Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Moderated Habits

It's been a busy couple of days, but I am still riding high on my energy and feeling wonderful for the most part. My eating over the weekend wasn't on plan, but I didn't have major guilt over it, either. And I didn't regain the lost weight. But in retrospect I have to ponder WHY I choose the things I do.

I had some stress last week with one of my teenagers who didn't do so well in school last semester. He is a smart kid, but decided to slack regardless of the consequences. And when summer came and it was time for him to go with his father (my first husband), there was quite a bit of drama between him, the high school counselor, and myself regarding whether or not he needed to attend summer school. It did finally get resolved and he went with his Dad along with older brother, but oh the drama was a lot for me to bear. I kept eating healthy, I exercised. Then after I put him on the plane I had an emotional moment.

Standing in the airport parking lot, my little girl turned to me and said, "I feel tears coming in my eyes." I picked her up and hugged her and we shed a few tears there. Gosh it is so hard for ME to have children apart from me for such long periods, but to ask a 3-year-old to bear it is pretty tough. She adores all her brothers and doesn't really "get" that I was married before and they have a different dad. She just wants them with her all the time. So do I. I have rarely had my kids gone from me, as this whole "visitation" thing only came up in the last 2 years. It makes me really sad that I won't be taking all my kids camping on the beach this year like we used to do every summer. Divorce sucks.

I went home. I had this empty ache inside and felt like sitting and crying all morning, and I really wanted to go out for a big ol' country breakfast at a restaurant... eggs, sausage, biscuits n gravy, pancakes with syrup and butter, hash browns, juice, coffee.... yeah, I totally wanted to drown myself in comfort food. I wanted it because WANTING it was a distraction from wanting my boys to come back. And eating it would've filled that "hole" feeling, if only temporarily. But I saw it for what it was, made myself a moderated breakfast of one Kashi whole grain waffle with 1T syrup, 2 small (frozen) sausage patties, and one egg that I scrambled in Pam. I had a small cup of juice with it, too. Pretty good, and I felt better.

I had bought some junk for the weekend. Bad habits are hard to break. I figured I was going to be an unhappy camper with so many people missing from my home. I can't tell you how many times in the past I would go on the Spoiled Child Shopping Trip when I was upset, happy, sad, angry, or bored. I've written about it before: I'd go to a store and buy *anything* and *everything* I saw that I wanted with the full intention of eating ALL of it myself within a day or two. I'd buy a pizza, Coke, chips, cheese, crackers, ice cream, bags of candy, cookies, bakery cupcakes, donuts, a hoagie, sugar cereal... all of it. I'd go salivating to the checkstand with my cart o' glee, and when I got home I'd tear into it like there was no tomorrow. I usually found very little satisfaction in the food itself. It was more of the *idea* that I *could* have whatever I wanted. It was more the HAVING it all. And then I'd feel obligated to eat it all because I bought it, and I wouldn't want to have all that junk sitting around for a week throwing me off my next diet attempt, so I HAD to eat it all immediately.

Oh, those habits are hard to break, but I tell you, they're broken. I am never going to do that again.

I don't binge anymore. Not like that.

Maybe some people would consider what I do "binge eating" on occasion, but I sure don't. I do still occasionally buy a few things that aren't healthy because I want that feeling of indulging myself, but it is SO much more restrained. My cart o' junk this time was: 2 packs of Nathans hot dogs and buns, a 2-liter of Coke, and a bag of Doritos (for a junk dinner with the kids), a small bag of dark chocolate covered macadamia nuts, and a lemon pie. All meant to be shared.

Yeah, I *did* eat junk food this weekend, but I feel okay about that. Having a slice of pie because I am sad about missing my kids is a heck of an improvement over the old days. My habits have been moderated to a point that my very WORST overeating behavior is a mere fraction of what it used to be. I am proud of having accomplished that.

Even when "letting go" and eating what I wanted this weekend, it was nowhere near the old level:

I ate 2 hot dogs, a small handful of Doritos, and a cup of Coke and was *done.* It is no secret that I used to eat 5 hot dogs on buns in ONE sitting, with half a bag of Cheetos and several cans of Coke. And I would do this not once, but twice in one day.

I ate a piece of pie for breakfast one day and felt SO happy. It was such a nice indulgence, it actually felt amazing to sit and enjoy that one piece of pie. I used to eat 3 pieces of pie in a sitting AFTER eating a big breakfast.

