Monday, May 26, 2008

My Addiction

I have struggled my entire life to learn the secrets of self-control. I learned at the tender age of three that I would always have to fight a battle with my addiction. You might ask, “What kind of addiction would a three year old girl have to battle with?” I will answer honestly. It’s my addiction to food. Not the food itself, but the interconnected feelings and emotions that are associated with food and the pleasure derived from partaking.

My mother worked with my father in his business and often left me in the care of babysitters. These folks didn’t care what I ate. I suspect now that it was an organized scheme to keep me, as it were, doped up with food so I would be docile enough to not be a pain in the rear. Having four brothers that ate like garbage compactors didn’t help either. My mother always cooked like she was feeding the hay bailing crew. Huge amounts of beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade bread, and jam and calorie laden desserts decorated our dining table like presents under our Christmas tree.

I didn’t work hard around the farm like my brothers did, so when I ate the same way they were fed, I gained weight. At age ten my mother purchased me my first bra, and it wasn’t a training bra either. At age eleven, I remember vividly going to J.C. Penny in Salt Lake City to purchase huge clothes in their “Chubby” department. Yes, the store actually had a chubby department for us girls who had no idea about watching what we put in our mouths.

There were also happy times associated with eating. My Grandmother lived on a dairy farm in a small town south of our home. Going there was a treat. It was my job to go to the milk house early in the morning to retrieve the fresh cream from the milk separator for our morning cereal. I consumed tons of Sugar Frosted Flakes with fresh, butter rich cream. Mmm, I can still taste that buttery goodness. My grandmother was a great cook. We ate well from the farm animals that were slaughtered, preserved and then prepared with love, such items as bacon, pork roasts, smoked hams, beef roasts and steaks. My grandmother’s family was large and every occasion we got together included enormous amounts of food like casseroles, homemade breads, brownies, cakes, pies, and homemade ice cream. Who wouldn’t have become a plump, round little butter ball?

I was taken to medical fat clinics and pumped full of serums and pills in the hopes that the weight would magically melt off my over inflated body. Nothing seemed to work. I remember going to Weight Watchers as a teenager and being so discouraged that pizza, double patty melts and chocolate malts were not on the menu. I lasted a couple of months. Even the happy little stars you receive as a congratulatory recognition didn’t help me stay motivated.

For a time in high school, my doctor recommended amphetamines. Those lovely little pills worked great. I felt wonderfully spirited away. I didn’t care much about losing weight, school or anything else for that matter. My hands shook all the time and I was terribly nervous, and paranoid, but the weight seemed to melt away. By the time I was a junior in high school I weighed around 115 pounds. That was the least I have ever weighed. Then I met Cathy. She was a big girl. And I do mean big. She and I became the best of “eating” buddies. Our best times were spent in trying every restaurant from Covina to San Diego. We left no burger uneaten, no pizza in the box.

Over the years, I have gained and lost weight so many times that I have lost count. When I got pregnant with my son Michael, I was so sick that I was actually the same weight when I gave birth as when I got pregnant. But after Mike was born, I completely lost control. I gained about 150 pounds. And for the last 25 years of my life have lived in sorrow and regret. I never wanted to be in pictures. I never had any confidence. I hated myself.

Finding the motivation to lose weight came in spurts. I’d join a program, lose five or ten pounds, then discouragement would set in and I would stop and balloon up again, worse than before. My doctor was worried. My parents were worried. My husband and son were worried. I contracted diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. I even thought I had a heart attack once. Still all these medical conditions did nothing to motive me.

I decided in February of 2007 that I should join a ladies’ gym in Camarillo, called Contours. It took me an entire year to lose 20 pounds. Mostly because I was only exercising not eating correctly. I loved the activity and being with women who had the same fight. This year, 2008, I took part in a weight loss challenge. My partner, Murielle O’Brien and I won. We received a t-shirt for our trouble. In January, my husband Tim and I started taking our writing class taught by Professor Clive Leeman at Moorpark College. I started to work on my novel. I had written the best chapter of the book years ago, but never put a story around it. Suddenly my entire novel was finished. It’s pretty good, I think. This singular achievement has brought me a measure of satisfaction and accomplishment I had not experienced for a long, long time. Around the same time, I decided to add Weight Watchers back into my life.

