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When I grow up I want to be a unicorn

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Monday, March 03, 2014

I get so tired of myself sometimes. I'm tired of being obsessed with food. But it's not exactly an obsession that you can just turn off. Wouldn't that be great? To just say, "I'm done. I will be a normal eater now."

I cannot even fathom what being a "normal" eater would feel like. Do normal eaters really exist or are they imaginary? Like unicorns.

I am growing though. I went over my calorie range yesterday. I was disappointed to do that so early in the month. But I am really working on learning from a couple of the choices I made and not overanalyzing or stressing.

Maintenance is hard. And weird. And I'm not ready. I reset my goals to get a new daily calorie range and it was so high I knew that I would gain weight if I upped my calories that much. Not to mention the fact that I went over my calorie range six times in February. SIX TIMES! This is not me.

So I am considering losing 10 more pounds. I really don't know how committed I am to the idea. I reset my calorie range (again) for this goal, but am struggling to stay in range. Not because the range is lower - it's not any lower than where I was in January. I'm struggling to stay in range because I'm eating more according to habit and appetite. Then when I actually am hungry (especially if I am hungry at a time when I don't usually eat), I get a crazy anxiety about eating. But if you are hungry, it's ok to eat right? Why does this make me feel like a crazy person???

Hi. My name is Stephanie. I am obsessed with food and trying to find balance between restriction and indulgence.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Maintenance is a struggle. It will be one-year of maintenance for me next week and I feel like it has taken me this full year to know what I can eat and how much while still staying on track. This includes those treats I like to have too. You have done so well so far, you will figure it out. Just take it slow. And work through the plateau. It may take a few weeks.
    1418 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1419 days ago
  • MARTHA324
    It is a difficult and challenging balancing act between obsessing about food and just eating. For me, I have to track my food so I tend to obsess about it. I reached my goal last April and continued to lose weight. Mainly from upping my exercise.

    I think you'll find a balance that works for you. Going over your calorie goal IMO is no big deal. Just be aware of why and what that means for the rest of the day or week.
    1424 days ago
    Hi Stephanie, It is hard to maintain your weight. It is better to stay in a range. Yes, you will go over your limit sometimes. The trick is not to do it to often that it makes you gain weight. We must keep adjusting the calorie intake to the exercise. You are on the right track and not crazy. In time this lifestyle may become a habit. Linda from bean town
    1424 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I am not so sure what normal is either. It is definitely a learning process to maintain weight. I know you will find what works for you. Indulgence verses restriction is always a question. As you maintain you will gain confidence in what is best for you to maintain.

    You are a great success story.

    1426 days ago
    Thanks for a great blog! I predict the day will come that maintenance will not be weird. It still may not be easy, but it will seem very normal. Best wishes for establishing your new normal!! -Marsha
    1426 days ago
    You are so right! It is hard to find that balance and maintenance is definitely harder than losing.
    1426 days ago
    I truly believe that maintaining your weight is harder than losing the weight.
    1426 days ago
  • ASCHU2
    You are not alone! My sister is a dietician, and she thinks somehow, that just because I lost 75 lbs that I am automatically an intuitive eater. She's never had a food addiction, so she eats when she's hungry, and she stops when she's not. I eat when I'm hungry, but I can eat and eat and eat and eat!! You are not obsessive-it's part of being conscious and mindful. I don't know about you, but when I try to go by my natural hunger cues, I eat too much. They say it takes about five years for your body to truly maintain a weight loss. I wonder if five years from now, I'll be able to let go of tracking, or will I be a lifetime tracker? I don't really know yet, but I do know that tracking is healthier than how I used to live, and that's all I've got right now! All of us on sp have to pay attention to our food choices, that's why we're all here! Thanks for being brave.

    1426 days ago
    Lots of good comments and advice on this page! I like the one about this being a never-ending journey and not a destination. And the one about thinking of food as a hobby, not an obsession. I also have come to think of exercise as a hobby, which helps me to look forward to it more.
    1426 days ago
  • LKG9999
    I remember reading that during Victorian times the secret guilty pleasure of many women (and likely men) was sex, and in this modern age it's now food. We need it, we love it, we feel guilty about it, we obsess over it.

