September 15, 2013, Day 103 - A Life Worth Living - I am Grateful - Day 22
Sunday, September 15, 2013
OMG, OMG, OMG! I was just over reading a new spark friend's blog entries and right there in black and white was an answer. . .THE answer. . . I have long been searching for!
For years - like 40 of them give or take a few - I have dieted, dieted, dieted. I have tried Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, Slim4Life, Atkins, South Beach, The Grapefruit Diet, SlimFast, The LA Weight Loss Diet, The Biggest Loser diet, Susan Powter's "Stop the Insanity" program, Richard Simmons' "Dancing to the Oldies" program, a Vegetarian program, Sensa, organic only eating, hypnosis, diet pills and on and on an on. Did I miss anything? If so, it's for lack of memory cause I'm just certain that I've tried them all! At least once in my life! I have done everything from all meat to no meat to no food at all. I consulted with a doctor to undergo lap-band surgery, I investigated some hormone injection program where you eat a measly 500 calories a day while shooting yourself up with some liquidy substance of God only knows what! I've purchased at least 6 gym memberships, a treadmill, a gazelle, a machine that promised to crunch my abs into a beautiful 6 pack in just minutes a day, a shaker thing-a-ma-bob, a hoop that you squeeze to tone all your muscles, hand weights and dumb bells and hula hoops and stability balls and DVDs and yoga mats and props and stationary bikes as well as bikes you ride out on the road, and diet books full of programs that promised to make you thin through visualization, meditation, eating more, eating less, or - and this was the best rip off ever! - breathing! Oh, and I bought all the latest, greatest exercise attire too, which frankly looked ridiculous on me! But still, I bought it just in case. . .because just maybe. . . that ridiculous clothing that made me look more like a whale then an athlete might just be the magic needed to get me to goal. Ha! I bought into all of it. Anytime I heard the words "weight" "loss" used together in a sentence, I'd whip out the checkbook or credit card and ask. . . "where do I send my money and how fast can you get it to me?" An extra $99.99 for overnight shipping? Oh, sure, no problem! If I pay an extra $299.99 can you get it to me within the hour?
And guess what?
None of this stuff made me thin. It all made my wallet much, much lighter, but it didn't do a damn thing for my abs, hips, legs, arms, hopes or dreams.
Oh, sure, I was able to do some of these diets and use some of the weight-loss equipment for periods of time. I'd lose 10 lbs, gain 20, lose 5 pounds, gain 6, lose 110 pounds, gain 74. Why? That was the thing I could never figure out. Why couldn't I lose weight - be happy - and maintain? Why couldn't I stay the course? Why?
I didn't know. For all these many years, I simply did not know. The other thing I didn't know was why after dieting for a minute and losing a little weight would I always fall off the wagon and return to my former eating habits? Like now? I started SP 103 days ago. I was already doing Atkins (again) and had experienced an impressive initial weight loss in just a matter of weeks. I think I lost 12 lbs the first week on Atkins. 12! Now if that doesn't give one motivation, what the heck will? Right? Can I get an Amen? Thank you!
So today I'm over perusing another SP's blog and found this: "Is emotional eating ok to do if I can do it in balance and maintain my weight loss?" Ok, maybe that's not an exact quote, but it's close enough. She had lost an enormous amount of weight and was right next door to her goal. Recently, she had started allowing herself to eat a small piece of chocolate every day right after lunch (for emotional reasons). The candy was all of about 50 calories - so she was still eating "in range". She was just wondering about whether it was ever ok to eat for emotional reasons. GREAT QUESTION!
Without much thought, I said, "no! no! no!" Of course, my brain was answering the question for me, not her. I mean come on - really? I don't know this person at all. So maybe she can feed her emotions that teeny, tiny 50 calories a day and be just fine with it. But my brain lit up like a Christmas tree and started hollering about how that is never, ever ok! I wrote some stream-of-consciousness something about how food is for me like drugs and alcohol are for an addict - the only difference is my body "needs" food for survival. But, I can never have just one of anything I truly love. Because one piece of chocolate, one donut, one scoop of ice cream, one slice of cake - sparks emotion - strong emotion - and then 1 quickly becomes 1000. I can pretty successfully eat for health and balance, but what I cannot do is eat for or from emotion.
