Friday, April 10, 2015

The Next Phase

Over the past week I have written some very raw posts. I talked in depth about subjects I rarely discuss in private. Heck, these are topics I rarely even want to think about. These are the things I keep deep inside.

Last week I told you about my food addictions and my binge eating disorder.

Then I talked about my past and how this compulsive behavior didn’t start with food but that it is where it is now.

Yesterday I told you how I have been able to mask my disorder because of what I eat now. It is how I have lost and maintained and still never recovered from (although it has definitely slowed) from this compulsion.

So where does that put me today? Well, today I am scared.

Today I acknowledge that there is a problem. I accept that hiding it or denying it is never going to change it. And I vow to get help.

Why? Because what if this compulsive behavior doesn’t become about food anymore? Like I said it wasn’t always food driven. What if I turn to gambling? What if I turn to sex? Alcohol? What if I don’t get to the root of the problem and address these issues and learn how to eliminate compulsive behavior and it kills me? That’s some scary shit to realize…

I don’t want to die at my own hands, because of a problem I could have stopped.

I am not saying that it would ever get that far. I would like to think I am smarter and wiser to know better but you don’t know. I don’t know. So instead of just avoiding it I am going to fix it.

I am going to my first Overeaters Anonymous meeting on Monday.

Tuesday I meet with my new doctor at the weight management clinic. I am going to ask him for a referral for a therapist. In addition, I am going to have him help me look for patterns and help teach me ways to avoid these behaviors while I work on fixing the issue.

I am going to get back into yoga and meditation. I have been without both for too long and I think that is why my spirit and mental strength is weakened.

I am also vowing to myself to be kinder and more loving to me and everyone around me. I hate myself and then I take it out on the people I love. I am ashamed, angry, disappointed in myself/my actions and I take it out on the people I love. You see the pattern, right? So I need to be better. I need to be a better Dacia. I need to be more forgiving and more understanding and stop being such an a-hole when things aren’t going great. No one likes an a-hole.

So there it is folks. The next phase. Thank you for reading and reaching out to me with your comments and messages. This has definitely been the hardest and also the most cathartic week or so of my life. I am ready to turn the page and I know I can do it. Thank you for believing in me when I couldn’t.

Love and hugs,


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Cheating the System

Oddly enough I feel like (and I say this to E quite often) that I am 'cheating the system'.

I feel like I found, and fully take advantage of, my personal weight loss loophole. I know, it sounds weird but hear me out.

Before I transitioned to a plant-based/vegan diet I was following the Weight Watcher program. I was doing really well on it, too. I had lost 60 pounds over 8 months and I was still eating (in moderation) whatever foods I wanted. I had started to become more active and at this point in time I was boxing and doing a million other fitness classes and life was good.

But I still felt crappy. I still was tired all the time. Recovery from any type of activity was long and painful. My energy was quickly depleted each day. I just didn’t feel great and I was at a point in my journey where I really thought I should be feeling differently now that I was closer to 200 than 300 pounds, you know?

Through the process of food journaling I decided, on a whim, to adopt a plant based diet temporarily. I immediately noticed a huge difference in my energy levels, my digestive issues (I no longer have IBS or any other digestion problems), how I slept, and how I recover. So it stuck. And here I am 3.5 years later still a vegan. That’s the short story that I am sure you have all heard it before.

But here is something I haven’t addressed before- what being a vegan means for my eating habits aside from the obvious no animal products.

I have been talking a lot lately about how I eat and how I used to eat and how I sometimes eat. When I first decided to lose weight I had a number of bad habits and behaviors that needed to be addressed. I had no idea of portion sizes, moderation was a foreign word to me, and I had this more serious (and obviously not as easy to fix) problem of binge eating. I loved decadent foods and I also loved junk. I really wasn’t picky when it came to what I ate. I was an equal opportunity overeater. But through WW, and the tools they provided me with, I was able to put into place some better habits and at the same time not completely lose my mind because I never felt deprived.

