Adding Tim as a Blog Partner

Adding Tim as a Blog Partner
Building a Good Relationship With Food

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day.

Today is the 2nd of February. The last several weeks have been defined by the snow, ice, closed schools, icy roads, and disruption of the Connecticut winter. This is our first winter here with no frame of reference. It has been beautiful and treacherous. I feel strange which my routine is disrupted. On snow days my calles start in the very early morning -- decisions with key staff about whether to close the office of not. I've moved work to my kitchen table an given the morning forecase, have never taken it all back to the office entirely. A group of us has put a Food Policy Council together for the region,. We are moving quickly to structure this work which I love. The people I work with are particularly wonderful to know and to learn from. There is a constant exchange of information and ideas. In ways that we don't understand ourselves, the work is being one with joy and synergy.

I started today reading the new post from, "The Daily Diary of a Willing Loser." Sean Anderson who had so many followers has stopped blogging daily and I ave been really lonesome for his very natural and insightful writing. Why does a blogger like Sean Anderson or Kenz from "All the Weigh" and others attract a following? What separates one blogger from another? Design? I think that has something to do with it. Sean's blog was always simple and it was about him and his journey -- it had no bells and whistles or contrivances; it still doesn't. It features good writing, pictures of Sean, food, family and events. It was and is congruent and easy to follow. And yet -- this man's story has intrigued thousands of people. His art is knowing how to write "just enough" about anything outside of the core of the blog's reason for being: Sean's ability to become a healthy and fit 229 lb. man after having weighed over 500 lbs. for many years.

His followers have cried over his divorce, worried about him, and have followed his amazing weight loss with the hope that they too might be successful and find a path to normalcy and health. Sean has always been himself. He has focused his blog on weight loss and he has never gone past appropriate boundaries re: letting his following into his personal life. We know that he dates and that he faced divorce early in his weight loss journey. We know that he has sleep apnea and has had some sleep studies. We worry about him feeling depressed that his weight loss didn't cure the sleep issue. We worry about him suddenly not feeling satisfied with his weight loss. But the details are about his approach to diet and he reminds us over and over through his personal life and days that just setting the rules and following got him down from over 500 lbs to his present 229 lb. weight.

Because his following knows how easy it is to fail, to return to old patterns of behavior, to regain the weight, to become isolated and ashamed. We check his blog looking for a sign that he is still holding fast to the program that has gotten him to today. But like recovering alcoholics, we know how easy it is to regree, to "slip" and to start eating compulsively again. We want him to be consistent and to stick to his daily blogs, but his success gives us strength, and hope. We know that if he can stay with his program, that we might be able to do so too. We have invested him with supernatural powers and are in awe of what he has done to save his own life. We are cheering him on as if we know him; and in some ways we do.

Other blogs are cluttered with TMI (too much information). Many of them are about not only a battle with addiction but include battles with depression, divorce, illness an pain. We know that Sean has faced all of those things, but his natural ability to transform himself while managing to stay focused gives us hope and simultaneously scares us to death.

I have a colleague and friend. We are working together on a food-related collaboration in the area which is about good nutrition. Both of us are healthy, but overweight women ith a history of gaining and losing. We have good humor about our history, but know that we have gained weight after losing it, which is the ultimate shame. It is, of ourse, a return to addiction. The addiction which causes overweight is complex. It's cure is daily discipline and a combination of nderstanding, physiological regulation(by eating the right foods in the right amount at the right time of day),and nutrition. It is not an addiction which goes away. It requires a discipline which has to be stronger than that used by the absolutely committed long-term, recovering alcoholic using an old-fashioned, no-excuses, 12 step program. It is sometimes a white knuckle process and learning to feel a bit uncomfortable and hungry for an hour is not the end of the world.

Addiction to food is psychological, cultural, social, and physiological. Our drugs come in many forms from a rich an abundant food culture which markets food.Our self-images comfort, and sense of ourselves is wrapped up in food: food cues, food comfort, food chemistry, and food habits. We are compulsive overeaters and that compulsion defines us and our lives and our ability to deal with addiction -- or not -- shapes who we are.

So I pray and hope that Sean Anderson will continue to lose weight and to develop fitness and that he will maintain his weight loss and his health for many years. And I hope that he will blog so that the rest of us can learn from him. But if he does not, I know that the work of "one day at a time" is the work of recovery and that facing food addiction, no matter how complex, is at the core of how I feel about myself, no matter what I do well or don't do so well in my life. And it is Groundhog day -- I have no idea if spring will come early or not. Today I will watch the ice and the snow and work to stay within a plan that has worked for me before: 1200 calorie, 5-6 small meals, and 30 minutes of exercise.

I have eaten a bowl of old-fashioned oatmeal, a serving of 1% milk, a handful of raisins. Following that breakfast, I had a hard boiled egg for mid-morning snack. At noon I had 1/2 cup of cottage cheese and a sprouted wheat bagel. So far, so good. The need to eat 5 fruits and vegetables in a day still eludes me, so I will focus on those things for the rest of my "eating" day.

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