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Emotional eating - recognized and conquered (at least for today)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

I'm starting to acclimate to my new job and surroundings. DH is doing a great job continuing to run with the dog (even with my lame foot he's been running while I'm working). For the first time in several years, DH's weight is down below 300 lb, which is fantastic. He's being very consistent and supportive with my health efforts as well.

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Yesterday I had a pop quiz with my mentor and didn't do as well as I would like. I'll chalk it up to deer-in-the-headlights-itis. It's such an adjustment to come and fit in at a new work place where the expectations for scholarship are high. I've been doing a good job of keeping up with my self study work since I started, which is really important. There are some things I'd like to do better, but overall, I feel like I'm learning a ton. I'm going to brush off my early learning moments and push forward. It's been a very fun place to be so far. I think that what I love about learning is that even though it can be painful, understanding is incredibly rewarding.

Take for instance my emotional eating. It's been so painful to go through my emotional eating episodes. In the past, I've wondered why I derail so dramatically from my established health plan. This morning, I really started to get that I was emotionally eating.

I need a prescription that I am on regularly, but my doctor's office doesn't want to fill it (for a ridiculous reason that I will not elaborate on). I don't live in that state anymore, so I'm trying to find a new doc to get the meds. All thesse new offices I was trying to get an appointment with wanted my SSN#, ethnicity, religion...before they could tell me if they had an available appointment. Crazy, right? I stewed for a little bit...in part because I couldn't get what I needed, in part because I had been a little short with the receptionist asking for my SSN#.

Because I'm looking at SP as more of a long term relationship than a diet (as I have many times in the past), I'm trying to stay objective and rational. I noticed that I had this incredible UNREASONABLE chocolate craving. I didn't abstain from chocolate. I just looked at my calories available for snacks, and planned a minimal amount of chocolate (well...at least for me) in my eating for the day. I tried 1/4 of a brownie my boss made, a small cookie my coworker made, and ordered a skim mocha.

My DH, apparently sensing my chocolate need via ESP, showed up at my office with a low fat frozen chocolate yogurt bar! Although I had had my fill of planned chocolate dietary indiscretion, I went ahead and ate it. I'll do some extra exercise tonight to make up for it and will make sure I stick to my calorie range.

So it wasn't a perfect response to the day, but it's a LOT better than I've done in the past and I'm dealing with the issue. Learning - a sometimes painful, but ultimately rewarding, experience.

Emotional eating. I think it will ALWAYS be a struggle for me. But if I can recognize it early on, I can adjust so that I don't throw my healthy lifestyle out the window for one bad day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 8/25/2014 6:03PM

    I liked the way you handled the chocolate situation. Brava!!

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DANCINGMASTER 8/14/2014 10:14PM

    Keep at it; it sounds like your DH is rooting for you!

Without pain, people don't appreciate a positive experience (or the learning) nearly as much. Remember what Picard learned from Q in the last episode of Star Trek:

Exploration isn't about finding new cultures, or charting a new star system; it's about submitting to the unknown potential inside of yourself, considering the unconsidered, pushing against your own mental boundaries, testing your perceived limits...and coming out different on the other side.

The battle to keep emotional eating at bay may be a life-long theme for you, but each time you succeed it will make that voice inside which says "There's another way..." a little stronger. Learn what you can from your failures, but this may be a time when success is a more useful teacher.

You wrote that your study plan is working well for you, and you made a plan to deal with your emotional eating response; use that knowledge of how to succeed! Plan some other things! What else can you do next time you realize you are becoming upset?

Comment edited on: 8/16/2014 1:30:04 PM

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Recovering...and food triggers

Sunday, August 10, 2014

I got really excited about my fitness plan when I started up with SP again a few weeks ago. DH and I were dancing quite a bit, and we'd started training for a Couch to 5K program. I'd just bought some new running shoes to help me train. There's a lot of life change going on here. We just moved to the midwest from Colorado/Arizona, and I have a job that should give me more time for fitness. Of course I got new shoes for my new job. I made the poor decision to buy heels and dance shoes, train very consistently with running, and alternate all of these different shoe types in rapid succession. Well...I overdid it a bit! I think I got plantar fasciitis from training too quickly. After reading up on signs, symptoms, and treatment, I took a break from activity for a few days. I started doing some gentle yoga yesterday and feel fine, so I'm trying to ramp up the activity slowly.

This past week was my first week in my new work environment. Although I had been doing very well with eating nutritious foods, I began caving when a coworker started snacking on snickers bars and cokes in the afternoon. I haven't been drinking soda for 6 months, but on 3 separate occasions last week, I drank a full coke zero bottle and got food (like chex mix or starburst) from a vending machine.

