Sunday, June 27, 2010

Food Boredom vs. Obsession, and Moving On from Both (or, food is just food)

I weighed in at 198 pounds this morning, which is one pound lost this week. One pound further away from obesity and closer to my goal. One pound less to haul around. I'll take it!

I have to admit I am getting slightly bored with my Medifast food. Not terribly bored... I mean, it is still tasty and filling and I have no trouble eating it. But I think when I reach my goal or get closer to it I will be quite ready and willing to leave Medifast behind and get back into ALL home cooked, real foods. I plan to go through their Transition program at some point, which weans people off the packaged foods and adds things like grains, fruits, and dairy back in gradually over many weeks (12 to 16 weeks in my case). What's funny to me is that a month ago I felt SO DEPENDENT on the packaged Medifast foods that I was started to feel scared about ever going off them. I was thinking about how on earth I would find foods I thought were just as delicious and packed with so much protein, fiber, and nutrients in 100 calories. I wondered how I would be satisfied without these foods I have come to enjoy so much. Well, a lot has changed in just a month. I have started to see how these packaged foods are helping me and, more importantly, how I will not need them anymore eventually.

They're good, but kinda boring. There are a LOT of different foods to choose from on this program, but I have gravitated towards just a few. My days look pretty much the same. I often eat the same 5 Medifast meals every day, while I do vary my dinner quite a bit with various lean meats, eggs, fish, and tons of fresh veggies. Now that I am getting a little bored with the Medifast food, I had a revelation. Being bored with the food is a GOOD THING! I no longer use food as entertainment, medication, distraction, or pain management. I have to deal with all those things in other ways. I have learned to eat on a schedule, every 2-3 hours (small meals) and since I have the same meals all the time I don't waste brain power sitting around thinking and dwelling and plotting what I am going to eat next; I just grab the next food and have it. I do get to use my culinary talents for my dinner, and that's fun, but all day long my focus is finally, truly OFF of food and onto other things. It's becoming second nature, and I love it!

I had a little epiphany about myself and 'dieting,' too. In the past, I could usually do really great on a 'diet' (or lifestyle change, take your pick) for about 3 or 4 months. I could focus and be obsessed with the 'diet' and weighing and counting calories or whatever. I could spend lots of hours reading books and websites about my chosen method, whether it was Atkins, South Beach, the Blood Type Diet, whatever. I'd get this thrill of a new plan and of seeing results on the scale right away. And then, after a few months, I'd get bored. I had learned pretty much all I could about the 'diet,' the weight loss had slowed down, I'd gotten bored with the food and tired of the exercise. So I'd start going off plan, cheating a little, having breakdowns and binges and crying "why oh why can't I stick with this plan?" And then I'd gain the weight back.

This time, I did the same thing. I got all the books and websites and information I could about Medifast. I researched it to the hilt. I got on the Medifast forums and talked to people and asked questions and got excited. I tried recipes and tried logging my food and measured everything. I tried all the different Medifast foods, I saw results (36 pounds so far) and stuck with it. And then, I got bored. I noticed it is not as new and exciting anymore. I have been doing this for 17 weeks and it is getting monotonous. Eat the 5 foods, make dinner, lose weight. And I had to sit and reflect on that this morning.

The difference is that this time I get it. I understand. I don't HAVE to be all excited about everything I eat. I don't HAVE to spend hours obsessing about dieting and weight loss. I don't have to, because I am healing myself. I don't need food to cover my pain anymore. I am UNcovering it and fixing it or letting it be. I am not afraid of feeling anymore.

And so, I'll just keep on eating my 5 meals and making dinner, throwing in some exercise here and there, being as active as I can, and losing weight. And as the excitement and obsession about the 'diet' fades, I have the focus and energy to live life. It's a new thing for me... having all this brainpower and emotion available that used to all go towards weight loss. Now, the weight loss is happening, and I am not spending my whole day trying to force it to happen. I think this is what life is supposed to be like. You live, and every so often you eat because you need to. Whereas before, I was eating and/or dieting ALL the time, with little bits of living thrown in here and there.

I am going to be okay. I can see a bright, healthy future from here. But more importantly, I can see a bright healthy today.

*FTC-required disclosure: Medifast provided me with its products for my personal use for free. Medifast states an "average weight loss of up to 2 to 5 pounds a week."*

18 comments:

Christine said...

What an awesome insight. I think I tend to do the same thing - hyperfocus until the newness wears off and then search for the next new thing. You have given me food for thought - thank you.

Alfred Tran said...

