I’m a Goal Digger (Goal Setting)

I’ve been floundering a bit lately in the motivation department. I’ll do well for a few days, and then I’ll fall off the proverbial wagon. Of course, all of this results in not really making any significant progress with my overall weight loss efforts. I’d been trying to come up with ways to get my motivation going again, but hadn’t really come up with a real plan of action. That all changed over the past few hours. I have a plan!

Goal Digger Challenge
It all started after reading an awesome “tough love: post recently from my pal Brooke talking about her own struggles lately. That post prompted her to create her new Goal Digger challenge which she posted about a few days ago. I downloaded the awesome printable she created and spent a little time thinking about it over the weekend, but never really came up with an actual plan of action.

Next, I read a post yesterday by my pal Carla talking about B.R.A.Z.E.N. goal setting. That rekindled my desire to come up with a definite plan of action for my own Goal Digger challenge, so I started jotting down some firm ideas in the Notes app on my iPhone.

The final straw in getting things committed to paper came tonight when reading the Goal Digger challenge posted by my pal Dacia. Once I saw her post, I printed out the chart that I had downloaded over the weekend, finalized my goals, and committed it to paper. To help hold myself accounts, I took a photo of the finished sheet immediately and posted it to Instagram because, you know, once it’s on the interwebs you have to do it, right?! lol

Even though I posted that same photo above, I’m going to write out my goals here as well. This will give me the ability to spell things out a bit more, too.

Daily Goals:

  • Track – That means good, bad, or ugly, what goes in my mouth gets put into my Weight Watchers tracker in eTools.
  • Water – Drink at least 48 oz of water and at least 80 oz of total fluids per day.
  • Move – I’ve gotten really lazy with my activity lately, so I need to ramp things back up again. My steps goal for week 1 will be an average of 5000 steps per day and I’ll increase that goal by 500 steps per day each subsequent week. So, by the end of week four, I should be consistently walking at least 6500-7000 steps per day. I’ll be tracking my steps on my new Misfit Shine fitness tracker.
  • Pack a Lunch – I need to get back into the habit of packing my lunch again during the week. By doing that, I have much more control over what I’m eating.

Weekly Goals:

  • Yoga – I really want to get back into the habit of doing yoga regularly again, too. Since I’ll be working on so many things during this challenge, my goal is to get in at least one 30 minute practice each week.
  • Weights – I know how important strength training is for me. It helps my joints and gets my very slow metabolism burning more. With that in mind, my goal is to get in at least two strength training sessions per week.
  • Weigh In – I’ve developed a bad habit of using the “no weigh in” pass far too often at Weight Watchers lately. I’ve still been attending my meeting faithfully each week, but sometimes I’ll go two or three weeks between actual weigh ins. During this challenge, I will weigh in EVERY week, regardless of what I think the scale might say.
  • Eating Out – This isn’t nearly as much as of a struggle as it used to be, but it’s started creeping back in a bit more. During this challenge, I plan to limit myself to eating out no more than two meals per week. That means I’ll be preparing just over 90% of my meals at home.

Monthly Goals:

  • Walk a 5k – This is something I’ve already been doing on a monthly basis anyway, so this goal is mostly to just keep that streak alive and going.
  • New Recipe – Since I’ll be preparing so many of my meals at home, this is obviously a great opportunity to try at least one new recipe. Trying new things helps keep my eating from getting into a rut of just eating the same stuff all the time.

Reward:

If you noticed, there isn’t anything filled in yet in the Reward section on my challenge sheet. It’s not that I don’t plan to reward myself if I meet my goals. It’s just that I haven’t decided on what that reward will be yet. I’ll definitely give it more thought over the 30 days of the challenge and will share what my reward will be when I make the final decision.

Since I don’t really know yet what I what to have as a reward, feel free to throw out some ideas! Just leave your ideas in the comments.

