When Food Takes On The Wrong Role

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silhouette photography of people on theater
Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the role of Cinderella in “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella”.  Meryl Streep cast in “Grease” as Danny Zuko.

Can you imagine going to a play and being handed a playbill and seeing that level of miscasting?  I would find it fun at first, but personally I would want to see more logical choices or the roles.

I would be asking myself, “With the means to hire a well known actor to play the lead, with so many other options available, why make such a poor choice?”

The producers and directors have a list of parts to cast and a list of available options for actors to play those parts. Auditions are many times held, trying to find the right one for each role.

We make “casting choices” in the form of life choices every day. Imagine each day we get out of bed, we walk out onto Life’s Stage in a production of “A Day Of Living”  Each of us are our own producer and director of a significant part of our own story.  

 What options are  you going to select in your life today?

I speak from experience like so many others. Foods can be so addictive especially  chocolate, cheese, meat, plus other processed sugars and animal proteins.  Many of us are taught from a young age to have these and similar addictions to help us deal with our needs. Those serotonin levels rise with all of it. Life can be complicated and eating processed sugar and fats are so very easy and handy. All that immediate gratification is enticing and potentially life shortening.

I use the analogy of a stage production and the playbill that is the official accounting of each day’s “performance”. The playbill shows who plays what role.  For me it’s helpful to be able to visualize and pinpoint the questionable “casting”, if you will, of how by habit in the past I coped with life. It keeps me on top of things. Many times food is the go to for needs that really are better handled by other options. Sometimes we learn it young.

 

I still remember to this day being 4 years old and it was a miserable time in my family with deaths, stress, my grandparents being in the hospital for months due to severe injuries from a car accident. My mother, sister and I lived with them.  My poor Registered Nurse mother had to work some horribly long hours and oversee the care of my grandparents. They had different people taking care of my sister and I. Those caring for my sister and I would give us ice cream at night as something in which to look forward.

An evening snack was called “a party” and it was always something wonderfully sugar and fat filled.

The pattern had begun.

To make things more annoying I have 3 fat disorders that, since childhood , made me large and misshaped. What I eat and how I exercise had made no positive impact on those. No doctor realized I had those. Dercum’s Disease, lipedema and lymphedema went overlooked and mistaken for obesity for decades.

I was so worn down as I struggled with the lack of impact of dieting and seeing that it made no difference if I ate or starved myself. Those fat disorders are fairly painful.  I was in misery for decades. I remained large and misshaped, it made it easier to make some pretty unhealthy choices. Why not have a piece of Dove Chocolate when anxious? Why not eat a Big Mac when hungry?  

Playbill Chocolate red flag

After decades of feeling helpless, and low carb diets doing nothing for me,  life handed me the path I had sought my whole life. Over a year ago I got violently sick on animal products with horrible blood sugar and cardiac related lab results. I discovered WFPB No Oil, Low Fat, Low Glycemic Index, Low Sodium. I started to see better labs, weight started dropping.  There has also been a bit of a budge on some of the symptoms associated with my fat disorders. 

Sure I will always have three painful, annoying fat disorders. That’s how the ball bounces. I have fibromyalgia and like all other humans, I have a variety of stresses. I can’t do a whole lot to change some things, but I can empower myself and do what is possible. Some of those symptoms for those health issues have improved. Some remain the same. I enjoy taking far fewer medications than before.  I enjoy having heathy coronary and blood sugar numbers. I find joy in what is possible as I continue to learn to coexist with the rest.  The power is in making good choices and lovingly holding myself accountable.

As I sit here finishing this, my husband came home from the grocery store. To this day my mind wants to ask him if he brought home chocolate. I have to remind myself of that playbill. Chocolate is no longer a regular on my playbill. It’s been replaced by strawberries or an apple or watching a good movie. 

Playbill Healthy Blue
I don’t do all these, but it gives you an idea. When I struggle, I literally picture someone announcing a change in who is playing what role.
Before After 3
It’s worth it.

 

 

 

 

Celebrating 10 Months Of Low Fat, Whole Food Plant Based Healing

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Inspite of having three fat disorders ( lipedemalymphedema and  Dercum’s disease ) that are progressive in how large they can make a person appear, and have zero to do with calorie intake or exercise…I have managed in the past 10 months to do this.

What is important to point out is that having had these disorders all my life, my hips and legs were always larger than the rest of me. One leg has always been larger than the other. My arms became heavy and large over the years. My stomach, arms, neck, back, hips and legs filled with Dercum’s Disease “tumors”. Lipedema and lymphedema causes swellings that would increase at the drop of a dime. I could put on 12 pounds from these lymphatic fluids in a day or two. I could start off the day at one level and end the day looking 20 pounds heavier just by moving around.

