Thursday, March 11, 2010

Control and Obsession

I'm feeling cold and a little tired today. Wanting to hibernate. It is cold and overcast outside; I am amazed how the weather is directly correlated to my moods so much of the time! Give me warmth and sunshine, and my whole soul feels like springtime. But the cold dreariness makes me want to huddle under the blankets with some hot cocoa and watch TV all day.

I've found myself having the same old thoughts about wanting to binge; it happens once or twice a day, but the strange thing is how fleeting they are. In the past, I'd get a binge in my head and become obsessed. My mind was like a steel trap and there was no getting that binge thought-track out of it. I'd try and try to distract myself, usually to no avail. It might be hours, it might be days. It even might been a week or two. But eventually I would flip out and binge. I'd go to the store, buy some donuts and hot dogs, and come home and eat them all, telling myself that I would be okay because it was "just one time" and tomorrow I will be back to eating healthy again. Only I wasn't. Often, one binge led to another, and another. If I tried to resist by not going to the store, I'd suddenly find myself in the kitchen mixing together whatever I could find to binge on: Bisquick and milk and honey made into a dough and fried in oil and drizzled with honey butter, or hot cocoa mix and flour and butter mixed in a bowl, or piece after piece of buttered toast. Maybe a half pound of cheese. Grilled peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. Or a couple of potatoes cut up, fried in a pan and topped with bacon, sour cream and green onions. And that's how I would regain whatever weight I had so diligently worked off in a month. Three weeks to lose 5 pounds, and 3 days to gain 8. It sucks. But now that I am eating *so* low carb and low sugar, I am able to resist the binge thoughts. They do not seem to *drive* me the way they used to. Oh, yes, I still WANT the junk food. I still even ever-so-slightly contemplate bingeing (because I love the feelings associated with a binge, I miss it, and I would do it every day if it wasn't going to kill me). Now, I have the thoughts and instead of being consumed by them, I observe them. So far, I have stayed on plan and been ok. So far, no thought of junk has led to action, even though I want it.

I had the same experience when I was doing other low-carb eating plans; South Beach Diet was very successful for me back about 7 or 8 years ago (I lost about 40 pounds) because when I ate that way I lost my insane cravings. But then when I "went off" I went back to eating crap and of course all the weight and then some came back. What's different now? I know how to eat. I know what to do. I am far, far more aware of what is going on inside me. Back then, I felt like a victim. I did not understand what was going on with me and food. Now I get it. I understand. I do not, however, know 100% how to fix it. So I am still scared of gaining it all back someday. When I think about trying to *never* binge again, it seems absolutely impossible. Do I even want a life without binges? That is something only I can decide. I am working on that.

So I will enjoy the sense of control I have now, hope it stays, and lose weight as much as I can and try very hard not to regain. All I can really focus on is what I can do TODAY... what I can control *now.* And when the future comes, I will deal with that then.

Wednesday menu:
8AM: Hot Cocoa w/hazelnut instant coffee
10AM: apple cinnamon oatmeal muffin
Strength trained 15 min
1PM: Chili with 1/2c diced canned tomatoes added
4PM: Hot Cocoa mixed with decaf instant coffee, over ice. This was so delicious!
6PM: Roasted turkey wings & roasted asparagus
8:30PM: Chocolate pudding whisked with 1T lite cream cheese
I was not hungry AT ALL on Wednesday.

Scale says: 226.


Seth said...

You've got the right idea with the chili -- It's good for days that are cold and dreary.

Keep fighting the binges.

NAN said...

If you're like me, I think a lot of the binge behavior is too much time on our hands. I work part time and volunteer a lot but I still have quite a bit of free time. If I were you, I'd definitely be planning on going back to work when daughter was in school. Do you have all day kindergarten? Also, perimenopause really contributed to my weight gain- those pesky hormones. I try to have only healthy food in the house now.

Lyn said...


No all-day kindergarten here. She is my last baby so I am really enjoying my time with her! I hope to be able to wait and go back to work when she is in first grade.

I do have free (as in unstructured) time but I am almost always with her, and in the afternoons/evenings with my other kids. They keep me pretty entertained.

Megan said...