The Weight Watcher program has changed and had two options: a points system, where you can eat what you like, and a system where you eat low carb foods. I chose the points system. Within four weeks I had lost 21 pounds. It’s not a lot considering what I have ahead of me, but I take solace in the fact that I’ve started. I’m on my journey. I’m doing something I love in my writing and somehow the motivation, the power and the control that has been lacking from my life has descended upon me like a blanket of newly fallen snow. I feel invigorated and enlivened. I write at night instead of watching T.V. I’m reading more books than I have in the past 25 years and I’m at last in control. With the help of Contours and Weight Watchers, as of May 26, 2008, I’ve lost a total of 60 pounds.

I will always be a “weight watcher”. Food will always be a severe addiction for me. But I will not let it be my master and my prison any longer. As one of my son’s favorite comic heroes, He-Man stated, “I have the power!” I have the power to change my life for the better.

Well did you like it? Did you find a point at which my motivation kicked in? Please write and tell me if you did. Thanks for your consideration.

Welcome to my insanity

Here I am, it’s me, this is my blog. Welcome to my insanity. My name is Carol Anne ‘Olsen’ Malone (Olsen for those of my family that just like hearing the sound of their last name.) Married to Timothy D. Malone, mother of Michael Allen Malone, daughter of Paul and Helen Olsen, Sister of Scott, Reed, Dale and David Olsen. Boy I could go on and on and on. But this is a short blog so I’ll keep it that short.

Here’s me in a nut shell: (Crack at your own discretion.):

Well I finally gave in to the idea of becoming a blogger. It was not something I came naturally to, but when you want to write to be read, sometimes these things are necessary.

My husband is a blogger. He writes daily on one of several blogs. I was not interested in the things her writes about. He’s above me in respects to religion, technology and such. My concerns are family, relationships and love. As any good woman should be. Most women’s blogs that I’ve visiting are about family: children, marriage and relationships. Mine will probably become a vessel for much the same writing.

But then I wanted to do something more. I wanted to inspire. Well how do you inspire people unless you’ve accomplished something great. As I looked back over my life, which was a very short look, I couldn’t find something worth mentioning. An average, mundane person with an average life, doing average, mediocre things. That was me. There was nothing in my life that I could shout about. Nothing to propel me to the top of Mt. Baldy, (that is a famous mountain in the San Gabriel Mountain range), and shout at the top of my lugs, “Hey look at me, I’ve done something spectacular. I’m important, look at me!”

Nothing until I took a writing class with my darling husband, Tim at the beginning of 2008 at Moorpark College in Moorpark, where else? But I digress. In my next post you’ll find one of my last essay’s in the class. It is basically a description of my success, my triumph. Something to crow about. I hope you’ll find it entertain at least. Helpful at best and inspiration, of course. But if not. Have a nice day!

Before getting to that, I thought I might take some space here and let you see why, in general terms, I have had nothing to crow about for the last 53 years of my life. Now this is going to be a shocking photo, you may want to send the children and the small pets to another part of the house. This is going to make your head spin. Get ready, set, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Okay here I am in February of 2008.

Didn’t I warn you? No there’s no trick photography. I didn’t make the picture wider on MicroSoft Picture Manager. It’s me! Oooh! Ick! Gross! Incredible! Inconceivable! (I personally love inconceivable; it’s from my favorite movie of all time, “The Princess Bride”.) Yes, folks, that’s me. No that’s the way I looked in February of 2008 when we went on a fabulous home tour in St. George, Utah. I know, you think I’m wearing one of those fat suits that you can rent for a faux Sumo wrestling event. No, no, no. It’s all me. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems, back problems, knees problems, foot problems, just plain problems!

But take heart folks. Remove 60 pounds and this is what you get. Still not perfect, but an ‘extreme makeover, Carol edition'.

Well, can you tell a difference? I know it’s hard, but there is a slight difference. Come on, look closer. In the first picture I’m wearing a size 4X shirt and it barely fits. The Laker shirt I’m wearing, GO LAKERS!!! Is a 2X purchased from a regular store and a regular 2X not Lane Bryant’s or Roaman’s version. This is first time in nearly 23 years I’ve purchased a regular sized shirt that didn’t come from Ali Babba’s the Tent Makers. You laugh, but you just don’t know the embarrassment of purchasing a 6 man tent to cover up your hideousness.

Anyway, here is my journey in a capsulated form. See if you can catch the motivation that has spurred on my success to date. I can’t put my finger on the trigger of the gun that shot me in the butt to get up, get moving and then add in a sensible eating program. You decide where my motivation came from and let me know. Comment please!!! My story is in the next post.