Until next time …

melissayuku

Chicken Salad with Blue Diamond Almonds

As you know, I recently became a member of the Blue Diamond Tastemakers blogger network. As part of that program, they recently sent me tasty treats including a canister of Whole Natural almonds and a canister of Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds. The challenge was to figure out a way to work them a summer recipe or entertaining idea. Given rosemary and chicken go together so well, I thought using the Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds in some chicken salad would be a match made in heaven … and it was! Check out my finished product.

Chicken Salad
As you can see, I opted to make mine into a sandwich on some toasted wheat bread and paired it with some baby carrots and fresh cherries. It was an awesome lunch and was only 7 PointsPlus for my Weight Watchers plan — 4 PointsPlus for 1/2 cup of the chicken salad and 3 PointsPlus for the bread. The carrots and cherries were 0 PointsPlus.

Of course, this chicken salad would work great for summer entertaining, too. It could easily be served in a lettuce leaf as a lettuce wrap or used to top an artisan cracker. I think this recipe would be awesome finger food for a summer pool party or BBQ.

So, are you ready to give it a try? Here’s what you’ll need (note: a full/printable recipe follows at the end of this post):

Chicken Salad Ingredients
The first order of business is to chop the almonds. You could do this in a mini food chopper or nut grinder, but I just did it with a knife since it was a small quantity.

Chopped Almonds
Next, drain the chicken and place it into a medium-sized bowl. Shred it a bit with a fork to break up the chunks. Add the onions, celery, and chopped almonds then mix well to combine.

Time-saving Tip: If you’re like me, you probably use onions and celery quite often when cooking. Dice up some of each after doing the weekly grocery shopping and put them in the fridge in an airtight container. That saves time during the week because you won’t have to chop some every time you need them. Not to mention the fact it means you only have to cry once from chopping onions. )

Chicken Salad Prep
Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt. Stir well or whisk until combined and smooth.

Chicken Salad Prep
Pour the mayo mixture over the chicken mixture.

Chicken Salad Prep
Stir well until all of the chicken mixture is coated with the mayo mixture.

Chicken Salad with Almonds
That’s it! It’s quick, easy, and best of all, tasty! The Rosemary & Black Pepper almonds add not only a nice crunch to the recipe, but a nice punch of flavor, too. It still tastes like a typical chicken salad, but with just that little something extra. Given how much I love chicken salad, this is definitely something I will be making again … a lot! lol

 

Chicken Salad with Blue Diamond Almonds
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 3
Ingredients
  • 7 oz. Valley Fresh 100% Natural White Chicken Cuts, drained
  • ⅔ oz. Blue Diamond Rosemary & Black Pepper Almonds, chopped
  • ¼ cup onions, finely diced
  • ¼ cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • Pinch kosher salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, shred the chicken pieces with a fork to break up the chunks. Add the onions, celery, and almonds. Mix well to combine and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, mayonnaise, and salt. Stir or whisk until blended and smooth. Pour the mayonnaise mixture over the chicken mixture. Stir together until the chicken mixture is coated with the mayonnaise mixture. This recipe can be served immediately or refrigerated until ready to serve.
Notes
Nutritional information calculated at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup Calories: 170 Fat: 9 Saturated fat: 1 Carbohydrates: 4 Sodium: 580 Fiber: 1 Protein: 19 Cholesterol: 35

Until next time …

melissayuku

Disclaimer: I received complimentary products from Blue Diamond for the purposes of this post. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

Summer Fun with Blue Diamond

Blue Diamond Logo
Recently, the nice folks over at Blue Diamond invited me to become part of their new blogger network, Tastemakers. I love Blue Diamond products and you can regularly find their 100 calorie packs (3 PointsPlus value for those on Weight Watchers) and a carton of the Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk (1 PointsPlus value per cup) in my kitchen. Both products are definitely staples for me, so I’m really excited to be working with Blue Diamond and learning more about their full line of products along the way.