Great job on losing the 1 pound! I've lost 2 pounds this week!

In Honor of Me! said...

I quoted you on my blog - I hope you don't mind. I am not breaking any kind of blogging rules am I?

Lucy said...

I hear you. I am going through some stuff myself over this, and your insights help. Thank you.

Lyn said...

In Honor of Me~

That is totally fine! I think as a general rule, it is fine to quote another blogger as long as credit is given and usually a link to the original post. Thanks for letting me know :)

clickmom said...

I do the same thing Lyn. It think it's easier to go into weight loss mode when my choices are limited. There is something comforting and safe about not having unrestricted possibilities.

Fat Grump said...

"Now, the weight loss is happening, and I am not spending my whole day trying to force it to happen. I think this is what life is supposed to be like. You live, and every so often you eat because you need to. Whereas before, I was eating and/or dieting ALL the time, with little bits of living thrown in here and there."

That's interesting Lyn because you describe exactly what it's like to be 'dieting' - the focus is on food all day and almost forced activity, whereas I really need to think of food as necessary fuel and exercise/movement as something perfectly normal, something a person does, every single day without giving it much thought. I remember what that used to be like and I want to go back to that place again. Hey, another pound gone. Well done! :)

Lori said...

I've been feeling a little bored lately too. I hadn't quite figured it out, yet. Thanks for having the epiphany for me!
Lori

Leslie said...

Great insight Lyn. In the last few days, I've come to realize that food has been the main event in my life rather than a necessary component of health, nourishment and energy. That has to change, and for the first time ever I'm becoming willing to let that happen.

This post somehow fits my new thinking...food can be just food. I haven't wanted that at some level, but emotionally I can't continue the way I've been going. It's literally obliterating my soul, and that's not okay. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to break my obsession with it. Your journey continues to help me.

Steph said...

Just wanted to tell you that you have a new follower. I'm on my own weight loss journey and have lost 94 pounds so far :)

http://goobergrapemonkeyman.blogspot.com

Lanie Painie said...

As I'm reading this, it suddenly hit me: THIS is what Richard Simmons always meant by "eat to live, don't live to eat" all those years ago.

I've been experiencing the same thing. Food doesn't have the same magic for me as it did in the past, and while I was sad about that for about 3 seconds, I realized it's a GOOD thing! It's just fuel for my body, not entertainment.

And today when I was grocery shopping, I found myself not looking at price tags to make sure I got the most food for the money, but actually I was looking for the most nutrition for my calories! The world's a changin!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

I have the very same feelings... being on Medifast myself! I love how I am not overly focussed and obsessed with my meals.. but I have time to learn to one very healthy meal a day. It is great training for me as I lose my weight! I hit my 70 pound loss mark and I never thought I'd do that, tho I am still not quite 1/2 way there. You are good at expressing what I am going through as well. :)

~Margene

Anonymous said...

I'm tired of counting calories. I slipped for one week and starting going off plan out of that same boredom you talk about. I'm back on track but I just don't think I can live the rest of my life counting everything that goes in my mouth. I know it works for many people and that's good. Maybe I am making excuses here.

Hanlie said...

This reminds me a bit of the "I smoke to relieve boredom" excuse. My friend used it with me on Friday and I asked what is so interesting about a cigarette. I mean, how does smoking a cigarette occupy your mind and entertain you? It doesn't! There's nothing interesting about a cigarette. People smoke for the simple reason that they're addicted to nicotine.

And we eat because we need to supply our bodies with nutrients and energy. Sure, eating can be pleasurable, but I think that our society has fallen into the pleasure trap where every morsel should titillate and excite. To realize that it's okay for food to just be food on occasion is awesome. These days I don't mind having the same combination of things for breakfast almost every day.

Good job on the loss!

Mrs. Thighs said...

This is a great post and really made me think because I tend to do the same thing -- give up when I get bored with a weight loss plan. Kudos to you for fighting through that. I hope I can follow your example.

micheljonesdiary said...

You are so positive!

Anonymous said...

Weird, I have the opposite reaction when I'm eating healthy food and in the right quantities, food tastes so much better. So a single piece of chocolate is satisfying.

Elizabeth said...

My, my, my, reading you blog was so inspiring today. Yes I am a little behind, but it was the best read ever!
You should write a book about your blog . For every women who has battle the bulge the answer was in the 6 paragraph. Fix the inside and the rest will follow. Not to stress about another diet/or way of life is refreshing to hear. Kudos to You !!!!! I am encouraged and inspired