Wednesday, July 07, 2010
In case you're interested in how a young woman with BED was able to turn her situation around with the help No S, as well as some other influences:
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
i write this as a way to deal with the continued urges to eat way more than I am hungry for in restaurants and in social food-sharing situations.
Let me preface this by saying that I believe if we are eating moderate amounts of food consistently-meaning we have no real deficit reason to need more food--, we can learn to withstand just about any triggers for bingeing, eventually for months and years at at time, and even forever. I do still give in to strong urges, but I don't believe it's because it's not possible to say no. My first 6 solid months of eating 3 moderate meals a day most weekdays--no snacking, sweets, or second helpings of anything-are a good start, but it's the next 18 months that are going to seal the deal.
That being said, simple overeating at meals has been shown to be correlated to later bingeing in those who do binge. It's counter intuitive, but so is lots of what goes on with compulsive eating. If that helps anyone next time she is in a situation where she needs incentive to refrain from getting too full, it will have been worth preaching about. It is worth the process of learning how much is enough to satisfy without being too little or too much. In fact, without that, we will never be at peace with food or our bodies.
I really think the urges to eat at unnecessary times will subside, but it may take longer than we think, and there might be some strong breezes of them for longer than that. Please don't take it as a sign that we are doing the wrong thing. I was never a heavy smoker, having not started until I was 25 and only going a few months at a time even smoking every day, even going months at a time without smoking until I finally quit at age of 27, but for YEARS afterwards, certain situations would bring on the urge to smoke. These habits are not only chemically induced from the outside; to some degree, they have a life of their own within the brain. And our "minds" will often cooperate by producing thoughts to continue the process. BUT THEY ARE BASICALLY HABITS. And humans can make new habits. Keep using whatever thinking and behavior has let us ignore those urges and that will become our default way of living. It is like turning a supersonic jet in the air. The pilot has to make very small changes in direction and long arcs to do it. Even if we are just at the beginning of our arc, it is worth staying with it. Younger women will have decades to enjoy the fruits. So will their children. Moderation, time between meals to get hungry, unattachment to food and harsh body criticism, savoring of many flavors and textures without overeating: This is a great legacy we are building now to share with our peers and pass on to our daughters. I doubt there is a more important time in history to make this central. More on the connection to future generations another time.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I don't know how many times I wished I could just go away to an island or some place in the mountains and just live there, eating only the right foods, having only so much around so that I wouldn't overeat, getting lots of exercise just as part of living, and being able to stay until I was thin and I didn't want to binge any more. But I knew it wouldn't work. In fact, in 1979, I travelled for an extended time. I realized I was really hungry only a couple of times a day and I would eat whatever I wanted until I was full--fried fish, rich curries (I was in India) and relaxing in the afternoon with a cafe au lait. I did tons of walking. I know I got to the lowest weight in my adult life. I had been living oversea for more than 2 years and this was just before I was on my way home. Lastly, I went to visit friends in England before I flew back to southern California. I gained 10 lbs. in one week, stuffing myself with Cadbury chocolate and heavy English food, telling myself it was because I had been away from good chocolate and the weather was cold, etc. But the truth was going home and having to face life--not just being able to wander in a cheap country, eat whenever--having to work at some crappy job all day, since I didn't know what I wanted to do, and not be able to exercise or relax when I wanted, figure out how to make a living--all of these things terrified me, and I know now I ate over it. To tell the truth, I suspected then that was the reason, but it didn't stop me. I didn't think I could solve those problems to my own satisfaction, so I ate, unconsciously deciding if I couldnt find a satisfying way to solve them, then I would at least use the strategy I knew and get a few moments' pleasure from, especially since it was so much easier than the alternatives. The easy alternatives were going for a walk, cleaning my house, calling a friend, watching TV. The hard ones were understanding where I would fit in my my culture's economy and society. Even the easy ones were hard when I couldn't face the hard ones. I did not forgive myself for not being clear in my goals and shooting for the stars. It took me 30 years to accept and understand what I could do for myself with the talents and emotional make up I had rather than what I wished I had.
