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Is This The Hardest Thing You've Ever Done?

Ok....another soul searching moment in the never ending saga....years ago, August of 2000,  our home burned to the ground while we were...let me see....

I should probably start at the beginning. That day started when I fell at Walmart on my way home from a weeks stay at the Caron Foundation in Wernersville, PA. for "Food addiction"....My boys, who were 16 and 18 at the time, were at their Bio-dads house that whole week for a "group" graduation/reunion type party/gathering.

Having just spent a week in "in-patient" counseling I was low on everything, so I decided to swing into Walmart for the usual, deodorant, shampoo, etc....We had just had a downpour, but the sun was shinning, and it was a typical muggy August day. I was in a rush to get in and out, and finally home, so I wasn't paying much attention when I stepped on a wet spot on the sidewalk and BAM, all 240+pounds of me down on my arm, and sprawled across the handicapped ramp.

Shoppers immediately rushed to my aid, but oh how embarrassing! My elbow was bloody, red and on fire, it matched my face well.  Soon several Walmart employees were on the scene with a wheelchair, and some big beefy guy picked me up,<<<really? and gently placed me in the chair. Once wheeled into the store, and my elbow neatly wrapped, they refused to let me leave. They said my two choices were either they call an ambulance, or I call my family doctor, and a family member for a ride straight to his office, and they had to get on the phone to verify that I was indeed speaking to my doctor....WOW! So I called my "husband", who isn't really my husband, (see previous blog), he was at his office, and there must have been people around he wanted to impress, because he said he would be "right there", not the typical response from my "husband". He was there within 30 minutes. DEFINITELY not the typical response! Remember this is the same man who left me laying on a kitchen floor for 5 hours in 1995 with a broken ankle because he had a "God-damn job to do"! Too bad there weren't any people around to impress that day!

So when he arrived at Walmart, the "all kind and concerned" husband, center stage, act one, scene two, wheeled me out, and said we would take my car, and leave his in the parking lot, but would have to come back to get it later because he didn't want it sitting in the city over-night. Several hours, X-rays, pain meds, and a broken bone diagnosis later we were home.

My little Shih-Tzu, Felix, was all over me, so glad to see his Mommy after a week of abandonment. He didn't need an audience to show he cared. After laying on the bed a few moments, and going through the stack of mail from the prior week, my husband announced he was going back to the city to get his car! Nothing like giving me a few minutes to breath! I didn't even get my luggage out of the trunk yet! But when Tom wants to do something, that's it! So I scooped up my little doggy, my arm, AND brain, was pretty numb at this point, and we went out to my car, I didn’t routinely take my dog with me when I had to drive, but I just didn’t have the heart to leave him after such a brief reunion. Once we got to Walmart Tom announced he had to go back to his office to get his briefcase and would meet me back at the house. So my medicated brain, little doggy, and broken elbow headed home.

We lived in a very pretty little rural community between two mountains, lots of Amish folks, horse drawn buggy’s, farms, and wash hanging on the line. On this particular night the sun was setting, and the mountain was on fire with pinks and oranges, it could be blinding at times, but beautiful. As I made my way up the winding road I caught glimpses of a pick-up truck up ahead but the entire mountain is a series of twists and turns so you can never see very far beyond the hood of your car. My little Shih-tzu was exhausted with all the excitement in one day, Mommy was finally home, AND a long car ride! THIS was a great day in his little "doggy world", and so he was curled up on the passenger seat, sleeping peacefully.

All of the sudden there was a very loud thud, followed by the sound of glass cracking, slowly....and at the same time a spray of candy apple red splattered up my windshield like the shower scene from Psycho! I slammed on my brakes, and that is when I saw it, a huge Black Lab dog sliding down my windshield, across my hood, and onto the road in front of my car, leaving a trail of blood behind.

I tore off my seatbelt, through the shift into park, and jumped out of my car. My door hanging open, lights on,  and that damned "dinging" noise your door makes when it's open and the motor’s still running, ringing in me head as I looked down at this dog, it was pitiful, he was yelping, but couldn't even pick up his head. The tears were running down my cheeks as I stood in front of my car on this mountainside, shaking like a leaf, on the verge of hyperventilating, and helpless. About then is when I heard that distinct whirring sound a vehicle makes when it is being driven backwards, fast, and then? All hell broke loose!

This woman jumped out of the truck, cell-phone in hand, screaming at me, not mad, just upset. Trying to tell me that they were not from around here, up from Florida visiting family, something must have spooked the dog, how they travel with them on the truck all the time, and this never happened before. Asking for the name and number of a vet, as if I walk around with that information! I am crying, trying to tell her I'm sorry, I don't know, the husband is hunched down, cooing comforting sounds, cradling, and trying to calm his fatally injured dog. The traffic is backing up, the horns are blowing, it's then that I realize my car is just sitting in the middle of the road. 

