Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why Do You Eat What You Don't Want?

Half the time, when I go off plan I end up eating stuff I don't even like, that doesn't even taste good. Have you noticed that? You get in some kind of a tizzy *having* to eat, sometimes it is about a certain food or a particular flavor you're after. If you're stuck at home without *that food* have you ever just started eating crap that you weren't even wanting in the first place? I recall a time when all I really wanted was a Hostess Lemon Pie. I HAD to have it, I could not get it out of my mind. But since I was trying to lose weight I refused to let myself get in the car and drive out JUST to get that stupid pie (and besides, whenever I *did* make a "run" for one stupid food I wanted but didn't need/shouldn't have, I'd get this irrational fear that I'd get in a car accident and be killed or run someone over or one of my kids would be hurt, all because I made this irrational spur-of-the-moment food run). So instead of the pie I'd start opening all the cabinets, trying to find something *like pie* which sometimes was as far fetched as a tortilla fried in butter with cinnamon sugar on it, or maybe 6 pieces of buttered toast. I'd eat and eat and never feel like I was *done.* Or one time I wanted potato chips SO bad but I'd promised myself I wouldn't go buy chips, so I ended up standing in front of the fridge stuffing my mouth full of Swiss cheese slices that didn't even taste very good. Or another time when I wanted Oreos but ended up eating so many salted cashews that I was nauseous. And I kept eating them well *after* I knew I didn't want them. What the heck is up with that? Why does a person binge on toast or nuts or cheese that they don't even WANT?

I wish I knew. Some days I really wonder what is going on with myself. Today was a *perfect* on plan eating day until evening when I was tired and stressed out and just felt like eating. I was pacing the kitchen. I didn't know what I wanted. I kept telling myself to get out of the kitchen, and then I'd leave and go back ten minutes later. I was digging in the cabinets and the fridge. I was feeling like I might lose it. "WHY did I start back on this weight loss business instead of waiting til January 1st like everyone else?? I could have been eating cookies right now, and ice cream, and subs..." Totally irrational, I tell ya. I grabbed the last Greek yogurt... one with honey and vanilla in it, opened it, took one bite and then threw it out. I peeled a cold pepperoni off a leftover slice of pizza in the fridge, started to eat that single pepperoni but then my senses overcame me and I spit it out. Walked out of the kitchen, then back. "I shoulda waited!" I forgot, for a moment, all about the pain and the weight and how I'd probably weigh 200 pounds by the New Year if I'd kept it up. I forgot about how last week, I was just DYING for red velvet cake, DYING I tell you. I don't even really LIKE red velvet cake. What is it anyway, some kind of dilute chocolate cake loaded with red dye? It's gross, but I like the *idea* of it. I like the *thought* of liking it, because it is "special" and other people like it and it is fancy. So I want to like it, so I crave it. And I ended up, last week, at the grocery store bakery alone one day, staring hard at the 6-pack of Red Velvet cupcakes on the shelf. I *knew* if I bought them I'd eat them all. I went over and asked the bakery kid if he would sell me ONE Red Velvet Cupcake. He looked at me like I was nuts. "I don't even know how much that would be!" he said, "We don't have singles!" I think he saw the crushed look on my face because he suddenly decided to open the 6-pack, take one out and wrap it for me and sell it to me for 83 cents. I went home, I unwrapped that cupcake and took a bite. What the heck? It was not even good! It didn't taste special at all. It was just a dumb, fluffy, dilute chocolate cake loaded with red dye, which I already knew. I knew I never liked it, but I kept eating it, every bite telling myself that the *next* bite would be the good one, where I'd swoon into Red Velvet Fantasyland and get what I was looking for from that cupcake. It never happened, but I ate it anyway.

And so tonight as I swarmed the kitchen looking for... for what? I dunno, for that elusive *something*... I thought, "gee, I want some Red Velvet Cake. I should go to a bakery, a really GREAT bakery where cupcakes are $5, and buy one..." and then I thought, "this is the stupidest thing ever. I DON'T LIKE RED VELVET CAKE!!" And then as I looked through the cabinets one last time, I moved aside the bananas and saw a baggie with a dried up, lonely old butterscotch cookie in it. A cookie I didn't even like when they were freshly baked... a cookie that a pack of teenagers and a 5-year-old didn't even want. And I took that thing out of the bag and ate it, stale crumbs falling all over. It was dry and disgusting. WHY? I don't get it, but then, I was done.

