Monday, April 5, 2010

Chew, chew, chew

The bubble blowing experiment is helping!

A few days ago, as I was returning home from a chiropractor appointment, I realized that I would driving past a grocery store. Suddenly, there they were, the urges to eat. So I popped a piece of Bubblelicious bubble gum into my mouth and started to chew, chew, chew. Now don't get me wrong, I still planned the binge in my head; what I wanted to eat, when I was going to eat it, how I was going to hide it from my husband, but somewhere I found the strength to drive past that grocery store. The fact that my mouth was already occupied with a flavour, the texture of the gum, the sweetness and the actual chewing motion really backed up my decision to not pull into that parking lot.

It may not seem like a big success, but I will celebrate each success as they come.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

It's all about blowing bubbles

So, I thought that I would update you on my little control experiment. Has my eating been any better? Well, yes and no. No, because I have not stopped binge eating. Yes, because I have been able, just a few times, to rethink and stop a binge session. But now that I think about it, any amount of success is still success! Yeah for me! The experiment continues.

Now for the interesting stuff. I have run across some research that has allowed me to develop a new coping skill. The first part of the research has to do with how highly refined our food is. Modern food (and I use that term loosely) is so highly refined that we no longer need to chew our food to the same degree that we once did. Previously, we had to chew our food about 20 times per mouthful. Now we only chew our food about 5 times before we swallow. Interestingly enough, there is a small muscle that attaches the lower jaw to the upper jaw, and it is the repetitive chewing motion of that small muscle that sends signals to the brain that tells us that we are full. So, (are you following me here) the more refined our food is, the less we chew, the less our jaw muscle has opportunity to send signals to the brain, the more hungry we feel, the more we eat. Conversely, the less refined our food is, the more we chew, the more our little jaw muscle works, the more full we feel, the less we eat.

Okay, so how does that help me? Gum, baby, gum! So now when I have the urge to binge, I chew bubble gum. I blow bubbles and crack it until my jaw hurts. It is usually by that point that I forget that I want to binge.

A good plan but, boy am I every pissing off my husband and friends, as I seem to be chewing gum all the time. Oh well. Suck it up buttercups. Anybody seen my gum?

Friday, January 1, 2010

To control or not to control: that is the question

I recently had a very interesting conversation with my friend, Dave Whyte, on the issue of control and my eating.
It has given me a lot to think about. But first you need some facts.

Fact #1
Personality type of moi ~ control freak! I need to have a plan, and a contingency plan for my plan. I hate changing directions in the middle of a plan. I need information. I must look at all angles of a plan before I commit to a decision. I rarely like surprises. I like to feel that I have control. Spontaneity is not a easy friend.

Fact #2
From a philosophical perspective I recognize that I have absolutely no control over anything that I do. There is not a single "decision" or "action" that I take that is not the result of external pressure of culture (Italian & Canadian), class, sex, concepts of happiness, finances, work ethic, implied and implicate rules handed down by my parents, spiritualism, economy, current status of my relationships with friends, family and community, the need for safety etc. etc. Therefore, I am under no illusion that any "decision" that I make is merely a guided action based on external and perceived pressures. And each "decision" is made in an effort to benefit only my future self. Okay, so how does that jive with fact #1? See fact # 3

Fact #3
I must apply the illusion of fact #1 in order to believe that I make a difference in the world; that my presence makes an impact; that I exist for a reason. Or else I would go insane.

Okay, with those facts in hand, what was my conversation with Dave? Basically, after much table slapping, he asked two fundamental questions.

Question #1 What is the purpose of exercising so much control?
I have spent the last 6 weeks peeling away each answer to this question and I have come to the conclusion that I exercise so much control in all aspects of my life in order to control the one thing that I seek to control but cannot; my binge eating. Interesting enough, exercising control over my eating does not work. The more I seek to control my eating, the more radical and destructive my eating becomes. It is only when that I forget about eating that I eat "normally".

Question #2 Would I have more success controlling my eating if I did not seek to control the more mundane things in my life?
I don't know. I don't have an answer. So, what the hell! Why not try. For the next six months (or so), I am going to try to not plan to the enth degree aspects of my life. I don't know which aspects, but I will keep my intentions in the forefront of my thoughts and when it seems appropriate I will "go with the flow".

To those of you know who know me ~ DON'T LAUGH :)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Response from Dr. Whiting

Dear Ms. Mancini,

Thank you for your interest in the Deep Brain Stimulation for Refractory Obesity Clinical Trial currently underway. This is a very limited trial in that the FDA approved only three subjects to be enrolled. We have closed the study to enrollment at this time.

We have been encouraged by the response of people who understand what our goals are in the study. It will be several years before we have any firm data to report publicly.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Donald Whiting, M.D.

I am happy/surprised that my letter was acknowledged. Honestly, I thought that I would not have heard a response at all. I recognize that Dr. Whiting can't really give any advise, but I had hoped for more insight into preventing binge eating while waiting for the results from his study. So I weight (pun intended)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Letter to Dr. Whiting re:Deep Brain Stimulation

Dr. Donald Whiting MD

420 East North Ave., Suite 302

Pittsburgh, PA



May 10, 2009

Dear Dr. Whiting;

You don’t know how ecstatic I was to read of the recent success you and Carol Poe have had with your research in deep brain stimulation as a means of treating obesity.

I, myself, have been on a life long struggle with my weight, and recently underwent gastric by-pass surgery. In an attempt to increase my chances of success, prior to the surgery I sought and completed 2 years of out-patient therapy to help me deal with my “eating disorder” of bingeing. My gastric by-pass surgery was a success and in the last two years I have managed to loose and keep off 147 pounds. So why, you much be wondering, is this woman writing me?

Quite simply, I am losing control. Over the last 6 months, I have been documenting on my blog (Food & Thought ~ Adventures in Gastric By-Pass Surgery my losing battle with my brain. How I seem to be hard-wired to eat; that the impulse to eat outstrips my cognitive abilities to not eat.

I am at a loss as to how to successfully move forward and even more, terrified, at the prospect of ending up back where I started or worse.

Thus, I come to the second reason why I am writing you. I recognize that your research is still in its early stages and will not likely be available to the public for some time. With this in mind I appeal to you, hoping for some measure of insight into the condition which deep brain stimulation is designed to combat and from which I obviously suffer. Have you, in the course of your research, uncovered any process or tactic which would provide me with the level of control necessary to allow me to successfully wait for your promising new treatment to become available? I would be every so thankful for some guidance.

And finally, Dr. Whiting, I am writing to say thank you. Thank you for taking that leap of faith and recognizing that weight loss cannot be as simple as calories in vs. calories out. (If it was, we would all be thin!) Thank you for providing the evidence that I am not crazy and the problem just may be “all in my head”.

Again, congratulations! Keep up the fantastic work and I look forwarding to reading more about your research.


Letitia Mancini

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Knitting for me

Though I have been knitting for the last 6 years, I have never knit anything for myself - out side of a few pairs of socks.  The main reasons were 1) patterns for large women are few and far between 2) patterns for large women usually look like crap and 3) the cost of the yarn was outrageous and I really didn't want to spend that kind of money on myself.  Well I am proud to announce my first sweater for me.  
Since I have lost most of my excess weight, I feel like I deserve nice clothes and making something beautiful for myself really makes me feel proud of my accomplishments.  On top of that, I look good :)