Turning It around When You're Spiraling Out of Control


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
6/17/2010 9:36 AM   :  472 comments   :  71,655 Views

By Beth Donovan, ~INDYGIRL

Embarrassed... I admit to you all that for a few days last month I was out of control. I binged one or two times and chose really junky food that left me feeling toxic and demoralized and strangely enough like eating more of it. Sometimes I get to feeling so badly, that I eat badly, and feel worse, so I eat worse... It's really hard to dig out or even have the desire to dig out. I used to just resign myself to failing.

Since joining SparkPeople, I have done things differently when I've had these bouts. Now I know how to turn it around.

I want to share my turn-around with you so it might help you turn it around during a bad spell.

Notice first that all of it starts with feeling… feeling badly, so you eat.... Even if you started with eating something you were ashamed of, it was the feeling of shame that kept you going. In other words, an event happened, triggered you to eat, shame followed, which turned into an event itself, so you eat more, have more shame… That’s the spiral.

The BEST thing you can do for yourself is to treat yourself well. That's right, have a manicure, wear your favorite outfit, do whatever makes you feel your most beautiful or handsome. Your actions will follow how you feel. Have you ever noticed when you’re in these moods how you want to lay around in sweats or not put on cosmetics? It’s like you’re punishing body even further by making sure it isn’t allowed to look good if you can’t be “perfect” with your eating. So then you feel lousy and keep eating junk.

I also notice that when I’m in a spiral I won’t exercise, eat my vegetables, fruits, or drink my milk. It's like I have a total disregard for my body because I think “Why bother, I'm such a failure.” Then I look over at some piece of tempting food and think “I ate that extra helping of ____. I may as well…” Here is where I tell myself "If I can say 'I may as well,' I can say 'I may as well not.' "

One slice of pizza is always going to have fewer calories than two. I get a grip and feel a bit of strength coming on, as I remind myself “If I got a traffic ticket I wouldn’t break every traffic law the rest of the day. So why toss the whole day over a slice of pizza or some cookies?" These are my mantras, my powerful sayings I bring to mind when I need strength to pull through.

Then to get cravings and attitude under control, this is what works for me:

  1. Go to the Spark Start Page and reset my weight goal and date to something realistic. It gives me a fresh start and a new beginning, rather than a place from which to unbury myself.

  2. Drink extra water, tea and eat extra fruits and vegetables to get in fluids, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and natural sugars to stop my cravings. Eating extra lean protein helps me, too.

  3. Eat filling snacks that combine protein and fruit like an apple and peanut butter or cheese and pineapple. The fiber and protein keep me full, while the sweetness of the fruit helps calm my residual sugar cravings. Vegetables provide crunch and fiber to combat the nervousness that comes with coming down from a binge.

  4. This is the time to spend that money that I would spend on junk food on a fruit or veggie tray instead. They are a beautiful and delicious treat. We don't think twice about shelling out $10 for fast food or junk, but we deprive ourselves a pretty precut deli tray of fruit or veggies pretty often.

  5. When I can, I get a massage or a pedicure or anything that makes me feel special and beautiful. You can even do a spa treatment at home with one of the luxury masks or nail kits available at the store. The important thing is to get myself feeling like the beautiful person I am again and out of that “I’ll just wear sweats, stay in the house and eat” mentality. When you feel good about how you look, don’t you notice that you tend to eat less? I do anyway.

Pretty soon I feel like moving around again and be refreshed. Hope this helps you like it does me.

How do you recover after a binge? What do you do to pick yourself back up?