About that time a woman came running up to me, "hey lady, is that your car”? As she points in the general direction. “Do you own a little gray dog?, because one just jumped out of that car and took off down the mountain"!!! 

OMG!!!! Felix!!!!....It was all I needed to hear, yeah I felt bad for the injured dog, but my precious Felix, my little 15 pound puppy, who has never been on a public road! I took off, running down the mountain, drugged up, broken elbow, blinded by the tears for that poor dog laying back there, and new ones for my little Felix! What would I tell the boys when they come home? OMG! What will my husband do when he finds out? That dog was the one thing he loved!

At the foot of the mountain there is a little family owned ice cream shop, as I ran into the parking lot there was a church youth group, probably 20 teenagers all sitting at the picnic tables eating ice cream. Several ran over to me yelling, "if you are looking for a little gray dog, he ran that way", as several others pointed towards the woods. I was beside myself, the woods!!! The sun was almost down, it would soon be pitch black, and no lights for miles. Peter's Mountain was a scary place after dark, even Pennsylvania's finest seasoned hunters avoided being trapped in those mountains come sundown. Immediately the teens, along with the owner of the ice cream shop rallied around me, "Don't worry Ms, we'll help you find your dog". The owner brought out several flash lights, and some of the kids ran to the mini bus, going through the glove box, looking for flashlights, lighters, flares, anything that would help. Before I knew it we had a regular search party in full swing, dozens and dozens of people walking around the woods, lights randomly flashing in your eyes, everyone calling, "Feeeeelixxxxx, here doggie, doggie, here boy". 

By this time the pain had returned full force to my elbow, and a woman came over and asked me to sit in her car a minute, rest a while, get off my feet, "don't worry one of these kids will find your dog". Just about that time I heard Tom's voice, "where is she"? I looked across the parking lot, and there he was walking full steam ahead towards me. He didn’t look mad, actually he looked…umm…. worried?

He made his way to the car I was sitting in, and asked what happened? When I began trying to tell him the dog was lost in the woods, he looked confused. After much back and forth I finally figured out his confusion. The gist of it is that he was making his way up the mountain after getting his briefcase at work, when the traffic came to a crawl. He assumed it was an accident, so he was just waiting it out. When the traffic began to move again he came up on my car, still running, windshield cracked, front-end caved in, and blood everywhere. By then the injured dog, and it’s family was long gone. He didn’t have a clue what happened, but assumed I was in an accident, and it was my blood.

Shortly after Tom got there, and the story of what really happened was sorted out, someone in the “search party” yelled out, “found him”! We went running behind the ice cream shop, and there he was, growling at this person who was shinning a flashlight in his face, my little pup was crouched in a corner, on a little side porch of someones home. All the years we passed by this place, I never realized there was a little cottage like house back there. He was wet, not sure how that happened, and scared to death. Once he saw me he came running.

We spent sometime profusely thanking the people who had tirelessly searched, and then we tracked down the owner of the ice cream shop to see if Tom could park his car there for the night, that poor car was destined to sit in a strange lot that night. I sat down with Felix, while Tom hoofed it up the mountain to my car, and drove it back down to where we were waiting.  The windshield was shattered but not out of the frame, just cracked in a million places. We got some paper towels, and a cup of water from the owner, and Tom got as much of the blood off as possible, the windshield wipers were gone. Finally we settled in for the 4 mile ride home.

As we were going over the mountain Tom decided that we should pull into the McDonalds parking lot where it was well lit to get a good look at the damage. As he got out of the car a young girl from the McDonalds was coming out with the days trash, and heading to the dumpster. My younger son Cory had applied for a job there and she recognized me. “Hey Mrs. W, what the heck happened to your car”? She asked. After a brief description of the days events, she said, “Wow, well we had some excitement here too, earlier tonight there must have been a really big fire somewhere out near where you live”, as she pointed down the road with her chin. She went on to describe the blast of alarms, and sirens, and how some of the older folks that liked to sit in McDonalds at night to chew the fat, all headed out to do a little ambulance chasing. Like I said, a small town…..So we talked a bit more, and then headed home. It never dawned on me that there was more excitement yet to come……

Until we rounded the corner and onto the road our home was on. WAS is a good word. The distinct smell of smoke, smoldering rubble, and a yellow “do not cross” tape now surrounded what WAS our home. I just sat there as Tom drove up. I was numb. 