I have been reading your blog for a while but I have never commented because I just didn't think I had much to seem to have it figured out. I do however know what you mean about having cravings to binge. I have fought those my whole life and every time it is because something is not right with me emotionally. I was stressed or upset or felt guilty (that was big one for me) and I felt like if I binged then those feelings would go away. What helps me is stepping away and doing something active OR reading blogs to help inspire me OR reading my own goals and remembering why it is that I am trying to be healthy. For you it is to be able to move and play with your kids and that is so important not only to you but to them. I hope this helps but you inspire me and keep up the hard work because it really is hard!

Autumnforest said...

Yeah, I'm a carboholic too. I think if there was a program for us, it'd be called "recovering carboholics" and we'd be like alcoholics and never be able to even allow one more drink/carb again. It's hard to go off and stay off. The body remembers the easy highs it gets on sugar spikes. You are do so well. I am unbelievably impressed and proud. If sheer will could be measured on a speedometer-you'd be going 100 mph. Keep it up--the only thing you're fighting is your mind--not your body--your body is your friend, your mind is your enemy but you can turn it into your friend. It has to obey what you tell it. You're the master.

Leslie said...

226??? Fantastic, Lyn. Interesting what you say about how being low carb makes it easier to withstand the binge thoughts. I think that will continue and get even better with time. You're doing great, and I'm very aware of what a different place you're in compared to 3 weeks ago!

Lisa said...

Those binge feelings are a monkey on my back every day...

Anonymous said...

I have a 3 and 1yr old and know exactly what u mean about the binges. I still struggle but I've learned the only way to overcome addiction is to replace one with another. Recently got addicted to fantasy books so that whenever I have free time in my mind or during the day I think of the characters and the journey of the story. I plan on getting some great video games when I reach normal weight as my 'reward'. Stated MF at 245 in July 2009, now I'm 167. I also love to look at clothes I can't wait to waer as a gift to myself when I finish losing! Think on other things and buy a lot of sugar free gum. Oh yea! I binge on tic tacs now! Try it!

MJ said...

I really identify with everything you wrote, Lyn. It is like we are related by the obesity gene.

I'm new to TSFL (Medifast) and just started a blog of my own. Mostly for me to post something on it just to see how it went. I was going to keep it private but then decided it would help me meet new friends to help me on this journey.

Stop by and drop me a line some time. I am inspired by your word and will definitely be back to read more of your blog!

Take care,
Mary Jane

Camille said...

I've changed my habits and when I feel a binge coming on- I cook up a huge plate of stir fry and binge on as many vegetables as possible. It doesn't give the headache and it can't be as bad as eating my weight worth of pizza or donuts.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand what kind of satisfaction or good feelings go along with a binge when you simultaneously know that it will lead to weight gain and regret. Is it a kind of temporary *insanity*? Is it really that pleasurable? I wish I understood.

Lyn said...


It feels great. It is pleasurable. It is comforting and the heavy feeling in my stomach makes me feel 'grounded' and alive. The tastes and textures of the food and the effects of sugar/carbs on the brain is like a high. "The End of Overeating" by Kessler does a good job of explaining the science behind it.

But at the same time there is guilt, shame, disgust, the feeling afterwards of regret and self loathing.

Much like an alcoholic drinking, I suppose. said...

what helps with sugar cravings.
My sweet tooth is my problem.

Lyn said...


Not eating sugar and refined carbs helps with sugar cravings.

I find that if I DO have a sweet or a carb, I need to eat it with a healthy meal including a lot of protein and then it doesn't bother me as much.

spunkysuzi said...

That is exactly what i've figured out with my binge eating episodes. They start when i overeat either sugar or simple carbs or carb period. Then i want more and more and it really doesn't matter what it is!! And you're so right that when you don't let your carbs get too high it is so much easier to not binge eat. I love the feeling of not having all the cravings!!
For me i find it very exhausting to think only about the next food every hour until i go to bed and then when i wake up. Not doing this feel a lot like freedom :)

PhluffyPrincess said...

Since I've begun to follow blogs I read about those who have binge urges. And the idea is new to me. I'm glad you fought your urge and planned an awesome menu of frequent eating!

Julia said...

Those darn carbs are the devil and make us crave more.

