Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Frustration to the Nth Degree

Sorry to keep you hanging. I mentioned something bad as I signed off on the last post with every intention of blogging about it right away and got distracted (oooo...shiney!) so didn't get it done in as timely a fashion as intended. Here, now, is the explaination.

As I've mentioned, I started a new eating and exercise plan mid-January and have been progressing pretty nicely (if I do say so myself ). I have been the incredible shrinking woman, according to Hubs and I've been proud of myself because I have worked my ASS off, literally, to do it. Prompted by my health issues (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc), I was the picture of "couch potato" ... all my activities, well, most anyway, were sedentary. I was either working on the computer, playing on the computer, watching TV, cross-stitching, knitting, crocheting, reading... you get the idea. The only thing I did that was even half-assed active was gardening and that isn't a year-'round thing. In January with the threat of being put on insulin, I decided I must finally for once and for all do something about my health.

I started eating right and walking. This led to losing some weight and being inspired to sign up for a 5 K walk in June (yes, only about 3 miles, but when a half-a-mile about kills you, you start small). With my two back surgeries behind me as well, I'm always very cautious when getting into physical activity. I am paranoid I'm going to hurt myself, so am extremely careful. Well, after beginning to lose, then hitting a lull, I joined a gym that is only a couple of miles away and is accessible 24/7 so I can sneak in at 4 a.m. and do some weight/strength training without anyone seeing the fat lady. Works out perfectly for me. I go, do that a couple of times a week, then come home and finish my work-out on the treadmill. In-between, I use the treadmill and watch some favorite TV shows - killing two birds with one stone. It also allows me to cater my workout to how I am feeling that day. If it is a good day and I'm feeling strong, I may actually go six miles! I try to at least go 3, however, in training for the 5K walk in June. The nice thing about the treadmill is I don't have to worry about exhausting myself, then having to figure out how to get home. :)

So... the end result of all of this was a recent doctor visit where my A1C had dropped from high into normal range, my bad cholesterol was cut in half, and my good cholesterol went up. On top of that? I've lost 30 lbs and gone from a size 18 "fat girl" pant to a size 8 "regular woman" pant. Yes, I still have a way to go, but I'm healthier and more fit than I've been in years. Even before when I was thin I was never ever active, so I'm in much better shape all around.

Now comes the frustration. My daughters. My younger daughter has usually been thin and trim and does eat well and exercise. She has had times in her life either puberty or from medication where she's gained some weight, but she normally can get it off pretty easily by just getting back on track. She's been an inspiration to me and is eating well (with me) and is making the whole thing work better for me. She's at a point where she is getting some stress pounds and is frustrated because for one reason or another she's having trouble losing it as easily as she used to, but she's got a great attitude about it and is just sticking to it.

My elder daughter, well... that's another story. Since she split with her husband last fall she has gained a good 50 lbs. She's been stressed and has been eating everything in sight for months. Not good things, either... last fall when she was making lunches for my husband and son, she was eating a whole package of chocolate chip cookies every two days. By herself. I had the cookies for the guys to have in their lunches and she'd pack a couple for them, then eat the rest of the package. By herself. She ballooned up like you wouldn't believe. She's the shortest of my family as well, so it comes on quicker.

I understand stress and stress eating and putting on weight from it. Trust me, I do. So, when we finally all started eating better and so forth after the first of the year, I encouraged her to do the same. She acted like she wanted to and she was doing better stress-wise and was much more open to it... and realized what she had been doing with the cookies, coke, etc...

Well, as I've been shrinking, she's still been gaining. Partly because she is still not eating all that well and her portion control is, for lack of better words, extreme. She has two or three servings of something (large servings) and we've even had issues with no food being left for everyone to eat! I have been open about my weight loss, I'm not sneaking around about it, and so as I've been shrinking and she's been gaining, I've been giving her open reign on my closet. What she doesn't want is going to charity as I am determined not to have the option to grow back into them. So, this has been a very open process and there have been lots of discussions about healthier eating, exercise, etc, and lost of encouragement ... and she seems genuinely interested in wanting to make the changes. However, then when it is her night to cook she sabotages us with fattening 'new' recipes. That is frustration #1.

Even more frustrating and frightening, tho', is the fact that a card came for her in the mail from the local nutrition store thanking her for her recent purchase. Now, I've been to that store and I've bought things there, too... specifically, a protein powder which my doctor suggested would help as a 'snack' to keep me from getting hungry between meals. When it came I was the only one home. Suspecting the worst, I did that horrible "mom thing". I searched her room. I didn't have to look far. Diet pills.

