Friday, February 18, 2011
I've been in a whirlpool of having a cold, going through closing on a house from afar (mad, mad faxing and such) and completing one of the most stressful weeks at work in a long time at a job that is pretty high-stress to start. Including actually staying up all night on Monday, ALL NIGHT, grading papers so that I could submit grades on time. And including spilling coffee on some student papers that were one step away from being bundled up to be sent away to be graded for a high-stakes evaluation. And not catching that one student didn't sign his affidavit of his work being original which is now keeping over a hundred student papers being sent out tomorrow as planned and having to wait until Tuesday morning. Life and death? No. But professionally important? You betchya. I wished I could afford to quit at least 50 times in three days.
I've also had two people tell me that even though I worked long enough to qualify for social security before I became a public school teacher at age 46, I will not be eligible for it when I retire. That would be regarded as double dipping. Yet I've known ex-military men who became teachers and are eligible for both pensions, to the tune of $90,000 a year. It was very discouraging to hear at age 57 that my retirement income will represent only the last 20 years of the 40 years of my working life.
And I just within the last hour broke up with the guy I've been having a lukewarm relationship with for the last 6 months. He lives an hour away and his car has been on the blink for two months. He just got it fixed, but didn't say immediately how glad he was that he was going to be able to visit. And all he sent me for Valentine's Day for was a one-line email! Yet he kept insisting that he thought at some point that we could have an important relationship. I have seen for awhile that it is really my problem because he is not disappointed in me or the relationship. I felt bad for both of us; me, because I was in the hope-trap, as a friend calls it, and him because he is in a tough place in his life where he moved to be with a woman that things worked out terribly with and now he's at a crossroads where he doesn't have much of a support system. I wish I felt I could be more supportive of him through this, but I just don't. I feel a bit lost myself and he wasn't able to give what would have made me feel more generous.
Okay, so that's what's been whirling around. I haven't really binged, but I also haven't stuck to my eating plans. Still, I don't feel awful about it. My weight is steady. I felt hungry this morning for the first time in days, and had a nice breakfast, but I feel a bit nauseous again now. Yet I have picked a bit at some leftover pizza. I'm going to go ahead and have a bit more, call it lunch, and plan for my regular gap between lunch and dinner to help get me back into my routine.
Thursday, January 06, 2011
I've written about this before, but I think there has been some movement on it. It's the realization I had awhile back that I really didn't want to have to think that I could NEVER again binge on certain foods. (We spend so much time hating ourselves for bingeing and thinking we want to give up certain foods, but it's just not that simple, until it is.) When I imagine not getting to overeat most of them, it's pretty okay, not anxiety-provoking. However, there are a few foods that I can feel down deep inside me almost a scream of despair when I think about not being able to overeat them. Not just not have them, but overeat them.
But this time when I was thinking about it, it's as if at least one or two of the strings of connection popped. I felt like I was really going to have to say good-bye, and was going to have to mourn this letting go, but it is okay. I think having this recent event where I had had to let go of my beliefs about a relationship actually helped me see it. Those beliefs were so important to me, but I've realized I have to let them go, and I feel okay about it. I think it's made it easier to think of letting certain binge foods go. I've been married to them even longer than I held those other beliefs! But I have to let them go, and it feels like I'm not kidding myself this time, or just operating out of desperation, as I've so often thought in the past. This feels like it could happen.
Also, my doctor is not worried about my cholesterol, but I am a bit because it's gone up about 20 points in a year, I think. I'm one of those people who believe cholesterol is affected more by sugars and non-monosaturated fats than dairy and beef. Heck, I don't eat beef that often, and my fatty dairy consumption is quite small. So now I want to take this into my own hands before it gets worse. If I find out my efforts don't make a difference, then so be it, but in the meantime, it's my problem.
But it's really the other image, the image that I could actually let the comfort of those binge experiences go, and that I could do it even while I felt kind of sad about it, that is more compelling right now. My gosh, I just might be able to live without it. It's hard right now to think of being even joyous without it, but I don't need that yet. The hardest part is that I'm the one that has to keep to the separation. At least when someone leaves you, you don't get to go to the store and buy them back! You just have to get used to it. That's what I have to do in this case, too.
I'm going to put it on my calendar to come back and read this post this weekend, which are my toughest times.
Peace with food to everyone today.