So look at these photos and see that now my hips are in proportion to the rest of my body, my arms have slimmed down, my face has deflated, my torso is smaller. My legs are within reasonable limits. One leg is stil slightly larger than the other, but not overly noticeable.  I went from a size 32 to a size 14.

Throw in the use of a box of Miss Clairol for my hair and bam! I look so different! Another thing that this style of whole food plant based, low fat, low glycemic eating has done for me is whip my diabetes, my blood pressure, my cholesterol in shape. That happened in the first month of switching for KETO to this style of eating. So I likely have added years to my life.

Cindy 10 month photo comparrison

Here are the foods that made it all happen.

Here is what I have followed that has worked.

3  one half cup servings of dark beans.

2-3 servings of fruit including one serving of berries. Fruit is fresh or frozen

3 servings of whole grain

a serving of cruciferous vegetables

2 servings of “other” low glycemic index vegetables

2 servings of dark greens

flax seeds or chia seeds

Limited avocado (1 total a week)

limited nuts ( 0 to 2 Tbl a day)

No animal products (no dairy, no meat, no fish, no chicken, no eggs, no dairy), no junk vegan food, no highly processed foods. No oils of any kind. no added sugar or artificial sweetners

I love the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr,  Dr. Neal Barnard from Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine, and Dr. Michael Greger who runs Nutritionfacts.org and The Daily Dozen Phone app.

Best documentaries include: Forks Over Knives, Diet Fiction, Eating You Alive, and What The Health.

Best Facebook groups for those like myself who have lipedema, lymphedema or Dercum’s disease interested in doing this sort of eating? Those associated with what is listed above as well as Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating

In the group for Improving Fat Disorders Using Low Fat Low Glycemic WFPB Eating, no one associated with the group makes a dime off of any participant of the group and you are asked to work with your own doctor and make sure your own medical team is on board, get blood levels done on a regular basis, and other measures to assure you are taking responsibility for your own health decisions.

It’s not about being skinny, it’s about being healthy. If looking smaller ends up being part of it all, then great.

Here is a link to an article I wrote last year on how to approach changing your life with food.

This link is to an article to help you approach this way of eating

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Improved Health: I Have Arrived!

 

Take a gander at me last spring on the left quite a few pounds heavier than I am now. Then take a look at the photo next to it. Miraculous change! I suffer from Lipedema, Lymphedema and Dercum’s Disease.  In laymen’s terms, that means limiting calories and increasing exercise doesn’t impact the weight. The lymphatic system backs up lymphatic fluid into my tissue. I have large lumps of whatever throughout my body.

People with my issues typically look extremely bottom heavy, with large bat wing arms, and necks and faces that can swell up at the drop of a dime. It’s nothing to gain poundage in the double digits in a day’s time from the lymphatic back up. 11% of women deal with such issues. I was diagnosed at two different university clinics in two different states.

So most of my life, I avoided having photos that showed my hips and legs. This morning my hair still hadn’t been managed for the day so for the first time ever I asked my husband to aim the camera for the stomach on down.

See those leggings and boots? It’s common for those with my diagnoses to not even be able to zip up those boots. And compression leggings are a popular treatment for those disorders, but I would never allow myself to be photographed in them.  They are 3 sizes smaller than what I use to wear.

I’ve had people online and in person tell me, ” You are on the right track, keep going”.

Let me publically say that considering lipedema is only suppose to make a person larger and larger over time, I managed to make myself smaller inspite of it. So not only am I on the right track, I crossed the finish line!

Whether I stay at this weight or lose more, I am VERY SATISFIED. My labs are improved greatly,  and still am crippled by the combination of some of the disclosed and non disclosed disorders. But even during the stretch of days I am bed bound, my quality of life has greatly improved.

In the big picture people are having surgery done to temporarily reduce the lymphatic based “fat” in their legs and hips. Thanks to the way I am eating, that likely will not be needed. Also I’ve been taken off  medications because of my change in eating.

Whole Food Plant Based Low Glycemic Index, Low Fat,

No Added Oil, No Added Sugar

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Reality Of Trauma And Regaining One’s Power

Many people who have the physical diagnoses of fat disorders such as Lipedema, Dercum’s Disease are said to have trauma in their history. Many with eating disorders have a similar background.

I’ve come to know many, many people who are in this circle of physical health and emotional concerns with that history.

