Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Delights of Detoxing!

Ok, well, I am being just a tad sarcastic.

I have been battling with my weight ever since I was a child. I remember my pediatrician telling my mum that I was "slightly obese," and she encouraged my mom to enroll me in some type of exercise class.
So, she enrolled me in a swimming class, BUT, she still continued to buy junk food - well, that was my dad...he used to shop at the Hostess Thrift shop for expired Ring Dings and other assorted, wholesome snacks!
My mom was always in the garden, or sewing...she always busy doing something...so, when she wasn't looking, I would climb up on the counter and attack the Ring Ding box! I am sure I would devour 2 or 3 at a time. My mom never, ever told me not to eat, etc. I'm sure she noticed that the boxes would become empty in no time!

Ah well, she had her own problems, and did she ever. Now, looking back, I can see that I used to eat to fill the emotional emptiness that I felt growing up...and, now that I think of it, it may be a reason I continued to do so as an adult.

In my 20s, I started to drink so much that I would regularly black out after most parties. I thought that's what people did when they got drunk. In hindsight, I can see that I switched from one "drug" to another to fill that void. After some friends showed me pictures of how I actually looked at parties (scary) I went for counseling, and the counselor suggested I join AA. I did that for awhile, and stopped drinking for about 3 months, but, then my husband(boyfriend at the time) and I took a trip to England, and, well, I couldn't avoid the pubs!

I was able to control my drinking for many years, but, when my mom died (and while she had lain in the hospital dying) I started to drink whisky and Jack Daniels on a regular basis. I even had a stash and used to drink in the morning, because the pain of losing her was unbearable. When my dad died, I drank alot too, but not in the morning and not secretly. I think losing my mom was even harder than my having brain surgery (which I had in 2007). It was absolutely devastating to see your mother shrivel and die before your eyes, as we watched on, helplessly. (Her death is too complicated to explain, but she died in an open eyed coma which she sunk into for 3 months, after a "minor" procedure went awry).

My dad died 3 years ago- and that was, of course, traumatic for me - especially when I had to clean his apartment. He was a horder, and he lived like a homeless person. SO, for the last three years, I can see that my drinking increased and again, I was out of control many times, blacking out maybe a dozen times (?). I am not sure. Anyway, I finally came to my senses and slowed things down, choosing ONLY beer.

BUT, beer. Oh dear. Beer. I love it, and it shows! I put on a ton of weight since moving to Taiwan 4 1/2 years ago. Some of it is due to the fact that I injured my back, BADLY back in December of 2010. Before injuring it, I was working out enough to at least maintain my weight, although I still gained a bit, thanks to my drinking habits (mostly). BUT, besides drinking, I STILL had an awful sweet tooth. For example, I bought "Anjoli" (my daughter) a 5 pound bag of Gummy Bears...but, within a month, I had polished it off! We always have cookies around, and if they are in the house, I would always have 1-3 a day (I was good about not finishing a bag of THOSE, though). Still, it was mindless eating.

My back pain/sciatica was really starting to depress me - I have gone to three different doctors/centers for therapy....thank GOODNESS that the third center has been the charm! I receive acupuncture, cupping, electrostimulation, traction and amazing therapeutic massage - all in one visit. Each visit is two hours, but it is surely time well spent...I am FINALLY feeling SO much better!

I am NOW 12 pounds lighter than my heaviest weight since we've moved here, though, so that's good news!

I went APESHIT (sorry for the language) over the holidays this year. From Thanksgiving to Chinese New Year (which was the end of January) I just ate and drank up a storm...but, I felt TERRIBLE! I was DRAGGING my body everywhere I went, and I was SO incredibly STIFF. We went to India over Chinese New Year break. One of the hotels where we stayed had two levels and I had to put a stool in front of the bathroom to get into it, or else get on my hands and knees (it was an unreasonably high step, but STILL!). We climbed these dunes in the desert and I was just cursing to myself the entire way up. I think it was at that point where I gave myself a good talking to. That was the last straw, really.

