Monday, December 28, 2009

Maintenance Fears

Studies have shown that a subset of people with food addictions have an even harder time losing weight and maintaining than other food addicts. After testing, it was determined that these people have ADHD and use food to self-medicate their ADHD. The ADHD also prevents them from doing things like counting pts., calories, protein, carbs or any system out there. They have trouble keeping track of things on paper, or on Blackberries or any other device or system.

They are also much more likely to give in to impulses because the part of the brain that governs impulses is actually less active than in people without ADHD. In fact, brain imaging shows that the harder ADHD people try to focus on something they find difficult to do, the less active that part of the brain becomes.

It's like being a perpetual teenager where possible long term consequences aren't important enough to inhibit short term behavior. We use food to quell our restlessness, give us an outlet for our energy (biting, chewing, swallowing), and to enable us to sit still and concentrate. We have trouble maintaining anything longterm. ADHD is closely tied to almost all addictions, and makes recovery very difficult from any addiction. If you haven't experienced it, its hard to describe it.

I will tell you that my husband has absolutely no doubts about my ADHD. He used to get up and get me chocolate just to settle me down and get me to sit.

However, ADHD people can go into hyper-focus with something that really interests them and can complete a major project in a short period of time. Just like I've lost most of the weight in a short period of time. However, once a project is completed they lose interest and go on to the next thing.

Entrepreneurs are frequently ADHD. Once they've established their company, they need to turn it over to others to manage it or they'll destroy what they've created. That's like me and maintenance. Goal achieved, interest gone.

ADHD people are creative and spontaneous. Those are our gifts. But most of us are not cabable of following even a relatively rigid routine. I know that I have to do some of the work. But I need the band to be pretty tight to check those impulses very quickly. I know better than to think that I can do it myself. Right now, I pb with one or two small bites of dense protein. Especially if I've had no sliders all day long except liquids. But after five minutes I can go ahead and eat a 6-8 oz filet mignon as long as I eat small bites slowly and chew well. I could then keep eating all night long anything I want as long as I eat slowly and chew well.

Right now I'm choosing to stop eating. But that's because I have that short-term goal in mind. Once I reach it, I'll lose that hyper-focus.

Also, my band has loosened as I've lost weight, and 5-7 lbs tends to loosen the band enough so that I need another fill. Since I want to lose more than that in order to build in a cushion, I'm pretty sure I'll need another fill both to get there and then to help me maintain. Even with another fill, I don't expect it to be easy.

I could be wrong. I hope I am. But most people don't outgrow ADHD. They learn to cope with it and to find compensating techniques. Well, my major compensating technique has been food. I'm trying to figure out how to deal with the ADHD without food.

Going back to school will be a major test of that. I don't know how to study without food. I don't know how to get through research without food. I don't even want to think about writing papers and doing footnotes and bibliographies without food.

Initially, I'm hoping that it will be interesting and challenging enough to hold my attention. The school may also have help available for people with an identified learning disability. Don't know if they do at a master's level, however.

I'm also looking into a support group for ADHD. I've got the spiritual support. I've got the lap-bandtalk support. I use my blog and lapbandtalk to supply emotional support and to deal with my issues. I've got a strong 12-step background.

The hardest part is the ADHD combined with the addiction center of my brain. I may end up on medication for the ADHD. I will do that before I'll let the food take over my life and my health again.

Meanwhile, the high protein low carb food protocol I'm on is actually recommended for ADHD. But I've successfully done this protocol before and eventually the ADHD has always overpowered it. But I've never had the band before and I'm praying a tight band will make the difference.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on changing my thoughts in order to change my brain in order to change my life. I need to believe that, with God's help, this band will provide me with the appropriate tool to permanantly change my eating habits.

I also need to continue to work on getting my own life and getting what I want from my life and relationships whether others concur or not. I've got to accept people for who they are and where they're at but not let that impede me from doing what I need to do to take care of myself. That, too, is changing those old codependant thoughts that have furrowed such a deep rut in my brain that I'll probably be working on changing them for the rest of my life.

It would be really nice if God let me know very clearly whether or not I should go back to school to get my masters. But it seems he wants me to do the footwork of investigating schools and thinking about the long-term consequences of getting the degree or not getting the degree.

Just like he chose not to remove the food addiction but cleared the way for me to have lapband surgery, I have to go through the process. Just like he hasn't gifted my husband with a job but is making him go through training and job-hunting in the security field. Just like he's not letting me know till next summer whether I'll have a job next year or not, so I've got to prepare just in case I don't.

I have to believe that, with God's help, I can change my life. I can have these epiphanies, these paradigm shifts. And, like anything worthwhile, I'm going to have to work for it.