Trauma if left as it is, can make one’s life less than it could be. It can ruin a life. It can shorten a life. It can impact future generations.

Don’t throw away the power you have by allowing yourself to linger in a life that isn’t all that it could be.

I learned this mostly by taking myself by the hand and pulling and pushing myself forward. Sometimes through therapy sometimes in having my life move forward. all on my own.

Life has a way of taking that blank slate of a precious baby each of us once were and puts emotional dings, scrapes, dark marks and dents into our sense of self and world view.

Many of the world’s ills are passed down from one  generation after the other. Humans are the most capable creatures we know of on the planet, yet we seldom seize our own power we have to heal ourselves. If we can’t heal up some of the junk we emotionally carry around, the world is having to live without all the positive we have to offer it.

If we aren’t careful, we can end up knowingly or unknowingly wallowing in the muck of other’s dysfunction and take on  a confused toxic world view.

Is this really a social issue?

1 in 3 children are abused physically, sexually or emotionally by age 14. Then consider how many young adults are abused by significant others physically, sexually or emotionally in their 20’s 30’s and into the twilight years. It’s not uncommon for people to have layers of abusive experiences that puts them in a mental haze and inner physical turmoil that changes even their brain chemistry.

The important point I wish to make is don’t shy away from doing the work needed to rebuild yourself. Your value and my value is not based on the attitudes of those who in the past have harmed us.

I have had to rebuild myself and when I was up and running again, even though still in the process of repair, some people would say they didn’t know me anymore. I was nothing like the girl who would roll over and play dead on command.

Oh well.

Reality can be painful but it forces you to live where you have the most power in your life. Reality is where growth takes place. Where there is growth then life changing positive decisions can happen.

So if you haven’t done so already, find power and purpose in rebuilding in yourself what needs to be rebuilt.

There is no reason to apologize for believing every life has a place and deserves respect and dignity. You will be forced to include yourself in these ranks the more you understand.

Once you really learn and understand this and know that you are worthy,, you won’t settle for the dysfunction you’ve taken part in or subjected on yourself.

Be prepared because as an individual heals, those who are wallowing in the dysfunction will try to pull you back. Your health is too unsettling  to their world and for them it’s uncomfortable. Pick and choose your battles. Sometimes you can maintain relationships and there are times when you have to walk away. Each situation is different. Forgiveness is fine, self preservation when based on what you know to be true, is a must.

If you have the feeling that in their eyes you are expendable, if they leave you feeling small and not worthy, and there is a long history of such behaviors and attitudes, it’s ok to walk away.  They may raise a fuss through dysfunctional means, but that should only strengthen your resolve to not waste your time with them.

 

Find a wuiet Sunny spot in yourself where you feel safe.
Appreciate each stage of life
Hold close to good memories
Peace is the center of healing.

Movies: An Emotional Eaters Guide

man holding remote control
Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

Oh Bother! We have all been there. Today dysfunctional people brought me face to face with the desire for emotional eating. I didn’t succumb. Being physically disabled makes it hard because I can’t just go “walk it off”. That makes me feel more helpless so I have to be more creative. Dysfunctional people’s behaviors towards me shouldn’t control what I eat or how much. Aside of making sure I don’t allow myself to be pulled into other people’s dysfunction, it’s best to keep myself occupied.

None Of These Foods Are Worth Wrecking Your Health.

No! No! No! No! Just Tell Yourself No!

So I got thinking about the movies and TV shows I gravitate towards when feeling the sting of boundary challenged extended family members and others I deal with from time to time.

So here is my guide on entertaining means of diversions when you feel driven by circumstances to self medicate with unhealthy foods.

A) The Movie Stuart Saves His Family– Al Frankin helped to write and is the lead in this 1990’s take on the dysfunctional families and 12 Step Programs. His family is classically dysfunctional and most people can relate to the situations Stewart comes across. Harold Ramis directs and there is joy as people learn to live healthy lives of recovery from their dysfunctional families of origin, Stuart’s boss, extended family and so on. I’ve seen it many times over the years and it never fails to make me feel better. Watching Stuart “shame spiral” his way through the first initial crisis with a bag of cookies is a great reminder how futile it is. Available on Stars.

B) The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: This Amazon Prime series original is about a woman born ahead of her time. She is funny and intelligent. She is East Side New York from a posh circumstance until her husband leaves her and her parents decide to treat her like a child again with chores and curfews. Her escape is her sneaking out to night clubs to perform as the funny woman that she is. She’s a fish out of water willing to learn how to have legs. The one liners are endless and the show very well written. Very human characters but I warn you, when she chows on a pan of macaroni and cheese, you may have to fight the urge to make some for yourself. Just remind yourself, she is a movie character and won’t gain weight or swell up, but you may.