I've realized that I need a plan for snacks. I've not really packed snacks for work before. Any favorites that you like?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DANCINGMASTER 8/14/2014 12:39AM

    Keep thinking about those triggers. Identify them, and let your husband and friends know how they can help you avoid or overcome the scenarios.

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HIPPICHICK1 8/11/2014 8:51AM

    Oh no!! Sorry to hear that you are having troubles with your foot. Ouch!
Baby steps are really the way to go when getting back into fitness. Ramp it up from 20 minutes a day for a week to 30 the next and then maybe 40 the week after that. Good Luck!

As for snacks at work I would take some flat bread like Rye Crisp and nut butter. Almond butter is my favorite and the good fat is good for you! Alternately you could take raw nuts, have a fruit smoothie, make an extra serving of a side dish you had for lunch and eat that for a snack, or eat a banana...just keep it real. Eat real food.

Soda is not real food and neither is a snicker's bar or chex mix...although I'm sure chex is far more nutritious than a snicker's. Anyway, this is how I look at it: All food manufacturers of junk food are in it for the bottom line which money, and they do it by engineering the taste of the edible junk to GET YOU HOOKED SO THEY CAN PROFIT FROM YOUR ADDICTION. Why in the world would you want to give your hard earned cash to a company like that? It's despicable what they do. Have no part of it.

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Had my first "runner's high"

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The first few couch to 5k sessions were a struggle. I've not been in very good shape these past months. My husband and I have started getting in shape with yoga, social dancing, and the couch to 5k routine. Although the longer running segments still push our abilities, we both agree that we felt good after our most recent run.


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HIPPICHICK1 8/6/2014 8:59PM

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Eating out

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm starting the next step of my career this week and am going into a residency program. I guess there's been ample time for self-reflection, and I've been thinking about how eating out has influenced me and affected my weight management over time.

Of course the time that I was most successful with weight loss was when I pretty much never ate out. It was a hard transition to make, because I had literally grown up eating out (my parents made a few things at home but ate out most days--I think that's a pretty common scenario with two people working full time and raising a family). I think the reasons that it worked for me to not eat out were 1) I was working somewhere that basically everyone was following the same diet program and 2) my now-husband was making my meals for me and actively encouraging me at home.

Looking back, I realized that I influenced others to eat out as well. Of course in high school, once you get "off campus" privileges, everyone wants to eat out. Early in college with my first boyfriend, I remember him commenting that we had spent SO MUCH money eating out. He wasn't a thin guy, but I think he probably ate more modestly (at least in terms of money) than when we were together. Several relationships in college and graduate school centered on going out to eat, and I was often the instigator of eating out. What I'm most concerned about, though, is that I've really changed my husband's habits in being in our relationship.

Some of my husband's dietary habit changes are really good. He likes whole grains now. He'll tolerate soy milk in some things. He likes turkey and chicken sausage instead of pork sausage. But when he wants to go out to eat, I see two things. I see not wanting to cook (because I REALLY didn't do much cooking when I was working 60-80 hours per week last year), and I see relaxing into an attitude of just buying food, even when it's easy to make. I'm disappointed that I've influenced him in this way, and I'd like to try and change that. Of course we would do better financially, too. Maybe I can start by planning to cook at least 3 things per week - like getting recipes, ingredients all lined up, and making that a habit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 7/31/2014 8:17PM

    My answer to what to eat is "leftovers!" I batch cook things like make a big pot of Dhal (Indian spiced lentil stew, or cook several chicken breasts instead of just two for dinner one night, boil eggs for snacks...whatever I can do to ensure that there is something healthy in the fridge to eat in a moment's notice.
Good Luck with your cooking goals!

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The road so far...

Monday, July 28, 2014

Like many other users on the site, I've dealt with weight issues since childhood. In 3rd grade, I was actually underweight, but deemed healthy. In 4th grade, my grandpa picked me up after school. He was a warm and loving individual, but he often showed his love by overfeeding. I remember two VERY well-fed basset hounds, in particular. After school, I would get salami, macaroni and cheese, Chinese food, Pizza Hut personal pan pizzas, Burger King chicken nuggets and fries, cherry coke, cookies, and Fritos. Of course, these things were very rarely (if ever) available at my mother's house. She was a health nut and has always taken very good care of herself. Needless to say, I failed to exercise appropriate control with my new found snacks, and gained about 40 pounds. For a kid, that's a lot of weight.