    I'm right there with you in feeling totally lost when it comes to "normal eating". I have done some research and it seems that a maintenance calorie range is 1600-1800 calories/day, which right now feels like a lot. One thing I am doing this time which is very different, I am continuing to track what I am eating and monitor my weight. I haven't yet moved completely to that range, I am slowly eating more and keeping an eye on my weight to make sure *my* body agrees with that range. And I'm resigned that 80-90% of my eating will need to follow a consistent eating plan and I'll need to keep tracking.
    1426 days ago
    Stephanie, you are not alone!! I am Carolyn, fellow food addict, struggling with this crazy Maintenance thing. I think one of the best things you can do is to acknowledge you aren't perfect and to just breath. Today may have been meh, but tomorrow can be better! And NEVER forget, even a small healthy decision is better than none at all!

    Keep up the good work, Stephanie! emoticon emoticon
    1426 days ago
    You're right it is not easy. But will make it. emoticon
    1427 days ago
    It's not an obsession, it's a way of life. I've been told that I obsess about food...I have to log it, weigh it, measure it, etc. It's my way of maintaining what I've accomplished. I guess I'm not a unicorn! emoticon
    1427 days ago
    Hi, my name is Celia, and I am also obsessed with food. I fully admit to being a foodie. I like the feel, the taste, the smell, the sight, heck, even the sound (think of bacon sizzling). Like you, I do not believe I will ever be a "normal" eater or an "intuitive" eater or whatever it's called. Because of that, I agree that maintenance is hard, more so because it is part of a never-ending journey rather than a destination. The upside is that we have great tools at our disposal and motivation from wonderful supporters here on SP. If I have to measure and track my food for the rest of my life, so be it. I do NOT want my old body back.

    Best wishes on your journey. May your maintenance continue to succeed and become easier.
    1427 days ago
    Congratulations to your success!

    But guess what? The steps you are taking are NOT an obsession! It's NOT weird! It's what folks like us have to do to be content with our lives. Check out my thoughts on my blog:

    BR>Spark On! :-)

    1427 days ago
    I don't remember writing this blog...but it sure sounds like me.
    1427 days ago
    You will find your way in this new world. Your awareness is turned on brightly. There is that saying that 'if it were easy I would have done it already.' I find that so true. Maybe it's time for some non food rewards for accomplishing so much? You surely deserve it!
    1427 days ago
  • BOPPY_
    One of my keys is to find some foods that (a) I really like, (b) fill me up, and (c) are good for me, and (d) don't have a lot of calories. Examples:

    * Salads with Cardini's dressings (wrote about this, again, in my blog, today)
    * Raw carrots. Great snack
    * Egg whites
    * Nonfat Greek yogurt
    * Lowfat popcorn
    * Apples -- for sme reason 2 apples in a day always cause me to come to my nutrition budget "senses"

    Your foods will be different. Find them. Stock them.

    And, of course, plan your meals, plan your shopping and track, track, track.

    You've done it. You'll do it. Have at it!

    Lee emoticon
    1427 days ago
  • DALID414
    Hi, Stephanie.
    emoticon I'm right there with you.
    1427 days ago
    I say emoticon on all the hard work and effort you have been putting into changing your life and your eating habits! I have found it is harder to maintain. I thought when I reached goal weight that I could eat more because I had worked out so long and was continuing to work out. I realize that each day is new and you still have to work on eating right and exercising. It's just like being married, you never stop working on making it better.
    You are not crazy. You are human and just trying to find balance in your life. We are here to help you! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1427 days ago
    Slim people stop eating a cookie when they've had enough. I have a problem with that - if it tastes good, I want the whole cookie. If it's really good, I want two. Or more.

    So yes, some of us will track forever. It's the only way we can maintain the weight loss.

    Because there's always a cookie around the corner.
    1427 days ago
    Yes, maintenance is hard! We face a whole new set of challenges......and prejudices. People look at our relatively proportioned bodies and say "oh you are thin, you don't know what it is like", or "you don't need to be so careful".
    Little do they know the positive effort required daily to remain in maintenance, including the periods of gain.

    I've found that there are many things in my life, as I age, that will require daily maintenance. I take my heart, thyroid, and bone meds. religiously every morning. I also am a recovering alcoholic of 12 years. So I wouldn't think of starting a morning without prayer and meditation and spiritual readings. I wouldn't think of skipping meetings or not contacting my sponsor. So it is with nutrition and exercise. I will take care of myself for the rest of my life, one day at a time.