Blue Diamond Summer Fun
The first products I received were part of their Summer Fun project. I received a canister of Toasted Coconut Almonds and a bag of Blueberry Almonds. Since they are such an awesome snack food, I decided they would be a perfect pre-cookout snack when I had a couple of neighbors over recently. They were the perfect healthy nosh while we waited for the grill to heat up to cook dinner.

Blue Diamond Toasted Coconut
I was first introduced to their Toasted Coconut Almonds one year ago when I attended the annual FitBloggin’ conference in Portland. They were a HUGE hit among the conference attendees, myself included! If you are a fan of coconut, I have no doubt you will enjoy these. You definitely get the wonderful coconut flavor without having it completely overwhelm the flavor of the almond. It’s an awesome combination! For those on Weight Watchers, they’re 5 PointsPlus value per one ounce serving (about 28 nuts).

Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds
I had never tried the Blueberry Almonds before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew I liked having fresh blueberries and almonds with my morning yogurt, but I wasn’t sure if I would like blueberry-flavored almonds. Well, I did! They were incredibly delicious! I liked them so much that when the bag they sent me to try was empty, I went out and bought more. For those on Weight Watchers, the blueberry flavor is 4 PointsPlus value per ounce (about 24 nuts).

All in all, both of these products were a major hit, not just to me, but to my guests as well. They were a great crunchy pre-meal snack that were definitely a lot healthier than chips!

Until next time …

melissayuku

Disclosure: I received complimentary products from Blue Diamond as part of the Tastemakers program for the purposes of this blog post. All opinions are entirely my own.

 

Weekly Weigh In & Good Eats

Weekly Weigh In
 As you may remember from my previous post, I decided to do a reset on my weight tracker at Weight Watchers. I truly believe that was the mental shift I needed to get myself back on track. In fact, I was down 4.4 pounds this week at my weekly weigh in. w00t!!

Weekly Weigh In
It feels so awesome to be making forward progress and working toward my goals. Part of that obviously includes healthy eating and I’ve definitely be doing that! Here are just some samples of the things I’ve been eating over the past couple of weeks.

Salmon with roasted potatoes and sauteed green beans  – 10 PointsPlus

Salmon
Skinny Quinoa Skillet Supper from skinnyms.com (click this link for the recipe) – 5 PointsPlus

Skinny Quinoa Skillet Supper
I discovered a couple of new flavors of Yoplait Greek 100 yogurt. (Side note: a little birdie told me on Twitter that there would be more new flavors coming soon!) They were both really yummy, but the Boston Cream Pie was definitely my favorite of the two. 2 PointsPlus

Yoplait Greek 100 Boston Cream Pie
Yoplait Greek 100 Tempting Blueberry Tart
I made a plan of attack for Memorial Day to make sure I didn’t go off track. The plan began with hitting the grocery store and stocking up on lots of healthy food.

Grocery Haul
Stocking up on all of those wonderful foods turned into this great Memorial Day meal – 9 PointsPlus

Memorial Day Weight Watchers Meal
I got the recipe for the coleslaw last year from my friend Tracy. It’s awesome! If anyone is interested in the recipe, you can find it here posted on my Facebook page.

Of course, now that summer is upon us, you know what that means … watermelon season! My favorite time of the year when it comes to fruit. )

Watermelon
Of course, there’s more to weight loss than just healthy eating. There has to be some activity involved as well, right?! My activity levels have definitely been down since getting home from vacation because I’ve been dealing with a case of bronchitis. I didn’t let that stop me though, I just slowed things down a bit and listened to my body. Part of my recent activity has included a couple of virtual events with Jost Running. I walked the Brave New World 5k and, since I wasn’t up to walking a progressive half marathon, I opted to put in my miles on the stationary bike instead.

Brave New Route 5k
Brave New Route Half Marathon
So, that’s the recap of how things have been going for me lately. I know some other folks left comments here and on my Facebook page saying they thought they would pull a reset as well. If so, how are things going for you? Hit me up in the comments below.