So, one good day and one bad cookie. Progress, I guess.

28 comments:

SkippyMom said...

I get this. It is perfectly written. I understand.

In my case it isn't calories I can't have but sodium. I crave things that taste salty that I have never liked...it surprises me and my family.

Never a huge popcorn fan - yep, I am drooling over the smell when my kids make it.

Eggs - I have always hated eggs, but they have a bit of sodium in them [don't taste salty, but the sodium is THERE] and now I HAVE to HAVE.

I have never used a salt shaker as my husband has high blood pressure so I didn't salt our food, but now I WANT to salt. Everything.

It is ridiculous. I do know that if I do it then I will wake up congested and unable to breath if I go over a certain amount of mgs a day. My bad health consequences are immediate if I succumb so it makes me a little more keen to not do it I suppose.

You aren't kidding about the red velvet cupcake. Made from scratch red velvet actually is a whole lot better. :) It was a great decision to ask for one, nice of the clerk to sell you just one [yay!] but I get your cravings.

Hang in there. You are looking [and I bet feeling] GREAT! YAY!

Diandra said...

Sometimes the idea of not being able to have something causes the body to feel starved. That is why I usually allow myself treats in reasonable amounts, e.g. one piece of chocolate, and then I put it away where I can't see it. Or one piece of that great old gouda cheese. When I try to cut these things out completely, they are all I can think about, and I will undoubtedly end up rushing to the store, buying a truckload of crap and eating it all. And the funny thing is, the cravings seem to disappear, slowly...

Find your way, do things the way that works for you, and stick with it. I'm sure you will be fine.

Joy said...

Lyn, I could have written this post word for word. You described so many frantic moments I have had in my kitchen that I would think you might have been watching me through the window, lol. It's almost a manic feeling, rushing around the kitchen trying to unearth the proper binge food and being so desperate when there is nothing to be found. I have DEFINITELY binged on foods that, 1. I don't even like, 2. didn't taste good, or 3. were actually healthy/non-fatty foods but they were the only food around for me to binge on so I crammed them down. Is there anything more disappointing than when you are in full-blown binge mode and you don't have proper binge foods around? Sigh. I guess getting into full-blown binge mood should be more dissapointing than not having proper foods around but I digress...

But I do have one major disagreement with you ;) I would marry Red Velvet Cake if it were legal. I wish I could say, like you, that I have only eaten it out of binge desperation but that would be a big, fat lie on my part. I love it so! I would sit here and describe all the wonderful things about it but I might just end up triggering myself so I'll just say that I think God himself created it, lol ;)

Stephanie said...

I know exactly what your talking about! This exact search for food is why I have ended up on the couch 3 hours after wanting something..and not having it wondering why the heck I ate all that stuff that I didn't even want. I think it has to do with not letting myself have it.

Anonymous said...

Yup, I've done this too. Too many times to recount and I can't remember specifics. In my case -- at least historically -- it's typically going to be a binge anyway: I get what I want and eat it, but eat too much and maybe then move on to the next item. Like chips after cake and ice cream.

If I avoid wheat and sugar and keep carbs lowish, it doesn't happen much. I know you've seen the same thing. But just get that crap into my system and I seem to lose control.

I remember feeling like it was such a revelation not thinking about a. food or b. my weight constantly. Talk about freedom!

I had a few days eating a few "treats" here and there at parties. By Monday I was miserable -- depressed, exhausted, achy. Feeling like everything was an effort and Christmas coming up was just going to be something to endure when I'd rather stay home by myself and lie around and watch TV instead of celebrating with loved ones.

And then, quit the wheat and sugar and felt happy and well again Tuesday.

My revelation out of this was that I've often felt like this is mostly psychological but when I get away from the things that don't work for my body, I realize that much of the issue is biochemical.

I mean, sure, there have to be psychological issues that allow me to keep doing this to myself but not to the extent that I used to think. Some people can get away with eating that kind of thing regularly. I'm just not one of them.

Look after yourself and have a blessed, merry Christmas!

Arabella

Andra said...

It won't work for everyone but when I plan my indulgence, I have a sensibly portioned amount of what it is I really want. This has helped me eliminate that "crazy grazing" which ends up being a million more calories than had I just had the treat I really wanted.