    Thank you for your honest blog. I know we can all relate to your feelings.
    1427 days ago
    Great blog and great responses. Thank you for sharing.
    1427 days ago
    Great blog that really describes the ongoing challenge. I do track my calories every day and expect to do that for the rest of my life: it doesn't take long and I don't think of it as being anything but normal. After all, my body is tracking those calories whether "I" do or not. Plus I consider some hunger every day to be completely normal and not a signal that I need to eat. Hunger is not an emergency, nothing to panic about: it means that I'm successfully burning my calories and will really enjoy that next meal with much better appetite. Slim people experience hunger every day (I tell myself)!

    All best to you in this new phase: it doesn't necessarily get "easier" but it does begin to feel "normal".
    1427 days ago
    First, let me say, it's not just you! And second, I think it's a good thing that you're asking yourself these questions and working to find a solution.

    I made a post about this last year, and just looked it up to see if I still agreed with it. :)


    Work in progress, for sure.

    1427 days ago
    I have my doubts whether ANYONE reading this hasn't been there! I'm with Christina - maintain where you are right now. I'm also with ICEDEMETER regarding leaving your calorie range where its been while you were losing but allow yourself to go over by a few 100 calories a few times a week.

    What works for me is weighing every day to determine how careful I need to be today. If I am up I know I need to really watch sodium and carbs - maybe avoid bread and pasta that day. You will work this out but this much is a universal truth. You can never go back to eating the way you did pre-weight loss. Its sad but true. Is it worth giving that up????? OH YEAH!! Its SOOOO worth it!! emoticon emoticon
    1427 days ago
  • MAREE1953
    Wow, for crazy people, you all are awful insightful. The replies here are as helpful as the blog!! I learn something every single day from my teammates. Thanks!
    1427 days ago
    What if the problem is not the food? What if food is simply a symbol? What if you just don't know how your life will be without this problem?
    1446 days ago
    I am thinking that you still need to get used to being where you are now. I imagine that takes time, you need to adjust. You will probably find your way.
    I also think that as long as one counts calories one can't be a 'normal eater'. Unicorns don't count calories!
    I know that it helped you but maybe in a longer run you can slowly begin to trust your own appetite and choices more. You know that this is coming from someone who is not even close to a healhty weight and still looking for ways that work for me as an individual, in other words, it is just my thoughts.
    Personally I think it is okay and NECESSARY to eat when hungry. To eat when hungry is wise. What is not wise is to then feel you have 'lost control' and go overboard and repeat it all. I think.
    1448 days ago
    Ah yes, I know your struggle well. I was up about ten pounds last summer after too much vacation fun and was sabotaging myself at seemingly every turn as I tried to get back down into my comfort zone. It was extremely stressful and I also had a lot of other stressors going on in my life that didn't help. Although it was very hard, I stayed connected here and to the habits that I knew worked for me and VERY slowly, but surely, I've worked my way back down into my comfort zone in spite of a whole lot of imperfection. Now that I'm back in range, I'm not so worried about my magic number. I know that I have a very hard time maintaining my weight at the low end of my range, so I'm content to have a few extra pounds. I find this minimizes the obsession that I'm also prone to and makes maintenance just a tad easier for me.

    I know you'll find that balance too. Just hang in there and keep doing what you're doing with little tweaks every now and then.
    1449 days ago
    What is this "grow up" thing?! Although I do like the idea of being a unicorn...

    I'm really lucky in that the Man dropped over 60lbs a few years ago, simply with portion control, and is a "natural" maintainer, so I have a living example in the house who I can follow. We've talked about it a lot, and I've found that if I re-frame my "obsession" with food as a "hobby" that I get a lot more enjoyment out of it, and a whole lot less angst. While the Man can eyeball his portions comfortably, I doubt that I ever will be able to put away the food scale (I have totally warped depth perception, so am physically unable to accurately judge sizes). I also suspect that I'll be tracking most days forever, too --- it's become pretty much a habit for me, and I really like being able to keep on top of my intake for the vitamins that I so easily become deficient in thanks to the semi-colon.