Until next time …

melissayuku

Fuck Perfect!

So, this happened last night.

Maximize Your Life
I will preface this post by saying it isn’t going to be a full review/recap of the Maximize Your Life show. I’ll do that in another post soon. Even though this isn’t a full review, I will say this … the show was AWESOME! Jillian was so warm and personable … and FUNNY! Even though there was a LOT of information being thrown at us, she found plenty of opportunities to keep us laughing.

Jillian Michaels
The purpose of post is to share my thoughts about the biggest lesson I took away from the show last night. It hit me HARD and I haven’t stopped thinking about  it since, other than when I slept.

In the latter part of the show, Jillian spent time talking about fear. She talked about how fear holds most people back and mires us in thoughts of “how dare I” rather than thinking “why not me” and pursuing our true dreams. She went on to talk about how fear is only temporary, but regret is permanent. It was definitely very inspiring to hear, but not necessarily something I hadn’t heard before either.

Finally, Jillian started talking about perfectionism. This is the part where I admit … again … that I really struggle with the whole perfectionism thing. It’s the whole “all or nothing” mentality that holds me back in so many ways. It causes my competitive nature to rear its ugly head with thoughts of, “If I can’t be the best at this, then why bother?” For example, when I start seriously focusing on exercise, in my mind, that means I need to go out and train for a marathon or something because I have this internal drive that I have to go balls to the wall with anything I do in life. My thought process goes something like if my friends are running marathons, triathlons, etc., then that’s what I need to do in order to be successful with exercise.

As Jillian is talking, I’m processing all of this in my head while still trying to focus on what she’s saying. As all this is going on, she made a statement that mentally hit me like a two by four to the brain.

Fuck Perfect
The first sentence perfectly sums up where I’ve been with my whole weight loss effort over the past few years. Having been so successful on Weight Watchers 10 years ago by losing nearly 140 pounds and then gaining 100 of it back, I definitely let my shame of feeling like a failure hold me back now. There is the fear that if I start losing weight again that people will quietly judge me and whisper things like, “I wonder how long she’ll keep it off this time.” Even within myself, I have thought of wondering why I even bother because I’ll probably just gain it all back again anyway.

The cycle of all those types of thoughts, coupled with my perfectionism, have been a deadly combination for trying to move forward with my weight loss. If I have some type of treat, rather than accounting for it in my daily points target or weekly points allowance, I just throw in the towel. I end up just eating off the rails for the rest of the day … or sometimes longer.

After spending several hours now thinking about this whole concept, I’ve come to realize that I’ve been punishing myself for … being human. I’ll NEVER be a perfect eater or exerciser. I’ll NEVER follow my Weight Watchers food plan 100% every single day for the rest of my life. It’s time to stop beating myself up for not because perfect, because there’s no such thing. Fuck perfect!

Starting Over
With all this in mind, I’ve decided to just start over, but with a new attitude. I know it won’t be easy because I have 50 years of experience at being a perfectionist. For my friends in real life who read my blog, if you see me falling into my old “all or nothing” mentality with my eating and exercise plan, please call me on my bullshit! I desperately need to break this habit if I’m ever going to find success. Thanks!

Until next time …

melissayuku

Maximize Your Life Tour in SoCal! {Giveaway}

Jillian Michaels Maximize Your Life
I’ve been a huge fan of Jillian Michaels since the early days of The Biggest Loser which debuted back in 2004. When her PR team contacted me about partnering for a post/giveaway about her Maximize Your Life tour, I immediately jumped at the chance!

I love Jillian’s no holds barred attitude combined with her true compassion for her contestants. Yes, she’s hard-nosed when it comes to training, but it’s obvious in seeing her interactions with her contestants during the down times that she truly cares about the people with whom she is working and genuinely wants to see them change their lives. That really becomes even more apparent when listening to her weekly podcast, which I LOVE!