When the focus of my journey turned more to nutrition and health and wellness and not just daily points I started to look elsewhere for help and guidelines. Wanting to do more for myself I ventured into the plant-based diet and (surprising to me every day) it stuck. I can tell you all about the whys and the hows but that would probably be better suited for a different post. What I did find however, is my weight loss loophole.

You see, I am a volume eater and I am also a grazer. I like to eat. A lot. Dinners always came with second helpings and a trip to Grandma’s house meant that there would be food out and at the ready 24/7 (I think that is pretty common of Italian families). I know how to eat. I used to joke if there was an eating contest that wasn’t timed but was just by volume I would totally win. Being a vegan, or at least a vegan that focuses their diet around whole foods, allows me to eat. A lot. And still lose/maintain my weight.

And that is awesome.

Here is an example of what I mean. The other day in one of my FB groups someone posted they just had a 3,000 calorie lunch and showed their myfitnesspal tracker. They went to Red Robin and ate a burger (don’t remember which one) which was ~1200 calories, they ate a small order of fries (which at a place with bottomless fries- kudos for only eating one order) ~300 calories, drank a sprite ~200 calories and ate a piece of cake that was I believe over 1300 calories (I am trying to recite this from memory) – one lunch totaling ~3000 calories. My best guess is that they had no idea that they were consuming such a high calorie meal and then when they logged it they probably freaked out. I know I would. I have. I remember once eating out at Pei Wei and finishing an entire order of the spicy Korean with tofu and brown rice and it being ~1000 calories.  That was probably one of the worst meals out I’ve had since adopting a plant-based diet (calorie/fat wise)  and at the end of the day I don’t think that it’s too bad considering it was for two servings worth of food.

Even at chipotle getting a burrito bowl loaded with sofritas and guac and the usual rice and beans doesn’t break 1000 calories, not really close.

Because when you take away the meat and the cheese and the sour cream you lose a lot of fat and with that fat you lose calories. Not saying that there isn’t a lot of fat in what I eat (there is) but if you take what I eat and then add to it…it adds up quickly.

A good example is one night we were out at CPK. I was logging my dinner into MFP. I had their veggie pizza without cheese on the thin crust. The entire pizza is 600 calories (and I didn’t eat the whole thing). E asked me to look up his pizza and for what he was eating (something cheesy and meaty) it was almost 600 calories for just two slices, which was a third of the pizza.

You see…my loophole. I can eat a whole pizza, or both servings of Pei Wei, or a burrito bowl loaded up and not break my caloric bank. I also get to eat a lot of food. Which psychologically I think really helps me.

I am not saying this is good or bad. I am just saying this- it is very hard for me to go out to eat and accidentally eat nearly two days’ worth of my caloric intake, unless we start talking beer which in and of itself is a slippery slope. But I am not.  Today I am just talking food. My point is, it is easier for me to feel indulgent without much fear of it doing some serious damage.

I should stop here though and say I do try to always follow the 80/20 rule. Most of my meals (80% at least) are made at home. I prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner and all my snacks during the week and leave eating out and/or drinking to the weekends and still then, I limit it. I do not think I could maintain my weight and health if I ate out every day, even if my calories were ok.

That being said, there is a big issue with this loophole and that is- it has allowed me to fall into bad behaviors without much consequence. And up until now I really didn’t care that I still had relapses into binging behaviors.  But I should. I should be working to help fix the mental issues that allow me to still fall into these cycles even if I am still doing well weight and health wise. When I binge now, it looks a heck of lot different than when I binged as an omnivore. But the crazed need to consume is still there and that is a clear as day, red flag that my disorder is still there. Even if I manage it better. Even if I binge on broccoli and pasta and soup and other fairly healthy foods it’s still there.

So, that is where I am now. Realizing that it is important that I get help. Because I still do have a problem. Even if it is masked by my otherwise really good behaviors.

I am planning on attending my first OA meeting next Monday. I am hopeful that I will walk away with some good resources and on the path to recovery. I have to start somewhere right? I mean I already feel like I have started just in talking about this so much lately. And I have recognized this, and I know it needs to change, that eating with reckless abandon is never a good thing….even if it is the world’s largest salad.