When we returned to Taipei at the end of January, I knew that Lent was coming up. Now, I haven't gone to Church, really, since I was 18 years old...but, I was desperate, and I knew I needed SOMETHING to give me structure/incentive. Even though I am not a Church going type, my faith is VERY important to me, but I keep it to myself. When I was recovering from brain surgery, I was actually suicidal, and I prayed every day (sometimes all day) with a "prayer shawl" that a sweet woman sent to me after the surgery. (It was knit by nuns and laypeople at a monastery in Pennsylvania). My faith saved my life, it really did.

So, in India, I heard a voice telling me that, for all that the Lord has given me (and I rarely speak this way, but He has blessed me abundantly), why don't you suffer a little and give up the things that are the MOST difficult for you to do without! Of course, I knew there was a silver lining...that if I gave up drinking and eating sugar, of course I would feel better, and certainly lose weight.

So, I went to Mass on Ash Wednesday, which, to my surprise, I actually enjoyed...I even sang the hymns along with a young woman who strummed a guitar!

That was 21 days ago.

It's been said (I can't remember WHO said it) that it takes 21 days to cultivate a new habit. Now, I don't know if the same can be said about KICKING a bad habit, but, I can safely say that I am actually getting used to not reaching for my daughter's candy, or taking the dog out for her evening walk and picking up...um...4- 5 pints of Taiwan Beer (for my husband and I). I can share now that I would think nothing of downing 3 pints a night on my own, since my husband travels so much and I am on my own.

Some of the bonuses of this detox: I feel much lighter (but according to the scale it's only a 3 pound loss). I no longer DRAG my body up the two flights of steps to my house every day. I run up them now! I can actually bear looking at myself in the mirror now - that bloated look is gone! Hurrah!

A few weeks ago, my husband bought me an iPhone for a 20th Anniversary present. I kind of resisted getting one, mostly because I am SUCH a Facebook addict. I didn't want to be able to log on wherever I went! I do enjoy it though, especially the Siri feature, and I love the fancy shmancy pedometer, too.

About the time I got the iPhone, I was invited to a Blues Concert via Facebook. I quickly RSVPd...we so rarely get out to see live bands here, so, I knew Sujoy (hubby) would be into going. One day, the band leader, Nelson, PMd me. We started chatting back and forth...and he asked me how well I spoke Chinese. (Don't ask). He suggested that we have a "language exchange." hmmmmmmmm....nah, that didn't appeal to me,for the obvious reason (I don't know this man) and also, I really do not enjoy speaking Chinese (sadly). SO, I asked him, "How about I SING with your band, instead??? Can I send you a demo??" He replied: "Sure!"

Well, it just so happened that the night BEFORE, I was "in the mood" to record my voice using the memo feature on my iPhone. A few nights before THAT night, I had dug out Rachel Fuller and Pete Townshend's In the Attic cd...and I was really digging Pete's acoustic version of "Drowned." I listened to it several times whilst folding laundry, cleaning my room, etc, and of course couldn't help sing along with him.

I was in a chilled out mood when I recorded the demo, feeling good ("clean"), and I was pleasantly surprised when I played back the demo. I sang with feeling and well, heart, I think. I love that song, I love the Who, I love Pete and Rachel, I love to sing...I think that came across in the demo.

I emailed the demo to Nelson, and he wrote back to me: "Wow, your voice is perfect! I have an idea , maybe you can become my band’s
special guest singer in the future (maybe start in April)
you can sing 2 ~ 3 songs at my band’s gigs every time we play."

Nelson gave me 7 songs to learn. Today, he sent ANOTHER email, asking me if I would perhaps like to be a formal member, as in their vocalist, because he is not sure if their vocalist will stay on with them!

So, that is the silver lining to my new life. I don't think the beer drinking Sue would have even had the nerve or the energy to make and send out a demo!

Giving up sugar and booze has definitely made me stronger, because, I can honestly say that I have been tempted several times (especially on Friday nights and the weekend nights) to give in...no one would know...Sujoy was/is traveling and Anjoli goes to bed early. BUT, I knew I had to be true TO MYSELF. I wanted to be able to look at myself proudly in the mirror in the morning...so, when I was tempted, I prayed like crazy...and THAT is how I got through!

Now that I have DIRECTION and know that I can actually fulfill a life long dream of singing in a BAND, I will treat my body like the temple that it is, and nourish it with healthy food and positive vibes. My body is my instrument! Amen. xxx