In an effort to reach even more people, last year Jillian launched her Maximize Your Life tour. The tour was such a success that she’s been doing it again this year. The 2014 tour is coming to a close and Jillian will be wrapping things up with two amazing shows in her hometown! She’ll be appearing at the City National Grove in Anaheim on Friday, May 16, and at the Saban Theater in Beverly Hills on Saturday, May 17. Tickets start at just $25, so it won’t even set you back an arm and a leg to get a great dose of inspiration and motivation!

Maximize Your Life Tour with Jillian Michaels
Jillian takes the stage in this intimate and uniquely personal live experience that provides you with the tools and motivation to harness your potential, kick-start your goals, and live the exceptional life that you’ve always wanted, but thought wasn’t possible. It sounds amazing, right?! My pals Brooke (her site might be down intermittently due to her success story going viral) and Emily actually attended her show a few weeks ago in Des Moines and were blown away! You can read their Brooke’s recap here and Emily’s here.  Additionally, here’s a cool sneak peek video for the tour:

Now, here’s where the cool part comes in! Jillian’s team contacted me to offer my readers a discount on the ticket price. Use the code JMLIVE to receive a $5 discount on select tickets. Even better? They’ve also asked me to host a giveaway where one lucky winner will receive TWO tickets to their choice of venue — Anaheim or Los Angeles. How cool is that?! So, if you’re going to be in the SoCal area on May 16 or 17, be sure to enter!

Contest details: Giveaway ends at 3pm PST on Tuesday, May 13, 2014. Winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond. Giveaway is for the show tickets only — transportation not included. Leaving a comment on this post is mandatory (see Rafflecopter box for details). All other entries options are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I’m really looking forward to the show!My pal Kerry is going to attend with me, and we’re both looking forward to getting a good dose of motivation to help us as we continue on our journey to weight loss and better health. Good luck to everyone who enters!

Until next time …

melissayuku

Disclaimer: I was provided two tickets to the show as compensation for this post/giveaway. All opinions are entirely my own.

Walkin’ in Style: Reebok Skyscrape Review

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

Reebok Skyscrape

Recently, the nice folks over at Reebok sent a pair of their new Reebok Skyscrape shoes to try. It was like an awesome little Christmas present with the pretty bow and tag they put on them. I couldn’t wait to get them open and check them out.

Reebok Skyscrape

After I got them open, I was surprised by how lightweight they were! They weight practically  nothing compared to the walking and running shoes I usually wear. The information from Reebok said they are crafted borrowing the materials and soft molding process used to create lingerie. Using this process provides all-around comfort and creates a shoe so lightweight that it weighs only 5.0
ounces. Amazing!! Here are some more details about the shoe:

  • Foam material in the upper for softness and flexibility
  • Low-cut design for added mobility
  • Seamless construction for minimized rub and irritation
  • Unique architecture designed to support the foot and provide all-day comfort
  • Minimal rubber accents only where needed for traction
  • Skyspring technology – features a unique design architecture designed to help support the foot and provide all day comfort

Reebok Skyscrape

I put them on the next day and wore them to work and check them out. They were amazingly comfortable! There was none of that typical breaking in period like one so often needs with a pair of new shoes. Given how lightweight and comfortable they are, you’ll practically forget you have them on.

Reebok Skyscrape

I’ve been wearing these shoes all over the place since receiving them. Not only are they comfortable, but they are machine washable as well which is an added bonus! The pink color is totally fun, too. )

All in all, I would highly recommend these shoes! If you’re interested in picking up a pair for yourself, you can shop online, find them at a local Reebok store, or pick up a pair at your local Kohl’s store, Reebok’s retail partner.

