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My Eating Problem

Friday, July 15, 2011

I really appreciate everyone's comments and encouraging words on my previous blog post. I think I need to add a little more about my eating issues, and that actually goes along with one of our countdown assignments that I was planning on skipping, and that I have skipped every other 5% challenge. It has to do with trigger foods and trigger situations.

I am a vegetarian, and I really like Weight Watchers' plan. To me, Weight Watchers is a method of helping you control your eating and helping you to plan what you eat, because they really don't give you a menu to eat by. The points system guides you to eat healthier, but you are free to choose what you want to eat. I love all fruits and vegetables, and I'm just as happy munching my way through a bag of baby carrots as a bag of chips on a normal day. So my vegetarian Weight Watchers plan isn't the problem.

My problem is emotional binging. Sometimes my triggers are external, but mostly they are internal which makes them much harder to identify, see coming, and avoid. My worst cravings are for sugar and bread, and I crave them all the time. Without my WW eating plan, all I would eat is sugar, carbs, and fat in any combination. Tracking is both my best friend and my worst enemy, because it helps me stay in control but when I fail it makes me feel really bad to write it down. Consequently, I hate to track my food as obviously I fail more than I succeed at staying in control.

I can force myself onto a strict diet, because I have done it in the past. The longest time I was on a strict diet, without giving in to my cravings, was about 9 weeks. I stayed on the Raw Food diet for 4 weeks, and lost 30 pounds. But these kinds of diets always end in an uncontrollable binge. So my weight has yo-yoed up and down and back up. I am done with all that misery.

One of the ways I am trying to cope with my eating issues is to use exercise. When my cravings hit, I try to make myself spend some time walking or dancing or on my Wii. So far, according to my scale, my eating issues are winning. But thanks to all my exercise, I am feeling better and I have more energy. So maybe I'm really winning?

I will keep on trying to make my diet as healthy as possible and control the cravings. One day I will make peace with my inner demon so we can co-exist peacefully.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can relate to your frustration here. I also know I can stick to an eating plan when I put my mind to it, but it is just easier to have what I crave, what I want to comfort me. I have been fighting this for the past year and have not done well because of it. But I am beginning to see that the past year I've been working on my insides more than my outsides, and in the end I do not think that is a bad thing. I do believe if you keep moving forward you'll find a good balanced path for yourself. emoticon
    2412 days ago
    Hi Lisa, I can so identify with your post. I'm still learning, struggling, and growing, but for me I've found I do much worse on an eating plan than off one. My "diet" consists of aiming to eat 5+ servings of fruit/veg, drinking 8+ cups of water, and learning to eat when physically hungry and stop when physically satisfied. It isn't a quick process but the good news is, once I lose weight in this way it truly stays off. There are a few resources I've found really helpful:

    1) Inside Out Weight Loss podcasts, especially the early episodes
    2) Geneen Roth's "When You Eat at the Refridgerator, Pull Up a Chair"
    3) various "natural eating" newsletters like "Food is NOT the Problem" and "Food is not the Enemy"
    4) "A Course in Weight Loss" by Marianne Williamson (a little too "religious" for me but still useful)

    When I try to "make myself" stick to an eating plan, even if it's a totally sensible and reasonable one, I end up rebelling and overeating. As scary as it is sometimes, when I tell myself I can eat anything I want, I end up realizing I don't actually want to eat everything in sight. It's a continual learning process but worth the effort!
    2413 days ago
    It's good you're thinking about it, Lisa. I know that thinking, and writing about it, has helped me get a handle on some of my issues. For example, I didn't like tracking because it felt like "someone" was telling me what to eat and "judging" me when I was "bad". I've worked a lot on that, not completely through it yet, but it has helped me to write about those two topics a lot.

    Good luck, keep going, and keep sharing. We're listening!
    2413 days ago
    Exercise is a great stress reliever! It relaxes me like a glass of wine. emoticon
    2414 days ago
    emoticon I want to support you, my sister. I know I don't do well with strict anything--abuse issues make me rebel against somebody else's rules and decisions about what I should do. My babysteps approach (which led me to establishing the Babysteps Brigade team) of making small, incremental changes has been working for me and led to a very slow, gradual 40-pound weight loss since last fall.

    There are some things I refuse to give up--my 2 daily cups of coffee (my own half-flavored, half espresso beans blend) is doctored with honey and half-and-half, because why ruin this ritual with drinking something that tastes crappy? But I have to abstain from alcohol--it always led to poor eating choices which was bad, and it disconnected me from my spirit and the Goddess which was worse, so I had to give it up. (18 months sober now.) I no longer buy bags of chips, because I usually ate the whole bag--of any size--and even if I stopped short of the bottom, I never stopped with one serving. So for the last 11 months, I have only eaten potato chips that came with a meal; and yes, at Panera, I get that small bag of kettle chips as my side and savor every last one!