Immediately our neighbor came running over. Explained how everyone was trying to find us, how another neighbor was out back in his yard working on his car, and noticed smoke over by our house. He assumed it was a cook-out. He went back inside for his own dinner, and when he came back out 20 minutes later the flames were shooting out of the roof and back windows, he called 911, but it was too late. Then she handed me a card, it said, “The Red Cross”, and had a woman's name and number on it. The neighbor said that they were there, but it was getting late, and they had to go, so I was to call the number on the card, no matter how late it was. At this point we still did not own cell phones, so we used the neighbors and called. The woman was very helpful with advice, and told us there was a room reserved for us right up the street at the Red Rose Motel. “no need to pay”, she said. “And in the morning I will come to the motel and meet with you, bring some food vouchers, grocery gift cards, and will assist you in any way I can”.

That night we stayed at the Red Rose Motel, a 12 room strip of front doors. I had passed the place a million times. It was not the kind of place I could ever imagine spending a night. But that night I was so grateful for a place to lay my head.

The next day the room phone rang off the wall, by 10:00AM we had the car insurance, home owners insurance, our local agent, the Red Cross, the fire department, the fire marshall, the local newspaper, the ice cream shop, my sons step-mother, my husbands employees, and our neighbors, dropping in, checking up, bringing supplies, offering help, arranging meetings. It is all a blur.

At first the local paper reported it was from a cigarette, and started in the back bedroom. But that was impossible! No one had been smoking, or even home for that matter. Oh yeah we were there, but just that couple minutes before my husband announced he wanted to go back to the city for his car, but this was the story flying around in print on Monday morning. In the meantime the Fire Marshall had not even done his investigation or filed a report yet! I found out later that because there had been some local neighbor kids going into homes and riffling thru belongings, smoking cigarettes, eating food out of refrigerators, etc….that this was something some of the folks gathered at the scene had been speculating on the night of the fire. Evidently a reporter picked up on this, and ran with it. But in the end the Fire Marshal decided that the heat was most intense above the bed where the ceiling fan was, it was August, and hot. When we left to go get Tom’s car the ceiling fan was definitely running. I ran them most of the time to keep the air circulating in the hot summer months. He told me that the way the metal brackets were drooping, and the pattern of the residue, and the “hot spot” in the center of the bed etc….he could almost paint a picture. He said a spark from the fan ignited the comforter, and just like that. Poof! Gone! I have to say that from then on the idea of a ceiling fan above my bed has caused more than one nightmare. I cannot think of a worse way to die….

We spent the next 2 months at my friends farm house. Her Grandfather had passed away the previous March, and she was the designated care-taker of this sprawling farmhouse on a hundred acres. It was serene, peaceful, and just what I needed.

I use to refer to that day as the “Trifecta of D-Day’s”. A day of death, damage, and destruction. But then again, looking back on this life, really it seems like it was just another “B” day……Beth Ann

This is how my chapter ends, but for this blog I want to explain the opening remark about the coming “soul searching” moment.

Anyone who read my last blog knows my husband recently lost his job, money is tight, and soon it will squeak! But my son needs to go to Pennsylvania on the 18th of December, in just 2 weeks. It’s a long story involving a DUI hearing. He got out of the NAVY last year, and decided to go up to visit his friends shortly after. YES he got drunk, and yes he got behind the wheel of his car, and yes he totaled it by driving off the road and down an embankment. He has paid his fines, and done his community service. He has not drank while driving since, or to the best of my knowledge ever before then. AND hopefully he has learned his lesson. BUT on the 19th he has his final hearing in which he must relinquish his Pennsylvania's drivers license for several months. This means he can drive up there, and he can even drive home once he crosses the state line into Maryland. BUT he cannot drive in Pennsylvania. He asked me to go along, and he is paying for everything. BUT he isn’t exactly rolling in dough either!

And so the RED Rose Motel, at a whopping $54 a night it is! I have not been past that hotel since 2007, I have not had to think of that “B” day in almost seven years.

Somehow in the midst of the emotional roller coaster ride I have been on this past few weeks, with the sudden loss of the job, and thoughts of losing the house, little sleep, and lots of worry, I have managed to keep the food plan in check. But I have to say that this trip to PA, the thought of driving back and forth over Peters Mountain to get to the motel, and the courthouse, UGH.... It all seems overwhelming. 

And so I wanted to share this little story with my friends on MFP, it is a chapter out of the book I am working on so I will probably delete it shortly. But sometimes when, certain foods cross my path, I look back on some of the “noteworthy” days in this life, and I ask myself. “Is losing this weight the hardest thing I have ever done? No probably not”. You’ve had your “D” days too! We all have. So the next time you reach for that piece of cake, stop….then think back to your “D” day, and ask yourself….”Is skipping this piece of cake the hardest thing I’ve ever done”? Probably not……

The Day The Musings Died.