Until next time …

melissayuku

Weight Watchers Magazine … for FREE

As many of you may remember from my post back in December, Weight Watchers was running an awesome Invite-a-Friend promotion. Each new member who joined Weight Watchers using the referral link of an existing member received a free one-year subscription to Weight Watchers Magazine. On top of that, the referring member also received a free one-month extension of their Weight Watchers membership.  Pretty cool, right?!

Sadly, the promotion ended on February 28. The good news? Weight Watchers has extended the promotion! That’s right, from now until April 30, 2014, you can still take advantage of this offer.

All you need to do is click this referral link and sign up for either a new Weight Watchers Monthly Pass or Weight Watchers Online membership. Once you’ve been a member for two weeks, you will receive an email with information on how to claim your free magazine subscription.

I always look forward to receiving my new issue every other month. I’m torn over what my favorite part is — the recipe ideas or the success stories. They’re both great! There’s always plenty of health and fitness information as well, plus just the right amount of fashion/beauty stuff. Speaking of fashion, can I just say that I’m totally lusting after the shoes and jacket from the cover of the March/April issue! lol If you want a better look at them, just click the image for a larger version.

So, if you’re sad thinking you missed out on the free magazine from my previous post, now’s your chance! As with any promotion, please be sure to visit the referral page for full details and eligibility requirements.

Before I close, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted. Sorry about that! I think turning 50 right on top of the whole post about my past struggles with addiction threw me for more of a loop than I cared to admit. More about that in my next post which will be coming in the next couple of days.

Until next time …

melissayuku

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by Weight Watchers for this post. I’m a current member and sharing it as part of their Invite-a-Friend promotion.

Weekly Weigh In: Birthday Edition

Weekly Weigh In

Hey everyone! I apologize that it’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve written anything, much less posted a weekly weigh in. Writing about my history of PTSD and addiction in my previous post kind of threw me into an emotional tailspin. It seems each time I think I’ve grown and made progress with emotional eating, it jumps up and smacks me squarely in the face again.

I spent several days eating completely out of control to the point that I opted to use a No Weigh In pass at my Weight Watchers meeting last week. Thankfully, I had the good sense to still go to my meeting. The meeting topic was all about emotional eating and was just what I needed to reset myself and get back on track. After getting in a week of healthy eating, I was able to minimize the damage on the scale by showing a gain of only 0.6 at my meeting on Sunday.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday. The big Five Oh.  Yes, that’s right, I’m now AARP-eiligible. lol   My friends showered me with gifts, phone calls, text messages, emails, etc. They sure made turning 50 a lot easier than I was thinking it might be. )

It started on Sunday at my Weight Watchers meeting when my pal Dee brought in these awesome cake pops (3 PointsPlus for two pops) that she made. She even made cute little custom tags for them with my monogram and a very subtle number 50. How cute & special is that?!

Cake Pops

My pals at my meeting also chipped in and got me a gift, but I forgot to take a photo of it. They got me a gorgeous leather wallet with RFID protection that I had on my Amazon wish list. It’s absolutely beautiful!!

I was also able to mark off one of my 50 for 50 list items. As planned, I bought some beautiful flowers for myself in honor of my birthday. I decided that just because I’m single, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have some beautiful flowers for my birthday. I picked them up on Sunday following my meeting so I would be able to wake up to pretty flowers on Monday for my actual birthday since I had the day off (President’s Day holiday).

Birthday Flowers

My day actually started out with some activity. I was inspired by something I saw Melissa (a.k.a. The ValentineRD) do a few days ago on her birthday. She ran 4.4 miles in honor of her 44th birthday, so I decided to walk 5.0 miles in honor of my 50th. It also more than covered the mileage I needed to complete my Medal Whore Pursuit Suck It Up 5k virtual race.

Medal Whore Pursuit

I got some pretty cool birthday love from the interwebz, too! I woke up this morning with birthday wishes from Google:

Google Birthday Doodle

Later in the day, I even got some love from the social media folks at Weight Watchers on my Instagram feed.