I have been so busy making good healthy soups I haven't made chili for ages - maybe that will be dinner tomorrow before spring is here.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it strange how carbs are now seen as the enemy of those who want to lose weight? Not so long ago dieters were told to stick to a low fat diet, but to cut down on bread and potatoes..known as 'starches' back then :-)

There is nothing in the world which will make me give up my energy-giving morning banana and the goegeously soft and tasty dried apricots I have found. Two small halves suffice to satisfy my sweet tooth. If I don't somehow satisfy it, all day long I am like a mad woman...scouring the house for a sweet fix. I had a friend tut when I told her about my morning fruit. 'Oh no. Eat eggs' she said. Sigh. How long ago was it that eggs were bad for us? I enjoy eggs too...and I know that my fruits and egg yolks and whites provide me with natural minerals and vitamins.

I am please you are sticking to the plan Lyn. Which comes first - the discipline, the strong resolve to 'be good' or the feeling satisfied/full so you don't go on to eat something high in calories and sugars and fats?

I have had a bad couple of days and have thrown caution to the wind. I think there is something in the fact that I do have lots of time on my hands these days. Life used to be hectic and then I was slimmish..never very overweight. I think about food a lot - even if it's only planning my next meal...and some days I DO feel deprived and fed up that I HAVE to do this. It's like I want to eat cakes until I am sick. I might not even be hungry but I want to stop seeing foods as OK and not OK. I want to stop thinking about what I eat and live with 'a little of what you fancy does you good' but it would seem I can't regulate portions if I treat myself at all. I guess using Medifast helps with all those problems?

Is this a life-long struggle or do we eventually happily give up the foods we love, knowing they are harming rather than soothing us? Do we re-train our palates to despise the junk food?

I can understand why on days like this, when I am completely fed up with being careful food-wise that a controlled pre-measured eating plan might be the only thing to keep me on the straight and narrow. Well done Lyn. You are successfully fighting urges...and feeling full too. Has to be good:-)

Thanks for telling us about it. I needed to hear about self-control today..

Jessica said...

I think a lot of us can relate to mood/weather relation. I haven't felt better than the past week when we've been above freezing and sunny! Bring on summer!

Theresa said...

I can completely relate to that "stuffed full and happy feeling". It is physically horrid to have such a full stomach.... but mentally soothes my soul for what ever is making me happy/sad/angry etc. It is 100% like a drug. Recognizing what puts us over the top and what we reach for is a great step towards healing. :)

Lyn said...


very thoughtful comment. I think we need to recognise the healthy natural foods such as fruits, eggs, etc for the benefits they bring. And if someone is "triggered" by a food, even if it is something healthy like nuts, I can see the reasons for cutting them out.

But I agree, carbs are not evil. I am able to eat fruits, whole grains, etc in moderation and feel great! It's the refined junk that gets me.

And hey, if I can STOP fast food completely (and I did), that is really a sign that there is hope for huge change!

Deanna - The Unnatural Mother said...

Great post, live in the moment, I like that idea, so stealing it!

Anonymous said...

I think it is very important for everyone to remember that people are different. What may be a trigger or problem food for you may not be an issue for me at all. I realized I had a huge problem with ALL carbs when I realized I was binging on foods I don't even like. I found myself eating bowls of rice, or bowls of my husbands chocolate rice crispies (both of which I don't like) when I wasn't even slightly hungry and asking myself WHY. Why would I want to shovel in food I don't even enjoy the taste/texture of when I am not even hungry? There has to be some sort of chemical payoff.

Other people don't do this. And they don't understand why I say that carbs are bad for me, or why I can't just eat them in moderation. I have spent the last 25 years of my life trying to eat them in moderation. EVERY day I wake up and tell myself that THIS is the day I will start losing the weight. Something obviously isn't working in the moderation homefront. I have just come to realize that I will have to go without carbs for my entire life IF I want to lose the weight and keep it off. (I have lost the weight three times and gained it back each time). Is it worth it? I don't know. I haven't committed to it yet. I think it may be. Not for looking better, but for feeling better.

Stacie said...

I stumbled across your blog and this is exactly how I was feeling yesterday- ready to eat anything! I just finished week 3 on MF and am down 15 lbs so I kept thinking about that and looking at other people's before/after pics to motivate me not to eat. The great thing about MF is that you usually aren't hungry but yesterday was crazy for me and I hope that today will be better!