Today is the 25th of November, 2013. I have been on this weight-loss journey since last September when I weighed in at 304 pounds, and my then 3 yr old grand-daughter asked me one night to get on the floor and play with her. I could not, and that innocent little request changed my life. I started on my own with small changes, 24 pounds worth of small changes, and then I found MFP on New Years Eve, and signed on January 1, 2013, at 280.4 LBS. As of right now I weigh 181.6 pounds. I am no longer morbidly obese, or even obese. My BMI when I began was 49.1, it is now 29.2. I am wearing size 10’s and 12’s, and medium tops. I should be thrilled, and I am, but…….

I recently posted in my diary notes that I had received some bad news, many friends sent me well wishes, and so I decided to write about it. It has been a long time since I have written. I have made many MFP friends during this 11 months, and sadly, have lost a few along the way as well.

For those who have known me since the beginning, you already know the sad, sordid details of much of my life, but for all my new friends here is a little back-ground.


No pity-party here, just the facts.


The sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse began when I was 18 months old. My Mother prostituted me out to an Uncle who was a pedophile. He and my Aunt were childless, and they owned a ceramic shop. The Kiln, (firing), room was where he usually took me. My older brother got in on the action too, I cannot remember when that began, but it ended when I was just about to turn 13, and my uncle was placed in a Nursing home, my brother got married. 

My Father was a religious zealot, he preached, never smiled, and had an earplug piping Oral Roberts and Billy Graham sermons into his ear via a transistor radio all the time. He was absent in every way except physically. I still have fuzzy dreams of a little girl being placed on a couch, with a shadowy figure hovering over, when I wake up I have the distinct impression it is my father….but I never see a face, it has left me wondering all my adult life if he molested me too.

I left home and married the first man to propose when I was 18, in year three I gave birth to my second son, by year four I had suffered many physical assaults while he was in a drunken rage. At the age of 23 I was living under police protection with a 4yr old toddler, and an 18 month old. I was divorced, scared, alone. Food was my friend. It always had been. I kept cookies and candy in a straw purse that hung on my bed post when I was a little girl…a treat for being quiet, and “good”, during the most painful times I was visited in the night.

One year later I was living with a wonderful man, we were planning our marriage in 1988 when his brother committed suicide. Four months later my fiancé disappeared. I had no where to go but home. The verbal and emotional abuse was instant. I left. Me and my 6 and 4 year old lived in my car for 3 weeks, waiting for an opening at a women’s shelter. 

Less than a year later I was married again, he too was a wonderful man, but with a 12 year old, very athletic son. Within 3 years this boy was 6 foot tall, strong, and very very jealous. When his father wasn’t home he would threaten both me and my boys. 

Then one day I received a phone call from an old therapist. The man who had been court ordered to counsel my first husband after he was arrested for assaulting me. I was already making plans to leave my 2nd husband. It took 3 years but I realized that I had gone from being abused by a husband to now living with an abusive 15 yr old step-son.

This therapist asked me out to dinner, we had maintained phone contact, and sort of a friendship over the years, so I didn’t see a reason not to. At this meeting he told me he was in love with me, had been in love with me since the day he meant me back in 1985, when I was married to the alcoholic. It was like a fairy tale! An educated man, a director of a hospital detox unit, 3 piece suit and tie, and HE LOVED ME!

We ran off with my two sons to Florida, where he was going to go into a partnership with an old college friend. Open a “private pay” office. We were in Florida less than a week when Hurricane Andrew hit. It leveled the area where the office was going to be, we lost any means of contact with this old college friend. We headed to the West coast, Tampa bay area, as many of the victims of the hurricane did. Within months it was obvious that jobs were scarce….we headed back to PA, where Tom told me he had a friend who could get him a position at  a Psych hospital, we barely had enough money for gas. I had to take my boys to their Fathers house, and leave them there for 2 weeks while we headed to Harrisburg PA to find accommodations. The accommodations ended up being a homeless shelter for the next 3 months. Eventually he did get the position at the hospital, eventually we got a house, eventually the money was no longer an issue….BUT everything else was was.

When we left for Florida he told me lots of things….one was that he was 39 years old.  I was 29, going on 30 at the time, so it did not seem a big deal. Within 8 months I discovered he was actually almost 53. It didn’t change my love for him, but it did change my trust. Soon he began disappearing, sometimes for days. If I questioned him I was told I was on a “need to know” basis. He told me I was his 3rd wife. Who was I to judge? After all he was my 3rd husband….I found out I was his 9th wife. He used every excuse to avoid sexual contact with me. Soon I began finding other things out, things that led me to believe he was, at the very least, bisexual, if not gay. 

And so by 1997 I was saving and planning yet another divorce. But then I got sick, a blood disorder that had been diagnosed in 1991 was back with a vengeance, and I was placed on full disability. $659 a month! Where was I going to go on that? And so I stayed, we sort of had a mutual understanding by then. He supplied the income, I paid the bills. He fed and clothed me and my boys, and I didn’t ask where he was going or what he was doing.

