Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Mea Culpa
Wow. I really meant to post sometime during the long holiday weekend (made longer by taking Friday off), but being set loose from the digital tether of the computer was just too, too nice to break.

I did get a few knitterly things accomplished -- finished nephew's Navy WoolEase Upside Downer, and the back of Cabled Hoodie:

The color is actually more of a navy; looks purpley here, though.

Nice Bobbles, Baybee!

Warning: Lotsa non-knitting content ahead. Reading optional.

Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered
Well, not bewildered. Actually, I'm crystal clear. Got a lot of thoughts and feelings swirling in the 'ol brain as I prepare the reenter the atmosphere of Planet Thin. I borrowed the phrase from an excellent book I'm reading, Passing for Thin : Losing Half My Weight and Finding My Self by Frances Kuffel. The book is Frances's story of losing literally half her body weight and becoming slender (read:normal) for the first time in her life. I learned of Frances's story via a weight loss blog I read, The Skinny Daily Post (great blog, btw).

Even though a lot of the emotions Frances has written about are quite familiar to me as I continue this weight loss journey, Frances and I differ on a key point. She was always overweight, even as a child. I, however, have been to the dance numerous times; my weight swinging wildly to extremes at both ends of the scale. The highest weights always corresponded to episodes of major depression. In beating back the depression, the will to lose the weight that piled on during said depression always came back. But it gets tiring, people -- mustering the troops for another weight loss battle. I thought I had the problem licked when I underwent gastric bypass surgery in August 1998 and lost almost 120 pounds (yes, it was one helluva depression that preceded that weight gain). The mechanics of a gastric bypass, while not absolute, are pretty hard to defeat.

I had almost two full years of peace and tiny clothes before I got blindsided by life. RockStar's arrival, along with all of his attendant problems, were of paramount and immediate importance, and caused me to lose focus on myself for awhile. This poor kid had so many problems. Diagnosed but untreated ADD. Severe emotional problems. Entering high school. Not just any high school, but a new one, 3000 miles away from his former home. DH and I had to scramble to get this kid stabilized. It was no picnic. His freshman year had a lot of rough patches. It took awhile to get his ADD meds stabilized. His report cards weren't great; C's, D's and an occasional F. His manners were more than rough: he literally did not know how to use silverware when he came to live with us. I kid you not; this kid was used to eating out of a paper bag from the local Drive-Thru du Jour every night. His personal hygiene habits were non-existent. His mother raised him with what I call an "electric fence" method of discipline. RockStar was never made privy to the rules of the house by his mother; if he did something wrong, he got yelled at. Hence, we had one nervous, twitchy kid move into our house, flinching at every turn.

DH contacted Human Resources at his office, and they helped get RockStar hooked up with an excellent counselor specializing in adolescent males. Fortunately, they hit it off right away (although we were fully prepared to keep shopping therapists until we found the right "fit"). RockStar now had a neutral sounding board to work out some very troubling issues. His physician worked with him to get his Ritalin dosage stabilized.

DH, RockStar and I discussed everything as a family. RockStar was allowed to express himself freely at these confabs. He learned that occasionally we were willing to concede on some issues (i.e., growing his hair long, as long as it's kept clean). This empowered him and made him feel he has some say in family operations. He's still a kid, though, and has screwed up on some things (see November 5th's post for story of the Great Flood). DH and I meted out discipline which was appropriate to the offense and was spelled out very clearly. For the first time in his life, he's learned that there are reasonable expectations placed upon him concerning his grades, his personal conduct, hygiene, and treatment of others within the family. But the most important thing that was established in this kid's life was consistency. He'd never had that, ever. The powder keg was slowly being defused.

Fast forward to present: RockStar's last report card, two weeks ago, featured 5 B's and an A. He is performing 10 classical guitar songs at his first recital in March. He can use tableware properly, and although he still has to be reminded to use a napkin (and not his pants) to wipe his hands, his manners have entered the realm of a normal, slightly sloppy teenager. He doesn't flinch every time his dad or I say, "Sit down, we need to talk to you about something." He's a good kid with a mature-beyond-his-years, sardonic sense of humor. He's still a work-in-progress, and with the immediate crisis over, DH and I feel we can finally turn one eye (well, maybe half-an-eye) away from him.

So the kid is happy, where does that leave his stepmom? About 56 pounds overweight. Fifty-six pounds of meals on the run; late night snacks of buttered toast; too many snacks in general. Too much sugared soda, too much chocolate. Too much, period. Damn, what happened? Life happened, that's what.

And it had to happen exactly the way it did. DH and I had a child in crisis; our needs were second (third, fourth, fifth) to healing this kid's pain and getting him turned around.

But I was also royally pissed off. At myself. At the fix I was in. At the knowledge that I was looking at up to one year of ass-kicking work to lose the weight (again) and get back to normal.

So it's happening, the diet's working, the weight's coming off, it's all good, blah, blah, blah. And I can't help thinking, is this going to happen again? Am I going to find myself at the tail end of another crisis, lugging around a bunch of excess weight and going "Wha?" I'd like to think that I learned this lesson real good, and history won't be repeating itself. But we'll just have to see, won't we?

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