    We all have to find what works for us, and my approach may not suit you. I just wanted to share my experience in case it might be useful to you or any other Sparkies.

    Blessed Be, Amanda emoticon
    2414 days ago
    It is hard to get rid of emotional eating. I use to do it all the time. However, when I figured out what the triggers were I was able to control it. Good luck to you.
    2414 days ago
    I know you can concur is, Lisa. I think the emotional trigger eating is the worst / most difficult to manage. It sounds to me like you have a good, healthy attitude towards what you eat and I bet this will carry you through.

    I like your approach of putting in some extra exercise time when cravings strike...of course, I have to admit that this benefits me too since your exercise time helps us in the Amazing Race.

    emoticon emoticon
    Keep up with the great attitude and you will make the progress you are after.
    2414 days ago
    I totally understand how hard those triggers are to resist! I think your method of exercising when you feel like emotional eating is a great idea. You WILL win this, Lisa! Keep plugging along, and best of luck in the 5% challenge.
    2414 days ago
    Wishing you the best as you explore to find your way through this maze of "eating right." The key is to not give you're on track! Thank you for all your encouragement! I hope you have a TERRIFIC weekend! Enjoy! Celebrate your blessings! Spark on! emoticon
    2414 days ago
    Exercise is such a great way to handle your stress. Keep working at the emotional eating in ways that you can keep up for the long term, and you will eventually get a handle on the monster. I'm impressed that you could keep up the raw food diet for as long as you did-don't think I could do that! But, as you point out, you need a way of eating that you can keep up for the rest of your life, as we all do. This is not an easy issue to deal with, but I think you have a good plan in place, and a great attitude. Keep up the good work, and you'll tame that beast!
    2414 days ago
  • CEKER9
    Emotional triggers are my nemesis, crackers are my worst. I try NEVER to have them in the house, but sometimes the desire is just too strong. If I only had the one, but I also eat from stress... I start eating and can't stop. One the works the best for me is making sure I get enough protein and eat every 3 hours. If I can do that and the stress isn't too high I do pretty good. I've gotten to where I fix my meals for the day and that is what I snack on that way I don't go off my plan, but get to do my grazing.

    Giving up isn't an option! We start over with each day!!!
    2415 days ago
    hey lisa,

    i also love that you are using exercise to handle your stress.

    i am finally learning if i have it in the house, i will eat it. whatever 'it' might be for you and me - sugar!!!!!

    just don't have it around. just....i know it's not that easy...but it is working for me

    great job on the exercise minutes all 5 weeks.

    linda emoticon
    2415 days ago
    Hi Lisa, I just read your 2 blogs on eating. I don't know what the answer is but you're not alone. I hear that so often from others. For me, I'm trying to figure it out. I think I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that I have a food addiction (or eating addiction). Addictions of all sorts run in my family but I've been able to avoid all of them. Eating is my weakness. As usual, I have to do more research.
    I'm proud of a Shooting Star who keeps trying despite never seeming to get anywhere! You're constant effort is an inspiration to us :-)
    2415 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 5:03:44 PM
    Great blog - here's to the day when you don't see tracking as confirmation of failure, but a tool to guide you as you continue your healthy journey.
    You are doing emoticon
    2415 days ago
    I don't keep any of those 2 in the house. but it only works because I'm too lazy to leave the house and buy something when I crave it .and i admit I use artificial sweeteners when I want something sweet. I'll try to use stelvia instead but I'm too lazy to look for it now. I don't eat any concentrated carbs , sugar , bread , wheat, rice , pasta ,even the innocent potatoes because if I eat them I only crave them more . but being vegetarian I don't know how you could do it , my diet is meat with vegetables . I still think you should find a replacement for the things you crave ,something similar but with less calories . I eat granola with fruits and yogurt when I want something sweet, but only 1 oz granola once
    emoticon kori
    2415 days ago
    I don't have a solution, but I do have a lot of sympathy! Sugar is a problem for me too - I try to eat as little as possible because the more I eat the more I want!
    2415 days ago
    I can relate to emotional triggers! They are so hard for me to identify until it's too late and I've eaten to where I feel guilty or consider myself a failure. You have a great plan though, using exercise. That definitely helps with energy and self esteem:). This is a journey where we can learn something new every day if we let ourselves:) Keep up the good work!
    2415 days ago
  • 4MRSDAND123
    I think it's wonderful that you choose exercise to try help to prevent a binge. Never, ever, ever give up! emoticon
    2415 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/15/2011 10:28:23 AM
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