And this is the way we have been living for pretty much the entire 20 years. I however used food for my comfort, not another man. So I have remained faithful to the marriage. 


And you thought all that was the BAD NEWS? HA! NOPE!


After nearly 20 years of his lies, cooking and cleaning for him, never knowing where he was, what he was doing. Finding out about lie upon lie….I have been quietly paying the bills, cooking and cleaning, raising my sons, and eating myself into an early grave, full of self-pity at this, my “lot in life”.  BUT, the one thing I will give Tom credit for is, he is a “work-aholic”, and so while he didn’t make fabulous money, he made enough to live comfortably. UNTIL…Friday….

Tom is now 73 yrs old, some of the many lies I discovered over the years involved money, and how he did not have any life insurance, 401K’s, anything at all to fall back on. But by the time I found all this out I was on full disability, and had even less than he did. His paychecks covered the bills, the mortgage, nothing extravagant. But there was never anything left to “save”.

Of late Tom has been acting very weird…yeah I know….but weird EVEN for him! Sleeping in, coming home smelling of alcohol, (he has been clean since 1975), according to his NA/AA membership. This past Friday I went to the mailbox and there was a letter hand addressed to him from his boss. In ALL the years we have been married I have NEVER opened his “work” related mail, only the bills. But something told me to open it, and so I did.

Hands shaking, heart pounding in my throat, I ran to my bedroom and read….


“Dear Thomas J. ——— , as you already know the Charleston office will be closing on December 20th, due to financial cutbacks. You will receive 4 weeks severance, and any unpaid leave time.”


Tom has always said he will die working, he will never retire….Not retiring when he turned 65 was his choice. 


I hid the letter, because I was told years ago that Toms whole identity revolves around his job, and that she, (the therapist) was afraid of what he might do to me if I ever exposed some of the things he does, and brought his work world crashing down. 


When he came home Friday night, he immediately went to the kitchen table and began looking through the mail, something he NEVER does! I held my breath just waiting for him to ask if there was anything for him…I am NOT a good liar. Thankfully he didn’t, he just went to his room.

At 6:15PM I asked if he was eating, he said, “no”.

On Saturday he stayed in bed ALL day, something I have never known him to do, EVER. Not even when he has been sick.

Saturday night he came out of his room to use the bathroom. When he looked at all of us at the dinner table I could not believe my eyes!

His face does not even look human! Everything is swelled up like the elephant man. His eyes are almost swelled shut, his lips are curled up to his nostrils, even his ear lobes look like cauliflower!

As soon as anything was said about going to the ER, he became belligerent, and went back to bed, he stayed there all day Sunday too. 

last night my son said “OMG, Tom you need to go to the hospital”!…All he did was mutter that the only place he was going was back to bed, and work tomorrow! (today).

This morning at 8:30 his car was gone! I was amazed!

At 11AM I took the dog out, and his car was back in the driveway. (he has his own private entrance to his bedroom).

He has not been out of his room since. 

On Friday I noted in my diary that I had gotten bad news that day, and that life was going to change in a big way. 

I have no idea what 2014 will bring, but I do know that we cannot afford this house, without his income. 

We bought this house in 2010 because my daughter-in-law had a stroke while carrying my grand-daughter, a pregnancy that took 9 yrs and wasn’t supposed to happen, My little Kaelyn is my miracle, and the joy of my life. BUT my son works a part-time job in retail because back when my daughter-in-law first had the baby there were many medical problems, and she was in and out of the hospital all the time, he needed a job that could be flexile with hours. My other son just got out of the NAVY last September, and is using the guest bedroom while he completes his degree using his GI-Bill. 

Both of my sons do give me money every month towards the upkeep, they take turns mowing the grass, fixing things, my Daughter-in-law does all the laundry, and cleans up after dinner at night. We have a nice system, and it works. I love having my soon to be 4 yr old grand-daughter living with me. Having her since birth, and my daughter-in-law in and out of the hospital so often in the beginning, we bonded…it is like she is my daughter. I would crumble if we were to all be torn apart by this mess I find myself in……


And so that is my bad news…sorry to have bored those of you that already know this story, with all the details….but you all have been such a huge part of my success, and if I do have to close up shop, leave MFP, end up losing our home, flung to parts unknown, and lose contact with you all….I just want you to know I love and thank each and everyone of you for being here with me, and for me……..Beth Ann

Starvation Mode.....

I wrote this blog in March, at the time I was down 26 pounds. Today, September 23rd., I am at 87 pounds lost. So far so good.

So here it goes..... 

Today I want to share a personal story about the forever feared, and often discussed "Starvation Mode".

Do I believe in starvation mode? NO! Not in the context in which I see it so often flung about, and that's on many websites, not just this one.

