The Journey

Weight has felt like an issue to me for most of my adult life.

I don’t know if it started with a modelling agent slapping a chocolate bar out of my hand when I was 13/14 and telling me I wasn’t allowed to eat it.

Me – Summer 2021

I don’t know if it was hearing about how hard my mother and grandmother and great grandmother were always fighting to lose weight.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I towered over most of my friends, both male and female, in height and stature.

I don’t know if it’s the fact that at 16 (and so thin) that I outweighed my peers by at least 20 lbs.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that food and I have had a crappy relationship. I have eaten to feel better. I have eaten to avoid and escape. I have eaten to reward. I haven’t necessarily eaten to nourish myself; to show love and respect to myself.

In August of this year, I asked my Doctor for a referral to an Obesity Clinic.

He was reluctant to refer because they have “strict criteria”. When I explained that I definitely fit their expected criteria, he took me for a height and weight check because he didn’t believe me. I don’t have high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart problems or any of the other comorbidities of obesity. But, at 243lbs and 5’7” – my BMI was 38 and I was definitely considered obese.

If proving my need for a referral wasn’t difficult enough; there were communication issues between my Drs. Office and the Obesity Clinic and it took a month and me personally chasing down the referral for the process to actually get started.

If I’m being honest, I really don’t even know what I’m getting into other than I’m overweight and overwhelmed and I want and need something to change.

I’ve “been apart of the program” since September. It’s a process. It’s a slow process.

I had it in my mind that “something” would change. Something would be different. Something would be life changing.

And you know what, I think it is. But it’s also a process. I’ve spent probably 30+ years making decisions that have gotten me here and a few weeks won’t undo or reverse those decisions.

I have my third “group session” on Tuesday and I’m dreading it and looking forward to it. Both sessions 1 and 2 have had meaningful – to me – aspects and I’m sure this session will be the same.

Shame tells me that someone’s gonna call me out or tell me I’m doing something wrong or that I’m bad. (We’re starting the nutrition section of the core sessions; and food and I have such a complicated and complex relationship.)

Experience tells me that these people are lovely and supportive and want to help.

Fear whispers that I’m not going to be able to do this.

Courage calmly states that I can.

And so, I make little changes. I take small steps. I summon courage and make the best decisions that I can for today, for this meal, for this moment. I trust that I can learn new skills. I believe that I can make significant and impacting life changes that will benefit me now and in the future. I recognize that this is a long game.

If weight management was as simple as, just do it. Just try harder! Then I wouldn’t be here. But for me, this is more complicated than that. And while I wish I wasn’t in this position. I’m so thankful that I’m healthy and that I’m receiving help and support so I can be even healthier for longer.

#microblogmonday 3

PhotoI’m only just a little late.

The kids have been horrid and I don’t know what was up with me yesterday, but I felt one breath away from a panic attack all day.

I think I’m just tired. Worn out!

But… I wanted to eat my feelings in such a big way and……….I DIDN’T!!!!

I made it through the crazy, to dinner, ate dinner, went for a good walk and then felt calm enough to make it through the rest of the evening without needing to cram my face full of crap.


#microblogmonday 2

Well, I started #microblogmonday and then skipped a week…but that’s ok, right.

Back at it today.

We managed to get “Christmas” put away yesterday and now my house feels so much more open and roomy. I love the glow of the Christmas lights, but am always SO HAPPY to take it all down and reclaim my house.

Jon’s off work this week and so we are just taking it easy.

We went and saw Unbroken last night. I really didn’t want to go and see it because I assumed it would be a fairly intense movie and my life is fairly intense. I like to “escape” into movies with lighthearted and somewhat implausible story lines. But, the people I was with really wanted to see Unbroken and so I went. It was a good movie….just intense.

As far as the whole “Food Addiction” goes, I’ve managed to do really well throughout Christmas although it’s not been without some serious mental gymnastics. I find it SO interesting the games my mind will try to play on me……sugar is a drug. SO NOT COOL!!!! I’ll try to post part 3 of My Journey with Food Addiction soon.

Part 1 here

Part 2 here

How has your Christmas Holidays been, so far?

My Journey with Food Addiction (part 2)

So, I gave at lot of the back story in my last post, and I’m still not finished “setting the stage” so to speak…..

The article I mentioned yesterday says this,

“The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gotten more support from science.

Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. Once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain’s reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.”

While I didn’t understand that I was attempting to get “high”…..that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. This last year has been the most intense as far as this goes.

