Once Upon a Fat Girl

Sunday, November 30, 2008


When I get a new client, our first appointment is a through evaluation. An assessment. At the time, it seems like I'm asking questions that don't have anything to do with addiction. But in the end, it's pretty clear that when you have an addiction it touches every part of your life. I spent a good hour or so evaluating myself. Not only did I come up with an assessment to get me started here, but I gained a new appreciation for my clients and how hard it is to reveal yourself in this way. Tomorrow I'll post my first treatment plan.



I am a 37-year-old woman living in rural Nevada. I am five foot nine and weigh 335 pounds.

Three years ago I had a full physical checkup. My cholesterol is 125, but the percentage of good vs. bad is a little out of balance toward the bad. At that time my thyroid tested in the healthy range. My blood pressure and sugar were good. I had my blood pressure tested again recently and it’s still good.

I have fairly severe back and leg pain at least once a week. It’s worse if I stand for a long time (for instance, Kevin and I went out of town last week and went Christmas shopping. I was nearly immobile that night and felt physically ill from the pain down the backs of my legs and in my lower back.)

I have IBS that is mainly triggered by stress, dairy, and foods very high in fat (such as deep fried.) At least once a week I have fairly severe stomach pain and either constipation or diarrhea (I know, I know…TMI…sorry.)

I get tired easily. I started a new job at the end of October that, while not particularly physically demanding, has a very high learning curve and is mentally and emotionally demanding. During the week, I often just work and then go to sleep within two hours of getting home. By the end of the week, I’m pretty drained and have little energy for doing more than hanging out at home.

Even before I started my new job, I barely had the energy to get through the day.

I am slightly anemic and rarely remember to take an iron supplement.

I was an athlete from childhood until I graduated from high school. Today, I almost never exercise. I find it painful and embarrassing and very uncomfortable. I miss being an athlete.


I don’t have any pending legal problems.

Mental Health

I don’t have any diagnosed mental health issues.

I do have some unresolved issues from my childhood that sometimes contribute to my overeating. (I may nor may not be going into these in the future on this blog. For now, its enough to know that I recognize the problem and will be dealing with it during the next year.)

I am the type to get excited about a new idea, but lose interest when there aren’t fast results. I’ll need to make sure that I remind myself that slow and steady is the only way to meet this goal.

Social and Family

I have been married twice and am currently married to my second husband. I have a good relationship with my ex-husband whom I’ve known since childhood. He is the father of my two older children. I have a solid relationship with my current husband. He’s the father of my youngest child.

I have three children. Adrienne is 16, Nick is 14, and Ruby is 3. Nick has autism, which causes a good bit of stress, although less now than when he was younger.

I have one very close friend. She lives in Las Vegas and I speak to her at least once per month and see her when I go to Las Vegas to visit.

I have many acquaintances, but have a difficult time letting people get close to me. I have never made friends easily, even though I normally get along well with everyone.

I don’t have any significant problems getting along with anyone in my immediate family or with any friends or acquaintances.

I have eight siblings and my dad as well. I have a pleasant but rather distant relationship with all of them. Most live in Las Vegas. One sister lives in Idaho and one brother lives in Hawaii. I have not talked to my step-sister in two years, and rarely talk to her mother who was married to my dad since I was a little girl (they divorced when I was an adult.)

My mother died of breast cancer when I was 24.

Several of my siblings and my father are alcoholics. One of my brothers is a heroin addict and struggling to get and stay clean. I am the only one in my family who doesn’t drink or do drugs. My step-mother was an alcoholic as well.

Substance Abuse

I do not drink at all.

I do not use illegal drugs, or abuse prescription drugs.

I don’t smoke.

My eating habits mimic the behaviors of a person with an addiction.

Plans and My Soup Recipe

I've been thinking a lot about my plan this week.

In the past month, since starting my new job, I've been completely immersed in the world of addiction. I keep asking myself...is it possible to really be addicted to food? I mean--in a way, isn't everyone one addicted to it? It's a necessity for continued life. But I've been shocked to find that what some of my clients report feeling in their addictions, I feel to some degree about food.

Food lets me hide. Instead of dealing with life head on, I can eat to stave off emotions. Food has in some ways become my identity. I have spent (and do spend) a lot of time and energy finding food, preparing it, and then dealing with the after effects of overeating. I sometimes rearrange my life around food (for instance, not taking a client during a certain time because I want more time to eat at lunch.) I often eat more than I intended to, and for a longer period of time. I spend a lot of time planning to quit overeating.

The list goes on.

Clearly, I show the signs of addiction. Just as clearly, I can't quit cold turkey like the law requires my clients to.

I've decided to write myself a treatment plan, and maybe even complete an assessment, just like I do for my clients. For them, I write a new treatment plan every quarter and review it every month. So that's my plan. Look for that in the coming weeks (before January 1.)

I do feel firmly in the planning stage of change. I've ordered some books. I've told my husband that I plan to change and that I need his help. I've started posting here again.

Okay. On a different note, here's my after-thanksgiving soup. It's so amazingly yummy! The base is from the wonderful Bread and Soup cookbook by Crescent Dragonwood. (I think that's her name.)

Turkey and Brown Rice Soup

In a big soup pot pour:

4 cups vegetable broth (or other broth. Make some from your turkey carcass if you like, but I think veggie is the lowest in fat and calories.)
5 cups vegetable juice (like V8)
2 cups water
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Onion and Garlic powders as desired


Chopped up left-over turkey (I had about a cup and a half and it seemed just right.)
1/2 a cup of chopped onions
1 cup chopped Brussels sprouts (don't chop fine, just slice each into four or five slices. Chopped cabbage would work, too. I had left-over raw sprouts that I didn't roast with turkey day dinner. I bet if you had left over roasted ones they would be super yummy!)
1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (use maybe 2 cups if you're adding fresh chopped spinach.)
1 cup brown rice, uncooked

Bring it all to a boil. Reduced heat, cover, and let simmer about an hour or until the rice is done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This reduced for me to a thick, lovely soup. The brown rice gave it a really hearty texture.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Really Big Plan

I have plans. Big ones. I know that I haven't posted here in forever, and regularly even longer than that. But I have big, big plans. And I want a place to keep them in order. And this place hit the big-plan lottery!

I've started working as a drug and alcohol counselor and I've learned something that's really eye-opening to me in my nearly constant (and failing) pursuit to lose weight. There are six stages of change. Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.

I've been stuck in a perpetual cycle of contemplation mixed with brief periods of preparation and hard shots of action. Followed by even harder relapse. So I'm giving myself a good long time in the preparation stage. From now until January.

I'm the only one who works in my building. I have a big group room with a TV where I can exercise during lunch hour. I also work directly across the street from a football field that will make a nice track when the weather warms up. I have a fridge and a microwave so there is no excuse for eating McDonald's for lunch.

My only goal is to feel good. To be healthy enough to have the energy to do more than work and sleep. It's a quarter to nine right now and I'm so tired. So bone tired. It's time to get my life back. Fat has had it long enough.