Friday, May 26, 2006

Is there such a thing as a trigger food?

Some of my listservs and bulletin boards have been discussing trigger foods lately. I find myself agreeing with everyone. I know that logically I shouldn't be afraid of food. A "normal" eater would allow the brownies to get hard and stale and not care if she had to throw them away -- or would a normal eater not make brownies, knowing that they are very high in calories and she doesn't need them for proper care of her body?

Sheryl from says, "I don't think it's ever good to put so much power in an inanimate object outside yourself that you need to shun it and flee from it. The power to decide - to choose - is in you. It's important to know that and believe it. You have the power! Feelings do not mandate action. It's possible to have feelings that you don't act upon - really, that's the definition of maturity. "

Well, yes I do believe that, but.... don't you think that most people who are naturally slender don't buy junk food and don't bake very often? I have tried for YEARS to be able to eat certain foods (good ice cream, homemade brownies, homemade bread, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and graham crackers spring to mind first) in a "normal" fashion and have failed miserably most of the time. No, they don't "trigger" a binge in me unless I'm trying to diet. But I almost always eat a larger portion than would be considered "normal". I eat a large bowl of ice cream or 2-3 brownies or a whole inner package of graham crackers. I always laughed at diets for which you are allowed "1/2 cup of ice cream" or "2 graham crackers". That would never satisfy me in a million years. Most of the time I just avoid those foods, rather than deal with a big struggle.

Oddly, I have been able to normalize some foods. I can now have chips, m&ms, cheese, and sugary cereal in the house all the time and rarely feel the urge to eat a bunch of it. I definitely wouldn't have been able to say that 15 years ago. Why the change? I think part of it may be the "not wanting to waste food" thing. I know that T and the girls will eat chips long before they go stale, and the other things take forever to go bad. My "problem" foods are all things that will get hard, stale, or otherwise ruined if not eaten fairly quickly.

I haven't been doing very well with leaving a bite of food on my plate and each meal and that probably relates. I do serve myself rather small portions, but still -- I want to be able to leave at least ONE bite on my plate. After all, I can go back and eat more food whenever I want. I'm an adult and no one will tell me I can't eat!

I rode my stationery bike this morning and tried doing a "program", as opposed to just 40 minutes on level 3. HOLY COW! I'd been doing level 3 and sometimes 4, but this program went up to 8 at times. I was so out of breath at one point that I had to reduce the resistance. Something to work toward, I suppose. I did the "weight loss" program at the gym on the elliptical on Wednesday and had the opposite experience. I had to keep upping the resistance. Huh.

I'm getting my bike back from the shop tomorrow and I'm pretty excited. I hopped on it a couple of weeks ago and slowly rode up and down the street. I wasn't nearly as scared as I thought I'd be, but it still felt too big for me. The bike shop said they'd switch out the seat for one that goes lower and crank the handlebars a notch closer to the seat and see if that makes a difference. I'm also going to try out the next smaller size and a totally different bike that is a bit more recumbent and thus, lower to the ground. They were super nice and said they'd replace the seat and odometer for free! I told them it wasn't their fault I crashed and broke my leg!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My ACTION plan!

I'm actually alive and feeling rather good these days. After foundering around for a few weeks trying to "legalize" food and eating too much, I realized that legalizing doesn't HAVE to mean buying every food I ever deprived myself of and having it in my cupboard. It can simply mean giving myself permission to eat whatever I want, provided it is truly what I want and as long as I'm hungry. Whew. Having a bunch of junky food in the house just stresses me out -- What if it gets stale? What if no one eats it besides me? What if I have to throw it away? ACK! Having grown up in a house where NOTHING was EVER wasted or thrown away, I can't deal very well with the concept.

After spending a week writing down each time I ate when I wasn't hungry, I found some patterns. I wrote down the time, where I was, who I was with, what I ate, and any thoughts or feelings I had at the time. I found that I eat mainly due to boredom/procrastination, anxiety/stress, or anger. Some of the thoughts I had were "what the heck I already ruined my healthy eating for the day" sorts of thoughts, some ANTS, and anxious thoughts regarding either T or the girls or both. My problem times are dinnertime and just after, while reading the paper, during celebration/holiday meals, restaurants, and my days off. Soooo.. I have an ACTION plan! That makes me laugh. Anyway, here's my action plan:

boredom/procrastination -- just DO whatever I'm procrastinating (duh!) or at least leave/stay out of the kitchen

anxiety/stress -- ask for help

anger -- ask for what I need

for problem times:
dinner & after -- get up from the table as soon as I'm done and LEAVE the AREA! Remind myself that prolonging a meal does not stop it from ending.

reading the paper -- take it elsewhere in the house to read, away from food

celebrations/holidays -- remind myself that I will never run out of food. There is NOTHING I can't eat tomorrow that I'm eating today. There will ALWAYS be more food

restaurants -- eat slowly and try to keep to half of what I'm served

days off -- keep busy, care for myself, don't spend the entire day doing chores

My plan in general is:
exercise 3-6 times a week but don't obsess about length or number of times a week

eat more healthfully -- make most of my choices healthy ones, but eat french fries and the like with no guilt if that's what I truly want. Remind myself that deprivation and insatiability go hand in hand.

cut down on the desserts -- eat it every other day for a while, cut down to twice a week, then make it once a week, eating a truly great dessert

take smaller portions than I think will satisfy me, knowing that I can go back for more

eat with a plate always, sitting down always, and slowly

start leaving one bite of food on my plate at each meal

If I want to eat but I'm not hungry, stop and ask myself what it is I want from food since I want to eat more than I need. Remind myself that feelings come and go, but don't go away because I'm afraid of them. I can't feed a feeling with food. Change requires action.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I'm back from vacation

Our ten days in Europe were really great, but exhausting. We walked a LOT -- nine miles on a couple of days. I don't think I lost any weight, which kind of surprises me. More later...