When I started taking Anti-Anxiety meds back in November 2012, something shifted. During the Cancer Era – I had been having a glass of wine at night to try to relax…..when I started taking the meds…..I didn’t need to. It was incredible. I felt amazing. I got pregnant about a month later and went off the meds for the sake of the baby. It was pretty close to the WORST 12 weeks of my life. Not only was I anxious about possibly miscarrying the baby, but it wasn’t a planned pregnancy, and it would mean we would have 6 kids – and on top of the chaos we already had…… Add into the mix that I had just experienced the most amazing moments of medicated peace and calm and the insanely high intensity levels of anxiety I was now experiencing was in sharp contrast to that. I did traumatically miscarry that baby, and ended the night with a trip to the ER in an ambulance. The only positive to that particular night was that I started taking the anti-anxiety meds again. I was so hopeful that the peace and calm I had felt before I got pregnant was just a wait away…..

I’m not sure why it didn’t happen like that. Maybe the 12 weeks of terror did a huge number on me…..maybe the trauma of that night messed with me….all I know is that I needed to increase the dose and then again and then again and then again……I was drinking something most every night….not to get drunk, but just to take the edge off…it wasn’t working……Food was always something that made me feel good. I didn’t really see that, but looking back, I was definitely eating for comfort. Ice Cream, Chocolate, cookies, cakes, sugar cereal (not all at once, at least not usually)…..Jon would ask me how I didn’t feel gross after eating all that junk….but I didn’t. Not right then anyway. I’d feel horrible after, but it was more “shame” from the fact that I’d eaten over a day’s worth of calories in a few minutes. But, I couldn’t seem to stop myself and it was definitely a comforting thing, and really….my life was so stressful and I felt like I was breaking……..surely I deserved some kind of a reprieve from the overwhelming feelings that I was feeling.

I remember over this past summer, thinking to myself that I HATED food. I was so sick of the fact that I had to eat and I wondered if there was some way that I could just take supplements so that I wouldn’t have to go through the brutal cycles of eating and overeating and under-eating. I just didn’t want to have anything to do with food any more.

I must have realized that there was something triggered by food but it was in no way a conscious thought. Just fleeting thoughts that 20+ years is a long time to have been dealing with this “food issue”. Especially when it was required for sustenance. I remember thinking, “How do I deal with something that I require? Life would be so much simpler if I could just avoid it all together…….”

It got so bad. I was drinking something every night and eating huge amounts of crap and it wasn’t working… was like I’d become immune to my “drug of choice” and increasing the amounts wasn’t helping….I was starting to think and dream about actual drugs…..both prescribed and illegally obtained. I’ve never done drugs aside from the ones prescribed to me, but I wanted to. I thought about it. I dreamed about it. I was searching and hoping for something to blur or numb the emotional, mental and physical intensity of my life………..

And like I said in my last post, I don’t even remember how I started reading about Food Addiction, but I did….and it was like a whole new life started…….

A photo posted by Xangelle (@pattic) on

October 20th is a day I will probably always remember…….it’s the day that knowledge became power for me.

My Journey with Food Addiction (part 1)

It’s said that knowledge is power and when it comes to food addiction and me, that saying is so true.

Here is a decent explanation of Food Addiction and how it relates to me…….(just click on the underlined words)

I’ve struggled with my weight for a really long time…..I’ve had issue with food for even longer. I remember sitting down as a child/preteen/teenager and pounding back cookies or chocolate bars or candy or to a lesser degree chips…..any kind of junk food specifically those with sugar and/or flour.

I’ve never really understood people who could take “just one”. As far back as I can remember, it was kind of an all or nothing deal. If I had a bag of M&M’s….I’d eat until they were gone…..and it was never the small bag – always the BIG ONES. I’d never just buy 1 chocolate bar…it was 3 or 4. I’d grab a handful of cookies and most likely head back for a second or third handful.

While I was a teenager, it never seemed that big of a deal because I was a tall, big framed person and weight wasn’t ever an issue for me.

I was 170lbs when I got married and definitely was not overweight by visual standards.

I still struggle because according to different standards like the BMI or other weight calculators, I was overweight based on my height vs weight ratio….but in no way was I overweight back then……I was thin, I modeled. I firmly believe those standards are flawed…

As far as my weight goes, I did ok until after I had my second child and then things started changing……I didn’t lose the weight as fast as I did after having Angelica. Literally, 10 days after having Geli, I was back in my pre-pregancy clothes and I could see my hip bones and everything. It was not the same after having Alexandra and from then on I began to actually “struggle” with my weight.

But this whole issue is about SO MUCH MORE than weight……and that’s where the “knowledge is power” aspect really comes into play for me.

I remember my sister telling me about a friend of hers who was eating a certain way and she briefly mentioned “food addiction” when she was telling me about this “way of eating”. I briefly looked into it but mostly because I was desperate to lose weight. I didn’t particularly “like” the food eating plan and so I dismissed it…..after all, I wasn’t an addict and I most certainly wasn’t addicted to food…I only had 10 pounds to lose and then I’d be happy……

I’ve spent a huge portion of the last 20 years dieting or eating according to a “food program”. I’ve eaten low carb, sugar free, fast metabolism, 3 day diet, and so many more gimmicky eating plans to try and lose weight. And while some of them worked for a bit, in the end……I’ve gained the weight back and felt more miserable and like a HUGE failure on top of it all.

