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I Was Baking Life or How Baking Cakes Cures Almost Everything

I’ve baked for most of my life. To pass the time, to find something to focus on, to calm my creative urges or simply because it was the fastest way to score something sweet for myself without having to leave the comfort of my home.

Last summer, before I started at my current job, I went through a phase of baking and decorating cupcakes. I’d follow every recipe to the letter and spend hours trying new ways to make them pretty. I loved it. It felt good to be creative. But it was like waving a liquor bottle under the nose of an alcoholic because I couldn’t actually eat them (at that point I was still adjusting to life after lap-band and could only manage to eat just one of my pretty presents in a day without a huge sugar rush and a very full tummy.)

So, instead of eating them or throwing them in the bin, I started baking batches of cupcakes and giving them away to friends and family instead. And I found that it felt great. I was happy baking, they were happy eating and I had no guilt whatsoever.

Yesterday was a hard day. One of the hardest I’ve had since I’ve been in Ottawa. To say I felt hopeless would be an understatement. And all I wanted to do was numb the pain. Normally I would eat or drink and I really didn’t want to do to much of either of those things because a) I was on my own and b) the guilt would simply add to the situation and I’d just end up in some kind of food-fueled self-destructive slump the next day.

So, in a strong effort to not allow myself to numb my pain with food, I decided to sip the recommended ‘one glass’ of red wine whilst baking my project team a pumpkin cheesecake. It kept me busy and shifted my focus away from eating and towards creating something special for some people I care about. And I felt a whole lot better.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

It wasn’t until a friend asked me if I considered baking to be a coping mechanism that I actually realised it is. And it occurred to me that it always has been. Funny what a few things from a pantry can do for a heavy heart. Even if I don’t eat them myself.

Sugar & Stress

Okay, it’s really been one hell of a week. In the past 7 days I’ve driven back and forth from Lindsay to Ottawa in 24 hours to move my brother and sister-in-law to town, had my first fill, realised I’m not at all restricted, drove to Toronto and back in 24 hours to see DMB, and now I’ve just found out that I’ve no longer got the financial safety net I’ve enjoyed since my surgery.

trappedTo say I’m stressed would be an understatement. I’m overwhelmed with a frustration I haven’t felt since Tantrum Tuesday. I was discussing my dismay with my Aunt this evening and her suggestion was to get drunk. Oh, how I’d love to be drowning my sorrows sipping on a super sized glass of my favourite vino rosa. But since I’ve got no money, I can’t drink.

And since I’ve got this effing band, I can’t resort to what I’d normally do when I find myself in a stressful situation such as this: stuff my face til I’m so full, the only pain I feel is my waistband digging into my big fat belly!

Well, I could go for the binge and test another boundary but only if I want to end up barfing which will neither solve my financial problems (food wastage is not smart when you don’t know where you’re next dime is coming from…and what if my band slipped??) nor numb the heartache and suffering my endless job hunting is causing. It’s just pointless to even try. But I want to, and bad.

And to be completely honest, I actually HATE living in Ottawa so that really doesn’t help the situation. Yeah, it’s a pretty city and my family lives here but it’s boring as EFF for a single woman such as myself that happens to be used to living life to the fullest in one of the world’s greatest cities. There’s really NOTHING cool about living here when you’re a chic city girl like moi. I’ve tried to keep an open mind but it just doesn’t measure up to what I’ve seen and done and the tradeoffs are starting to lose their lustre.

I don’t care if it makes me sound like a snob but I don’t actually know how people LIVE like this. I honestly feel like Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama only I’m absolutely certain I’m not going to experience the awakening she feels where she remembers where she came from and decides Hicktown, USA ain’t so bad. Ottawa certainly isn’t a hick town but I want way too much more for myself, my life and my career than what Ottawa currently has to offer.

And the worst part is, I can’t get out of here until I get a job. I just feel so trapped!! I can see where I want to go but I just can’t get there. I want out of this box.

Eat Me, Drink Me

Curtis StoneCurtis Stone, you filthy tease!! You are so right, sir. And with people like you pimping food to the world, I’m fixin’ to be stuffing my face very soon.

I don’t care what he’s cooking, but I’m eating it. Bandster friendly or not! Good things he’s a healthy food philosopher.

I HEART you Curtis Stone, you sexy sweet ass, you!