C) Matilda: I know it’s a child’s movie but there is so much about the movie that shows depending on yourself inspite of a dysfunctional family who doesn’t understand or appreciate you. Danny DeVito is really funny as his wife, Rhea Perhlman.

D) The Godfather: Yes it’s violent, but the writing and acting are so wonderful, the lines so memorable, it’s always a pleasure to see this work of art. Just be glad that Mama Corleone isn’t a real person and in your life, she would comfort you with a plate of meatballs and make you eat, diet or not.

E) Ruthless People: Bette Midler is so funny. It will make you laugh no matter what. As she celebrates her weight loss while in captivity,, you will think twice before chowing down during this movie.

F) Harry Potter Film Series: “The Boy Who Lived” Need I say more. The ultiment believe in yourself and see that there is power in love and never giving up.

G) Mystery Science Theater 3000 Admit it, when you see a bad movie, sometimes it’s as funny as any comedy ever filmed. Crow T. Robot, Tom Servo, Gypsy, Cambot, and Joel or Mike will say lines and sing ditties you wish you had thought of. Watch it enough and the next time you have an issue with dysfunctional people you will swear you hear the MST 3000 gang giving comic commentary as you deal with it. Also check out RiffTracks.

F) The Big Bang Theory : The great thing about a well written series is that you get to know the characters for their good and their imperfections. In this show the cast is funny and like old friends I can recall knowing over the years. It’s a pleasure to watch.

G) Musicals!: I started to list my favorite musicals but the list is too long. If you love musicals, there are decades worth to pick from. If you don’t like musicals, just pass.

H) Everybody Loves Raymond: The joys of dysfunctional family life and all problems wrapped up in 30 minutes. ( making it a real modern day fairy tale). Great way to encourage yourself to laugh at dysfunction instead of abusing yourself with food.

I) And you can always watch the same YouTube Video over and over again like this classic from Frozen

And remember….Let It Go! Let It Go! Don’t let the Fat and Processed Foods flow!

11% Of Women Have “Big” Issues And Counting Calories Has Zero Impact.

In the past I’ve shared what the loss of weight through a plant-based diet has meant for my physical size. What I want to show you today is how such eating impacts the obvious issues associated with lipedema and Dercum’s disease.

It’s estimated that 11% of women have lipedema (estrogen plays a role so it is mainly women who suffer from this). Dercum’s Disease is very rare, but it is impacted by the ongoing swelling of lipedema. Both of these disorders puts considerable swelling and large amounts of non-calorie based weight on people. For someone with Dercum’s Disease it gets dicey because there are so few treatments and so patients end up trying whatever is suggested by the few doctors who work with dercum’s disease.

Before going to a plant-based whole food diet with no added sugars or oils that is low glycemic index, I use to put on 10-14 pounds in a day from lymphatic fluid swelling all parts of my body especially if I over-extended myself. By next morning it may or may not be back to where it was.  Since starting the whole foods plant-based diet, a few months ago, unless there are other health issues going on, I put on only 4 pounds in a day. By next day it usually has gone away. I’ve lost 62 of those disorder related pounds in a few months.

Below, the unfortunate hairstyle in the first two photos is compliments of the wig I was forced to wear in the months following an unfortunate treatment for Dercum’s Disease. My hair started to fall out in chunks.An infusion of ketamine that took a couple of days time in an ICU unit to administer.  Only in the name of helping others do I share those photos. LOL.

Please note that the first photo was taken in the morning. The second photo was taken later that day at a family gathering. Notice how swollen I am in the second photo especially. Even the wig is being stretched beyond it’s capacity.

 

 

Now see the last two photos taken just after 4 months of plant-based eating. The third photo   was taken early that morning.  The last photo is of me later in the day. The swelling is easy to spot. but it’ not as prominent as the level of swelling that happened in the second photo.

Not bad or a 55 year old woman who literally just wants to be comfortable in her skin.

I just did away with animal products and kept it low fat, low glycemic index. No processed foods. I eat a bigger variety of foods now than I did when I ate animal products. Influenced by Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and Dr. T Colin Campbell, and their extensive research spanning decades, I quickly found success. Anyone can go to the library and find their books or look their work up online.