Love and hugs,


Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Last week’s post, and the behaviors that triggered it, have generated so many great conversations and I am, for the first time, taking very openly and frankly about the issues behind these behaviors. I want to tell you all about some really great realizations/epiphanies/ah-ha moments I have had and discuss some of the feedback I have received but that will come later. First I want to talk to you about what is behind these behaviors- my baggage.  Since I have already exposed the outer most layer of my secrets (which has been both highly beneficial but also has left me a bit raw) I think it would be good to dig a bit deeper and talk about what’s truly behind the scenes.

See what I've realized is this….

I don’t have an unhealthy relationship with food. I have an unhealthy relationship with myself and I use food as my punishment/coping mechanism.

My method of escapism is binging. No purging for me though. I opt to wallow in the shame and guilt and let the self-loathing fester. That is me present day. But that wasn't always how I escaped. Before food there were other things (things maybe better left off a public blog) when I was younger, I had many unhealthy behaviors. But you are smart, if you can think of a way to forget/drown away pain I probably did it. And once I wised up to knowing that was probably a very dangerous path to head down I cleaned up my act.

But I still had unresolved and unhealthy feelings towards myself. And so I turned to food.  Easy access and legal. Always available. And damn tasty. What better way to drown my sorrows than with a box of tastykakes or an ooey gooey cheesy pizza?

No, this wasn't my every day norm and it isn't now either. But when shit got really hard to deal with this was how I coped. It didn't help that my normal eating behaviors were already excessive and indulgent. I was already behind the eight ball when I turned to food as my ‘drug of choice’.

Now before I go into the back story here I need to preface this with this one very important statement- this is nobody’s fault but mine. So if you are reading this (Mom, Dad, family, friends) and you think maybe you could have done something differently or helped me or fixed this mess you couldn't have. We all have our own baggage. We all have problems. Yes, we do need support to help us find our way or get better or change but it is a path we must find and walk alone. There is no blame in this story nor should there be any guilt because of what I am talking about. I write this today to maybe help someone else feel safe/comfortable about their baggage and in turn feel safe/comfortable to move past it. Like I am trying to do.

Growing up, and I mean from a very young age (maybe 3 or 4 I think), I was filled with resentment and anger. My mother suffered through bipolar disorder and spent time throughout my childhood sick and in and out of a hospital. This was very scary for me. Honestly, there is not much I remember from my childhood other than that feeling of dread and not really understanding what was going on. I was a child. I couldn't fully process or understand what mental illness was. But I do remember loving my mother fiercely (which of course I still do) and blaming/resenting everyone around me for her sickness. My poor father took the brunt of this misplaced rage and anger. I didn’t hate him. I hated her illness but I couldn't take it out on her. So I took it out on him instead. It took a long time to get past those feelings (the ones that shouldn't have even existed in the first place) and develop a normal relationship with my father.

My very close friend committed suicide a week before my 20th birthday. That was really hard for me to deal with. Suicide really messes with those people left behind. I harbored so much guilt and pain that I didn’t really know how to move past it. My life has since forever been changed and my heart still aches because of this loss. I know (like the logical me knows) that I should not feel guilty because he chose to take his own life. But I do. I think we all do. I honestly believe that all of us who have lost someone from suicide will always carry some morsel of guilt for feeling that they let them down, didn’t do enough. That it is their fault, they could’ve done more. Or at least that is how I feel. But I do know better. I know what it is like to be on the other side. I know what that feeling of desperation feels like and in that moment when you decide you want to die you don’t think of anyone else. You don’t think that if so and so would have just called/spent more time/loved me things would have been different. You just feel like you do not have the strength to fight your demons any longer and you concede. In that moment it is about you. Not us. But knowing all of that, having lived through all of that, did not make his death easier.

I have always had these personal issues that have caused me to make not the best decisions. When I was younger (think teens and twenties) I was still struggling with the mental shit from my childhood, the ‘I’ll never be good enough’ feeling that came from other family issues, and I always felt like I needed to make everyone happy and in turn always be happy myself. I had a lot of friends but I never had one best friend. I think that stemmed from the above mentioned baggage and a fear of letting people see it. I had really bad taste in guys. I had a series of really unhealthy relationships. I was cheated on. I cheated on people. I was immature. I didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship. And I was afraid of being alone. So I latched onto someone that was also immature, didn’t know how to have a healthy relationship and (I am almost 100% sure) was also afraid of being alone. And I married him.

