Saturday, November 18, 2006

Week Seven Weigh In

Thanks, Vickie, for the comment and included text on depression. You hit the nail right on the head.

I have been battling low to moderate levels of depression since I was a teenager. I've got a family history of mental "challenges": I have close relatives with bipolar disorder, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, not to mention some alcoholism. So the genetics are there. Add that to being a chubby kid in the age of "thin is in," and watch the problems ensue.

I got to watch the last half of HBO's documentary Thin yesterday afternoon. Towards the end one girl was being forced to leave the eating disorder facility and just lost it, crying to her doctors and friends that she was sick of being the fat girl in school, that all she wanted in life was to be thin, and she wished she was dead. If you had taken a mental snapshot of me as a teenager, it wouldn't have been much different than this girl's, other than the fact that she's anorexic and I was fat. The two opposite ends of the same dilemma.

The most depressing part had to be the very end, when they gave a short synopsis of each of the patients they highlighted. All of them continued to struggle with their anorexia and bulimia once they left the facility; there was definitely no miraculous cure. It made me think about the standard statistical quote that 95% of all dieters fail and gain the weight back (although I read recently that the number has now increased to around 20%, which is still a big fat F in any teacher's grade book). The fact is, it's very, very hard for people to change their ingrained behaviors. Once they've found something that gives them comfort or some level of control, it's hard for our brains to give that up. We are creatures of habit, after all.

Anyway, back to the depression note I started on. For years it's been my habit to get depressed and gain weight during the winter. Call is Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression, call it the post-holiday blues, but between December and March I can easily pack on a lot of pounds and lose all lust for life -- except for eating, of course.

Last year my mother got me an early Christmas present -- a light therapy box that provides full spectrum light which mimics natural sunlight. Last fall I used it for an hour each morning while I exercised, and I definitely contribute its use as a factor in my ability to not only lose 50 pounds from September to December, but more importantly, my accomplishment of maintaining that loss the rest of the winter.

I've got a slight dilemma on my hands right now: when we move next month (eek! next month? no way!!!) I will be losing my cozy comfy gym room that's attached to our garage. We have plans to recreate this room in our new basement, but it's going to take some time and work. I can always find alternative methods for the workout -- there's the gym I used to go to that's right down the street. But I can't drag my "happy light" there with me without people thinking I'm a little odd. And I just don't have an hour to spare in my early morning routine to sit in front of the light -- I'm getting myself and daughter ready for our day, and it involves running all over the house.

One possible solution is taking the lamp to work. I work alone in a little office which officially opens to the public at 9, but I always go there at 8 to get settled in before the world comes rushing in. If I ran the light from 8 to 9, it wouldn't bother another living soul.

And, come to think of it, I remember last spring wondering if I shouldn't increase my light levels the following year, because towards the end of winter I was still feeling some of the SADD affects. So maybe "turning on" at work and doing it for 1.5 or even two hours might even be better. Stay tuned and I'll let you know what happens.

ANYWAY, you're all probably thinking, "Would she get on with the stinkin' weigh-in already!" So here goes: this morning I'm happy to announce I'm at 216.5, another 1.5 pound loss, for a total of 16.5 pounds gone since the beginning of October. I have to admit in the larger perspective, 16.5 is pretty nice to look at and admire. And it means I only have another 16.5 to go to reach 200! And then, look out Onederfuls!


Vickie said...

I think work is an excellent idea for the lamp - except what about the weekends???

Also, I don't think "opening up to the public" would necessarily mean that you can't have your lamp ON - it is not like you will be in your swimming suit or something - just put it somewhere HIGH and forget it.

You may educate someone that really needs help by setting a good example.

Is there somewhere in the house that you WORK for an hour or more EVERY day? Computer? Reading? Kitchen?

Two lamp sets? One for home and one for work?

I have a friend named Paula who is a machine quilter (long arm) and she hung hers above her long arm quilt machine - she gets HOURS per day, everyday - it eliminated a very dreadful January/February "tradition" for her.

The thanks wasn't really to me - it was Jan - she comments frequently on my blog (when she is not traveling) and is VERY good in what she says.

ALSO - check out

for a very interesting perspective on eating disorders. I read the whole thing, starting at the beginning and working my way current. I mentioned it to the Shrinking Knitter and she said she spent a lot of time there too.

Grumpy Chair said...

Pasta Queen last week reached the "onederfuls". It was a very neat post: just a picture of her on the scale that read 199.

I bet we all will be seeing that same post from you too.