With 11% of women suffering from lipedema, yet few doctors having studied it,  many are desperate to find a way to curb the impact of this frustrating disorder.  They go through painful expensive surgeries where the problem eventually comes back.  They try all sorts of treatments such as horrendously expensive lymphatic presses that take a great deal of time to work with daily, and expensive compression garments that cover their bodies that have to be worn year around including in the hottest of summers.

Dercum’s Disease has been too painful for me to continue with those standard treatments. And as the bad wig photos demonstrate, the experimental treatments suggested by the doctors were a bust.

This style of plant-based eating while it obviously hasn’t kept me completely from being in pain or swelling up, it has been overall a successful treatment in curbing the effects of lipedema and such.  It is without a doubt the best arsenal I have ever had against the common but oddball lipedema. That puts less pressure on the effects of the Dercum’s disease.

Oh yea, and it reversed my diabetes and normalized my blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sideshow Career Over: Morbidly Obese No More

Photos coming soon.Cindy selfie photo

I have always been a fat girl. Accomplished, success driven, but always large. Raised and fed like my twig of a fraternal twin sister, I always have had chubby cheeks and arms, stomach, hips and legs as well. So being fat has been my life long identifier. If I ever forgot, the world was always there to remind me. I just coexisted with it while doing every diet in the book.

My identifier the past decade has been that I’ve been a member of the Fat Disorder community. Many of us are much larger than our calorie intake would indicate and most of us are considered by people who pass us on the street as morbidly obese.

Most picture us sitting all day eating bon-bons and ordering in pizza and devouring massive amounts of foods.  Actually those of us in the fat disorder community have been dealing with disorders that create size issues based  on genetic lymphatic problems. Our lymph fluid fills our tissue and also some like myself have fatty tumors that are so painful throughout our body. (Lymphedema, Lipedema and Dercum’s Disease)

As we all know the pressure to be thin especially for women, is pretty strong and we’ve all read over time or known people who suffered from eating disorders because of that pressure. Now can you imagine walking around looking “circus lady fat” or people assume you are lazy and eat too much?

There are eating disorders that eventually blend in for many with such disorders.. Nothing creates misunderstandings more than someone being very large but calories having nothing to do with that largeness. The more one feels like an outsider, and nothing does it quite like being very large can,  the easier it is to limit your calories for yourself to unhealthy levels or go the other direction. Some people decide why care about the number of calories since they will look large anyways. They eat quite a bit for comfort.  When the latter happens, then more weight piles on a body already overwhelmed with disorder related weight gain.

No one should sit in judgement. The world is not kind to those with fat disorders.

The world didn’t like my being large. I didn’t care for it either, but after dieting since I was a child and learning what was what regarding my weight, I learned to accept my largeness and high level of disability as did my now husband and others who love me.

So having had fat disorders starting in childhood, imagine my personal euphoria when seeing how physically and emotionally healing the correct plant-based diet can be.

The big moment was after this last bit of weight loss, I refigured my BMI for the first time in ages. . I am no longer morbidly obese!

My labs show the healing power of a low fat, low glycemic index, low sodium, no processed food, no animal products of any kind, plant-based diet. No counting carbs, no counting calories. A totally new relationship with food and my body was put in place three months back.

It will only work if I could accept myself as someone deserving to be healed physically and emotionally. Meal time has become not an experience where I numb out, but instead I now know exactly what the food I eat is going to do for my body and life.  My level of gratitude is enormous. There is peace in such healing and gratitude.

I still have my fat disorders and technically diabetic.  I don’t know when the weight loss will stop.  My blood pressure is normal, blood sugars are normal, and my LDL cholesterol dropped 57%.  By month two I had dropped from a 3x to a 0x in a plus size women’s boutique.  I was still swelling up from the fat disorders but the swelling was not the rush of 14 pounds coming on me at the drop of a hat. It was a weight fluctuation of just few pounds.

That horrible term, “Morbidly Obese”  no longer applies to me. Onward I go. These disorders I’ll likely carry the rest of my life, but eating to heal my body, I stand a fighting chance not to be viewed as a side show attraction any more. If however, people still do see me as a side show attraction, I’m charging admission and doing a tap dance.

*For my sisters and brothers in the fat disorder community, give plant-based eating a try. No counting cabs, no counting calories. It will help to better regulate your body. It will help diminish inflammation.  You stick with different non animal product food groups and keep it low sodium, unprocessed and low glycemic index. Read some of my prior writings and start with looking up either the app for your phone or tablet, or look online for Dr. Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen   

 

Note: You can come and hear Dr. Michael Greger and others speak at the STL Plant-Based Summit on July  14th, 2018  Get information here

STL Plant Based Summit