Anonymous said...

Cravings are interesting. I'm a little different. Rather than thinking of specific foods I HAVE to have, I start to binge as soon as I take the first bite of a particular food that's addictive for me (chips or chocolate, usually). I guess if I avoid it altogether, I end up OK. Life sucks sometimes!

Twiggy said...

Lyn...what a well written post. I could just picture the whole thing as I was reading it. You are a very talented blogger!

I hope that, as you progress in your journey, this calms down for you.

Bonnie said...

This quote seems to fit
“If hunger isn’t the problem, then eating isn’t the solution”...what do you "really" need?

jordan said...

This post had me laughing out loud. Not in a mean way but because I relate to everything that you said.

Chubby McGee said...

YES! It's so weird, too. It's like I just phase out and keep eating it even though it's not what I wanted. So weird.

murgatroidgerow said...

OK, so this is something I heard(I think on NPR or maybe I read it somewhere.) When you are craving something specific, you should visualize eating the thing you're craving. They did a study with M & M's where one group visualizes eating them and another did not. The group that did the visualization ate fewer M & M's later when they were offered.They were very careful to count the number of times they chewed and imagine the flavor and texture in their mouths. I guess the brain was tricked into thinking it had actually eaten the M & M's. It only worked for the specific food item that was being desired. Sounds kind of like "The Inner Game of Tennis" but with M & M's :o)

Duddes02 said...

I know you have a family-but you have to think of way to get all the triggers out of your house. You mentioned your son has underweight-so you buy him cookies. I don't think that's the best thing for him anyway. Why don't you try to buy some foods for the kids that aren't triggers for you? (plain oatmeal, plain bread, some whole wheat pasta). It'll be much easier to avoid that non-enticing foods.

Duddes02 said...

**"Is" underweight, not "has" underweight. sorry!

Lyn said...

Duddes02~

My son is underweight, but I don't buy him cookies for it, not sure if I gave that impression at some point but no, I do not buy junk for my two underweight children. Sometimes if there are cookies or other stuff in the house (which generally I don't buy unless I am on some kind of a rampage) I will give them to my teenagers to take to school or work with them rather than throw them out. They can stand the calories. But no, I don't buy them cookies.

I do have other adults living in my home who buy foods for themselves and "for the house" and while they are pretty respectful about keeping candy, baked goods, sweets in their own rooms, everyone else here does like to have things like cheese, lunchmeat, hoagie rolls, etc which are triggers for me. But I am not going to ban everyone in the house from having a hoagie.

So... it is an issue, but one I am learning to deal with. I talked to everyone about it but the fact is we are all adults who share a space and they are not responsible for my food intake.

(The cookie in question was a Christmas cookie from a platter my child's friend gave us).

Fish's Guppy said...

YES! Oh my goodness! I ate a half a bag of chips and guacamole yesterday. I haven't done this in three years and it didn't taste great. It made me feel horrible, my body didn't like it, and I feel really disgusting now. Why?
PS - I hate red velevet cake too.

Anonymous said...

I just started reading this post and love the way you journal your journey.

I have been on my journey for several years. Losing, maintaining and then trying to lose some more. I have managed for close to five years to stay the course, slow but sure I will get there. Also never letting myself gain more than 5 pounds before cutting back again. I am about 10 pounds from my goal with 60 behind me.

I still have those mindless eating days you describe. The difference now is that it is one day, maybe for one hour. The next day or even later in that same day, I stop and say ok it happened it is over lets move on and get back on course.

I have yet to figure out why these moments happen. I get fixated just like you describe and I have to that tuna sandwich or nut mix. But, I have concluded I may never figure out why it happens. I have also decided I do not need to know why anymore. Because now, one *bad* day or a few *bad* hours no longer sends me into days, months or years of bad choices. Would it be great to know why? - only if it meant it would never happen again. On the other hand if knowing why won't change anything then it really is not necessary to know. Knowing why we do something does not change the behavior. Changing the behavior does. For me the change is in the severity of the event and the aftermath. Small changes turn into big results. If one cookie was your *damage* and then you moved on- you clearly had a successful outcome.