When I went to college, I put on another 20 pounds. For the first time I was living on my own in a big city. I spent money very unwisely, ate greasy pizza and cheesesteaks (can you guess the city?), and walked to the grocery store, but never really developed an exercise routine. My boyfriend was a food addict and was much more overweight. I remember him ordering things like cheese wheel burgers and bread bowls with creamy buffalo chicken fillings. In his spare time, he played a lot of video games and watched anime. We ate out a lot...more than either of our pocketbooks could support. We had a tumultuous, emotional 8 months together where a lot of unreasonable things were said (mostly on my end), and then split. I am ashamed about how I treated this person.

During our relationship, I was always aware of my weight problem, because my boyfriend brought up his past crushes, all of whom were very thin. I met them both at various times. One was extremely nice and even offered to go on a diet to help me (clearly I was obsessed enough to be bearing my soul to someone I barely knew). When we split, although we both knew it was the right thing to do, I was devastated. I didn't eat for a couple of weeks and dropped about 10 pounds to a low weight of 160-something. Of course I was focusing on the relationship and not college during this time, so I didn't fare very well in my course work.

I went home for the summer and met my now husband. He was very different from my first boyfriend. He danced on a couple of performance teams, ate well (usually at home), and treated everyone around him very well. It was love at first hug (he's very hug-oriented). We had a magical summer romance. I learned to dance a bit and got back into the swing of things by practicing regularly (I was a clarinet major at the time).

When I came back to school, my clarinet teacher noted that I had lost some weight, which made me feel good. He got really sick, though...so sick that he wasn't around for many lessons that semester. He was frequently in the hospital. I also made some excuses for why I wasn't doing as well in my clarinet lessons. I became more depressed, but somehow I didn't gain the weight back for a while.

I came back home again after my teacher passed away. Although I was sad, my new boyfriend was only about an hour and a half away from me, I had a weekly dance I could attend, and I had a youth orchestra I was playing with. I didn't have regular clarinet lessons. I don't remember why, but I regret that. They were very grounding experiences for me.

I maintained my new "low weight" of 160 lb until college graduation in 2005. My boyfriend returned from a less-than-ideal graduate scenario where he gained a lot of weight (100+ pounds). I then started working as a volunteer at an animal hospital. If you've ever worked in a medical scenario, you know the delicious things you can receive as tokens of appreciation - creme puffs, cakes, cookies, you name it. I put on about 30 pounds at that time. About a year and a half later, one of the people who worked there lost a TON of weight - like 100 pounds - and inspired us all to join Slim4Life (SlimGenics). At its peak, I think 8-9 people on the hospital staff were on this program.

My boyfriend cooked for me and helped me measure my portions. I lost around 40 pounds with Slim4Life, bringing me down into the 150s. I was totally thrilled with my weight loss. I remember feeling on top of the world, like I could achieve anything. I started grad school in the fall and continued my plan. Multiple people told me I was looking great. I was sick a lot, though. Looking back on it, I think I was trying to juggle too many things at once.

I maintained my low weight for a while, but eventually crept back up to the 160 range. I got married in the 160s - luckily my dress hid many evils. Since 2012, I've been waffling between 160 and 170. I'm on the higher end of that right now (not entirely sure since I've packed the scale and can't find it).

I first read about SparkPeople and joined in 2001. In all this time, I've recognized that what I wanted was a quick fix so that I could live healthily LATER. Apparently I'm a slow learner. Watching my husband struggle with his weight, I really want us to be healthy. I think I've finally got it. This journey is going to take time, and it's not a specific amount of time because life happens... Health as opposed to low body weight entails eating well, exercising, SLEEPING, and having a good outlook.

I've moved to do a second graduate program. It's a scary, new place where I don't know anyone. Given my history and my husband's history, I'm worried that this may trigger some emotional eating. DH and I started our new health initiative about a week ago. Since then, we've done some interval running with the dog in a beautiful local park (we've never run together before). We've eaten some not-so-good-for-you things, but we've also eaten less of those things and have made healthy meals to get back on track.

My husband said something today that really resonated. This is how our conversation went:
Me: "We went running yesterday; I don't want to go today. I'll go tomorrow."
DH: "We should go today if you're up to it. I'm trying to help you."
Me: "Pushing each other to exercise was never part of our relationship before."

It should have been. He's so right.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 7/28/2014 9:49PM

    I like the way your hubby thinks! :-)
If you have emotional eating issues I would urge you to work on them as soon as possible. Nothing can hinder your progress like having your emotions wrapped up in food.
Congrats on all that you have achieved and good luck to you in your 2nd graduate program! Exciting!!

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