Are you surprised we are now divorced? I am pretty sure if you ask anyone who knew us then they would have said the most surprising thing was that we lasted as long as we did.

But I do know that through this all- through all of the packing and unpacking of my baggage- I have finally started to work through some of it. Not all. Trust me, I know there are still more issues and more pain in there that need to be sorted through. But I try.

I made amends with my father and I try to maintain a healthy and loving relationship with both of my parents.

I let go of the ‘not good enough’ feeling when it comes to pleasing people in my family. Although, some days it is becoming clearer that I still have that need to people please within my relationships. That behavior right there is how I mustered through a decade long relationship that I had no right to be in. Meaning- I was in it for many, many wrong reasons but stayed because I just wanted to make him happy.

I still have sadness over the loss of my friend but I have learned to work through and move past the guilt. That took at least a decade.

I am committed to having healthy relationships. I try really hard to be honest about how things make me feel. As someone that passively watched their life pass them by because of my weight I also found that I was passive in other areas as well. I am now a very active participant in my life. Not saying that it is always the Dacia show and I do whatever I want whenever I want but I am vocal about my dreams and goals and I because of this I have found a partner that wants to share them with me and in turn allow me to share in his.

I am not perfect, I am far from it. I know there are still issues in there that are causing me pain. I know that I am not the best when it comes to handling and processing pain and sorrow. I have things I need to work on. I still have baggage, I know this. But I also know the more I talk about it, the faster and easier it is to find the root of the problem. And finding it and acknowledging it and accepting it allows me to heal and move forward towards a healthier and happier me. 

This is my mantra right now...

Love and hugs,

Friday, April 3, 2015

Why Can’t I Just Be Normal???

“Some days I hate myself. I just wish I could be normal”

That’s what I said to E this morning on the drive in to work.

And it’s true. Some days I hate that I am this person that I am today. Some days I hate the person I was that got me here. Some days I just want to yell and scream and say screw it all because I am just so sick and tired of being me.

Why can’t I just be normal???

Now I am not really sure if there is a normal or if what you would call normal is what I would call normal but here’s the thing- I just wish I could wave a magic wand and make it so I could go back to the beginning, back to the start of this problem, and stop it. Being overweight then morbidly obese that pretty much sealed my fate. There were only two paths that I could take- continue to gain and further lose control of my life and my health or lose the weight and get my shit together and get my health back.

I am thankful I chose the latter. Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond thankful. Even when I come here and complain and vent about the other side of weight loss I am still, always, happy that this is the life I chose. No matter how much I say I hate it. It is still a million times better than the limited life I had before.

But I digress.

I would give anything to have the ability to fix all my mental shit back then that caused these behaviors and addictions. I would also love to educate the younger me and teach her why we eat and why nutrition and good foods are paramount to living a healthy life. Because then, maybe, I could have prevented years and years of suffering.  

But I can’t. I can’t go back into time and fix the past in hopes to alter my future. Instead I must live with the decisions I have made which serve as a constant reminder that I did this to myself. That my life today was molded and sculpted by those decisions. My path is carved out. And I just have to suck it up and carry on.

What am I complaining about? What is so bad that I wake up days hating my life?

Well, nothing- in the grand scheme of things right? I mean, honestly I don’t have it bad. I shouldn’t complain. Others have it worse. But that being said, I am still human. I still have emotions and feelings and struggles. And some days I just want to vent. So here it goes…

It is annoying having to always think about food. I always have to have a plan. I always need to be prepared. I feel like food, and eating, is always (ALWAYS!!!) on the front of my mind. I hate that I always need to know where, when and what I will be eating. I hate that food is always such a big deal for me. I hate that when it comes to food I only have two options – complete control or reckless abandon. I have no middle ground. I have an addiction. I can’t just be ‘normal’ and just eat whatever, whenever without thinking about it first.  Trust me. It gets old. And again, I will say that yes this does get easier and yes meal planning and keeping a stocked/pantry and fridge and always having backup plans/ideas is really just part of my life and it is something I have accepted. But yes, there are definitely times when I wish it didn’t have to be this way.

