Back in the Saddle Again


The Fall funk got me baaaaad this year. Got fired in August and spent a month worrying about why. (That’s right – they didn’t tell me until I finally went to talk to the person who fired me and asked why.) Wasn’t my work. Just my attitude. I disagreed with something and that was not what they wanted.  I guess they really just needed a yes woman.

Well, that ain’t me.

Still…months have passed. I sank pretty deep by the end of September. Finally dragged myself into the doctor for meds. The ones I should have started in August. But, like I said, I was distracted.

In my search for a real job, I came across a job for a greenhouse worker. I applied. I got it. I make over $100k less than I usually do, so money is tight. But being outside and working with plants and the sheer physical labor involved has helped to spring back.

Another bit of serendipity: I stumbled across an Audible early bird cyber Monday deal on Sunday night for Bright Lines Eating. It was only $5 so I bought it and started listening to it on the drive into work.

Susan Pierce Thompson, the author, tells her story in the book and it resonates with me so much. I’ve listened to it twice now – all 12 hours of it. I may listen again tomorrow. But what I’ve learned so far, is lots of science (valid, I hope) about why it is so hard for me to stay on track.  Leptin resistance in the brain stem, damaged dopamine receptors, addict-able personality traits (take the quiz!) and more.

Hi, my name is Karen and I’m a food addict. I think that’s more accurate now than compulsive overeater. It isn’t that I’m eating that much at any one time, but I have gone back to the dark side and I graze on sugar and flour products far too much.

Bright Lines, or BLE, focuses on planning, journaling and tracking everything. Checklists, even. The four “bright lines” or four things you must do are: no sugar, no flour, 3 scheduled meals and no snacks and weighing and measuring your food.

Ok, they had me at planning.

So I’m back in the saddle again. (The great Gene Autry, though most people will remember it from Sleepless in Seattle.)

My son and husband are NOT excited.  Understandable. Like many addicts I latch onto one idea after another but none of them ever seem to work or work for long and then I’m back in the bark-o-lounger with a bag of chips and chocolate.

I have to keep reminding myself that success is falling down 9 times and getting up 10.

So I’m getting up again. I’m going to sign up for the Bright Lines 14 day challenge and see what happens. I’ve made it two days with no flour and no sugar. Tomorrow will be hard but –  I have a plan!

If it ain’t broke…

Of course I tried to improve on the plan this week. Didn’t do as much prep work. Didn’t have the variety. Didn’t stick to the rules – more sugar, more fat, some dairy, somewhere milk. Fewer greens on my plate and more starch.

I also cranked up my exercise dramatically which made me hungrier, so I ate more.


Blood sugars were back up. (130’s)

Weight fluctuated up and down. Gained half a pound instead of losing.

Tummy measurement – well, I am afraid to check. Posting will encourage me to do that!

Also do not feel as energetic – either physically or mentally.

Tomorrow I am shopping, cooking and prepping to get back on plan. 


And again.

Whatever it takes to get back to THIS:

Does this WOE make me look taller?

7 Day Engine 2 Challenge Results

Last Monday was the first day of the challenge. I posted my stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 141
  • Belly 53″
  • Weight 247
  • 54 years old and 5’4″

Today’s Stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 120 w/out meds
  • Belly 47″
  • Weight 242

Still 54 years old and 5’4″ but I feel younger and taller!!

Surprisingly easy to stay on this way of eating (WOE). So much variety! After a lifetime of grilled chicken and salad when I am “being good” this was awesome.

Everyone said my taste buds would change and they did. The saltaholic stopped double salting and reduced to a sprinkle. Kicked my sugar cravings. Down to one cup of coffee and day. And I have discovered a new love of fruit and bread and other “forbidden foods”!

My pants are looser and I am packing up my fat pants to donate.  Again. So what? I am clearing out clutter from my house, my body and my head. 

I have been eating (mostly) vegan for one month. I ate 1-3 ounces of meat three times in the last month.

End of first vegan month

Month two begins today!

I met Jesus today

He was walking along the highway at dusk, headed into the mountains. He was loaded down with bags and backpacks and carrying a big box.

He was crying.

