Tuesday, March 28, 2006

There would be a skip in my step today

There would be a skip in my step today -- if I could skip yet.

I went to PT this morning and had my hardest session ever -- almost a full hour. I went 11 minutes forward on the elliptical, 5 minutes backward, 6 minutes backward on the treadmill at an incline (more directly works the muscle on my leg that's the weakest apparently), and then half an hour of working my legs with the weights. Whew! I felt so good when I left. My knee is rather sore now, but I've been wearing a brace for the past few days and it really helps with the soreness.

I feel as though I'm really getting a handle on being able to pause and stop myself when I am tempted to reach for food when I'm not hungry. I've done it several times in the past couple of weeks. BUT my impulses have been mild. I haven't been hit with one of those strong, out of control needs to eat for a couple of weeks.I still eat too much at dinner, but I don't beat myself up over it. I know that's one of the last things to master. For the most part I don't eat over a 5 at breakfast or lunch, but probably eat to a 7 at dinner. Then I'm almost always tempted to eat more, but have been able to ask myself what it is I really need or want and then go do that.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Doing well

So, I have eaten like a "normal" person for four days now -- no overeating, no bingeing, and allowing myself to eat when hungry (for the most part). Even on the weekend, though I had a small issue with some cookies I made, I didn't allow "last supper" syndrome to take effect. I waited until I was hungry again to eat and didn't take it as permission to binge. So my last real binge was a week ago yesterday.

I'm eating very small portions at meals, but leave the table satisfied. I have been tempted several times to eat foods that aren't so healthy, but have decided that I wasn't really craving them or wasn't truly physically hungry. The thing is that it's fairly easy to resist things if I'm not hungry and haven't been craving them. It's when I get blindsided by the urge to EAT and EAT NOW! (even though I'm not hungry) that I can't seem to resist. I'm sort of waiting for one of those urges to hit. I've been trying to visualize it happening and me setting the timer for 15 minutes and sitting with my feelings, seeing what comes up, and resisting the food. Hopefully, my visualization will become reality. I feel as though I just need ONE victory over the urge -- to know I can do it. Then the next time will conceivably be easier.

I ate a cupcake after lunch yesterday when I wasn't hungry anymore. I didn't feel guilty, but thought perhaps I should have waited until I was hungry again to eat it. It didn't taste all that great. I had some chocolate ice cream after dinner on Monday and again, wasn't hungry anymore before I ate it. However, the ice cream tasted fabulous. I suppose if I want dessert I should eat even smaller portions so that I'm still a bit hungry.

I feel good, but worry that I'm "dieting". I just finished a book called "Life Inside the Thin Cage" by a woman who was a chronic dieter. It was mainly aimed at women who are not quite anorexic and need to gain some weight, but much of the mindset was the same as a compulsive eater. I find it a bit depressing that all of these books by people who've recovered from eating disorders all say the same thing. These people crave healthy food and don't like sugar and white flour much anymore. Now, I love healthy food. I eat fruits and veggies every day -- probably more than the 9 servings one is supposed to eat. I like chicken breast, yogurt, etc. BUT I also love french fries, cheesecake, chocolate chip cookies, Cheetos, and the like. I can resist them yes, but I can't imagine going to a restaurant, opening the menu, and not wanting to order french fries and a hot fudge brownie sundae. I know I can have them and just stop eating when full, but if I eat them all the time, I certainly won't be healthy, let alone lose any weight.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


I saw Dr M yesterday, who was thrilled to tell me I had gained an entire inch of muscle on my leg since my last visit. What a difference PT has made!

I've been riding my bike -- trying for 3 times a week, 20-25 minutes on level 3, and the rest on level 2. Whoa, is my knee sore afterward. But I've been icing it and Dr M said to take Alieve to keep the swelling down. Today at PT I used the elliptical for the first time -- 5 min forward and 5 backward. My leg was really tired by the time I was done with everything. Hopefully that means more muscle building is going on!

My eating has been so-so. Still eating too much overall -- tight pants today. I had a mini-binge on Saturday night with a couple of frosted homemade brownies. I asked myself "what is it I want these brownies to do for me?" and the answer was to procrastinate putting the girls to bed. T was out playing bball. I knew I'd have to put them to bed no matter what, so I threw the rest of the brownies down the disposal (they weren't all that great anyway) and went upstairs.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

same old, same old

Ay yi yi. I'm still having a problem overeating in the evening, right after dinner. Last night I got home and I was soooo HUNGRY! I can't figure out how to solve that problem. I get hungry in the afternoon and have a snack, but by the time I get home at 5:15pm I am so hungry I end up gobbling my dinner like a starving woman and looking around for more. Last night I had some lettuce with dressing, a piece of pumpkin bread, a few soy crisps, and a few strawberries while I was making dinner. I was still so hungry I scarfed down my pancakes like someone was going to steal them from me. I was no longer hungry, and ate a girl scout cookie & a little pudding cup for dessert. Then T went out to get the mail and I promptly grabbed C's plate (she was done) and shoveled in the rest of her pancake. WTH?