Wednesday, January 05, 2011
I salute anyone who has actually made eating exactly what you want only when hungry and stopping before full work. I tried for years, and I'm sure I didn't use all the "tools" I could have. I also tried eating 5 -6 times a day for 7 years, carefully packing great meals and snacks, but I have just found that an alternate idea I went with last year has helped me cut down on my compulsive overeating tremendously-- it's not gone, but I'd say reduced to about 20% of what it was is real progress, not perfection. My plan most days, as some of you know, is to eat three meals of one plate or bowl a day of any food I want except sweets, which are added on the weekend and any two days a month I choose, for birthdays or such. I don't mean this to be a debate, but just a reporting of my experience for those who might find it useful.
Actually, paradoxically, my last bout of WW several years ago helped me a lot with figuring out what I wanted to eat most of the time. I was finally able to see what kinds of meals, including foods I found delicious, just "luscious" enough, and satisfying, allowed me to get hungry enough to eat often enough for me to be happy. Part of the problem was that "eat only when hungry" made me a slave to hunger and my food choices, making it impractical for many people who have regular work schedules. Having to decide right when I got hungry what I wanted to eat was not workable, and it's not what thin people do much of the time. They have a lot of routine foods they like and eat; maybe once in awhile they'll not eat much of the lunch they brought because they weren't in the mood for it right then, but usually, they just eat. I also found on-the-hunger-whim eating, that I often wasn't hungry when others were for traditional meal times, and since I was single and didn't get to eat with others often, it made it even harder to have social meals. I missed this terribly.
The basic 3-meal structure makes it very easy to fit in with most societal norms, including the not snacking. People don't give you much resistance if you turn down an offered snack if you say, "I don't want to ruin my appetite for lunch," or "I'm just going to wait for dinner," but it sure seems like there's a lot more pressure if you try skipping a meal because you already ate when you're supposed to eat with others . This is not to say it can't be done and I would be the first to say you have to stand up for your own needs, but if my needs include having to eat a meal and I can work it in reasonably with others, I prefer to shoot for it. Plus, in the past, I often feel deprived of one of the pleasures of eating when I can't partake of the meal with others because I ate right when I was hungry an hour before and now I'm not hungry. So I would often fret or go ahead and eat something and everything got cattywompers. It seems to me that one of the biggest issues that gets bingers going is dealing with outside pressure to eat., whether it be from actual people saying something, to social events, to the smell or sight of food, which then pairs up with some emotional cue on the inside... AAaagh!
Eating my 3 meals a day-- one plate of whatever I want-- has lifted the huge burden of deciding if I'm hungry enough to eat, is this good enough to eat, on and on and on. ( Most days, I am plenty hungry to eat! I have the option occasionally if I'm truly not hungry to wait until later.) Even thin people have been shown to be susceptible to other cues in our culture; that's one of the reasons people are on average much heavier than they were 40 years ago. Brian Wansink of Mindless Eating has shown that slim and fat people will eat more if more food is served to them, especially if they don't have a way of determining visually how much they are eating, and even if it's not meal time. Overeaters are especially susceptible to free food. I find it doesn't matter now. I usually not even hungry when the between-meals snacks are served, and i have the option to take some food and add it or replace some food in my next meal. It's a lot easier to say no when you know you have a nice meal coming up. Besides, it's just not done! That's the way I think about it now, and it is truly easier.
Another issue with not aiming at some kind of meal structure is not being able to get through the period of time of learning how much and what kind of food is going to allow a person to get hungry enough to eat often enough. I experiment with more relaxed rules on weekends, and I've found that if I eat a piece of pizza from Costco at 1 p.m., even without feeling overly full, I will not get hungry again that day. I have to really balance whether I want to do that, or eat a lot less so that I would get to eat later, because I found I often got so tired of waiting to get hungry after, say, 5 hours of not getting one bit hungry, I started to fall apart. I find now that I've been on on 3-a-day for a year, even at just a few months into it, I can/could sometimes wait even longer for a meal if I have to for some reason; being hungry is just not that much of a deal. I don't wolf the following meal and I don't eat any more at the meal. I find I get full pretty fast. Weight losers are taught to be so afraid of getting very hungry; I'm convinced it's because no one teaches them that they just have to get past their mental/physical desire to eat too much; it might take several tries, but it becomes a habit. I've found that just about every "trigger" is just a habit and can be overcome WITH PRACTICE. I'm not advocating piling every trigger food on your plate all the time, but it's amazing how things can change.
I don't say this to offend any intuititve eaters, or practitioners of any other plans, but more to let people know there are ways to modify anti-diet programs to make then more workable, at least in the short run, and when you're talking about getting over disordered eating, a year IS the short run! In fact, and I may be repeating myself, Reinhard Engels, the founder of the program I use, says there is no such thing as before and after, only before and "during," because a person can always go back to old habits. In fact, we know that 95% of weight loss wannabees do.