I did a u-turn and went back to ask if he needed a ride. He said “That would be great.” Where to? “As far as you are going.”

Since I was only going about a mile, I offered to drive him wherever he was headed.

San Bernardino.

That’s almost 9 hours away. By car. So I asked for the story. 

He’d been living with a lady about 9 miles away and working in the area. There was a minor incident and she got mad and kicked him out. He was headed home.

So I took him home and we fed him dinner and made up a bed on the sofa. My husband was worried we were going to be murdered in our sleep. Or worse – robbed!

I didn’t think so. I got a good vibe from him. He seemed like a nice kid who had trouble and just wanted to get home.

We fed him breakfast and drove him to Reno to the Greyhound station where he bought a ticket. Two transfers and about 24 hours and he’ll be home. 

Jesus Lopez Bueno – good luck to you. Thank you for letting me pay back one of the many times I have rescued. 

A Good Week

Seriously impressed with how good I feel after only a week on the Engine 2 Rescue Challenge. I have had almost entirely compliant food for six days and today started with a big bowl of vegan, whole grain cereal with spinach, banana and pineapple, covered with almond milk. I liked it. I like my oatmeal more, but now I know I have a quick backup meal.

Day 1 started with steel cut oatmeal. Apples, cinnamon and some cahews as I am allergic to walnuts. Asparagus for my greens. Green tea with breakfast and black coffee for the commute to Carson City. 

Got my lunch packed for the week to grab an go. Bowl with mixed greens, potatoes, pinto beans, black beans,  peppers, onions, mushrooms, corn and asparagus.

Dinner is zoodles with marinara and a ratatouille stuffed pepper.

Snack, if needed,  is a fruit and hummus and a corn tortilla (street taco size).

No sugar. No dairy. No meat.

(Well I did eat one chicken wing.)

Monday stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 141
  • Belly 53″
  • Weight 247
  • 54 years old and 5’4″

Friday stats:

  • Fasting blood sugar 120
  • Belly 49″
  • Weight 242

Me likey!

Week two starts tomorrow and I am so on board! Signed up with a personal​ trainer starting Monday. Oh boy! 

Engine 2, are you reading me?

One month ago I asked a friend to help with a new food plan. I knew they ate plant based whole foods and no added fat, and I wanted to try it. 

I mean, I have tried everything else, why not?

My friend pointed me to the greats in plant based world: McDougall, Esselstyne.

Once again I started reading, learning, planning.

I bought vegetable and whole grains. I bought potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, bread.

I did not buy meat or dairy or any healthy oil. I bought vegetable broth for cooking, parchment paper for roasting.

I carmelized onions, roasted asparagus, steamed broccoli, sauted greens, baked potatoes, pressure cooked beans, boiled oatmeal, made rice and toasted tortillas.

The first week I was still using oil for some things. Still having some added sugar. I pretty sure I ate more potatoes in one week than I have in the last 10 years. Certainly more beans. 

I can’t say the cravings were pleasant and withdrawal came slowly since I was still eating some day and sugar.

Made it through week two and lost a pound both weeks.

I was doing a lot of planning, shoppoinf, prepping and cooking on the weekends.

Week three I did no weekend prep and went to hell in a handbag.

I ate junkatarian style. Mostly vegetarian, but lots of fat and sugar. I didn’t gain, but I didn’t lose.

Week four I learn about the Engine 2 Rescue Challenge.

I started Saturday (two days early) since I was doing all the prep and cooking it made sense to eat the same foods I was planning to eat all week.

I get hungry – real hunger, not head hunger – and then I eat. Three meals a day. Snacking on fresh fruit. No smoothies, no juicing ( though I might do a weekend juice cleanse next month…)

I am also trying to do more exercise, so I am tired and a little achy. 

I spent the previous six months sitting around and gaining weight and losing muscle, beating myself up.

This feels better.

Of course, my long suffering husband and son are SO excited. 


Here we go again. Another one of Mom’s fad diets. She’s on her soap box again. Criticizing us for the cheese and the meat and the added oil. 

Frustration is high.

I get it. I really do. And maybe I won’t stick to this any more than I stuck to Atkins or Paleo or whatever I did last time. 