I think that there have been 2 periods of time over the last almost 20 years where I’ve been close to a healthy weight. Neither lasted very long and between the different traumas and stresses in our lives, its been a brutal battle.

2014 has been an extremely difficult year for me and yet……’s been an amazing year.

We are exhausted.

And that’s putting it mildly.

Over the past 10 years, we’ve had numerous job changes and losses, a stillbirth, 2 second trimester losses, an early miscarriage, the long desired arrival of Josiah, a crazy long, difficult and exhausting journey to an Autism Diagnosis, children with special needs, cancer and the birth of our sweet Judah in the middle of it, serious Mental Health Issues, and 2 BIG house moves…..there is more that I’ve not accounted for, but that’s enough….it’s just too much. We are tapped out.

I feel like I’ve been fighting a battle for a long time. I have been…….. but what’s worse is that I really didn’t understand what or who I was fighting.

Earlier this year, I committed to 100 days of investing in myself. When I look back, I see that I was searching for answers and that I was close to finding them but just not quite there….

See, in the past, my focus has been for the quick fix….

– If I lose 10 pounds, I’ll be happier and then I can go back to doing whatever I want.

– Ok, realistically, I should lose 20 pounds, but that’s a lot and so difficult so if I eat no/low carb for a few weeks, I should loose a ton of weight, and then I’ll be happy and be able to do whatever I want.

– OK!!!! So I should probably be REALLY SERIOUS and just go for an entire month and hopefully lose more than 20 lbs and then I’ll be happy and can do whatever I want……….

It was all about losing the weight as fast as possible – which for me typically meant no sugar, no fruit, no carbs……just veggies and protein….and then something would happen and I’d “cheat”………. cause everyone deserves a cheat now and then, especially when you’re being SO GOOD. That cheat would typically turn into more than just a little treat and BAM…….soon I’d be stuffing my face with whatever I could find.

The “100 Days” challenge was difficult for me and yet amazing, when I look back on it. I’d decided that it needed to be more than a quick fix. I needed something longer term, because the quick fixes were not working. I needed a shift from “short term/quick fix” thinking to something that was more a “lifestyle/long term” plan.

So I started back in February….on Valentines Day to be exact…. my plan was no sugar, no gluten, low carb, only natural foods that I could eat in whole form or combine to make something. I’d started running in 2013 and planned on combining that exercise with my food eating plan to be able to lose weight and really get control of my life which felt so chaotic and out of control.

It started out pretty good. I started 2014 at 230 lbs…..

Towards the end of March, I was doing pretty good. I was down to 208 lbs. I’d run over 100 km in the month of March….and then I stalled.

March-April-May…nothing shifted and I was getting frustrated. I started eating things that were outside of my chosen allowable foods and my running slowed down and by the start of summer….I crashed. it probably didn’t help that I was anemic over the summer.

Summer of 2014 was an absolute out-of-control, gong show. I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I didn’t exercise. I felt lousy. I was trying to just survive. It was so bad, that even walking upstairs to my bedroom was a colossal effort and so once I came down stairs, I avoided going back up until I had too. Lotta couch time over the summer and anything I did do, came at a huge price as I’d crash the next day.

Every time I walk upstairs now, I flash back to how bad it was over the summer and I’m amazed at the difference from then till now. It’s pretty drastic. I went up on my anxiety meds and even added another one into the mix. There were days that I contemplated hospitalizing myself because I could not get the anxious thought under control and I’d spend the entire day fighting thoughts….crying… was pretty bad.

September’s are always like a new year for me….a new start……so I kept looking forward to September and the kids going back to school and routine and…….when it came…..everything was still brutally difficult and nothing changed except that I didn’t have the kids home all day…..I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t. I was so exhausted. Just existing was difficult….it was bad!

I went to give blood in September. I’ve been donating blood since I was 18 and while it’s not been as regular as I’d like and been broken up by pregnancy, breastfeeding, and different meds that I’ve been on….I could finally give and so I did….only to be denied because my hemoglobin was too low. While at the time I felt pretty embarrassed to be denied, that was the start of something amazing…….like the catalyst that kick started this next phase in my life.

I went to my dr and asked for some blood work. I started taking iron…..went and saw my naturopath, got a few supplements…… Finally towards the end of October, I started to feel a bit better.

I honestly cant remember why or how the whole concept of food addiction came to me but right at that same time, I started doing some serious research and reading about food addiction.

It was like my whole world exploded into tiny shards of hope and shame, exhilaration and denial…….