Yes, I indulged. After making myself proud making great choices, I had pizza. Then Sunday I took the girls to McDonald’s after church for Happy Meals while I had a grilled chicken snack wrap. Not so bad, right? At least not as McDonald’s choices go. I had water to drink and then we drove to the pet store so they could pet some bunnies. On the way home we stopped at Tim Horton and the girls got smoothies while I had a strawberry sweet tea. At least it was a small one. But ohhhhhhh mercy! One taste of that sweet nectar and I wanted a big one!

Now here we are with today’s choices. I eat more protein than anything and if I were to follow any kind of diet it would be Paleo. I’m not strict Paleo but I get as close to it as possible when I’m eating my healthiest. So today’s choice of bacon, scrambled egg, and rye toast wasn’t too awfully bad at all. I’ve lost a lot of weight many times having bacon and scrambled egg for breakfast every morning. But then I had a bacon sandwich on rye for lunch. I wanted another bacon on rye for dinner but instead I had tomato soup and grilled cheese on rye. Not the greatest choices today, but it’s one day out of my life and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I might be sweating on Thursday when the scales show I’m not small stuff, but until then I’ll write down my food and take the consequences. Because isn’t that what life is all about? We make choices, good or bad. And we live with the consequences of those choices, no matter what those choices are. In a perfect world, we learn from them and move on…some of us learn from them and waddle on. I think I will be waddling on this week.

My goals for the rest of this week:

  1. Avoid sugary foods and drinks except for my coffee creamer.
  2. Concentrate on my protein and vegetables.
  3. Get a little walking in every day.
  4. Drink 64 ounces of water every day.
I’ll update through the week with the hope that on Thursday I will show a loss either in weight or inches, despite the mostly bad food choices I’ve had this weekend.


One of my biggest interests is books. Oodles and oodles of them, on shelves, stacked on tables, floor, bed, nightstand. Packed in boxes where they lie in hopes of being released in order to soak up the energy in the rooms. I simply need more shelves, not less books! I started reading before I went to kindergarten and learned to spell quite well. My parents worked with me everyday, reading books to me and teaching me words and sentences. We didn’t use phonics in the 50’s, 60’s. We just learned to recognize words on paper. My dad had a small chalk board on which he wrote long words for me to learn how to spell. I had so much fun with that. Mom took me to the library as often as I wanted to go. We walked there and I could get as many books as I could carry and Mom carried some too. I always checked out a big stack. I would go home and read them over and over until I deemed it time to take them back and get new ones. I would have rather gone to the library or book store than a toy store. Don’t get me wrong… I liked toys a lot! I played like a normal little girl. In the summer I was outside from morning until dark, riding bikes, roller skating and climbing trees. But I often sat at our picnic table under a big oak shade tree either coloring or reading. I was an only child and I had plenty of neighborhood kids to play with but I also enjoyed my solitude.

As a teen in high school, I volunteered at the library. I loved working there! I think I would have made a good librarian. I loved quiet and being surrounded by books that I could pick up and fondle, smell and look through. We filed books by the Dewy Decimal System back in the 60’s. I loved shelving books and searching for them through the card catalog. I’ve always dreamed of a house with a library with floor to ceiling shelving and a rolling ladder to reach the top shelves. It would be a pretty room with a comfortable chair, a lamp and an area rug on which to meditate or do yoga. A quiet room.

I chose to study and work in the medical field which wasn’t a good fit for me but I made the best of it. I went to the medical library every time I had a chance. I thought about going back to school to become a medical librarian but it required a master’s degree and I would have had to start over in college. I was looking forward to retirement so I would have all the time I wanted to read, undisturbed. I spent years trying to read at lunchtime in the cafeteria but invariably someone sat down and started talking. To a book nerd, that’s a slap in the face. “Can’t you see I’m reading!?” I used to grab lunch to go and seek out private places to read for 30 minutes or so before I had to go back to work. I read at night in bed but by that time I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on my book.

I retired at age 55. Now I can read to my heart’s content. I enjoy my printed books so much and still love being surrounded by them. But recently I’ve been into recycling a lot of them, donating them to be resold to others who might enjoy them. Most of my book nerd friends would groan at this remark but I believe ereaders are the future of casual reading and college studies. They are much more efficient. You can carry 1000’s of books on a single, lightweight device that you can carry in a purse or backpack. No trees are cut down to make ebooks so it’s eco friendly to do so. The thing I like about ebooks is the ability to adjust the font size and type, the background color, column preferences and brightness of the back lighting. They are so much easier for me to see! No booklight required. I have an iPad and iPhone so books are synced to both devices. I primarily use iBooks but also Kindle and Nook apps. One big difference is that I have to charge my devices while books are so naturally inviting as they are. My 62 year old eyes appreciate a lighted screen instead of needing light from another source so I can see the print. Some book print is very small too. So while I’m “old school” in some ways… I like having my little library… I’m also evolving with the times and use digital media. I’m a bookaholic, no matter how you look at it. I’m also quite content,