Thursday, August 14, 2008

More Thoughts

Wow. My brain is swirling with new ideas and insights, not only from my own brain but from yours as well. I have been working overtime today trying to figure this out. It isn't a simple thing... why we overeat/binge/do weird crazy food stuff, but I figure the more I understand, the less likely I am to continue unhealthy behaviors.

I am definitely going to get some new reading material as suggested by your comments (thank you). And I started a notebook today. I got this idea of a notebook, because I like to write and I like lists. My plan is to make notes about food and my habits in sections of this notebook to use as a reference manual, aka, "Lyn's Food Issues for Dummies." The first thing I did in my notebook was to start a list of Triggering Foods. These are foods that set me off. I define them as foods that just make me want to eat more and more and more when I have them. It's kind of a long list. But I noticed a pattern. Most of those foods are processed, sugary, or white flour items. And then there is dairy... my beloved CHEESE obsession. I seriously used to eat half pound blocks in a sitting. I would buy a block of sharp cheddar, slice it up, and eat it with a bag of potato chips or Doritos and a ton of Coke. A whole block! Yeah, and darn that Coke, it is at the top of my list. But it's interesting how my main trigger foods are very similar. I used to bake a loaf of white bread and eat the entire loaf, hot from the oven, sliced thick and heavily buttered. So yes, bread is on the list. I used to eat tons of Doritos dipped in sour cream. All kinds of chippy things are on my list: Doritos, Cheetos, all that salty processed junk. Even salted cashews make the list. I can NOT eat a few. I want the whole can. The other items on my Trigger list are things like Fast Food (as a whole category. It doesn't matter from where. I ALWAYS want more), fast food pizzas (homemade or frozen ones seem not to trigger so much), hot dogs (I used to eat 5 at a time, with Coke, of course), and SAUSAGE. OMG I think I have a really unhealthy sausage attraction. And no it is not Freudian or phallic or whatever. I like the patties just as much as the big ol' weiners. Little Debbies, chocolate pudding, fettuccine Alfredo, and all kinds of sweets and batters. Those are the things that, once I start eating them, I am never satisfied. I want more, and I eat them until I am sick. I am keeping this list and I am going to pay attention and AVOID these foods from now on. (Duh, why didn't I think of this before??)

I am also making a list of foods that are healthy and nourishing that I really enjoy eating. Stuff like baked winter squash, roasted green beans, or whole grain waffles with peanut butter. That stuff does NOT trigger me. I do NOT have any kind of craziness when I have them. I can enjoy a serving and move on, and not think twice about "OMG I HAVE TO HAVE MORE!!"

I will make more lists in my notebook. Things like: feelings I have before a binge, feelings I have after a binge, feelings I have when I am eating well. I want to cue in on what precipitates my out-of-control feeling.

Of course, all this analysis is pointless if I keep eating like a starved muskox, so I need to take action, too. I had another rough day today. I will spare you the dramatics but I ate:

healthy breakfast (whole grain waffle with 1T peanut butter)
green tea and water
Arby's Italian sub, curly fries, cheese sauce, and a Pepsi
4 candy bars. Yeah. Haven't done that in awhile. It made me SICK.
A Big Mac, fries and a Coke.
A Halvah bar.

Here's the kicker. Arby's doesn't have Coke, so I had a Pepsi, right? Guess what. It did not kill my craving. All I could think about was Coke. I went to McD's for dinner SOLELY because I wanted COKE and I knew they had COKE. And drinking it was a total fix. Sip... AHHHHH...waves of peace and harmony. Weird. I looked it up, and apparently I am not the only one who cannot get a fix from Pepsi. I am going to have to research this a little more and post about it later, but in the meantime, I have to get off this dumb Coke kick. I might buy the 100-calorie cans and allow myself ONE per day IF I stick to my plan otherwise. Or maybe that is a bad idea. At least it might help stop the fast foods runs.

And while I was eating that stupid, sloppy, nasty Big Mac in my car, I had an epiphany. "This is gross. I am not even hungry. Yuck." But I kept eating it. As Pandora so wisely put it in her comment, "If (when) I do those kind of binge purchases I get so angry at myself that I force myself to finish, which is absolutely crazy I know! The food starts as need and becomes punishment." Ah! Light bulb. Yes. The food became a punishment. This is so profound. More on this later.

So when I finished eating, I think I sort of hit the wall or something. I felt lousy. I ate that junk just because I wanted a Coke and knew it would taste good with a Coke. I came home and thought about the self-abuse. I wondered about what I REALLY need. And I think I am started to get it.

I am going out of town tomorrow morning for the weekend, so you won't see me blog for a couple days. But this is not an excuse to binge. I KNOW I cannot expect myself to really eat great on this trip... not in the state of mind I have been in lately... but I am going to TRY. I am going to be attentive. I am going to write in my notebook, and get a counselor to talk to, and I AM going to stop this self destruction and get back to losing weight again. Being happy again. Because once you really yank yourself out of this kind of a rut, the momentum can carry you a really long way.


new*me said...

have a good weekend away Lyn ;) Talk yourself through it when all else fails. I remember a quote I saw in a comment on your blog a while back when you were in crisis. I have used it several times since then. Someone quoted "Don't live your life waiting out the thunderstorms;learn to dance in the rain!"