My eating was not crazy, out-of-control, and desperate. It used to be. I'd be upset and I'd go into some kind of mentally altered state shoving food into my mouth all day to avoid the emotions. Now, I know I am sad, I know I am having some junk for comfort, and I eat a moderate amount and am satisfied. And then, I work through the actual feelings I used to avoid. I cry them out, or reason with myself, or do something to make it better.

I do get some kind of a drug-like body response to some foods. I can have anxiety about something, eat a piece of pie, and feel calm, comforted, and peaceful. I know there are scientific studies about how certain food combinations affect emotions and hormones, and I believe it. I still turn to food for that effect. But it's moderated. And I think that's huge! Going from massive binge eating to occasional controlled indulgences is no easy task. I am pretty proud of myself.

I know I am not going back to the old binges. Ever. But I also want to get to a point where I don't feel the *need* to use food in this way at all. I'd like to slowly cut it down until I am able to cope, for the most part, by other means. It takes time, but I am getting there!

All the junk's gone today. I spent yesterday washing dishes, mopping, vacuuming and doing laundry. My 3 remaining kids and I sat down to a dinner of low fat turkey Swedish meatballs over whole grain pasta last night and then took a nice walk to the park to play. And today I still feel amazing. Going to make some more Veggie Cereal and steam some asparagus. Here's to another healthy day, and another step closer to reaching my goals!

29 comments:

Megan said...

I'm a points tracker myself and I often notice that was has the biggest overall effect on how I feel about my eating really isn't the number of calories or necessarily even what I ate but whether I felt frenzied or in control while eating it. Certainly isn't the end of the world! Sorry about your kids that sounds so difficult to have them gone. Do some nice healthy things for yourself to make yourself feel good!
Megan

fatty McButter Pants said...

Loved your post. I read all the time, but rarely comment. Loved your cart o' glee. Boy can I relate. My cart contents have gotten better over the past 3 moths too.

Food is a drug....at least for me it is. I have the same feelings waiting in the at a drive thru as I did waiting for the dealer when I was using drugs.

I am often reminding myself that's progress, not prefection!

Thanks agian for the post.

Theresa said...

You may not be bingeing, but it is a bit like your past isn't it? I think it is the transition to wellness! One old very poor habit has slowly and permanently been replaced by another habit. Is it perfect? Who can really say what perfect is? Did you conciously buy the stuff knowing you'd eat it with others? (yes). Did you account for how much/how many etc. you would consume before you went for it? (yes). Did you eat slowly and enjoy the junk dinner with the kids? (you never said it, but I'd bet you ate slowly and thoughtfully).
Success check marks all across the board. Your blog helps me so much! I feel stronger reading your words of accomplishment.
Thanks so much Lyn.
:)

HugeMD said...

I agree that maybe being able to buy some of the "old" things but not eat them the way you used to is a sign that your thinking and behavior REALLY HAS changed. That's has to be a good feeling. Way to go!!

Kyle said...

I also read all the time and never comment. I loved this post because it was so well written and it just made me SO BADLY want you to succeed! You ARE succeeding, I'm proud. :)

Val said...

My daughter is away for two weeks visiting my sister, and my three year old is having such a hard time. Poor babies :(

This post was just awesome. I love your transparency, and hearing how far you have come really inspires me to do the same. Thanks for the great read!!

Christie @ Find My Weigh said...

I am new to your blog and feel like this post could not have come at a better time in my life. It is so awesome that you are able to look back and realize how far you have come. That is something I am struggling with right now. Thanks for the post, I look forward to following your journey.

tzumama said...

Sorry you were so sad over your kids leaving for the summer.

Another thoughtful, insightful post. That "cart o'glee" - oh, boy, have I been there.

And fatty McButter Pants...
"Food is a drug....at least for me ..."

me, too. Oh, yeah, is it ever. Someday I'll bequeath my vast fortune to establish the Betty Crocker Center for the Rehabilitation of Sugar Junkies.

Tammy said...

Lyn, you are amazing. Next to my best friend Pam, you are my 2nd biggest inspiration. I just started my own blog a couple of days ago and will be mentioning you in it so others can follow your story.

McButter pants....the drug thing is spot on. That's why I named my blog food addict-from fat to fab. It truly is an addiction like any other for some of us. Thank God we're all here to support each other in reaching our individual goals.

aha said...

It sounds like you're making great progress, and I'm (yet again :)) so grateful that you're sharing, because so much of it sounds so familiar...

Good luck dealing with your feelings of sadness, and I would love to hear what kinds of things did help you deal with those feelings (being someone who also chooses to eat rather than deal with feelings).