I will say this, I do believe a person  can starve themselves of nutrition.... 

That being said, I believe that if you are over-weight, or as  many of us here on MFP, Obese, we have plenty of something called "fat stores", you know that lovely little thing we were created with, so our body has something to feed off of in times of famine. BUT that was long ago...and with all the food and  govt. programs, famine, as in months of very little, if any food, is a rare occurrence in this country.

AND I am not talking about starving children here. Of course I know that there are  children in this country who cannot provide for themselves and go hungry! BUT that is a whole different blog, and one I could never get through because of how it sickens me.

NO, this is about  those of us trying to lose weight. We have fat stores, although why mine seem to be mostly stored on my hips is beyond me! And while we need to watch our nutritional values, vitamins, proteins, fats, etc....and try to get in the important amounts needed for function. We are not going to stop losing weight because we are in starvation mode.

If this were true, there would be no pictures on TV, in newspapers, and in our history books, of people that are nothing but skin and bones in concentration camps. Or how about those commercials for donations to 3rd world countries, those people do not look like they've stopped losing weight to me! 

It's real simple, and again this is  ONLY my opinion, BUT, if you have a good amount of weight to lose, not 5 or 10 LBS, but a substantial amount, eating less calories, but nutritional food, will not starve you!

After all, starvation is the whole premise of surgical weight-loss. I have had the surgery twice, along with a bowel resection surgery. And between 500 and 700 calories a day was all I ate for months.

Did I lose everyday, of course not, but over the course of 6 months I lost between 90 and 115 pounds on all three occassions.

At no point did I go into "starvation mode", my body lived off the fat stores I already had.

Trust me, if you can go to work, clean the house, prepare the meals, pay the bills, or even sit up and watch TV for cryin out loud, YOU ARE NOT STARVING!

Have you ever seen someone who is starving? They cannot lift their heads off a pillow, now if your calorie reduction brings you to that point, you've got a problem, but until that happens, if you can function normally through-out your day, you are not starving. However, Nutritional starvation a different story.

I  take vitamins, and have for a very long time. A reduction in calories, means a reduction in nutrients, AND let's not forget, there are vitamin deficiencies that CAN, AND WILL KILL YOU!

And that brings me to a little story I'd like to tell you about a personal experience.

In 1991 I had a gastric bypass.  It was a new program in Pheonix, AZ, called LiteLife, an entire wing of the hospital was sectioned off for this "new and innovative" procedure. I think I was one of the first patients to have it done. I flew there from Pa, so when I got out of the hospital and flew home it was with very basic instructions, clear liquids then broths, jello, yogurt, etc... then no more than 3 ounces per meal....for 6 months, that's is, no vitamins were ever mentioned. I weighed around 280 LBS. For months I lived on liquids, no vitamins, just broths, jello, tea, water, etc.......I DID NOT STARVE. When I got down to about 135 LBS I was eating normal foods, but very small portions. I was probably still only consuming about 600 calories a day. I remember that if I ate more than half an apple it made me so full I would feel as if I was going to vomit.

One morning in July of 1992 I woke up and headed to the bathroom. When I looked up  to pull open the cabinet and get my toothbrush I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I  was blue! BLUE! As in the color....I remember shaking my head, rubbing my eyes, I thought I was dreaming. I reached up and turned on the light, and looked again, and I was absolutely, positively BLUE! I pulled my night shirt away from my neck and looked down....MY GOD MY BOOBS WERE BLUE!!! I looked like Smurfette! I ran to the nightstand in my bedroom and grabbed the phone. I called my doctor and was told to come right in. 

When I arrived they all stared at me slack jawed, then wisked me back to an exam room....The doctor came right in. She immediately took blood, she didn't even bother to call the nurse. She looked in my eyes, up my nose, did the BP, temp. etc....In the meantime the nurse brought my blood results back for the B-12/iron. They were virtually non-existant. The doctor said that it looked like I was suffering from something commonly referred to as POW Syndrome. Which basically meant starvation of nutrients. She gave me a B-12 injection and told me to go home and rest, and they would call when they got my labs back.

Later that day I saw I had a message on my phone, when I listened to it, it was my doctor, she sounded frantic, but I couldn't quite make out the message so I called the number she'd left me. When she answered, her first words were, "Thank God you are OK", I asked what was going on, she said there was no time to explain I had to get to the Lewistown hospital immediately. She told me to come straight to the ER. that she and an oncologist, and hematologist were waiting for me there. She told me under no circumstances should I drive. I was like..."whoa, wait a minute...tell me what's going on"...She told me that they got a call that afternoon from toxicology...the guy was half laughing wanting to know when they started doing autopsies...he thought the blood he just ran tests on had gotten mis-labeled and was actually from the coroners office. When he read the name, the nurse ran for the seems that I had the platelet count of a person that had been dead for at least 24 hours....I dropped the phone...raced to the other end of the house, grabbed my kids, and drove to my mother-in-laws house. I was not even thinking about the "no driving" orders. My mother-in-law was a nurse, so I explained the best I could. I am not sure how the rest happened...all I remember is getting out of the car at the ER entrance, and walking though the doors. I immediately saw Dr. Cox, and two men I didn't recognize....the lady at the desk asked to see my insurance card, and hunting through my purse is the last thing I remember....3 weeks later I woke up. I had 3 holes literally drilled into my sternum, skull, and near the hip. I had an IV in my jugular vein on my neck. There were wires everywhere, and at the foot of my bed stood my husband.