Weight Watchers Birthday Wishes

Pretty cool, huh?! So, as you can see, it was a pretty awesome birthday. Given I said this line (I’m 50!) about a dozen times over my birthday weekend, I’ll leave you with a little Sally O’Malley. )

Until next time …

melissayuku

Tales of an Addict

Philip Seymour Hoffman
Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)
 

Most of us were stunned Sunday when we learned of the death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. He was truly one of the great character actors of my generation. He was an amazing talent on both stage and screen. He was an Oscar winner. He was an addict, and so am I.

Like Philip, I developed an appetite for drugs early in life. By the time I was a sophomore in college, I was using drugs on a regular basis.  Oh sure, I thought it was soooooo much fun at first because it meant I could stay up all night to party and still make it to class, but ultimately, drugs were just a way for me to escape all the painful memories of being sexually abused as a child.

After a while though, it stops being fun. It doesn’t take long to realize the pain you are trying to escape is still there and it now accompanied by a myriad of other issues all related to your drug use. It’s no fun waking up lying on the pavement in a parking lot having no idea where you are or how you got there. It’s no fun being awake for days on end because you’re so amped up on stimulants that you can’t come back down. It’s not fun realizing you are quickly losing control of your life.

Thankfully, once I came to the realization that the drugs weren’t actually working for me, I got help. I made the decision at 24 years old to get clean. It wasn’t easy, especially since my husband at the time was still doing drugs, but I did it and I’ve been clean ever since.

For many years, I attended 12-step meetings a few times per week because I knew they were an important tool for me to remain clean. Once I moved to California in my mid-30s, I just gradually cut back on the number of meetings I was attending until I eventually just gave them up completely. It wasn’t that I felt they were no longer important, but other things in my life just became more pressing as I went about living my life. While I know one is never truly “recovered” from an addiction, I just kind of felt that I’d reached a point in my life where drugs simply weren’t an issue for me any longer.

Yesterday’s news reminded me again just how insidious the disease of addiction really is for those who suffer from it. Philip had been clean for 23 years before picking drugs back up again last year and started using again. Sadly, that’s what also cost him his life apparently as it is believed he died of an accidental heroine overdose.

His death reminded me that while I’m grateful for all my years of being clean, I still need to be ever vigilant about my own disease of addiction because I could fall back into it at any moment. While I no longer think about drugs on a regular basis, I have had other addictions in my past (smoking, cutting, sex, etc.) as well, some of which do still haunt me on a regular basis,. For me, the one that haunts me the most is food.

I suffered many years with bulimia and binge eating disorder. It’s actually my oldest addiction (for lack of a better phrase) because I have vivid memories of sneaking and hiding food even as young as in my tween years. Since I was too young to use drugs or alcohol to cope with the abuse I was suffering, food became my drug of choice. In my young mind, I think I believed that if I stuffed myself with enough food, the pain I felt inside would be forced out or something because there would be no room for it any longer. Logically, I understand that it doesn’t work that way now, but as a 10 or 11 year old, it’s the only way I knew to cope.

At this point in my life, it’s been many years since I’ve actually purged. However, there’s still not a week that goes by that I don’t think about doing it. Even if it’s just for a fleeting moment, it’s there. It’s especially in the forefront of my mind if I’ve eaten too much and I’m uncomfortably full. That’s definitely a danger zone for me.

I think one of the reasons my food-related addictions have always continued to be a problem for me is that, unlike with drugs or smoking, I have to face my addiction on a daily basis. With most addictions, you just abstain completely from the trigger. That’s not an option with food. We all have to eat on a daily basis which is why it’s so difficult to overcome.

So, while I am saddened by the tragic and needless death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I’m grateful for the pause his death has given me to think. I’m grateful for my 26 years of being clean. I’m grateful for the people in my life who helped me find the path to recovery. I’m grateful to be alive to fight my disease for one more day.

My name is Melissa and I’m an addict.  Rest in peace, Philip.

melissayuku