As for the cookies in the house... I agree with your comment we are all adults and just have to deal. Cookies and cake and ice cream in the house if someone else wants it, is their choice. We have to learn to deal if we are going to be successful for life.

In the meantime congrats.

luckiest1 said...

I am a 'reformed' sugar addict. I have taken myself off most sugar in the past few years, but some nights I am scouring the cupboards trying to find anything sweet....I will resort to a spoonful of brown sugar or syrup if I am really desperate. I have taken to keeping certain things that I need to have for baking or a special occasion down in a different refrigerator that I can't access. It's that bad. I seem to have great self control in the supermarket but none whatsoever once I am at home. If I can find it, I will eat it. And like you say, if I can't find it, I will invariably eat something else to compensate, even if I don't want it or enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, hoagie. Potato chips. Pizza. Just reading this post made me want to eat, undo all the loss from yesterday. I am off the diet on Christmas and on New Years, but otherwise I am working out and eating right.

Anonymous said...

It could all very well be related to your cycle -- for years i thought it was my imagination, but there is no question based on my experience, and what my friends and acquaintances say....certain times of the month I am MUCH more likely to be weird and ridiculous with food. I hate it, nor do I think it's a reasonable excuse to lose control -- still, those times when I'm suddenly rifling through my cabinets like a crazy woman, when only days before I was perfectly fine, I usually only have to check the calendar to know what's going on....

In any case, I know you'll reign it in -- anyone who has accomplished this much, and followed the plan so faithfully for this length of time, clearly has the resolve and discipline to persevere...!

bbubblyb said...

I keep thinking it's about learning the "why" of it all. What is driving us? What is making us know better yet push us to keep eating or wanting to eat? I always call it anxiety but sometimes I wonder. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't some drigger from my past that happened some point in the day that clicked something in my brain that I didn't want to remember or think about. Kind of like when you smell a familar smell or see a familar sight and it floods your brain with memories. Hmmmm things to think about for sure. I swear though you sounded like me. Working on those inner things is the tough part. Keep wondering if I should go back to therapy. Not sure I want to remember past wrongs done to me though or past bad memories. Maybe it's just about learning to overcome the present and learning to deal with that "anxiety" or "feeling" in a more constructive way. Thanks for making me thinking and also making me know I'm not alone. *hugs*

Gin22464 said...

Lyn- I don't consider myself a binge eater, but I can so relate to this post! I was doing this same thing a couple weeks ago & the next day or later, I would wonder..."What the heck was that all about?" Thank you for this post, I thought I was crazy, eating things I don't even like just because I wanted something! Take care of yourself & hang in there!

Ginny

Anonymous said...

I left the comment about how reading the post made me want to binge. Then I left the house to do some shopping (unsuccessfully by and large) and 4 hours later did actually inhale a bunch of not-ideal calories. On the one hand, I did eat some yummy stuff. But it felt like when I let myself get cold and then can't warm up, that even though I was in a grocery store, I couldn't process ideas of what to buy that 1. were tasty for the calories or 2. were healthy. So maybe that's what happens to you, that your brain pounces on the last commercial or food trigger or favorite food.

Diana said...

I understand this. It's a sickness. Most of us writing weight loss blogs have this same sickness and we totally relate, 100%.

I did the same darn thing with the Red Velvet cake. Never had it, had it, hated it. That was about a week ago.

I'm not sure I'll personally ever figure this out. I know there are people that have figured it out for themselves, maybe someday we'll figure it out for us. :)

Anonymous said...

Holy shit, I thought I was the only one with that superstitious, stupid fear of accidents when I get in the car on a spur-of-the-moment "mission" that I SHOULD have been able to resist.

Really great post, as I've said before, you write my inner life.

-KathyA

spunkysuzi said...

I can definitely relate! I am a binge eater for sure.
The one thing i have learned lately is that when i'm low in groceries is when i binge the most! Worried about not having enough to eat?? No idea, hopefully i'll understand this one day.

cindy said...

OH man! Yep, been there done that! and I know its emotional. But when you are in that moment, so hard to stop and put on the brakes. I've learned I cannot keep saltines or chips or bread in the house, because I will eat it, when that "binge" feeling comes on. Thanks for sharing, feeling like I'm not the only one (and judging from the comments left, I'm not), helps.

-c

RayBat said...

I have had one of these dreadful days today, with ya n get ya totaly as ever !