And then came my big aha moment. Ready? Here it is. . . when I diet, I eliminate the foods I really love. Junk is more like it. The stuff I'm talking about isn't "real" food, it's garbage that has absolutely no nutritional value whatsoever. Crap like cookies and chips and candy and brownies and pie and cake and donuts. Anyway, so long as I eliminate all that crap, I lose weight. After awhile (sometimes it's a matter of days and sometimes it's months and months), my brain starts fanaticising - romanticising - longing to have it. . . just one more time. . . and soon I become convinced that it's ok to have just one. Just one of anything I love. Once I've worked it out in my mind - rationalized and convinced myself that it will be ok to have "just one" - my mouth starts watering, my stomach starts growling and my body becomes convinced that it absolutely must have that one food item. Nothing else will do! Nothing else will fill me. The inner me. The emotional me.
So then. . .
I do it.
I have just one.
Never is it enough.
One becomes two becomes five, becomes 10 becomes 100 and before I know what's happened, my emotions are all over the map screaming at me to eat more, more, more.
And I do.
And then. . .
I'm completely off my diet. Always well intentioned. . . "I'll start again tomorrow". But! Tomorrow doesn't come . . . for days or weeks or months or years.
Getting back on track is incredibly difficult. The other day I blogged about being stuck. I just felt stuck - unable to take even one step forward. Today, I know why.
I'm struck because getting unstuck requires me to return to deprivation. I am not a "balanced" eater. I'm just not. That's my truth. I can't ever have even just one piece of candy. I can't. It doesn't work like that for me. Like an alcoholic can't have even one drink, I can't have even one _______ (anything I love). And knowing that? Keeps me from starting. Keeps me stuck. I'm incapable or unable to take a step forward cause I just don't want to live my truth. I don't want to live in deprivation. . . forever. Damn that's a very long time!
Today, I'm grateful for this knowledge. Somehow I believe this could just be the missing link. Now I know - diets don't fail me, rather, I fail them. Now I know why I'm struggling to get back on the diet bandwagon. "I just don't want to live in deprivation", she says while kicking her legs and stomping her feet and pouting like a 2 year old! But I know that I must. If ever I am to weigh 150 lbs - my ultimate goal - then I absolutely must quit eating the junk I love. And it must be forever.
So, what do you think? Does any of this resonate with you? Do you feel deprived when you diet? Do you believe that deprivation has to be forever in order for you to reach your goal and then maintain it? Or are you more balanced than me? Can you have just "one" of whatever food it is that gets your motor running and not be triggered into eating more and more and more? Can you have just "one" and be emotionally stable? I can't. I know that. Now I just have to implement what I know. Here, I am torn. I know what I need. I know what I want. But my needs and wants somehow are not more powerful then my emotions - at least not today. My emotions know how long forever really is. And they just aren't ready. Now what on earth do I do about that?
If ever there were a time that I needed to hear from you, it would be now!
Member Comments About This Blog Post
I'm not a real emotional eater, but at the same time, one is never enough. I always felt deprived when trying to lose weight, and always craved the things I 'shouldn't ' eat. I found a slightly different solution. For a period of time, usually about six weeks, I can cope with not eating the high calorie things I love. Then will come a day when I will crave 'something nice'. I know that if I have one doughnut, I'll have five, (they come in packs of five in the UK), so I'll buy those five doughnuts, and eat them, with enjoyment, and nothing else! I find that after a couple of days of eating doughnuts, or chocolate, or cheesy biscuits, and nothing else, it makes me crave normal healthy food again. Then I'm OK for another six weeks, craving over. I've lost 80lbs so far doing exactly that.
1224 days ago
I definitely understand the problem of one bite leading to another and one venture into the "crap" food can lead to another venture into more "crap" food..........to the point that it becomes an escalating spiral. Handling emotional issues has helped me with this to the point that I can control it some.
But I am becoming aware that some foods are trigger foods for me and one bite sets off the cycle. They must be avoided. Agree with 165ORLESS, if I get off track, need to get back on ASAP.
Having said that......a constant sense of deprivation doesn't make for a workable plan for the long haul. I do try to add as many foods that I find to be tasty and satisfying to me that are also healthy and on the plan. I try to eat what really tastes good and appeals to me. Maybe try some recipes or allowable seasonings/flavorings? I also find that sometimes there are substitutes or alternative recipes for treats that one can enjoy and be satisfied with a normal portion. For me, this would be FF SF fudgesicles, FF SF hot cocoa, Diet Pop float (Diet pop with low-carb vanilla diet drink like Atkins or Slim-Fast high protein), and smoothies made of frozen fruit and low-carb diet drink. Maybe one of the commercially made Atkins preparations that are snack bars would be satisfying to you. I know some people are against using diet food, but they do work for me. Otherwise, I try to get plenty of vegetables and lean protein and an occasional fruit or non-triggering starch.