KG said...

Take good care of yourself, forgive yourself, heal yourself --I know it's hard with kids around especially with young ones, but take some time to be present with yourself. I know that lots of us will be thinking of you all weekend.

Vonavie said...

With all you have been dealing with I'm sure talking with a therapist would help a ton. I've been contemplating doing the same. I haven't been to a therapist in about 7 years... I wouldn't have a clue who to see here... But I really should.

Twix said...

Exactly! Some of us can and do use food as a punishment. I do this same dang thing!

As for the Coke. I had a close friend (no longer around) tell me that the reason it was so addicting had to do with the potassium it has in it. I don't know if it's true or not. I've never looked into it. But if that's the case I would say try bananas. Lol, I have to be careful with those things. They do trigger binges for me.

Great idea to keep a written journal. Awesome idea!

Be good to yourself this weekend. I know you will!! :D

Fat Lazy Guy said...

That coke idea you had is exactly what I do. I have one 300ml can of regular Coke a day (129 Calories), and one 300ml can of Coke Zero (0.9 Calories) a day, and that's enough to satisfy me.

MizFit said...

and that's all you can do.


give it your best.

take a deep breath before every morsel you put in your mouth and think I CAN DO THIS I CAN DO THI.


Anonymous said...

I like the notebook idea and I think self-analysis is often the very necessary first step towards "doing something about it." Often we think we know what we should be doing, but it's not until we do a little reflection that the true light bulb comes on. It's ok to give yourself permission to take baby steps back towards your healthy lifestyle. Baby steps are better than no steps, kiddo. Either way, you'll get there.


DEBRA said...

I have found that if I started with something bad for me that I felt like I had slipped so why not eat all of whatever it was. I don't understand why one bite isn't satisfactory, but it never is. So, I have learned just to stay away from all of the things that I can't stop binging on. I hope you have a wonderful happy enjoyable weekend.

spunkysuzi said...

I think the notebook idea rocks! It's also something you can look back on.
I find when i binge it's such a slippery hill but you can and will stop it.
Have a good trip!

Lynne said...

I hope your weekend is great. Don't permit yourself a splurge - Focus on good / healthy eating; and if you get away from your plan accept and move on. You CAN do it! You are SO worth it!

maryd said...

Hi Lyn,
I hope the reading material helps you--there is a good amount of information about the book online if you didn't find it yet:

I LOVE that you are making a list of healthy foods you enjoy. That has also been key for me. Establishing which healthy foods I really enjoy and don't mind preparing for myself and sticking to them. I'm lazy with shopping and cooking so I tend to eat the same thing everyday when I'm working (it is just easier) but because I've found foods that work I don't get sick of them at all.

Go gently on yourself this weekend, and take care!

Kirsten said...

So many people have such great advice! I identify so much with the Coke situation and have found it to be a trigger my whole life. The only thing that helps me is to go cold turkey. For me, when the binge monster rears its head and I can't get it under control I stop processed food completely when I have a moment of clarity. I have this theory that High Fructose Corn Syrup makes me crave and my trigger. That stuff is my Kryptonite.

Anyway, have a great weekend and you should be SO PROUD that you are taking steps to get to the bottom of this rather than giving up. You are strong and such an amazing person!

elife said...

Great idea on all the analysis you are doing with your notebook.

The coke thing....once at work (I work for a food manufacturer) we were talking about pepsi vs. coke preferences and one of the guys from R&D with a beverage background said that people who prefer coke have a slight vanilla preference, while pepsi drinkers have a lemon preference. So who knows, but maybe add a touch of vanilla to those bananas!

Anonymous said...

Would it help to make a no eating in the car rule? That seems to be where a lot of calories are ingested. Go get your car detailed (or do it yourself) and tell everyone in your family that there is no more eating in the car to keep the car nice. Then when you do get the food you plan on binging on, you follow the rule for everyone that there is no eating in the car and by the time you get to where you will allow yourself to eat the food, you can reconsider and stomp on that Big Mac so it is inedible. Please don't consider this assvice, it just occurred to me when you said you were eating your Big Mac in the car.

Anonymous said...

The intense salt cravings and over eating simple carbs may indicate adrenal fatigue.

Anonymous said...

You should definitely definitely read this book "Overcoming Binge Eating" by Doctor Chris Fairburn. He is the leading expert in this field and he takes you through all the scientific information/studies there is about binge-eating and then provides you with a self help program to get the binges to stop. Please, please try it. It changed my life.

Anonymous said...

I wanted to let you know of a great site I found called Maria's Last Diet site (from the 100 top diet websites) it has some good advice - you may find helpful too.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree about eating as punishment - I wrote something similar on my blog today. What starts off as a treat becomes a punishment, if not in the short-term (feeling sick, self-disgust), then definitely in the long-term (weight gain, risk of severe health issues, etc). The difficulty is bearing that in mind every time we reach out for some comfort food.

Heather said...