I'd come to find out later that my platelet count was under 1,900. A normal platelet count is between 350 and 500,000...That blue I saw that morning was my blood, under my skin, I was hemorrhaging from every organ in my body....the holes they had literally drilled into me were all draining off the blood so I didn't drown internally, while another tube was pushing my blood back into my veins. 

What happened to me?  Well....I had gotten so use to eating such a restrictive calorie count, that once I reached a normal weight, and didn't have the fat stores to feed my body anymore, I went into a Nutritional Starvation mode. My body had no nutrients as back up, and so my body turned on itself.... every organ began to shut down.

BUT I WAS AT A NORMAL WEIGHT!....and not eating enough. Not over weight by 130 lbs! ALL those months that I was living off my fat stores and only eating 500 or 600 calories a day, my body did not shut down, or turn on itself, I did not almost die. I DID NOT GO INTO STARVATION MODE! It wasn't until there was nothing left for my body  to live on.

My point is, when you are a lot over weight, and you stop losing for a day or a week or even a little longer, I,  for one do not believe it is  because you are in starvation mode....just give it time, play with the numbers a more one day, less the next...BUT MOST DEFINITELY EAT HEALTHY, WHOLE, NUTRITIOUS FOODS, AND TAKE GOOD QUALITY  VITAMINS! After all if the vitamins are chock full of preservatives, and synthetics it kind of defeats the purpose of healthy eating....

So because of this situation I had to have Iron IV's and B-12 injections for years...sometimes the IV's were 3 times a week. Finally in 2006, after almost 15 years, I went to mostly vitamins....but still I need an occassional "booster of B-12"...

That my friends is "STARVATION MODE"


I don't normally do this, but I think my story is an important one with an important message, so I am going to ask anyone who reads this and wants others to read it too, to click the up arrow on the vote button....that way it may get enough votes to make it to the boards....I think there is a lot of questions and confusion about this phenomenon so many well meaning folks  refer to as starvation mode. 


Thank you, and goodnight......Beth Ann




Find Your Moment...

Today is September 5th, 2013. I began this journey on January 1, 2013, just a few months ago. For those who have been my friend since the beginning, you know I use to write a blog frequently, if you should happen to remember this one, my apologies.

When summer came, I began to have a lot of health issues, it got busy, I got busy. The exercise began to fall by the wayside, mostly because it was doctor's orders. Writing a blog was a relaxing and inspiring thing for me to do. Writing always has been. But it began to overwhelm me, I was still doing well with my losses, and keeping it together, but something had to give, and I wasn't going to allow it to be my food plan, so I stopped. I am grateful I made that decision because it helped me to maintain focus, and 2 days ago, on September 3rd, I entered "onederland".

Every once in a while I go back and read some of what I had written that first 5 months of the journey. Tonight I came across this one. The friend it was meant for has log since gone, it saddened me the day I deleted her, but in this fight, sometimes you just have to practice tough love. It is my hope that she is back here on MFP, and doing well.  

But in the meantime I have many new friends, and I felt the need to share this. Reading things like this helps to keep me in "my moment".....

So here it is. 

Today is the morning of March 4th, 2013....It's a Monday and the start to a new week and Month 3 for me. I hit my goal of 255 on the 24th of February, a full 5 days early. My goal was to hit it by March, 1st. But then I bounced up and down the rest of the week. I had my treat meal yesterday at Olive Garden, and "whoosh" 254 this morning! YAY!!!

OK, enough about me.......

This morning I read a Blog post written by one of my MFP friends whom I had noticed wasn't commenting as much as she used to. It seems she is in a slump and asking for help. I could just hear the desperation in her voice. I have been there to many times to count in my lifetime, and I wanted to cry, but instead I decided to write.

I could have given her the old, "Buck Up Woman" speech, or sympathized with her. I could have given a simple response like, "don't give up", "I am here for you", "it'll all work out", but she deserves more, she deserves the truth, my truth anyway.....and in my world here is the truth.......

Food addiction is like any other addiction, and also "UNLIKE" any other addiction.

