Monday, April 21, 2008

Know Thyself

The words "Know Thyself" were long ago inscribed in Greek on the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Ancient philosophers understood the great value in truly knowing onesself, because with such knowledge can come change. Introspection and self-understanding can help us examine ourselves so we can develop the character we desire, and avoid behaviors that lead to unhappiness.

So what made you fat? This is a little survey I put together for a message board I frequent, and I think it is worthwhile to ponder your own answers to these questions. If you know what made you fat, you can develop a strategy to lose weight and avoid gaining weight. You can change your life.

Here are the questions, along with my own answers to them. Take a minute and think about YOUR answers. Be honest with yourself. Then decide what needs to change in order for you to have the healthy body you desire.

1. What types of food were you most likely to overeat? sweet baked goods... like brownies, chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon rolls, Little Debbies. Although I alternated with salty greasy stuff like chips, dips, and bacon.

2. What times of day did you overeat most often? My hardest time of day is between 3 and 5 because I used to get anxious. It was after the kids came home but before dinner, and I would get antsy 'waiting' to cook dinner and just snack a lot. But yeah, some days I just ate nonstop from morning to night.

3. What feelings were you having most often when you overate? Anxiety. Worry. Boredom. Closely followed by fear or anger. I often used eating as a way to procrastinate doing something else.

4. Do you think you have a binge eating disorder? Oh yes. No one can eat 8 to 10,000 calories a day and not have a binge disorder. I would eat enough for 6 people some days. I ate fast and zoned out and stuffed myself terribly.

5. What circumstances in your life do you believe contributed to your weight gain? Emotionally I started to gain weight when I lost a baby during a pregnancy. Then lost a twin in the next pregnancy. But the huge weight didn't pile on until I got divorced, so I think the stress of that contributed a lot.

6. Do you 'blame' anyone for your weight? No. However, I do wish my morbidly obese, Weight Watcher going mother who never lost the weight would have taught me SOMETHING about nutrition and exercise. I wasn't taught anything at all. But I wasn't fat as a child so I pretty much take all responsibility for the condition of my body.

7. What other behaviors made you overweight? Avoiding activity, withdrawing from friends, focusing on food for comfort, baking all the time, indulging in just about anything I wanted.

8. Were you active or exercising while you gained weight? Not really. When I was 'dieting' I would take long walks, and I even joined a gym, but I always hated exercise with a passion... until now.

9. Why did you choose that activity level? I was lazy.

10. What made you finally want to change? My quality of life was in the toilet and my kids were growing up with a really unfit mother. When I had my last child, I knew I couldn't stand to be the Fat Mom anymore, and have a daughter who would be embarrassed of me and not being able to play with her.

Feel free to share any insights about yourself in the comments section :)


new*me said...

Hi :) I stumbled by your blog through another friend's health blog and have been reading the last 2 days. Your brutal honesty is inspiring. I can relate with you 100%. I am a 37 (38 in May) yr old stay at home mom and have been overweight for about 20 yrs. I have dieted on and off and was happy with my weight for about 3 yrs from 97-2000 and then it just went up and up with 3 pregnancies and simple laziness. Yesterday I started my own version of a low carb diet and am slowly increasing exercise. I am inspired by your story and am ready to finally end my fat chapter and live a healthy life for me and my family. Here are my answers.

1. What types of food were you most likely to overeat? cookies, anything homemade like cake etc, pizza, chocolate

2. What times of day did you overeat most often?
usually between 2-3pm but sometimes I would have a chocolate binge right before bed in front of the tv....during the Christmas holidays, ALL DAY! I baked hundreds of cookies.

3. What feelings were you having most often when you overate?
Guilt the whole time I ate......yet surprisingly, happiness eating something delicious.

4. Do you think you have a binge eating disorder?
yes but I am more aware of it these last few years and have been working on that one.

5. What circumstances in your life do you believe contributed to your weight gain?
I hate to say it, but being a stay at home mom. Food was there all day and I could make my own schedule so I could eat what and whenever I wanted. When I am away from the house with friends or when I had a job, I generally ate less. I guess that kind of makes me a "secret eater!"

6. Do you 'blame' anyone for your weight?
No. I only have myself to blame. I came from a very health-conscience family. We weren't allowed to snack or overeat as kids so maybe part of it is rebellion!

7. What other behaviors made you overweight?
I used to be really shy so I stayed home a lot instead of getting involved in activities. I think I have some anxiety issues. A divorce, but before that in my first marriage, never feeling loved or appreciated so I turned to food for love. I also LOVE to cook and bake. It is a passion of mine and I am Damn good at it! It is so hard to cook what you want and not eat it. I love to bake for my children and family. I am a nurturer and when I diet, I feel like I am cheating them. I know that is crazy now though. I need to give them the gift of health. Nobody needs homemade cookies on a regular basis.

8. Were you active or exercising while you gained weight?
NO! When I am exercising and active I am losing weight. It is so easy for me to lose when I exercise. I just chose not to. I really love the high I get after a good cardio workout. I want to start doing that on a regular basis.

9. Why did you choose that activity level?
I was too lazy to choose anything else. Plus, being lazy was easy and safe.

10. What made you finally want to change?
For the last 6 months I have really started to notice a decrease in my energy and I am sore and tired a lot. I want to keep up with my 4 young beautiful kids and my hubby who is 7 yrs younger than me. I want to feel good about myself and enjoy getting dressed again. I want to look pretty and have people tell me I am. Besides my hubby, I haven't heard that from anyone in about 10 yrs. I want my kids to be proud of me. I want to be a picture of health for them to model as they grow. I want to live! I need to be around for the kids and if I don't lose this weight, I fear I won't.

Honi said...

you touched a nerve there with me.. I was a comfort eater.. and unless I am really on top of myself it is easy to go in that direction.. so I thoroughly appreciated that post.. I guess what we have to remember is that for you and I .. and others like us.. we are a work in progress.. constantly changing and ivolving be it externally or internally.

Heather said...

I love this! I will have to answer those questions in a post. very thought provoking!

Lynne said...

Hi Lyn - I copied and took the survey on my blog this morning. Kind of a little B-day present to myself (better than cake). You are doing SO great. I'm sorry about your accident prone kid, but glad that your health issues have been dealt with and news is good. Now you can focus on how great you feel and stop stressing!

Ryry the Adventurous said...

I copied your survey onto my blog too! It was quite informational :) Thank you!!

Ceres said...

Hi Lyn,
thanks for writing! Yes, I keep a blog in Greek, which I update very irregularly, but it's not about weight loss at all (I just put the ticker in there, that's about it). It's mostly me keeping in touch with my friends back home, and venting about the miserable life of a single, female grad student. I was writing about how the Internet can be such a great friend in the journey to lose weight, and I added a link to your blog as an example of great writing, and a place to get inspiration ;-)
Now I'm toying with the idea of starting a blog in English about losing weight, though. It's such a great community that you all have! I was also thinking of writing down some great Greek (or not) recipes, some of them more health-conscious than others :-)
Anyway, this comment is not really about your latest post, but oh well!

Stacy said...

I liked your questions. Boy you sure know how to make a girl think. I just started the journey to losing weight. I am glad these questions will inspire me to think about why I am eating. Thanks for the blog.

Dottie said...

I'll be answering these on my blog. Thanks for all the inspirational posts - you are awesome!