Of course it is possible to overeat a diet food, but since there is no sugar and minimal fat in them, I find they do not trigger overeating.
1224 days ago
Comment edited on: 9/16/2013 8:11:32 AM
Sure your words ring true for me and for many others who have yo-yo loss followed by gain. It seems like self knowledge is the first step. You know what best works for you to lose the weight. You know some foods are not just red lifts but a road block with flashing sign..."Danger. Cliff Ahead.".
You are staying connected to support. So, Karen for yourself and others, Remember today is a new day. We can not change the past. We can make good decisions for ourselves today. If we see the Danger sign, we can have some strategies to cope versus food. If it is a trigger food we desire, turning to others for help. Journal how we are successful avoiding the pitfall reinforces for us and may help others.
Do not feel alone. Do not give up. You can and will make it. The sacrifices for those "No-Nos" will be replaced with a healthier body and joy in new interests and success.
1224 days ago
Hehe Karen, you had me laughing again, you included some humour!!
Like you I have tried so many things that promised the world and delivered nothing. And they will tempt many thousands and millions of people as time goes on. Because a sad fact is that the people all around the world are getting fatter. On one hand there is the ageing society, then on the other is the obesity numbers are increasing all the time. And with the increasing obesity numbers will come the health of the world getting bad.
We are spoilt with choice of such good food. But what food we go for and what we buy, or eat for health are another subject again.
Also like you I am a food addict, a compulsive overeater, and having just one biscuit, or sweet, etc is risky to count on. Or having ice cream, cake,sweets, etc in the house is attempting failure. Yes I also find with dieting the feeling of being deprived is often the case. But, we are on a healthy eating journey and if we cut the "treats" out completely is probably expecting too much. We are human, and yes we love our "goodies". But in moderation is what we need to learn. "Never" is too long. And if we let our mind take control rather than our eyes,taste buds,bordom,loneliness,anger,sadnes
s, empty hole, etc etc we can do it. Also if we don't let ourself forget we are on a journey and that journey has rules. If we slip up, it's not the end of the world, or of the journey. The journey must continue. We will have good days, and there will also be bad days. We make the good days be the rule, and the bad days the example of why we must be good more than bad.
You have stuck this out for 103 days now Karen, and in that time you have lost lots of weight. You have done exercise, you have even had the odd binge here and there. But, you got straight back on track as soon as possible. Which is why you are winning. YOU ARE WINNING KAREN-you are in charge of your journey . And you are doing SO WELL, you are doing really well. Success is like that. You go so many steps forward just to be bombarded with an obstacle. That sends you flying a few steps back. You get back on track and the journey continues.
1224 days ago
Well, this made me realize I am not an emotional eater, I guess. So I have no useful information on how to deal with that. The more I read, the more I realize that I am a very cerebral person, and that affects how I am with food and how I approached weight loss.
For me, every food decision is its own decision. What I decide to eat (or not eat) today has no bearing on tomorrow, next week, or next year. Another thing, I guess: I too cannot eat just one of something, so if I'm planning ahead I make sure I have room for 5 or 10 in case I want that many. The "old me" used to buy the huge bags of Jelly Bellies at Costco and eat half the bag at a sitting. Not emotionally, just out of boredom. Now I will only buy the tiny bags, one at a time. I tell myself I will open it and have 10 beans. I usually end up eating about 50 before I put them away. (Yes, one of those small bags of Jelly Bellies will last me two or three sittings. That amazes even me when I think about it in the abstract!) But part of it is I track each set of 10, and each set of 10 is a separate decision in my mind.
I am not saying that "if I can do that, you should be able to do it too" (generic you, not specific you). I guess I'm only putting this out there for information. Reading about how other people are with food has opened my eyes to the ways that people are different.
1224 days ago
Someone told me: not to look at it as "giving up" foods we love, but rather finding new healthy good4me alternatives. Adding to my life. There's a whole world of delicious options out there. Have fun exploring!!
I was never a soup eater. Then I bought a soup cookbook. Now, once a week we have a soup supper. Low calorie, mostly vegetables, warm, soothing, yummy, good4me soup. Served with a whole wheat dinner roll with honey butter and a glass of skim milk. What could be better than that?
Grapes are so sweet. A good replacement for candy.
