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    TINAJANE76   64,006
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The Power of Admitting Weakness

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The first and probably most important step in overcoming problematic issues in our lives is recognizing that we have a problem. As much as we want to project that image, we can't and are not always as strong as we'd like to be. By pretending that we are, we sometimes fall into the trap of glossing over or outright ignoring problems. But, by admitting there's a problem and admitting that we have weaknesses, we can work at overcoming them.

Not easy. I come from a family where avoidance is a strong force; that somehow, if you avoid problems, they'll go away. But life experience has taught me that that NEVER happens. Small problems become big ones and big ones can become practically insurmountable.

For the longest time, I didn't see or didn't want to admit that my weight problems had anything to do with emotional issues. In my head, weight loss and weight gain was just a matter of calories in versus calories out and when I was overweight, I was eating too much and not moving enough. When I was leaner it was because I kept my calories in versus calories out ratio in a negative balance. But clearly there was a deeper reason behind why I was never able to successfully keep my weight in check. Something in me made me turn to food as a source of comfort and dealing with life's inevitable stressors and I didn't have a high enough sense of self worth to stop myself from engaging in this destructive behavior. I needed to turn to something else apart from food whenever I felt sad, stressed, lonely, anxious, overworked or overtired.

Yes, certain strategies do help me keep my eating in line--tracking, being honest about portion sizes, regularly weighing myself, eating more whole foods and less junk--but figuring out better ways of managing my stress have been what's prevented me from major backslides. It's been three years since my last significant one when I gained back half of the weight I had lost in the earlier part of 2010. Since getting back on track in early 2011, my healthy habits have become pretty well ingrained, which has slowly made my day-to-day life on maintenance seem more like second nature.

It's when the stress hits, in those dark moments, that I really need to be cognizant of why it's important for me not to to turn food to soothe myself. Usually I'm successful at this. Occasionally I'm not. But knowing that emotional eating is an issue for me means I can work at handling it. For me that comes down to understanding the source of my "hunger" and equipping myself with alternatives. Not restricting my food too much or allowing myself to get absolutely famished helps prevent me from confusing real hunger with emotional hunger. If my hunger is the real physical variety, I'll eat something and am usually satisfied with a small portion. If it's the emotional variety, I may well consume 3,000 calories before I'm through. And that's the kind I need to have the strength not to give in to. When I understand that my desire to eat is not out of true hunger, what else can I do to cope? Sometimes I blog. Sometimes I read health-related articles or articles about bingeing and emotional eating. Sometimes I talk to a friend who understands. Sometimes I look for something, anything, I can do to distract myself. I get out of the house and away from the temptation. Doing yoga regularly also helps.

I'm far from perfect and I do still have real moments of weakness where all clarity goes out the window and I give in and I binge. And I'm reminded of the fact that no matter how good it temporarily feels to gorge myself, it always feels awful afterwards. But those moments are becoming less and less frequent over time and have not led me back down the road to regain in spite of a few reasonably big life challenges. I know that I am worth fighting for to stay on track and not letting food take control of my life. I'll never be able eliminate stress or sadness from my life completely, but it's a comfort to know that I can usually manage it in a more constructive, rather than destructive, way. So, in a very powerful way, by admitting my own weaknesses, I've actually become a much stronger person and hope that I will only continue to strengthen as more time goes by.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LORIVIOLA 3/29/2014 9:11AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLIMLILA 11/18/2013 10:17PM

    best wishes for your continued successful journey

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EFFRAYECHILDE 10/31/2013 2:05PM

    emoticon

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SUNNYBEACHGIRL 10/31/2013 1:36AM

    A very timely blog post for me. Giving into the food binge does not make me feel better. I like your list of other things to do.

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JANTHEBLONDE 10/30/2013 6:31PM

    Thanks for the great blog!
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JGOT2LOSE 10/30/2013 11:28AM

    Thank you for writing this!

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PENOWOK 10/30/2013 6:47AM

    terrific incites!

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FIRECOM 10/29/2013 11:50AM

    If one doesn't admit to a problem, a solution is impossible. Thanks for a great blog.

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PRESSINGON3:14 10/28/2013 11:11PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 10/28/2013 8:39PM

    Profound and touching. Thanks so much for sharing. I can relate. Take care, Marsha

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DANCEONDANCEON 10/28/2013 10:12AM

    Thanks for sharing, this is just what I needed to read this morning.

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RENATA144 10/26/2013 10:17PM

  You're beautiful ! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LORILEEPAGE 10/26/2013 7:49PM

    You look great. It's always helpful to hear people at their maintenance weight admit to having occasional binges. It helps me see I don't have to be perfect to maintain. I enjoyed your blog and I'm happy to see it as a Featured Blog Post.

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MONTREAL12 10/26/2013 7:17PM

  An essential part of the solution is seeing the problem; right on! Thank-you emoticon

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CUDDLYPOLARBEAR 10/26/2013 6:48PM

    great post

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MRSRIGS1 10/26/2013 3:41PM

    Well said! emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 10/26/2013 3:28AM

    So true!!! I am still amazed by the number of people who say they gain weight 'for no reason'. Someone told me recently she would even gain weight by drinking water! This mentality is what I grew up with at home, and I knew that that would lead me nowhere... So important to be honest!
Congratulations for a well deserved Featured Blog!