It is unlike any other addiction for this simple reason. You do not have to SMOKE, DO HEROINE, SNORT COCAINE OR GLUE, DRINK ALCOHOL, ROLL A JOINT,  OR SHOOT UP, TO LIVE.

You do not drive down the highway and have a  huge billboard staring you in the face at every turn, of celebrities or seemingly normal, happy families, sitting down to a smorgasboard of their favorite drugs of choice at a restaurant. You are not inundated every 10 minutes with commercials for Speed, Downers, or Crank. You do not have to go to the grocery store and stock up on a carton of pills, a gallon of paint thinner, and a loaf of pot. You do not have to prepare a needle, or a bowl of pills, and a side of the newest designer drug, and then serve it to your family or guests, while trying to limit yourself to one pill, half a needle, and a quick huff, while they dig in. Unlike all these addictive substance, we have to EAT TO LIVE, and that means dabbling everyday with our addiction, walking a tightrope where we have to partake of the substance but not "Over-do" it. AND THAT IS NOT EASY!

Have you ever been to an AA, or NA meeting? Some of the  first things they tell a new member is to get new friends, get away from the bar scene, decline social gatherings where alcohol is served, don't shop at stores that sell alcohol, or DO NOT go down the aisle it's in. AVOID TEMPTATION! Well explain how to do that with food, not an indulgence, but a necessity, and a family to prepare it for?

Now on to the "how it's the same". 

It is an addiction, and like all addictions,  the first step is admitting you have a problem. "I AM A FOOD ADDICT". Sugar, Carbs, Choc-aholic, Food-aholic, whatever name you care to insert.   But an ADDICT nonetheless. The why's of it, genetics, environment, child-hood trauma, can all be worked out later. The vital part is just admitting it, and then acceptance. Once you have done that, you can move on to the next step....

Now in AA and NA you need to accept that you are powerless. Turn it over to a higher power,  total abstinence is the goal.  Walking completely away, and working the 12 steps is a wonderful thing, and has worked for millions. BUT with food it's a different story. WE CANNOT ABSTAIN.  So leaning on a higher power, through payer,  meditation, divine inspiration, etc, are all great tools. However,  your higher-power is not going to reach out of the sky at every snack, meal, party, or anytime in between, and PLUCK that Crispy Creme outta your hands. And unlike other drugs and alcohol, we unfortunately, have to have these things in our grocery carts, refrigerators, hands, and mouths, everyday. SO we have to exert our own power over food. Every minute, of every hour, of every day, and it WILL GET EASIER.

BUT, and here's the BIG BUT....IT IS THE SAME, because like any drunk, or drug addict, you GOTTA WANT IT! Yep you've heard it before and here it is again.

You have to be "sick and tired of being sick and tired", You have to "Hit Rock  Bottom".

Here is a list of "rock bottoms" that my husband used in his practice. (His MS. is in Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation).

  • The loss of a job
  • A relationship breakup
  • Remorse over particularly bad behavior while using
  • Legal problems
  • Loss of a friendship
  • Loss of accommodation
  • Mental breakdown
  • Financial problems
  • Social embarrassment
  • Deterioration to health or warnings from a doctor

The problem is, how often, with the exception of maybe the last two, does over eating and obesity result in any of these "rock bottoms"? Afterall, our addiction is the focal point of most celebrations, the very center of daily family gatherings, the core of our very existence! If you were ship-wrecked on a desert island, lost everything in a storm, a fire, or an attack of war, the first two thoughts are, FOOD, and shelter, often times even before safety!

Example: You have lost everything in a flood, you are wading down thru the streets of your town, trying to make your way to higher ground, in a broken store front window, you see food, maybe you are on the verge of passing out from hunger, or maybe you have been carrying your two year old for hours, and all the while she is crying, "mama I'm sooo hungry"..are you gonna pass the opportunity by, or risk that you may get cut by that broken window? Chances are, you will go for the food. My point? Eating is instinctual, we will find a way.

So what happens when instinct becomes indulgence?

Well......WE DO.

So how do we take ourselves from eating needlessly, to eating out of need?

I think we all have to find that strength in ourselves. It is unique to each individual. Some find it by hitting their own personal rock bottom, others just have that moment in time when it is their single most important focus, some have repeated attempts but eventually, find their way, but then sadly, just like the millions of drug addicts and alcoholics that die each year, some may never find it...

It is up to you my friend. Inspite of all the fairytales, dreams of a picket fence, 2.5 kids, and a dog, knights in shining armor, bended knee, and diamonds are one can make you happy,  no one can do it for you, and no one can make you do it. There is support, there are tools, there is prayer, but ultimately the responsibility is yours.

I wish I had a magic wand, and could make this world right on so many fronts, but I can't.

You are in my prayers, find your moment, and invite me in........

Beth Ann

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