Saturday, January 27, 2007

On the Weigh Down, Month Two

Weight: 168 -- loss of 1.2 pounds

I'm actually rather pleased -- I was scared to get on the scale. I think it would have been a lower number 10 days ago, but I sort of freaked out starting then. Up until then I was feeling pretty relaxed -- eating healthfully, not letting myself get too hungry, eating only until satisfied, etc. I was exercising but not obsessively, and resting when I needed to rest.

Then I started that old familiar dance -- dreaming about what life would be like when I was thin again, stressing about whether or not I ate too much on a particular day, serving myself tiny servings at dinner, getting upset that I didn't walk as many steps as I had the day before, typing my food intake into "just to check" and see how many calories I'd eaten, going to bed a bit hungry, spending too much time thinking about food and what I'd eat the next day, not lying down when I needed some rest because I had "too much to do". I was also not getting enough sleep -- getting up at 5am to walk the dog and exercise, and being awakened every single night by T's coughing or C's coughing, or C needing water or C needing her covers on or C having a bad dream....

On January 20, I fought the urge to binge from 2pm until bedtime. I was starving all day on the 21st, but didn't allow myself to eat more than I had planned to eat that day. I ate past satisfaction at lunch and dinner on the 23rd. Finally yesterday I had a binge unlike any I've had for months. It was awful. I was so tired and wanted to take a nap so badly. I'd only had a few hours of sleep between T's coughing fits every 15 minutes and C having the worst diarrhea at 11:45pm (took me 45 minutes to clean her, the bed, the floor, etc). I got off work early because I work tomorrow, but had to wait til MIL brought C home before resting. She didn't come, and didn't come, and didn't come. I finally decided to lay down anyway. I was asleep for 5-10 minutes when the phone rang. It was MIL telling me they'd be there in "a while". I couldn't fall back asleep, went downstairs, and that was all she wrote. By the time they actually got there, I was feeling rather sick.

I took R to her Girl Scout meeting, skipping dinner because (duh) I wasn't hungry. By the time we finished at 8:15pm, I was hungry and R was "famished". We went to McDonald's and I got a double cheeseburger, fries, and an ice cream cone. To be honest, the fries weren't nearly as good as I remembered them being (it's been many months since I've had them), but that didn't stop me from eating almost all of them. I was really, really full (even when I get a meal there, it's usually a kids' meal), but ate two chocolate chip cookies when I got home. I had trouble sleeping because I felt so crummy. more counting calories for me. No more trying to stay hungry "just a while while longer" before eating. No more forcing myself to go on and on like the Energizer bunny. No more.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


Anonymous asked me for some book titles in the comments for my last post. I've read soooo many and this process has been reallllly long, but there are a few that have stood out for me as being the most helpful. I think the very first one I read was Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole. It made so much sense to me and I was able to follow its principles for a while, but eventually fell back into my old habits. For me, this is not so much about giving up dieting, but about giving up the cycle of deprivation and bingeing, so IE didn't quite do the whole trick for me.

I read many of Geneen Roth's books, which had me nodding my head a lot, but didn't really give me any specifics on how to go about healing myself. However, I think everyone who eats for emotional reasons should read her book Breaking Free From Emotional Eating.

I had a class that used the book Thoughts & Feelings: taking control of your moods and your life. Working through that book helped me clarify much of my destructive thinking and started me down the road to healing.

French Toast for Breakfast by Mary Anne Cohen was fantastic. For the first time I didn't feel like a failure because I couldn't seem to live surrounded by crappy food and not eat it.

Other books that helped me along the way were:
It's Not About Food: change your mind; change your life by Carol Emery Normandi
The Rules of "Normal" Eating by Karen R Koenig
The Appetite Awareness Workbook by Linda R Craighead
Mindless Eating by Brian Wansink

I think the reality is that you can read and read and read, but not get anywhere if you don't act. I started actually *doing* the exercises in the books and workbooks, which helped me uncover feelings and reasons behind my actions that had always been a mystery to me. I started actually trying to stop myself from bingeing rather than feeling helpless in the face of a seemingly overwhelming desire to eat, eat, eat.

In the past I usually tried to wait as long as I possibly could before eating lunch or a snack, thinking that the longer I waited, the less food I'd eat over the course of the day. I came to realize that waiting until I was positively ravenous before eating did not result in weight loss so much as in the consumption of way too many carbohydrates from bread, cereal, grains, and junk food. My body was screaming to be fed and the reason I was craving cookies or potato chips had less to do with uncontrollable cravings than with the simple fact that I had waited too long to eat. My body was smarter than I -- and knew that cookies would provide the quick energy my cells needed faster than an apple. These past few weeks I have fed myself when hungry -- with nutritious, nourishing food. I have not felt any overwhelming craving for anything. Maybe it's coincidence and tomorrow I'll get that old familiar urge to binge away my boredom, stress, or exhaustion. All I can do is wait and see.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Impulse Control

I have realized recently that I am a very impulsive eater -- very subject to suggestion and the appearance of food. I am no longer the type of binger who would get into my car and drive somewhere to get food to binge on. I used to be the girl driving to Dunkin' Donuts, getting a dozen donuts, and eating part of every single one til I felt sick. I used to drive to the grocery store and fill my cart with all of my favorite binge foods, drive home, and eat as much as I could. Then I'd throw the rest away, vowing to diet the next day. I'm not sure what changed. I haven't done that for many, many years. I don't even every have the urge to buy anything from the vending machine at work.

If the food is readily available, though, I have a tendency to eat it. I tried to legalize ice cream by having it in my freezer all the time for an entire year. I just ended up eating ice cream every day. It never lost its allure for me! If others are eating a snack or a meal, I have the fight the urge to join in, hungry or not. If someone offers me food, I take it almost every time, even if it's something I don't particularly like. If my dh makes popcorn, I immediately want some, hungry or not. If I see that someone has brought in cinnamon rolls to work, my hand starts to reach for one before my brain kicks in to say, "Um...excuse me? White bread, sugar, and fat -- do you REALLY want to eat that?" Sometimes the answer is yes -- most of the time, no. It's partially habit I think. I've been doing it for so many years, it's automatic. So lately I've been practicing saying "no", which is ridiculously difficult. I've so far been able to tell dh "no" every time he's made popcorn in the past couple of weeks. I like popcorn well enough, but don't crave it too often -- and I'm not hungry when he makes it (after dinner). I have not eaten any of the treats at work for the past couple of weeks -- store bought cookies and candy aren't all that exciting anyway. Well -- I take that back -- I did eat that cinnamon roll. But it was homemade and I ate it with my lunch to blunt the sugar rush. It feels good to say "no" when I don't really want whatever is offered. Now the next thing to work on is saying "no" when people directly offer me food -- or taking it but only eating a bite or two. I haven't had the opportunity to try that one out yet.

Things are going quite well for the new me in the new year. I haven't binged since I put all of my new plans into place December 27. I've had a few binge-y moments, but was able to talk myself down before doing too much damage. The worst was the day I ate two packages of 100-calorie Lorna Doones and a small bowl of granola and milk. Not too shabby. I think listening to my meditation CD might be helping me, as well as taking walks with the dog twice a day. I used to walk only with a book on CD, but now I just walk and let my mind wander. I think my brain likes the rest. I think I might have lost a pound or two -- my pants seem a teeny bit looser. I'm resisting getting on the scale until the 27th, however.