I do admit that I've never been morbidly obese and those issues may be more pronounced. I'm not saying this is for everyone, but it deals with the worst offenders of many people: too much food at one sitting, too much eating between meals, esp. when not hungry, too little attention to hunger cues and an inablity to order eating event to discover them, and the fact that sweets are concentrated, and hard to regulate in small quantities because they are engineered to bypass the natural satiety feedback system, though even that can be manipulated
I have noticed that the people who have the hardest time with scheduled meals are those whose work is freelance or something like that, and that is understandable. They do have to find what works for them. But even they have to find a way to work around their constraints. They will not always have the opportunity to eat right when they're hungry!
Geesh, this is a real soapbox for me, but it's because I just see so much pain around this issue, and I've been on the site devoted to this eating lifestyle a lot. There I've heard so many people say 1) they had to see how much of their eating between meals was about all sorts of other things besides true hunger, 2) how much they enjoy their meals when they're really hungry for them and when they know food is coming, and 3) how much easier it is to say no to all those societal or emotional cues to eat when it's just not an option because it's not time to eat. For these reasons and others, I have become a real convert. But I finally committed to No S because I read of people there who said that they tried it even though the founder says he is not a nutritionist or psychologist or anything and to NOT LISTEN to him if you feel you have an eating disorder. They ended up throwing away all their anti-diet, anti-bingeing, eating disorder books because the structure of meals and the freedom to choose what they wanted was all they needed. Now, I still read books on eating issues because I believe I won't really be steady with this for another 4 years of practice practice practice, but other people's experience gave the courage to try good old-fashioned meals, and I am so glad. Those other posters felt that all the emphasis on trying to figure out what emotion a person was feeling and how they were going to deal with that was distracting! I know that sounds like heresy, and I continue to educate myself about how to deal with the urges to eat when not hungry, and to examine my faulty thinking in many areas of my life, but I do know that you're not going to be able to solve all the problems that bring up those emotions on the spot. Some people then get so caught up in that difficulty that when they can't figure out a solution, they eat! Instead of realizing life has these problems and sometimes you just have to accept it as unresolved for now and find something else to do until it's meal time. (For that purpose, 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself without Food is my newest re-education attempt. I try to remind myself of and use these even when it's not a crisis. A crisis can come even if you've had months of seeming ease.)
Some people on No S do decide to incorporate an extra small meal somewhere in the mix, but they are usually people who either athletic or who are in college or something that demands they have a big stretch during the day with no time for a real meal.
As I said, I'm well aware that there is different advice out there for curing compulsive eating. If you've tried to implement one of them, I mean really gave it a real run, and it's proved too challenging, consider planning to have nice meals regularly. Not "weight loss" meals. See what happens. Over a period of time, a nice meal may come to look like a weight loss meal, but because you find when get only 3 shots a day, you'd really rather have some fiber and fresh veggies, not because someone told you to. You'll just be more in touch with hunger and satiety. It's a nice place to be-- even if it's just a few days a week to start .
Thursday, November 18, 2010
We may not like to accept it, but the simple truth is that if we have eaten and exercised to create a calorie deficit, we will have lost fat. If not, we won't. The scale measures that only to a certain degree. The body can fluctuate in POUNDS on a daily basis only in its water content. Unless you actually burn off an extra 3,500 calories in one day, your weight loss has little to do with fat loss. Perhaps a drop in our water content can make us happy temporarily, but let's recognize it for what it is.
It's hard to shift our attention away from the scale, and weighing a certain amount is correlated to good health and an admired appearance, but while we are on the way, it's only a ballpark instrument to use. I want to reinforce to myself the importance of using a measure of my habits as the real foundation of success. There are some on Spark who are at a good weight, but who are in pain because their eating remains disordered and they are at war with their body image as well. In fact, I realize now that is how I was 30 years ago when I weighed 30 lbs. less than I do now at about 145--in the middle of my "normal" BMI range-- yet hated my body and felt like a failure on nearly a daily basis because of my daily binge on about 1,000 calories of chocolate, cake, and ice cream. Surely the peace of moderate, sane eating is worth more than the scale dropping, but with little confidence in our habits. I AM confident that practicing consistent moderate eating will result in weight loss, especially because building the habit of discipline will aid me in reducing calories, should the day come when I decide I need and want to, and in maintaining reasonable exercise habits as well.
Hey, normally I am a lot funnier than this.
Monday, November 08, 2010
Goll darn this university researcher! Of course it's a man who took off 27 lbs. in 10 weeks! Why can't I just buckle down and do it? Then again, let's see him in a year.
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