But when I look back on it all, on all the insights I gained, nothing replaces the importance of just sticking it out at times--just tolerating the rotten feelings and thoughts and even trying to ignore then while insisting on waiting two more hours to eat, three more hours to eat, then relaxing and eating a moderate amount of food and being grateful that I was hungry and had the ease of a plate of great food. Just finishing the food and having the meal be over. That it was clear it was time to do something else, and it was okay that it wasn't the perfect thing to be doing to make my life perfect and reach all my goals. I could do something simple or something grandiose, but the important thing was that it wasn't about food, it wasn't about being thin, but I had to I just try to give it my attention and not complain. I'd even sometimes pretend I was going to die soon and try to allow that sense you hear from some really sick people in which they feel that every moment is great just the way it is. Of course, I'm not dying and I might sometimes want to expect a little more of myself, but I felt it was important, not to give up my dreams, but to not let them torture me anymore.
Maybe this is the true last piece in this puzzle. I've thought so many times, okay, I'm so close now, I just know it. This is one of those times. Gosh, I hope I'm right. But it doesn't almost destroy me when it isn't anymore. Amen.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
I am saying this for those who are trying to end binge eating.
I don't mean to bring up a downer topic, but it's something we may each have to face. We may not be able to have the body we want living the life we are willing to live. Judith Beck in at least one of her books, which I like very much for the psychological techniques, not the eating prescriptions, says that sometimes dieters have to face that the calorie reduction and exercise requirements it would take to lose more weight may not be worth it for the negative impact they can have on lifestyle.
Though it may be theoretically possible to achieve and maintain thinness, the process could rule one's life in a way that would not pay off. Anorexics do it, though many of them die before they are 40. My friend's sister in law is a practicing anorexic at age 45. She lives with her mother and it has ruled both of their lives for 20 years. She has tried to commit suicide several times. No one will ever know if the relationship between them has kept the daughter alive or just enabled her. This is an extremely unfortunate situation, but it happens.
I don't think most people here sound like it is this serious, but I do hear discouragement and I completely understand. But I also want to say, what if this were it? What if somehow we had reached our lowest weight possible without sticking to 1000 cal. a day and working out for 90 minutes a day? That is what some of the people on the National Weight Loss Registry do to maintain their weight. That is their right, but it is not how I am going to purposely spend my last decades on this planet. If I were ill in such a way that it was necessary, okay, but not for cosmetic reasons. And, frankly, I don't like being held to that possible standard by the judgement of some of my peers, not the one's here, thank goodness, that I should be willing to do what it takes to be thin.
I do, however, want to do what it takes to become binge free and they are not the same thing. SOME people who become binge free become thin. Some people lose some weight. And some have no change at all in their bodies, but I have never heard of one who did not believe that the quality of her life had not improved immeasurably.
I have to admit I will be very disappointed if I continue to implement the habits I want to (and I haven't done them all consistently yet) and I don't drop another 10-20 lbs. But I doubt it will change what I set out to do with my habits.
I know that bingeing usually leads to more bingeing, which is a misery in itself because there are thin women who do it and they are miserable. I need to keep working on reducing and eventually eliminating it, at least in its previous forms, in my life.
I know that the body was made for consistent moderate activity and less frequent but also consistent bouts of intense activity that stresses the muscles, so I plan to incorporate a variety of cardio activities that I find fun and some resistance work a few times a week. This goal may or may not be intrica
tely related to not bingeing. Some hard exercisers binge and some say it helps them not binge.
I am going to keep striving to eat wholesome food in satisfying amounts and enjoy it. I am going to keep striving to feed my body only when it needs it and cultivate natural hunger without becoming an ascetic.