You have to know my daughter has been on heavy duty medication for anxiety and depression. She has to watch some of the things she eats, even, for medication interraction. She is taking diet pills? I mean, those are hard on "healthy" people's blood pressure, heart, lungs, etc. She could have a heart attack or a stroke from them! What the hell was she thinking???

So, when she got home from work I just casually asked her about going there... and told her I had a membership if she wanted to use it for any discounts. She said they gave her a free membership as well and didn't elaborate. I told her I'd gotten the protein powder there and that it was with my doctor's blessing... then I just said, "you wouldn't take diet pills, would you?"

She lied to my face. "Oh, no!! Never!". I reminded her that with her medication it could be deadly and she was all, "oh, yes... I understand... and I wouldn't do that. I wouldn't take the risk!" I told her if she did she should consult her doctor first at least to make sure there was no drug interraction. "Oh, I wouldn't do that".

God. Damn. It. I was so mad I could spit nails. Lied. To. My. Face.

So, I worried myself sick about it for the night then did what any good mom would. I went to her room the next day before she got home from work and took them away. Has she said a word to me? Nope. I figured she would either have a melt-down and tell me to stay out of her stuff and throw around the "I'm an adult" thing again, or she'll just ignore me and go buy more and hide them better, OR... if I'm lucky, I gave her a wake up call and made her actually think about what they could do to her and she'll just let it go. At least I feel like I did something. As younger daughter said when I told her, "what? she's not going to commit suicide any longer but she may kill herself accidently with the diet pills?" Yeah. My thoughts exactly.

Soooo... there it is. What do you think? Did I overstep my bounds since she is "an adult"? Or what would you have done? There are so many days I still remember what I told my kids when they were young and I felt overwhelmed... "Kids don't come with a manual. I'm doing the best I can with what I know and what I believe. I don't always get it right, but I hope I get it right more than I get it wrong and you don't end up too screwed up."


Sizzle said...

I can understand your anger and frustration and worry. This reminds me somewhat of how I reacted to my Dad lying to my face about buying more alcohol when I KNEW and had SEEN it with my own eyes (though he did not know I had searched it out at the time). I felt so betrayed and helpless because he was choosing to not be healthy and to deceive us. It's hard to watch a person you love make choices that are bad for them and detrimental not only to their health but to the health of their relationships (with themselves and others).

Did you do the right thing? That isn't for me to say. But you might think about how your actions feed a cycle with her. Are you behaving in a codependent manner that then, in turn, fuels her behavior? Are you willing and able to let her be a grown up and make her own choices even when those choices are scary/bad/wrong? Because we can't make decisions for other people- as much as we would like to. I know I would! She will never learn until she is ready, until she has to 100% rely on herself to get better.

This is not your fault. You are taking care of you and that's a fantastic thing! All you can really do is that and to continue to role model good behaviors.

Maybe she is acting this way (hiding, binging, sabotaging) because she is so stuck in her own self-loathing? It's hard to watch a loved one succeed when you don't believe in yourself. I'm not giving her an excuse but trying to understand her motivations or lack there of.

This is a hard situation and I'm sorry you are in it. :( But I am so happy that you've finally flipped that internal switch that allows you to put you first and take care of your health!

Al said...

Tough situation. Bottom line is, you can't help someone that doesn't want help. Been down that road several times. Was it right to take the pills? I think so. You have the right to declare and enforce any rules you choose under your roof. Otherwise you become an enabler.
Not a comfortable place to be.
Lots of love and encouragement

PlazaJen said...

I'm the daughter who had the mom who hounded her about her weight from age 8, so I see both sides. I'm sure, though, you'd never tell your daughter that your love for her was contingent on how much she weighs.

I would be direct with her about taking the pills, and I would apologize for the invasion of privacy, but that you were terrified of how they could potentially kill her. All you're doing is creating new ways for her to hide and sneak around - she'll keep them in her car, or her purse, or at a friend's, if she's hell-bent on taking them. Trust me. I learned how to navigate around much of my parents' extreme attempts at control. Your success may be depressing her more. I would take away her night for cooking if she's going to sabotage everyone, give her a different job.
Your success and accomplishment for a healthier state of being is commendable. It shows me it's actually real-world possible. Is it enough to make me radically change my life? No, but it helps tilt the perspective to a positive one. But you're not my mom, and I don't live with you and depend on you while I'm going through this bad time. If she has a tenth of my neuroses about food, though, it's like a terrible fibrous cancer that permeates all the other 'good' and 'healthy' parts of your psychoses. the depression is a handy conduit it attaches to as well. Sadly, you can figure out how to "cheat" anything, except death, I suppose. I wish I had more parenting advice for you, rather than daughter-like perspective, but I just have dogs. :)