I think what I absolutely, positively NEED to do is break this habit. As SOON as we're done with dinner I need to get up and LEAVE the eating area. LEAVE, LEAVE, LEAVE!!! As Sheryl at normaleating.com points out, compulsive eating is an addiction -- not an addiction to food, but an addiction to the act of bingeing or overeating. I need to start creating new patterns to break the addiction. Tonight I have my first "Managing Your Moods" class, and Friday is craft night at Michelle's mom's house (ugh, food fest), but Saturday -- a new approach. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

normal eating

I just finished the book "Losing It" by Laurie Fraser, which is a fascinating look at the dieting industry and sort of an expose of how all they want is to make money, etc. Anyway, she had a description from Ellyn Satter of normal eating that I thought was good:

Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -- not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint on your food selection to get the right food, but not being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad, or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at time; feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your life and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.

In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food, and your feelings.

It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

Friday, March 03, 2006

the importance of the pause

Someone on the conscious eaters list reminded me of the importance of the pause when I posted about trying to do something different. She wrote:

When you have the urge to eat when not hungry, delay acting on this impulse for at least 15 minutes. The best way to spend these 15 minutes is in quiet inward reflection with your eyes closed because this is when you will get the greatest insights into yourself, but even if you spend the pause running around in circles in the kitchen, you must pause.I'm reading a really great book called "First Things First" by Stephen Covey (author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"). I was very interested to see that he also made a big point of the importance of pausing between impulse and action, and he wasn't talking about anything related to eating. He identified it as a core skill needed for individual growth and development, for becoming a better person.You don't go from acting instantly on the impulse to eat, to never acting on non-hunger eating urges in a binary way with nothing in between. Children learn to crawl before they learn to walk. You learn to not act on non-hunger eating urges bit by bit, and the very first step is to pause. If you can't pause, you can't forego acting on the urge at all. You have to pause before you can stop.You must pause between non-hunger eating urges. It's possible - anyone can make the decision to wait 15 minutes before acting on the urge to eat, and when you do, you exercise a "muscle" that, in the future, will allow you to stop acting on these impulses altogether.

Don't be so sure that you fully understand the reasons behind your non-hunger eating. A primary reason that people eat when they feel upset is to avoid full knowledge of what is upsetting them - it's a huge distraction.It's easy to say you eat, for example, because your co-workers are bothering you, but that's not the whole story. The feelings that are triggered inside you by another's behavior are all yours, and are based on many factors - often originating in old issues that you haven't fully resolved. There's an expression from the recovery world that expresses this well: "If it's hysterical, it's historical." If someone is doing something that really gets to you, it's probably pushing a button.It's not enough to know that your co-workers (for example) are pushing a button. You need to know what the button is. It's the "button" (so to speak) that you need to surface and deal with. This could be profound self-doubt, discomfort with your own anger, or any number of other things. That's the level of "why" you need to get to to resolve this.It doesn't sound like you are sitting with the feelings when you have the urge to eat when not hungry - allowing a pause between impulse and action. Are you? You need to sit quietly, as I wrote to Emma in a previous message, and see what comes up. Allowing a pause between impulse and action is absolutely crucial to recovery in Normal Eating.(1) It's the first step towards not eating when you're not hungry, and(2) It's the time of discomfort when you will get the most important insights into what's really going on with you. As soon as you act on the impulse, the underlying causes become much harder to access.Pausing is crucial!! The first "reason" that pops into your mind is almost surely not the whole story. If it were, you wouldn't still have the urge to eat with the same intensity, because one of the main reasons for wanting to eat - to hide from the real reason - would be gone.

So, the next time I feel the urge to eat when I'm not hungry, I am going to pause -- sit or lie down with my eyes closed for 15 minutes and just see what comes up. Last night was great -- I had a small shredded beef bbq on a bun, a very small bit of cole slaw, some grapes, and a very small dish of pumpkin pudding with fat free whipped topping. I was satisfied -- not too full. Okay, well I still was tempted to eat more, but didn't. I was hungry by 9 o'clock, so had a 100-calorie bag of popcorn -- not because it was 100 calories, but because I was honestly craving popcorn. It tasted sooo good! I was actually still hungry after that, but went to bed.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

don't worry mom...

