Binge eating

T is for Truth

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Aint’t that the truth?

How many of us have binged on our favorite food and immediately after thought, Next time I’ll do better. Or, Why did I eat that? Or, That’s it, I’m DONE eating badly! The diet starts NOW! And then it never really starts, right?

What TRUTH are you avoiding? And how is it sabotaging your weight loss efforts?

I have a new therapist. I’ve written about depression and anxiety many times before. I had a therapist that I loved. She was awesome. She went out on maternity leave in August and I saw another therapist who specializes in anxiety a few times and while she gave me some things to work on that sort of helped, I didn’t feel like I clicked with her. Back in December when things were really overwhelming and the shit was hitting the fan in all aspects of my life (i.e. feeling like everything was going wrong) I decided that I’d see another therapist. I went in very apathetic after not really clicking with a few of the ones available to me over the years, and feeling rather grumpy about the one I loved quitting. But I think I hit the jackpot with my new counselor.

First off, she’s awesome and I really feel like I can talk to her. She’s also that perfect blend of the type of therapist that listens to me vent, but pushes me to psychoanalyze the why and how to change. Second–and the best part–is that she also lost over 100 pounds and has kept it off. I don’t know details other than that but having a counselor that knows exactly what it feels like to lose a ton of weight was like angels singing “allelujah” with a choir. It may seem odd, but I’ve never really been able to find someone to talk to who KNOWS. There aren’t any books out there on what the psychological changes will be when you lose a lot of weight. Biggest Loser, etc, type shows and weight loss memoirs don’t cover HOW YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO FEEL after losing half of yourself. Not only that, there aren’t a lot of maintenance blogs out there. I can name a handful that I read religiously and thankfully they talk about the good and the bad of maintaining weight loss but that’s about it.

I’ve been in maintenance mode for almost 6 years now. In fact, 1 month before my wedding this year will be my 6  year anniversary of reaching goal weight. While I am happy that I’m still UNDER my goal weight (150), I am definitely higher than I want to be. I’ve gained a few pounds. I can blame winter, the holidays, stress, but really the reason for the weight gain has been LIES.

I’ve lied to myself about what I am eating and why. I’ve snuck food in the last few months. Like stuffing things in my mouth, barely tasting them, and then not recording them in my calorie log for the day. As if those calories didn’t count. They certainly counted and the stomach roll I’m now unhappily sporting is showing the truth. So is the scale.

I told my new therapist that I feel like I’m barely holding on lately. I’m sabotaging myself and I don’t know why.

When I first decided to lose weight, there were a lot of factors that finally convinced me. What really helped was having a deadline. I had 10 months to lose weight before I was going to be in my brother’s wedding and I wanted to walk down that aisle 50 pounds less. And I succeeded. Reaching that goal was far more important to me than bingeing on ice cream was.

So why am I struggling SO MUCH now that it’s my turn?

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I have roughly 6 1/2 months before my wedding. If I wanted to be exact, it’s 30 weeks, 3 days and 22 hours (I only know that because of the countdown plugin on our wedding website LOL). I have 6 months to lose the 7 pounds I want to lose and yet I am struggling to find the motivation. Why? Why is this so hard for me?

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My therapist asked me why I was lying to myself. I said that I didn’t want to face the truth and I’d rather pretend the calories I ate didn’t exist. Why? I don’t know why but somewhere deep inside me I need to find the truth and come clean to myself before I completely fall off the wagon.

She also said that psychologists are saying that planned indulging is healthy, but that with my binge eating history, I could never safely indulge/plan a “binge” (so to speak) with food. I agreed. The closest I get to that is my policy of eating whatever I want in moderation instead of naming certain foods as off limits. This has worked for a long time, and it DOES work, when you do it honestly and accurately. So instead of safely indulging on food, I binge on other things. I get lost in books and binge read them. I do it with TV too. I binge watch tv on weekends as a method of escapism. Still bingeing. Just in different ways.

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Supposedly the truth will set you free. 

I need to be TRUTHFUL about the calories I am REALLY eating.

I need to be TRUTHFUL to myself WHY I am eating the things I am eating. Should I be feeling my emotions instead of stuffing them down inside myself?

The truth is I need to stop eating candy mindlessly at work.

The truth is I need to stop eating dessert every single night at home.

The truth is I need to manage my portions better.

The truth is I need to stop drinking alcohol for awhile. The liquid calories aren’t doing me any favors.

The truth is…I need to learn to love my body as it is, without criticism, without hate. Without the negative voice pointing out all my flaws, flab and stretchmarks. And I don’t know how to yet.