Try something new! Turn your can'ts into cans and dreams into plans!!
1224 days ago
This is why I tend to eat at my upper range....I don't feel so deprived.
I allow my favorites. Just a little and in a controlled setting.
Connie in WV
1224 days ago
You must find a way of eating (I don't like diets) that you can live with forever. you can not lose weight by eating a certain way and then thinking you will go back to eating another way once you've lost. I don't know what the answer is for you, but you need find a happy point in which you do not feel deprived, yet are still getting healthy.
1224 days ago
those ah ha moments are so important. deprivation is not living, but the analogy of alcohol to an alcoholic is good. being aware of what sets off a feeding frenzy is key- surely not EVERYHING sets you off. stick to the basic healthy eating pattern day by day- enjoy the occasional treat in a special environment (ie enjoy a scoop of ice cream while strolling the promenade with a friend) don't bring the trigger foods into the house or office- make it inconvenient to access them- stash tasty alternatives where they are easier to access
all the gimmicks in the world will not help on the journey to reconciling the mind and the taste buds and the end results
1224 days ago
Comment edited on: 9/15/2013 8:08:09 PM
You and your other sparker buddy have a lot in common. So do the 100's of other people out there that have this same problem. We are emotional eaters. Some out of habit, others out of lack of motivation. Whatever the reason it may be it means we have to work harder than most on here. Loved this blog. You are right on target. Donna
1224 days ago
For me, it depends on what it is since not all crappy foods are created equal. IF I can say no to it and wait another day without torturing myself mentally (e.g., ice cream), I can have it at home. But if waiting another day is truly torturous, I cannot buy it and have it at home (e.g., cookies and chips) because I will not only eat it but I will binge on it!
You gave me something very important to think about.
1224 days ago
Karen, deprivation is NOT the way! NO One can spend the rest of their life depriving themselves of the things that they love! That is why DIETS don't work. You have to find a way to incorporate some of the things you are cutting out, into your plan! I eat two squares of dark chocolate like your other friend and that makes me feel like I am not on a "diet"!
I have found ways to make treats that I can have and not go off my plan! I have stopped eating a lot of the "junk", but I don't say that I will never eat it again! I say that I can have anything I want in moderation! I always check the calories and nutrition BEFORE I eat something. Most of the time the incredible amount of calories in something make me choose not to eat it! We have to set up a plan that we can live with for life! If we go back to our old ways of eating and exercise, we will only gain back the weight that we lost!
I don' buy whole cakes, pies, boxes of cookies! If I want one, I buy ONE! You can get treats in the bakery section, one slice, one piece, one cookie or doughnut! I also freeze stuff so that if I want a treat, I thaw one portion and the rest is frozen, so the urge to eat more passes!
You can do this!
1224 days ago
Oh yes, it does resonate. I use food to soothe me and I use bad stuff...junk stuff to do it. I can't do it just a little. I am very much like you described yourself, "just one becomes just one until I can get another in my mouth as fast as possible." For me, I don't think it was ever that much about hunger, at least not physical hunger. Emotional hunger, yep, yep, yep. That little journey has to become a part of this diet, how to satisfy that emotional hunger without the old standby's I have been using for over 50 years.
1224 days ago
Everything you've said could have been written by me except I have finally found what works for me. I give into my emotional eating and get back on track immediately. I have managed to lose an average of 1 to 2 pounds a week. I am closer to goal than I've been in over twenty years. Even eating a bag of cookies ( that was my last emotional binge) I tracked every point, I am doing weight watchers again. As you can see I am still using SP.
I know today you believe you will never eat junk again, but you will, have a plan of getting back on track as soon as possible. Think of whatever plan you are following as a navigational system that will get you where you want to go, if you make a wrong turn it will re-route you. The quicker you listen to the system the quicker you get to your destination.
My emotional binges happen less frequently because I plan to have dessert and wine
Whatever you do don't give up a slip up is not a give up.
1224 days ago
Amen, sister! I was just thinking about the same thing today and beating myself up because I went out of control eating the things I crave. Then I realize just like you did that if am ever going to get anywhere, I need to eliminate the junk. I need to eat for nourishment and not give in to foods that will mess up my body.
I am going to press the reset button today and start anew with this realization.
1224 days ago
Comment edited on: 9/15/2013 5:46:36 PM
Remember that there is a BIG difference between making a DECISION and making a COMMITMENT. God Bless YOU! Vic.
1224 days ago
Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.