Anonymous said...

awesome post Lynn... you go girl. 5 kids wow! - can't even imagine what you've got on your plate (pun intended)....try to rest while the boys are away and be easy on yourself... Love reading yur post.
Regards,
MA

Lolly said...

Wow....I felt like I was reading something that I could have written when you spoke about your Spoiled Child Shopping Trip and the Cart o' Glee. I like to think those days are behind me, but the last cart wasn't so very long ago. I still struggle every single day not to indulge. I love your blog and thanks for being so honest.

Vickie said...

trying to keep track - did all the kids (except the 3yr old) leave for the summer? And is your hubby still gone on his trip?

MzBarbara said...

way to go! why didn't the younger 2 boys go with their dad?

Lyn said...

aha~

For me, a good cry and talking to a friend about it helped. And then I just told myself this is part of children growing up and I am being a good mom by letting them spread their wings a little! And then I called them to make sure they were okay :)

Vickie~

2 kids gone with Dad, 1 husband gone to be with his sick mom, which leaves me and 3 kids at home.

MzBarbara~

Just a personal decision the ex and I came to.

elife said...

I'm sorry you are missing your boys, but wowwweee those are some giant steps forward you made - lots of fore thought and reasonable thinking.

South Beach Steve said...

A big congratulations to you. You have really made some awesome progress! The fact that you skipped the big country breakfast says it all. The fact that your current comfort food is so much different that your old comfort food confirms it. Great job!

Cammy said...

Emotional indulgence with food doesn't do any harm if it's limited in scope, as yours was. I wonder if NOT having your junk meal would have resulted in something worse later on.

And I agree that it's amazing how our indulgences change as our habits and norms change. Amazing, and pretty wonderful. Go, YOU!

Kerri said...

The realization that you are controlling the food instead of it controlling you is so huge. I feel like the emotional eating slaps me right in the face now and says HELLO pay attention to what you are do. DO I cave... sure some times. But it is within control and within my points and each time brings me more self actualization. You are a true inspiration.. I am so glad I found your blog!

justjuliebean said...

I think you really are doing great. I don't think it's realistic that food is just fuel for anybody, it has immense power to comfort and soothe, and can be useful in "moderation" (I'm really starting to hate that word). But, there are too many consequences and no good that come from using it to stuff down feelings, eat until you feel nothing else (OK, at least for me). I think some of the misery I currently face is because I no longer binge thus have to sit and feel my feelings, and it's uncomfortable for me still. But there's no going back.

rachel421 said...

no matter how thin and fit we get, we'll still be living in a world full of hotdogs, popcorn, and twinkies. better to master the fine art of moderation from time to time. i think what you did was excellent, and actually more difficult than total abstinence.

cheers to your progress and your evolving into a new being!

NewMe said...

Lynn,

I was particularly struck by your post and have linked to it from my blog.

Have a great day!

Wendy

Salted with Shadows said...

I'm sorry about the tough situation with your kids. As always, I appreciate your blog's honesty...the Spoiled Child Shopping Trip/Cart o' Glee takes on a whole new meaning when you have no actual kids to spoil, just yourself, and you feel like you have years of childhood deprivation to compensate yourself for! My Cart o' Glee doesn't just fill with food, but *all* the stuff I like--books, purses, CDs, Itunes gift cards, stationery supplies, shoes, all the fun stuff likes to jump in there too. There are so many things that serve as a drug for me; I can hide the credit card bills, but everyone can see my body. It's always been my beacon that says to the world, "Something is wrong here."

shefit said...

Great post! I think when on a diet there are times where you just have to let loose and enjoy a night of junk food.

Lisa said...

GREAT job!

Barefoot Pixie said...

That shopping trip description could have been me (except there was no mention of large bags of peanut butter m&m's or Hershey's Bliss chocolates).

About a month ago I had one of those carts and I was standing in the checkout line. I realized what I was doing and excused myself, pushed the cart off to the side and almost ran out of the store. It was one of the hardest things I'be ever done.

You are doing so amazingly well! Thanks for the inspiration!

Mama Bear June said...

You are really amazing. I'm sorry you have to send your boys away. You definitely are making healthier choices with coping. Keep up the great work. Sending hugs your way.
Path to Health

300ways said...

Wow, that is a lot to deal with and you handled it so well. I have just started my "diet adventure" this week and you really are an inspiration.

Anonymous said...

whoa, where are you---experience tells when you are silent it's usually not so good--hope that's not the case .....