    It really is a big feeling of "now what?" after you've reached such a major goal - especially one that has taken so much of your time for so long. There's almost a panic that not having that goal to work towards will let your attention slip and all of the weight to suddenly reappear overnight. That's how I've been feeling, and I haven't been at this nearly as long or with as major results as you have. Putting my attention in to my "hobby" of food (finding new foods, new recipes, new combinations --- and finding that I truly love the zen I get in to while cooking) has really eased the panic for me.

    What seems to be working for me right now is keeping my range the same as it was (1370-1720), eating in the mid to high side of the range for most days, and not worrying about going over by a few hundred calories once a week or so. So far it has been working for me (still seem to be dropping a bit, actually), and being able to relax about those occasional overages is making it look like this really is going to be sustainable to me for the long haul. I am personally more comfortable with looking at monthly averages instead of getting my knickers in a spin about individual days --- and I'm seeing more and more that my "eating like crazy" days are being naturally balanced out by days that I'm really not hungry. I definitely believe that it's okay to eat when you're hungry - and not eat if you're not (no matter what the clock or the schedule say)!

    It sounds like your body and parts of your mind are ready to be eating more on a regular basis, and I'm willing to bet that your weekly or monthly averages are still within your ranges even with the times that you were over. When looking at that scarily high new maintenance range, why not just work your way up to it gradually? Maybe you could just add 100 calories per day from your losing range for the month of March, and then see what the results are? If you're still losing, then maybe add another 100 calories per day for April and see what happens then.

    I absolutely recommend taking a look at the monthly averages, too --- it's a lot easier to wrap your head around the occasional really high calorie day when you can see and analyze what the monthly results were on the scale against what the monthly calories eaten / spent are.

    Hang in there and don't analyze *yourself* to death! *Data* is to be analyzed - and you can trust yourself to make the right overall choices based on the data and your conclusions.

    Strong thoughts!
    1449 days ago
    Crazy, hmmm ... maybe. Still, I do believe our asylum is quite full.

    I think many, if not most, of us here at SP feel exactly the way you do when we consider "normal eating", and especially true once a person has met their goal and are now in maintenance mode. I can't think of anything wise to say about this but I will pass on a tiny little tidbit. However, before I do, please know that If I had written this same blog and someone gave me this same little tidbit, I would be tempted to tell them to GO AWAY!
    emoticon Tempted .... but of course I would not do that!

    The tidbit:
    Sometimes when we are hungry we are actually dehydrated. I read this somewhere - Maybe it was here at SP. Anyway, I know that in the past I was dehydrated a lot as I was not drinking nearly enough water. So, I put the advice to the test and now when I get up in the morning before I have breakfast and before my first come of tea, I drink at least 8 ozs of water. And miracle of miracles, whenever I do that, it seems like breakfast stays with me longer and keeps me satisfied right up until lunch time - a more "normal" lunch time. Then throughout the day I drink more water (bottled), and I also snack when hungry-ish on whatever healthy snack fits into my calorie allowance.

    Water IS the Champagne of life ... and who knows, maybe a cure for unicorn-wanna-bes.

    1450 days ago
  • PEGGY11
    You will get it figured out. emoticon I am on a plateau and still trying to figure that out. emoticon None of it is easy but with perseverance we will get it done. emoticon emoticon
    1450 days ago
    for sure not a crazy person, when I reached my goal weight, a few years ago, I immediately started gaining again, maintaining, I still have not figured out the meaning of the word regarding not gaining weight, my entire body has changed, and it does not take a whole lot for me to gain a pound, I exercise, walk, watch my calories, but I keep forgetting that portion control, and I know that is where it is, but, telling the brain is something else, I have not given up, still hoping to hit that balance somewhere along the way emoticon

    1450 days ago

    I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling. Life, food....it's ALL such a struggle!
    I wish I had some easy answers for us both. All I can say is that you so deserve moderation. I hope you can figure it out without being too hard on yourself.

    Love, Sue

    1450 days ago
    I can so relate!!! You are not a crazy person. I think it must be incredibly hard when you reach goal weight after focusing so long on weightloss to find that balance. If I could eat with moderation - I would not have found myself here in the first place! You are not a crazy person. It will just take some time to find what works for you.

    Love ya!

    1450 days ago
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