Awww, my little R is so sweet. I was gazing longingly at a catalog of exercise DVDs from collagevideo.com last night and she asked if I'd ordered anything from it. I said, "Not recently, but the exercise DVDs I used to do came from this company" and I kind of sighed. She said, "Don't worry mom -- by next Christmas you'll be able to do your aerobics again and you'll be back in shape in no time!"

Last night was okay -- I think because I was conscious that Wednesday is a problem night and determined not to let it be a problem this week. I made Pierogies for the girls (no meat on Ash Wednesday) and a veggie burger on a low-cal bun for me with strawberries and yogurt for all 3 of us. Of course, I would have been fine with my own dinner, but ate the rest of C's yogurt & fruit, one of her Pierogies, and some pumpkin pudding with fat-free whipped topping. Then I felt really full and a bit panicky. I kept telling myself it was OKAY. I kept busy doing dishes, putting laundry away, and cleaning while the girls had their dessert (which oddly was goldfish crackers and a 100-calorie pkg of peanut butter crisps -- faux cookies). I did have a few crisps and a couple of goldfish, but kept reminding myself that eating more would only make me feel worse. FINALLY they were done and we went upstairs for baths and reading. When T got home I did go back down to read the paper with him, but honestly didn't feel tempted by his can of Pringles. I was actually physically hungry by the time I finally fell asleep at 11pm or so, but of course wasn't about to go eat that late.

Today I was again reminded of two of my "rules". I let myself get too hungry before lunch (I was doing storytime so I was too busy to eat a snack -- and had eaten a Lean Cuisine Panini for breakfast, so didn't think I should be hungry) and I let myself get too full. I ate my leftover enchilada casserole and rice I'd brought, cut a piece of the cream cheese danish coffee cake someone brought (and ate it even after tasting it and finding it wasn't all that great), ate a peanut butter cookie that wasn't all that great, AND ate the yogurt and fruit that was to be my mid-afternoon snack. By the time I realized I didn't want that much food I was really, really full. I let my anxiety get the better of me for a few minutes and ate a small piece of applesauce bread from the breakroom. Then I regained my senses and thought "oh well, it's done, and maybe now I won't get hungry for an afternoon snack".

I had the alarm set to get up and ride my exercise bike this morning, even though I have PT this afternoon. My knee was hurting so much last night I almost took some Vicodin. I couldn't fall asleep and couldn't stay asleep, so I turned the alarm off after C got into bed with us just before T got up at 4:30am. I will try to ride tonight though. I don't honestly know that it's doing any good -- PT guy Jason told me not to increase the tension unless I can still ride at 80 rpm. That's darn fast -- at level 2 I can barely keep it in the upper 70s. But I don't feel like I'm really getting a workout. I'm a bit breathless and break out into a very light sweat, but nothing like when I used to do step aerobics.

I was so tempted to weigh myself this morning, but resisted. It's just a number. My pants aren't falling off me or too small to zip, and whatever the number is, knowing it is never a good thing for me. I want to immediately run to the kitchen if I've gained two pounds or if I've lost two pounds. I'm not sure I'll ever weigh myself again.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

life is good

I feel on a pretty even keel this week. I've been trying to concentrate more on working while at work, feeling that fooling around on the computer leads to guilt, which leads to eating. Last night I had brief "what the heck" binge thoughts on the way home from work. Tuesdays are always a problem for me. Working 11:45-8:15 just screws up my eating, no matter what I've tried so far. I need to keep trying new things, I guess. Anyway, I was hungry on the way home and wavered on whether to eat or not. I really had already eaten what I'd consider a full compliment of food for the day. I had bingey thoughts. When I got home, I decided to have a smallish snack. Luckily, while I was starting to eat, R came downstairs and started talking to me. I thought "DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT!" and grabbed the paper and went upstairs with her. After my snack I was still a little bit hungry, but didn't really want to eat more (being 9pm and --okay -- feeling that I "shouldn't") so I just went to bed.

I'm feeling apprehensive about tonight -- Wednesday is another problem day for me when T goes to basketball. I'm trying to decide whether or not to take the girls to church for Ash Wednesday services. They really need a bath and I'm not sure we'd have time for both, but R asked me yesterday if we were going and said she really wanted to. How can you not take your child to church when she wants to go? Maybe we'd have time for a short bath after church.