I go off of the assumption that people that know me and know ‘my story’ all understand that my previous weight gain did not come from health issues and it clearly did not come from eating too many vegetables. But maybe I need to tell you more. More about how I got here.

My weight gain came from an unhealthy relationship with food. Addictive behaviors (re: binge eating), poor habits (inactivity, mindless eating) and a very large lack of knowledge when it came to diet and nutrition. Through this journey I have been able to create healthy habits, I became more active and learned how to follow my hunger cues as signals for when I should be eating. I learned more about nutrition- eating to live, not living to eat- and have been able to make better choices for my health and wellness. Those are great strides and I am proud of what I have accomplished. But the fact of the matter is I am still an addict, although I like to think most days/weeks/months I am an addict in recovery. I know better now how to take care of myself and because of it I have more control over my addiction but that doesn’t mean I am healed. I mess up. I lose control. I have days when I just don’t give a shit and I eat, and eat, and eat until I want to vomit. I know I shouldn’t. And almost always in that moment I can tell you exactly why I am doing it, what triggered this behavior. But it is so hard (so unbelievably hard) to stop once you have started.

I know I don’t talk much about this and maybe that is something I should do. Because I cannot be (or act like or give off the impressions that I am) ashamed of this part of my life. It is who I am.  It is no longer part of my every day behavior but it is still there. That demon. He isn’t gone. I just learned how to quiet him better. But he comes back every now and then and shows me that I am not in control. I am not as strong as I think I am. That nothing has changed. And I feel defeated. I feel like shit, honestly. I feel like the lowest of the low. And it just fuels the fire. I binge and feel like shit which in turn keeps the cycle going. I feel like shit, I eat. I eat, I feel like shit. And you know by eat I don’t mean a few stalks of celery or a handful of carrots but I mean I eat everything. I eat like my stomach is a bottomless pit and it is my goal to fill it. That is how I eat. And then I cry and feel ashamed and I hate myself. This is one of the worst feelings I have ever experienced. It sucks.

But then I find hope. It is a little thread of hope but it’s enough to begin to pull myself out. This week it was recognizing what I was doing and wanting to stop. Right then. I wanted it to just end.

So I sent my friend a message and I told him what I was doing. I have never done this before. I have never reached out during a binge and ask for help. And we talked. And I felt a bit stronger.

And then I told E what was happening. I have never shared these details of my food addiction with him before, not this way. And I felt a bit stronger.

And so I went out to my FB page for this blog and I told you all about it. Again, details I don’t often share. And I felt strong. I felt in control. 

I had gotten to that point where I saw the trigger and my reaction and was able to acknowledge that how I was reacting wasn’t normal. It wasn’t healthy.  It wasn’t how I wanted to react. I was able to stop it. And I was able to pick myself back up. No, it wasn’t easy. And no, it probably won’t always happen that way. But I saw it this time, a break/shift in my pattern and behavior and I can see that maybe there is hope for me to find my new normal.

I guess the reality of all this is I won’t ever be normal. Not like someone that has never fought through obesity and food addiction. I will always struggle because, well…I can’t quit food. But I can try to find a new normal for me. One that I can, happily, live with. And it starts with this:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Love and hugs,


RunBuzz Podcast

I haven't listened to it yet but I will very soon...

I cannot thank Steve enough for inviting me onto his show. I had an amazing time taping this. Steve is very easy to talk to. I really hope that somewhere in here is a nugget or snippet that you can relate to. I may not be the biggest loser or the fastest runner but I am a little of both things. And I only became the latter after I was able to lose a very substantial amount of weight...not saying you cannot run to lose weight or lose weight through running. I just couldn't. But we all are different.

Anyway, please if you have any interest at all in running or if you just want to hear me babble for 40ish minutes give the podcast a listen...

Thank you!

Happy Friday :)