I think its important to focus on what you want and just satisfy that. You wanted a coke, thats fine, if it was that bad of a craving, I say satisfy that. but the big mac was definitely just punishment and you really should have just enjoyed the coke WITHOUT any feelings if guilt. just enjoyed it. allow yourself to. sure its not ideal, but its what your body desired and it didnt need that big mac. so just stop and think about what your body is really asking for, satisfy it, dont feel guilty, and move on. I know its easier said than done (trust me I know!), but I know you can do it.

Mal said...

For me (again, I'm a psychotherapist who is in recovery from Binge Eating Disorder) it is a combination of (1) self care (if I don't sleep enough or get too stressed, I am in danger), (2) monitoring my blood sugar (I know that I simply must avoid certain foods, which can trigger insatiable cravings in me) and (3) years of therapy which helped me explore and get over the emotional issues I had gotten all mixed up with food. At this point, after 4-5 years of intensely focused work, I no longer struggle and strain with my eating habits or my self-care. I feel better than ever before, and I am reaping the benefits in physical, mental, emotional, and social ways. We're behind you all the way.

Dinah Soar said...

Hey Lyn...just getting caught up after vacation...a couple of suggestions...perhaps you should up your calorie intake to 2000 per day for a couple of should still lose, albeit more slowly. But slowly and surely is not so bad, eh?

Also, you might want to try eating more food at breakfast and then again at lunch...more as in total calories--say 400-500 and get a good combination of protein, fat, carb and fiber...for instance if you like a hot breakfast eat an egg with 2 slices of bacon, toast with spread and a piece of fruit, coffee with a little half and half if you imbibe. This kind of meal may prevent cravings later in the day. It's heavier, higher in fat and protein which tend to keep your blood sugar on an even keel and the carbs will give you some quick energy.

Also, try to remove any associations that Coke, onion rings, etc. are "bad"...they are food...plain and simple. If you want a Coke, you should have a Coke. Giving yourself permission to have a Coke and actually enjoy it removes the forbidden aspect. And mind you, a regular Coke and an order of onion rings---if it's what you are craving--- are not a disaster. Granted there are healthier options..but it's not necessary for us to make healthy choices 100% of the time...shoot..we may have a string of less than stellar food days--but that doesn't make those days bad in the bigger scheme of things. Some days I crave fruit...other days I crave chocolate. When it's chocolate I'm craving, fruit isn't going to satisfy ...and vice versa. I think we should feed ourselves the food we are hungry for--I think we will be less likely to binge if we know we can eat what we want when we want.

I suggest you read the book Intuitive Eating. It deals with disordered eating.

This is a bump in the road, not the end of the road and you are on a journey and this little detour may slow you down a tad but it won't prevent you from reaching your destination.

Joy's Journey in Weightloss said...

It is so hard to deal with trigger foods, especially foods that are haunting you. I had to go completely off of sugar, processed foods and white stuff to get some peace. I never in a million years would have thought I could not crave chocolate and junk. I have been off of sugar for three weeks and I feel honestly hopeful for the future. Before, I kept breaking my promises to myself to the point where I never quite believed that I would actually lose this weight. First, I gave up diet coke. It was so hard! After a few days, I was fine. Next, it was Starbucks mochas. I had a killer headache for 2 weeks. When I successfully gave those two things up and I believed myself again, I decided to give up white food, junk and sugar. I tell you, I am a new woman. I have not lost a lot of weight yet (10 lbs in 3 weeks, but my hope for my future is better than it has been in decades. I love your post! You are an inspiration to me daily!

Helen said...

I love the idea of the notebook, and identifying your trigger foods, and I think seeing a therapist will be really helpful. I have been using a book on self-hypnosis to help control cravings, binges and basic stupid rebellion.
Its by Steven and Joy Gurgevic. I have found it helpful in that practicing the relaxation takes me away from the precipice. It takes away that terrible anxiety that you feel when you are struggling with yourself about coke, or chips or food. I now have control where previously it seemed I had no control. It becomes like looking at an angry shark through the thick glass of an aquarium. you can see it, you know that it will eat you if it gets half a chance, but you are unafraid, because you know it can't reach you. The cravings change from being "I HAVE TO EAT THIS", to....I can see you, but I know that you can't reach me.

It has been a huge change in my mindset, and my attitude. The relaxation that comes with doing the trance exercise has just helped take the struggle out of things.

Take care of yourself,we are thinking of you and holding you up long distance. you are a strong inspiring woman and you are going to get through this.

PamW said...

I absolutely believe you that Coke is an addiction. I tried to quit while pregnant with my daughter and my poor baby had withdrawals with me. After two days of headaches I went back to habit. 25 years later, my daughter is still very sensitive to caffiene and all carbonated drinks. I had a 3 liter a day habit and went cold turkey 9 years ago when my husband was hospitalized with serious intestinal problems and I realized that it should have me. He is the healthy eater. I sat around the hospital with him for a week with an excruciating headache and did not touch another coke for several years, because I knew I could not handle just one. Now I do drink one about 2 or 3 times a year, but the cravings are finally gone. It still tastes good though and I tell you my story to let you know that yes it is really hard to give it up and I don't recommend the way I did it, but when you do finally give it up, you will feel sooooo much better and proud of yourself to boot.