But maybe I will.

I have to keep trying. I won’t go easy back into that great fatness.

Starting. Starting Again. And again. And again.

In my work, I always say “the numbers don’t lie”. Here are my numbers, in pounds:

Lowest weight as an adult: 145 (18 years old)

Highest recorded weight: 321

Weight at first surgeons visit: 306

Weight at surgery: 278

Lowest weight after RNY surgery: 170 ( this is a good goal weight)

Total lost: 108 (or 151 if counting from highest)

Weight today: 247 (54 years old)

Regain = 77

Maintaining a loss of 31 pounds (or 74 from highest)
I choose not to accept my current metrics. 

So, here we go again. 


Loose 77 pounds over the next three (3) years (1/2lb – 1 lb a week. Doable. Sane. Healthy.)

Overeaters Anonymous. OA meetings once a week. Literature and podcasts daily. Weekend events 3-4 times a year.Writing. Service. Phone calls. Work my 12 steps. Work with a sponsor.

Bariactric support group monthly, at least.

Find a new therapist. Weekly sessions.
Drinking 64-124 ounces of water per day.

(Mostly) Plant based eating  without a lot of fat. Three small meals a day, with 1-2 small snacks only when needed. 

Pilates 3 days a week.( to start)

Walking 2 times a day, 15 minutes at a time, 5 days a week. Get outside.

Gardening  – growing my own food. Get outside.

Setting up my treadmill again. Shoveling off the dust. (Bribing myself with buying season 12 of Bones)

7-8 hours of sleep a day.

Meds. Vitamins. Supplements. 

Clean and declutter my house. My attic. My garage. My office.  My life. My head. 


Not this:

I know it is a choice. 

And I get to make it.

 Every single day.

Never give up. Never say Die!
Found this:

Oct 10, 2010: Weight: 175, Waist: 34 inches, Hips: 37 inches, Pants size: 12 (some 10’s); Tops: size 10/Medium

Updated:  April 23, 2017: weight 247, pants size 18W. 

Wagon, ho!

One of the most common metaphors for being abstinent is ‘on the wagon’. I am not on the wagon. I can see the wagon, but it’s a ways down the trail at this point. A bumpy, rutted, muddy trail that makes it hard to run and catch up. I’m hoping for a straight stretch, maybe downhill, that’s a little smoother so I can jump back on or at least grab it and hang on and be dragged behind it.

This morning I’ve been abstinent. I’ve been up for four hours and managed to stay on track. Currently – and it changes frequently – I am defining abstinent as:

  • 3 moderate, healthy meals
  • 1-3 small, healthy snacks
  • Eating when I’m hungry
  • Stopping when I’m full

This morning I’ve been plagued with food thoughts. I know exactly where they are coming from. I’m job hunting and there’s nothing like the stress, waiting, frustration and disappointment of job hunting to send me straight to the refrigerator. So I’m trying a technique I like to call clock watching. When a food thought pops up, I look at the clock and agree to wait 20 minutes before I do anything about it. I’m not hungry, so to be abstinent, I can’t eat anything. So far this morning, I’ve managed to wait almost an hour and can feel the first, faint, not really serious hunger pains, so that’s a victory.

So is writing again. I haven’t done any writing for a while. I miss it, but haven’t been able to really get back to it. I wrote a paragraph last week and stopped. Mostly I’ve been writing cover letters and emails and tweaking resumes. So exhausting that I’ve been hiding in distractions. Food that not only distracts me, but numbs me and gives me self-loathing and guilt to focus on instead of the stress of job hunting. Endless games of solitaire on my phone. I swear, I think that thing is surgically attached. Between solitaire, obsessively checking email, linkedin, facebook and for non-existent phone messages, I have rarely put it down. I even sleep with it. Sigh.

When I do put it down it is only to pick up a book – usually a romance novel I’ve read before – wouldn’t want any excitement or stress to crop up. Or binge watching Netflix – again, rarely anything new. It’s been a crazy few weeks, but I think I’m starting to come out of it. The Day in OA on Saturday helped. Being around people are live the life, know the pain and the joy of abstinence. So thank you to my friends for helping me start back after the wagon.