If I do these things and don't get the body I envision, I will still work to respect myself and the body I am lucky to experience life in. Even if I don't do those things, I am going to hold my head high. I am a person with a lot more to me than my eating and my weight. At the same time, I know it's worth the effort to rid myself of this attachment to immoderate amounts of food.
So, I guess I'm just saying I think everyone here should be proud of her efforts to conquer this whether she loses weight or not. It doesn't mean that I don't have empathy for our discouragements and won't need your bolstering at times, but it does mean I think the habits are the results; weight loss is only a lucky side effect. I also don't mean it's not okay to feel temporarily bad about our bodies. Only we know how it feels inside and only we can look closely and see if it comes from really being out of whack with our true needs or some ideal enforced on us from outside ourselves.
in any case, my heart goes out to those who are feeling down today. All I know is the best cure for me is filling my time in such a way that I get hungry for my next meal and don't stuff myself. Then I feel sane and even thin!--if I don't wear something too tight!
Be honest and pursue peace.
Friday, April 23, 2010
First, I would say to try to think you haven't stuck with it yet, rather than that you can't stick with it. Can't implies permanence and really, you don't know if you will never stick with it, just that you haven't yet!
It may be hard to remember but weight loss is not the major reason to give up emotional eating or bingeing, at least for a period of time. Therefore, weighing yourself is not a valid way of measuring its worth. The major reason for wanting to decrease it is that we just don't feel very good when we have so many eating episodes that are unrelated to stomach hunger. Even if you get rid of the recrimination and guilt, which I highly recommend, reconnecting with our body's natural desire for satisfying food starts as its own marvelous reward, if a person is open to it. Thus getting hungry becomes a gift, rather than a burden. Food- even simple, almost unadulterated food- is so utterly delicious when we are hungry for it. Eating slowly, savoring each bite, and eating just to fullness can be wonderful rewards that outdo the fake measure of a scale. Your body weighs what it weighs and feels what it feels all the time, not just for the seconds you're on the scale. And that feeling is the result of eating moderate meals at times that work for us individually and socially.
I also think one of the problems is that we keep trying to have 100% compliance, 7 days a week, which is almost impossible to start. What we need is a way to contain the behavior and decrease its frequency enough so that the bond is broken enough that it will be unlikely to increase again.
I tried for 7 years to control emotional eating by having 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. I found that I still overate or even binged just about every day. Since Jan. 1, I've limited myself to 3 one-plate meals a day, 5 days a week, no sweets on weekdays, and with about 5-6 hours between meals. (Some mornings I have coffee with a lot of milk once or even twice between breakfast and lunch, but nothing to chew, IF I get really hungry. Doesn't happen every day.) Recent research has found that this does not depress the metabolism, the starvation mode does not kick in, and there are some very good chemical reasons to eat fewer times per day than what has been recommendationded for the last 10 years of so.
I find that no matter how hungry I am when I start my meal, if I eat to enjoy each bite, I don't overeat and even often feel satisfied with less food! I can also have cookies and other foods that have been hard to control eating around and it is no big deal. I don't recommend that for anyone who feels susceptible, but it's not a given that we have to eat food because it's there forever.
Right now, my emotional eating episodes are limited to weekends and I find it surprisingly easy, with reminders of what I am trying to achieve, to go back to eating for hunger on weekdays. I think it's because I have 15 experiences each week of how wonderful it is to get hungry and enjoy my meals. My goal right now is to get to only one day a week that I emotionally eat by June 20, the first day of summer. Then I'll decide how much more and at what rate to limit myself.
I have not added any exercise yet.
After losing 5% of my weight since then, I've stabilized, which is fine, as my goal this year was to lose 17% of my weight, which would put me just inside my normal BMI range. Others may have different goals. I've spent 40 years being in a hurry and all it's gotten me is weight gain. This is slower, but I figure it's the way that's going to make the last few decades a lot more peaceful and fun than the first 56!
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