Coffee Girl

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that I LOVE coffee. My life-long romance with black gold started back in high school when my dear friend T-Bone’s dad bought me a medium double-double from Tim Horton’s. Up to that point I’d never been a big fan of the stuff. But when I tasted that sweet, creamy goodness I knew I’d never look back.I love coffee

During the Slimband pre-op diet (7 days) and the clear liquid stage (6 days) I couldn’t enjoy my favourite tasty beverage. I was allowed coffee during pre-op but it had to be blech, I mean black. My preferences changed as my love for the daily grind grew. I changed my order from the ditty little medium (295 ml) double-double to that of a large (415 ml) or XL (590 ml) triple-triple.

When I returned from England my preferences had changed again to milk rather than cream and Tim’s had added a fantastic treat to their very small menu: Iced Coffee.

I didn’t think I could love Tim’s more than I already did. It quickly became my daily dose. Surely, one could understand why my missing the good stuff for just 13 days was absolute torture.

So, on this sunny Sunday, I grabbed myself a large iced coffee made with milk and lots of ice. I wasn’t sure if my stomach was ready for it but I managed to finish the whole thing in no less than 3 hours. Yep, that’s right. I said 3 hours. What used to take me a quick 30 minutes now takes some time to get down. But GD it’s worth it!!

Gimme More

I’m mad. I mean, grinding my teeth, scream at the top of my lungs, throwing myself down and pounding my fists on the floor mad. I’m mad because I let myself get to the point where the only way I can drop the extra person I’ve been carrying around my whole life is to get a band wrapped around my stomach. I mean, seriously! WTF! Who effing does that, right?!

I’m sure it seems drastic to some…like the kind of thing an addict would do. Well, I’ve never felt more like an addict than I do today. Nothing could have prepared me for the impact of realizing the extent of my disordered eating. I literally can’t stop thinking about food. I’m fidgety, I’m clenching my teeth, I’m cold, I’m irritable and I want to scream and cry about everything. I feel pathetic.

Everywhere I look there’s a food ad, or a drive-thru or a major supermarket, or a cupboard full of goodies. It’s unbearable. And I literally CAN’T eat any of it. I’m on a clear liquid diet and I can BARELY get that down. I’m eating what I’m supposed to and I’m full and I’m nourished. So I really shouldn’t want to eat. But I do. More than I’ve ever wanted to eat in my life.

I guess most of all I feel defeated. Like the war that’s been waging in my body has finally ended and I’ve lost. Miserably. And the casualty has been any joy I ever found in food because I’ll probably never feel that same joy again.

Yes, I’ll be able to eat real food again (in about a month apparently) but it’s always going to be a struggle. I’m always going to have to kinda force it down and hope I’ve chewed it properly because if I haven’t, I’ll barf. Oh, and I must never eat more than a cup at a time because if I do, I’ll barf. And I’d better stay away from white bread, pasta and rice because if I don’t, I’ll barf. To top if off I’ve got to make sure it’s correctly proportioned or I won’t get all the nutrients I need. Because if I don’t, then my hair might fall out!!!

But the real kicker in all this is that the Slimband food plan is nothing more than a smaller-portioned version of The Bodydoctor food plan or The Low GI diet. I could and have done both without spending $16,000 on a cable tie!

Hmph. Well, I’m frustrated and I’m exhausted. I guess that’s the mental side of the journey taken care of then.

Addicted to You

I recently read something that struck a very loud chord with me. It went like this:

“One of the more serious brain-related disorders that’s attributed to chemical malfunctions in the brain is addiction. We become addicted to substances that increase or release certain chemicals in our brain. Certain substances like nicotine release dopamine, the pleasure chemical, and your body craves more of it. Not all addictions are caused by dopamine, but it may give some insight into the theory that such things like carbohydrates can be addictive.”

What I have extracted from this tiny tidbit of information is that if one can be addicted to a substance that causes pleasure and thereby compels the body to increase dopamine levels, then one could arguably be addicted to anything that provides pleasure. If I take it even further, I could argue that a person could also invoke such a chemical reaction causing one to crave the attention of, or time with, an individual based purely on their physical dependence on the associated dopamine rush.

What this little dose of daily knowledge taken from a desk calendar has done is cause me to realise that I have an addiction. Not your standard chemical or substance addiction but an addiction to a particular group of people (you know who you are) that provide me with an unlimited amount of pleasure everytime I see them.

Now that I’ve admitted I have a problem I should be on the road to recovery right? Well, actually, I don’t want to recover from this particular addiction. I always knew I had stalker tendencies but now I have a medical excuse.

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