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  • JOCELYN110
    Great blog. This really hit home. - 9/11/2011   9:49:02 AM
  • 421
    Thank you. Yes, I will spend money on the junk food and hestitate to pay for the fruit tray or deny myself that pedicure. This weekend I am getting a pedicure as my reward for staying on task this weekend. I've lost several pounds this past week. - 9/6/2011   5:01:09 PM
  • 420
    someone, my jaw is hanging down. this is so real. please slap it back into position! - 9/6/2011   4:40:09 PM
  • HS1056
    Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I really needed to read this today. You are such an inspiration! - 9/3/2011   9:19:01 AM
    This is a great post! It is EXACTLY what I go through every now and then, especially after i lost an initial 58lbs and have been on a "plateau" for 5 months now. It's so easy just to give up and eat. I feel like I purposefully eat more and more to almost punish myself and call myself a failure. Luckily, I've snapped out of my binge this past weekend and have tracked again on Sparks. I will give myself a mani/pedi tonight and take a lovely walk to clear my mind. Thank you for the article. It's like I wrote it! - 8/29/2011   3:14:24 PM
    I have been feeling bery much like this and have had a really hard time the past week pulling myself out of a rut. I have hit a fantastic milestone. 50lb. loss and made it all the way to 51.2lbs. then have had some bad days spiraling to gaining almost 5lbs. I have it back under control somewhat and the gain is now to 2.8. But it is really easy to tell yourself that you have already done 'x' so why not go ahead and do 'y'. Just reading sometimes helps me come back to reality and you know what. I have still lost almost 50lbs. and it is an accomplishment that only I can sabatoge. - 8/27/2011   2:18:00 PM
  • 416
    Great blog! We all go through these times and it's easy to end up losing controla nd undoing all of your hard work quickly. My times are usually work related after a super bad day/week. When everything goes wrong and I get to feeling like a failure, no matter the issues are, my fault or not. Sometimes its just one negative afer another, or feeling belittled, and I go away feeling so depressed about work. Or if I had a binge and start feeling real guilty. The binges don't last for long because that food makes me feel bad, but also, when I get in these moods, and most time before it gets this far, I pray. I also read encouraging scripture/devotions, etc. Sometimes just being in the quiet listening to my Christian music, certain songs, help me feel at peace. At times I get to feeling guilty about abusing my body, God's temple, after I've begun a binge and that also helps me move out of it. - 8/11/2011   12:25:28 PM
  • 415
    Great blog. Sounds a lot like me over the past couple of weeks. Thanks for the motivation. - 8/8/2011   4:43:42 PM
    Great Blog - Thanks for sharing. I often find myself in the same situation! - 8/8/2011   1:29:20 PM
    Thank you so much. The feelings are so similar with me. Recently I don't feel the binge like I felt before. I have changed my life style totally to get weight lose. I have banished rice, pasta and bread from my life, but for how long? If I could overcome these three I would also lose 150 pounds like you. I lose 2 or 3 pounds and again gain it and this way I have lost 37 pounds already. I have to cut another 30 pounds to get the ideal weight. Its really hard to lose at this stage and I slip sometime for pasta. I get the result in gaining immediately. This is going on and on. I have also a mantra - I can do without rice, bread and pasta. I can do it. I won't allow these foods to spoil my life any more - 8/7/2011   7:52:23 AM
    I do the bin ge thing alot and try to recover.I like you thought process and will try it.Take care James - 8/6/2011   11:18:59 AM
  • 411
    Thank you. I'm trying to pull myself out of a yea + funk and this is so similar to my head space it's uncanny! - 8/5/2011   4:16:05 PM
  • 410
    What great ideas! I'll be using them to keep me out of trouble!! lol
    sandi - 7/31/2011   5:29:17 PM
    Thanks for writing this!! It was wonderful, and I could relate to so many things! I will try hard to remember your advice next time I feel the urge to overindulge!! And from your picture it looks like we have the same pink couch! Cool!! :) - 7/24/2011   8:24:51 PM
  • 408
    Loved the comparison to the traffic ticket. So true! - 7/17/2011   1:25:15 PM
    Thank you for sharing -- it has been so true for me at times and I really think some of your thoughts will help me next time I start down that road. I am saving this blog for just such a time!!!! - 7/15/2011   11:47:32 PM
  • 406
    This is what I needed! I have been on the binging and in the out of control spiral for a few weeks minimum. I just realized it last week.

    It is great to see I am not the only one who feels out of control. THANKS!!!! - 7/12/2011   11:15:06 AM
  • 405
    This blog sounds so much like my life. I never gain after ( I was going to say after putting all these bad foodsin my body) but I will call it what it is bingeing on every thing insight I never gain back the pounds but I am also not losing them either. This article was and is very inspiring. - 7/9/2011   6:48:40 PM
  • 404
    So glad I found your article. It's just what I needed to read. Thanks! - 7/9/2011   11:08:24 AM
    Thanks for your ideas. I already have many of your "quotes" copied into my inspiration-journal.

    It's so crazy to think we would reward ourselves with the very foods that got us into this predicament in the first place. When I had lost quite a bit of weight and was so proud of myself, I thought, "If someone FORCED you to eat enough calorie-laden things until you got blubbery again, you would be so angry, humiliated, and hurt. Yet you do it to yourself."

    I need to keep that thought in mind! Thanks again! - 7/7/2011   10:23:02 AM
  • 402
    This blog entry was such a kind, wise reality-check for me (10 pounds heavier than I was 3 months ago...yikes). Spot-on. Thank you. - 7/1/2011   5:55:00 PM
  • 401
    Thank you for your insightful words of wisdom. - 6/24/2011   2:04:01 PM
    I agree. A purchased salad and a fruit cup is my treat. No prep and no clean up. Better choice than a big candy bar, soda and chip and dip. - 6/11/2011   6:34:18 PM
    I just began to pick myself back up 2 days ago and I relate to your BLOG so well.

