Saturday, May 22, 2010

Throwing a Tantrum

I am very dismayed at the way I've been eating for the past two weeks. I have been overeating just about every evening, either at dinner or after - to the point of being uncomfortable! I haven't eaten in this irresponsible way regularly for ages. I think I've been doing some "last supper" type eating because I'm considering changing my diet to fit Dr. Joel Fuhrman's ideas. I read his books Eat to Live and Eat for Health, and reading all of the testimonials gave me hope that maybe I could lower my cholesterol if I started eating by his guidelines. I was trying to ease into it by incorporating even more fruits and vegetables into my days, as well as eating less meat, dairy, and bread. However, I managed to sabotage my good efforts every evening with copious cookies, bowls of ice cream, and cereal & milk -- which I ate in spite of not being the slightest bit hungry. When I was truly hungry (because I took a long bike ride after dinner or ate a small dinner or something), I ate a snack and then kept on eating.

I really started feeling sorry for myself, thinking that I am just a binger, will always be a binger, will always be fat, will always have achy knees and be crabby...wahhhhhhhh me. Today, however, after dealing with a  because I overate at a graduation open house, fully aware that I was doing it, I got angry with myself. I KNOW BETTER! I KNOW that I am NOT driven to overeat by some mysterious force that I can't control. I KNOW that I am MAKING THE CHOICE to eat. I can and have chosen to resist the urge many, many, many times since I started therapy a few years ago. I went on for  months resisting the urge. Now, I have let my guard down  a few several times and I'm slipping, slipping, sliding back down into hell. I've been like a toddler throwing a tantrum because I won't be able to have ice cream every day if I try Dr. F's plan. Boo. Hoo.

It's time to put my big girl panties (soon to be bigger if I don't cut it out!) on, start pulling myself back up into the sunshine, and eat in a much more healthy way. When I feel the urge to overeat, I need to do something else instead or just live with the urge. Good grief. I am an adult and surely I can tell myself "no" to a freaking cookie.
So, these are my goals for the next week:
1) eat only until 80% full at EVERY meal
2) eat at least 3 servings of fruit and 6 of vegetables every day
3) take responsibility for my health and stop acting like a child. Tantrums are unhealthy.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Food is Important to Me...Too Important?

food for thought

I read the above article and a little light bulb went off over my head. It gave me a different perspective on things. Yes, I freely admit that I have a major emotional connection to food and eating. I can remember being three years old and waiting until the housekeeper/nanny went upstairs to help my mother (who was dying of cancer), so that I could sneak lumps of brown sugar out of the container. Growing up, I always tried to choose the biggest cookie, and kept an eye on the food to see if there might be enough for seconds. At monthly neighborhood potlucks, I ate so many desserts that I felt stuffed. To me, holiday gatherings meant yummy food - seeing family was an afterthought. As an adult, I have collected hundreds of recipes, avidly read two dozen food blogs, peruse every new cookbook that comes into the library, and eagerly try a new dish every time I visit a restaurant. It never really occurred to me before that this particular attachment might be holding me back from losing the 20 lbs that I've wanted to ditch for the past 30 years. I always thought that my problem was that I used food to handle my emotions and problems, but have continued to struggle even after therapy and sometimes just overeating because the food is yummy and I don't want to stop. There are times that I just eat - I'm not bored, not angry, not lonely, just me. I still eat, and don't know why. I never considered the idea that I might simply be emotionally attached to food.

I don't really cook unhealthy foods very often (except that I do have a "thing" for rich desserts, I confess), but I don't often make the same things over and over. I subject my poor family to new recipes just about every week. I say "poor" because they would much rather eat BLTs and steak than Vegetarian Lentil Chili or Bulgar and Bean Stew.

If I am perfectly honest with myself, I know that perhaps I should stop reading all of the blogs (even though the bloggers are healthy eaters), toss most of my recipes (especially the rich desserts), and make a rotating menu to stick to. I am not really ready for that though -- maybe that means I am not really ready to lose the weight I claim I want to lose. There's a fine line between eating a varied diet and being obsessed with food...I think I cross the line more often than not, which is not something I like to admit.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Don't Scratch the Itch!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am, still fighting. Argh. I just want to be done, be at peace, be normal. I know, I know.......Barb told me it could take 2-3 years after therapy to be healed, but every time I think, "Okay, this is it! I've been feeling great for weeks!", I backslide right into the giant pit of despair. Well, maybe not all the way back in, but at least several feet, or even yards, down toward the bottom of the pit.

I was cruising along, not overeating, exercising just about every day but not forcing myself, and making very healthy choices. I was eating lots of beans, veggies, fruit, whole grains....not so much meat, cheese, or dessert. I did completely pig out on desserts on Sundays during Lent, but didn't feel deprived (most of the time) because I didn't eat them during the week. coworker mentioned that she had started a new diet the day before. DANGER! DANGER! This is the coworker who discussed food and exercise in minute detail with me when I was completely disordered in thought and deed, five and six years ago. She was doing South Beach, and I was doing "go around hungry all the time, limit myself to 1500 calories, and exercise two+ hours a day while obsessing about food", and we shared tips and happily talked about how bad we'd been for eating one Hershey's kiss the day before.

When this coworker mentioned her new diet, I said nothing and escaped ASAP. Of course, I should have known it wouldn't be that easy. The next day I was in the lunchroom with her, and she told me all about her new diet, which doesn't allow her to eat much sugar, etc. etc. I didn't feel particularly riled up at the time, but over the next few days, my thoughts began to turn more and more to restricting, to thinking I really HAVE to lose some weight, to imagining that my life would be so much better if I only lost 5 pounds. Naturally, that led to some calorie counting, some "should" and "shouldn't" thinking, and some bingeing. I think I probably gained 5 pounds instead of losing anything. Ay yi yi. I think that now, after about 3 weeks of this behavior -- that I KNOW is unproductive, unhealthy, and doesn't ever lead to anything resembling happiness -- I am finally getting back on track. I'm still struggling in the evenings, wanting to eat a bunch of crap like ice cream, cookies, or bread after dinner, even though I'm not the slightest bit hungry. When the weather is nice, I've been going outside to garden or have a quick bike ride to break my thought pattern, which has worked some of the time.

I was listening to a CD by someone -- a Buddhist nun maybe? -- and she talks about bad habits (like bingeing/overeating in my case) being like an itch. Say you have a rash that itches. If you scratch the itch, you are relieving the symptom of the rash, BUT you are making the actual problem worse, since the rash then spreads. The trick is to suffer through the itch, knowing that the rash will eventually clear up. Today, I was bored at work and just wanted to go eat some of the treats in our backroom. I kept telling myself, "Don't scratch the itch. Don't scratch the itch". I want the &($#&*# rash to go away!!!