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ROXYCARIN 10/26/2013 2:22AM

  emoticon

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CICELY360 10/25/2013 11:08PM

  good blog

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NDKARIKARI 10/25/2013 10:37PM

    i appreciate how honest your blogs are. i definitely needed to read this today. I am currently in a two-week emotional eating tailspin that I am having difficulty getting out of. You are right that it is not easy, but we do need to draw from our building sense of self worth (among other techniques) to stop the spirals.

this is a great blog

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HOLLYM48 10/25/2013 8:19AM

    You certainly are worth the effort and you are awesome.
Keep up the great work!!!

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SHERYLP461 10/25/2013 7:45AM

    I turn to food when I am angry or hurt. It is good for us to realize just why we do it.

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BLUEJEAN99 10/25/2013 12:56AM

    emoticon

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SUSIEMT 10/24/2013 11:11PM

    Thank you for your honesty. I know for myself I had to seek counseling. However, It took me another 3-4 years before I found SP and I was able to get my nutrition and fitness under control. It's one thing to say oh I had a problem with a trigger food but what caused me to turn to that trigger food is quite another. Keep up the good work Tina!

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ROCKYCPA 10/24/2013 10:39PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ONLYTEMPORARY 10/24/2013 8:09PM

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LIVELYGIRL2 10/24/2013 7:41PM

  I bit ago, there was aconversation going about all sorts of non food rewards. That is 1/2 the issue.

Many of us at times, some, more than other want food when we are stressed or other things.

The first year plus when our only adult child left and at times I didn't know where he was, made me have nervous energy or feel sad.

Distraction and getting healed of these things helps.

I read a book once( that although I never expereinced this sort of expereince or abuse), was useful. Beauty for Ashes.

She didn't talk about food specificlly... but just that hurts can cause various sorts of problems and how she got over her pain.

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JERICHO1991 10/24/2013 6:43PM

    Thanks for the openness and honesty. Convicting and encouraging.

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SHOAPIE 10/24/2013 5:45PM

    emoticon

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PATRICIAANN46 10/24/2013 3:56PM

  It sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 10/24/2013 3:50PM

    Wonderful blog, thoughtfs.ully written! Thank you for sharing your insight

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NONNAOF2 10/24/2013 3:26PM

  You are learning about yourself and figuring out the reasons of what happens with yourself mentally. Being aware of the "why" is a major step. Keep up the good work, it is never easy, as we all know! :-)

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JSEATTLE 10/24/2013 3:13PM

  You've got it right. I know all about avoidance too. Keep up the positive action attitude!

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GABY1948 10/24/2013 1:51PM

    emoticon and emoticon ! And since somewhere back we must have come from the same family line emoticon I always hang on every word of your blogs so I can apply them to me.........before not too long I am hoping!

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MNNICE 10/24/2013 1:43PM

    Just coming off 2 days of binging myself. I can go weeks or months without it, but even after losing/maintaining, they still plague me. Yes, it's gotten better since I have "come out of the cupboard" and faced the problem, but mainly because I just simply keep getting back on track over and over again as many times as it takes! Hang in there!

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JUSGETTENBY42 10/24/2013 11:16AM

    emoticon

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DIANNEMT 10/24/2013 10:59AM

    Great--you ARE inspiring to many of us!!

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LCRUMLEY81 10/24/2013 10:52AM

  great post

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NEPTUNE1939 10/24/2013 10:27AM

    emoticon

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CANMERA 10/24/2013 9:57AM

    Thanks for this awesome piece of honesty. So many of us are in your situation and have been their done that kind of thing. I know that is how I got to the weight I am at.
Until I was well over 40, I had no weight problem. Then disaster hit and I began to eat. My health took a turn and I began to eat more. I felt all I could do was to eat and do nothing else.

Now through SP I have learned that Emotional eating is not healthy and like alcohol it solves nothing and you only feel worse after the fact. So I have managed to get rid of the junk and pretty much stopped all of the binge eating or emotional eating. I am on the right track now and like you, I know I will fail from time to time but that is simply a part of who I am.
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GOOSIEMOON 10/24/2013 9:02AM

    Thanks for your honesty. I certainly relate to how you feel.

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IDICEM 10/24/2013 9:00AM

  There is great power in understanding yourself. Thanks for the reminder.
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WORKNPROGRESS49 10/24/2013 8:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SJKENT1 10/24/2013 8:55AM

    emoticon thank you

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ROSAMARCELLE 10/24/2013 8:30AM

    There will always be the odd occasions when temptation strikes but so long as you get back on track again it's no big deal and may even help to keep the body guessing. emoticon emoticon

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JANEMARIE77 10/24/2013 8:19AM

    very well said I have all that info I'm just not able to put it into practice back on the gaining train and really having a hard time controlling it thanks for the blog

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DJSHIP46 10/24/2013 8:15AM

    emoticon

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KANOE10 10/24/2013 8:00AM

    You have done a great job of figuring out ways to handle emotions without using food. I like your tools you mentioned. You have developed real strength in learning about yourself. You are doing a wonderful job of getting healthier both mentally and physically. emoticon

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WATERDIAMONDS 10/24/2013 6:49AM

    Thank you for providing perspective: there is light at the end of the tunnel and this journey is worth the effort.

Well done.

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HAPPYMENOW58 10/24/2013 6:15AM

    Wonderful blog! Well said......I feel like I could have written it!(not as well as you did so eloquently!) Ditto, ditto, ditto! I have gained and lost the same35 pounds sooooo many times......All due to stress and emotional eating......I will conquer the battle this time.......Thank you for your inspiring insight. emoticon emoticon

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