    I have done everything positive for the past two days and tonight when I went out power walking, I actually looked forward to it. I love power walking but when I get away from it for a few days that turn to weeks and then to months, it is so hard to return.
    I'm happy to say.....I have returned. Many thanks for this awesome BLOG and the courage to be truthful. - 5/30/2011   9:12:32 PM
  • 398
    I LOVE all your Blog Posts! keep up the good work!! - 5/27/2011   11:36:50 PM
  • MINDY502
    Thanks for sharing. I needed to hear this today! - 5/15/2011   8:12:19 PM
  • 396
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!! I have been in this viscous cycle for a few weeks now and this is what I needed to hear. Yes, other people DO feel like I do! This can be conquered! Great Blog, thanks for the transparency :o) PS. The veggie tray thing is a GREAT idea! - 5/13/2011   2:24:21 PM
  • 395
    I needed to see this blog. Thank you for sharing! - 5/13/2011   1:38:59 PM
  • 394
    My sprial has been pretty drastic this time around. I have gained five pounds over the last two months...sometimes as much as seven. I need to get back to the nuts and bolts and do what I need to do. - 5/6/2011   11:54:30 AM
  • 393
    I didn't think about the veggie tray thing. It definately would be a treat not having to cut up veggies! I actually think this would be great with fruit. I may do it this week! - 5/6/2011   10:44:07 AM
    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog posts. You have such wonderful insights. And I really, really admire the fact that you are brave enough to put your inner struggles out there in public for the rest of us to learn from. I don't think I could do that, so thank you. - 4/29/2011   4:10:34 PM
    This was just what I needed to read tonight! Thanks for helping me through a rough patch! - 4/8/2011   11:35:56 PM
  • 390
    Great blog!

    And Dawneblunda: Love that Drew Carey quote. Thanks for sharing. Good food for thought! - 4/7/2011   1:19:53 PM
  • 389
    You hit the mark with this blog! When I spiral it seems that I must hit rock bottom before I can climb from abyss--your tips make the spiral less devastating. Thanks. - 3/28/2011   9:11:59 AM
  • 388
    I hear you LOUD and clear. Boy did you ring my door bell. Not it is not Avon calling but I change calling. Add to favs. - 3/24/2011   10:17:23 AM
  • 387
    Drew Carey has said (since he lost weight) in Parade magazine article "Eating crappy isn't a reward, it's a punishment." I cut that quote out & posted it on my pantry door. Sometimes it stops me from eating crappy. Sometimes it explains WHY I ate crappy...b/c I decided to break all the traffic laws for the day. LOL Thanks for your blog. I think I'll save it, also. I know I'll be looking for it later! - 3/22/2011   11:26:17 PM
  • 386
    Wow, I could have written this myself. It is me through and through. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for the encouragement when I need it to pull myself up from a downward spiral.
    - 3/22/2011   5:13:05 PM
  • 385
    All I can say is thank you! - 3/22/2011   4:47:00 PM
  • 384
    I've been in a spiral for 6 months now. I pull out of it here & there, but feel out of control much of the time. While I know everything you wrote, sometimes I need to be reminded from someone other than myself. Thank you for being that reminder today! - 3/19/2011   9:43:54 AM
    I truly wish that I had something motivating to add...all I will say is that at some point what I am doing makes me ask the question...why are you sabotaging your own efforts...? Works every time. - 3/15/2011   12:29:05 PM
  • 382
    That was well said. I wouldn't break every traffic law for the rest of the day if I got one speeding ticket. Thank you for sharing. - 3/12/2011   9:45:36 AM
  • 381
  • 380
    Your blog is just what I need! Thank you! - 2/28/2011   11:18:16 AM
  • 379
    Thank you! a way to stop the bad feelings and move on. Thank you. - 2/17/2011   9:59:00 AM
  • 378
    So true! I really like your suggestions and the comment "And this too shall pass" Right on! - 2/14/2011   11:31:58 AM
  • 377
    Very motivational and oh so true!! Thanks so much for sharing your personal mantras!
    - 2/14/2011   10:32:45 AM
  • 376
    Whenever I get off track I say one thing to myself "And this too shall pass" it's a reminder to me that setback doesn't have to be a failure (it can only become one if you dwell on it and don't move beyond it). It also reminds me that we aren't perfect, slipups happen to everyone but the strong people, the survivors acknowledge the mistake, they learn from it and they use it as fuel to move forward leaving the bad choices behind. - 2/12/2011   7:03:25 PM
  • 375
    Thanks for such an inspiring article! Point number 4 was put there especially for me (and others like me). It makes great sense to buy a fruit or veggie tray; they don't cost as much as the "thing" that is bought and is put into the corner to collect dust. - 1/29/2011   12:35:00 PM
    I needed this today. Thanks. - 1/19/2011   11:43:18 AM
    I have been ill and now I have to start all over, I need motivation and our goup to help me and I now I can do it because I did it before. I saved this message because it worked for me before. - 1/15/2011   11:23:16 AM

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