 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *N-Nemesis * O-Open * P-Plateaus Q -Quitting * R-Runner’s Knee * S-Support *

An Excuse to Eat

You should hear the kind of rationalization that goes on in my head sometimes. You may read my blog and think I have this weight loss and maintenance thing down! Most of the time I do. But I’m not perfect and I can be just as bad as the next guy who struggles with their weight. Trust me.

One example I can give comes from the time period where I was trying to lose weight. I was probably at 60-70 pounds lost so far and not far from reaching my goal weight. I don’t know what was really going on during this time period that triggered this but I went through a phase of midnight eating. I’m not proud of it. I’m glad I lived alone at the time so I didn’t have to justify to my partner why I was stuffing my face with rice krispie treats at 1 a.m. but maybe that would have been a deterrent. Anyway, I went through this phase and for some reason THOSE CALORIES DIDN’T COUNT. Don’t ask me how I rationalized that. For some reason, anything I ate between midnight and 2 a.m. didn’t count and I didn’t record it in my food journal. Totally bad. I was sabotaging myself (and this is probably one of the reasons I had such a long plateau around this weight).

Think about the last time you ate something and didn’t lot it in your food journal. Why didn’t it “count” for you?

Justified

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when I use the word justified?

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Sorry, I’m not talking about Raylon Givens when I used the word “justified.”  I’m talking about all those times we ate something that self-sabotaged our progress and justified our reason for doing so. I am not immune to this! I do it all the time. When I’m cooking dinner with Michael and I nibble and snack and bite on random things while we cook. I’m much better now at including those calories because you BET they count!

“I ran an extra mile today.”

“Work sucked today.”

“I’ve eaten so good all week long!” <–So why don’t we KEEP eating good?!?!

“Swimming in the pool actually burns MORE calories than I think it does because of the temperature!”

The list can go on and on and on as to why we make allowances for the extra snacking. The question to ask ourselves is this: why am I keeping myself from being successful? That damn handful of Reeses’s Pieces don’t taste nearly as good for the 20 seconds I’ll eat them, as reaching my goal will feel!

Entitled

I think this is the biggest trap we all fall into and I think a lot of it has to do with our culture and rituals as a family. How many times have you felt entitled to eat? What I mean by this is the Christmas cookies, the pumpkin pie and extra stuffing at Thanksgiving, the chocolate on Valentine’s Day…what about Superbowl? Or the 4th of July? There are excuses year round we can use to make ourselves feel entitled to overeating.

Check out this post: Emotional Eating: Do You Feel Entitled to Eat? Emotional eating opens up a whole bigger can of worms.

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It’s a vicious cycle. I can’t tell you how many times I got sucked into this cycle when I was a binge eater. Eating half a pizza by myself followed with a carton of ice cream and then wondering why I feel sick and miserable…only to feel even more discouraged and disgusted with myself which leads to more comfort eating.

BREAK THE CYCLE! Instead of focusing on the foods I couldn’t eat or beating myself up for mistakes I made, I focused on my goal and my timeline and I changed my thinking to the positive: I CAN DO THIS. I can lose weight. I can resist the temptation of junk food. I KNOW I CAN. I said it over and over until I believed it and it got easier to resist the junk food.

I’ll Start on Monday

I have a friend that falls into this category. For as long as I’ve known her, she’s been starting a new diet on Monday. As a result of this, she often binges before the diet starts. This is a hard habit to get into because not only does it imply that we’ll be starting a super restrictive diet that we’re most likely going to fail at, we’re probably packing on extra pounds before we even start!

What worked for me to stop this mentality was to realize that I was not on a diet, I was changing my life and creating a new lifestyle. This wasn’t temporary and I wasn’t looking for a quick fix. I was changing EVERYTHING. That helped me stay “on the wagon” when I was tempted to fall off and just start over again. And you know what? Once I started losing a lot of weight, I realized that I had worked really really hard for that success and I didn’t want to mess up and fail! I wanted to keep moving forward.

Don’t wait til Monday. Start today. You’re worth it!

Change

Why not have the reason to eat be “I’m hungry”?

Simple, isn’t it? It’s a hard thing to retrain our minds to listen to what our bodies are telling us. What helped me was eating more whole, natural foods. Also, running and biking helped me look at food as FUEL. Once I changed my mindset to wanting to eat the RIGHT fuel for my body to succeed in athletics, it became super easy to recognize the right signals.

It’s not going to become easy overnight, and it will certainly be something you have to work at. But isn’t it worth it? I thought it was!

QUESTION: Do you make excuses for your eating?