Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Argument

Good morning! Yes, I am feeling better today, aside from tired and a headache. But that could just be sugar withdrawal, as I am back on plan. We'll see. I had 3 good on-plan days, then a binge, and now am on the second on-plan day since. The scale this morning said 190 pounds. I am sure it would have been higher yesterday, but I don't intend to ever see another 19- on the scale again. Fifteen pounds really *is* the limit of my "bumper" for weight gain. As I get smaller, I think it will be more like 8 or 10. I dunno, it does seem like people who get to goal weight have a certain number of pounds they allow themselves to fluctuate and once they hit their limit they do something to get back down. Do any of you guys do that?

I have noticed an interesting phenomenon about cravings and desires to eat junk or binge. Here is my observation: It seems like I get all worked up about *wanting* a particular thing. Maybe it's a certain junk food or a bakery item, or maybe it is a favorite meal or comfort food item. I obsess about it. Other times it isn't a particular food, but a class of food, or just a "want to binge" sensation. I might battle it for hours or days. The stress level builds if I continue to obsess. I get into a heightened state where ALL I am doing is

I want it!
No! I can't have it!
OMG I have to have it!
No, I want to lose weight.
But I want it sooo bad.
No, I need to stay on plan!
I have to have it, I can't stand this!
I don't want to gain weight.
I NEED to eat it!

On and on, and unless I can somehow get my mind off the obsession and out of the battle. Usually nowadays I cut it short RIGHT away by getting away from the food source and/or the circumstances that are causing me to obsess (boredom, frustration, anxiety). I might do that by going and doing something else, taking a walk, getting into a different environment.

But the crazy thing is, I get all filled up with these stressful, obsessive, all-encompassing feelings as I am trying to "decide" whether to go off plan or not. And the very *second* I decide to go ahead and eat junk, I have relief. Immediately. I don't even need to eat the food to get it. That's why sometimes I *decide* to go off plan, race to the store in a frenzy, get to the donut counter and not even want the donut anymore. Or buy a bag of chips, open it, and not even want it. Or eat a bite or two and not want it. Of course, in the past I always ate it anyway. After all, I had *decided* to have a donut, and I was darn well going to have that donut even if I didn't care about it anymore by the time I'd bought it. Have you ever done that? You obsess and want and fight and whine and then when you finally say "okay" and go for the food you wanted, it suddenly doesn't really matter anymore. And often, I've felt this sense of shame and guilt (which, I must add, is misplaced) as I ate something I didn't even WANT anymore in great quantities. Very strange.

But I realized it is the *decision* to take path A or path B that is the relief. Once a choice is made, there is no more mental argument. Right? It's just that when I decide to eat off plan, I rarely change my mind about it or argue with myself about it anymore. But when I decide to stay ON plan, I let the little nag in my head keep arguing. That's the continued conflict.

I *can* learn to decide there is no option for certain foods. I've done it... there is never, ever an argument in my head about whether or not I should go to McDonald's, because that I something I just DO NOT DO anymore. Period, no room for any argument. I need to learn which foods or classes of foods are off limits for me. And yes, for *me*, I do need to have some things off the menu, including McDonalds. There is no room for that stuff in my life, period. I can make room for a slice of cake on my birthday, perhaps, but not a Big Mac, nope, not ever.

It's quite a job to sort it all out, but every day I am learning more about what makes me tick. That's a success, to me.


Lisa said...

I hav found it's easy to say, but not easy to do. Hang in there. You rock Lyn. You have gotten so much farther than post people.

Colleen said...

"I dunno, it does seem like people who get to goal weight have a certain number of pounds they allow themselves to fluctuate and once they hit their limit they do something to get back down. Do any of you guys do that?"

Absolutely. My range is 158-162. Anywhere in there is ok, but if I'm hovering around the high end I watch what I eat until I get closer to 160. After more than one day of overeating sometimes I bloat up to 164 and then I take more drastic measures to get back in the "zone" (i.e. no dairy, fruit, or grains until the bloat is gone).

I went off the rails a bit for two weeks and my weight peaked at 167 this past Monday. That was a wakeup call that I might be putting on more than just water weight. Thankfully after merely two days of eating low carb I am back in "the zone" at 161.8. I am trying to get under 161 by tomorrow by doing another day low carb and drinking half my weight in oz of water.

For me in the past, regain was always 1-2 lbs. at a time, and a lot of it was the result of water weight hiding whether the gain was "real" or not. This is what motivates me to keep my range relatively small.

Anonymous said...

It is disappointing to go up, I hope you can lose again, or it will be up up up. Just 10 lbs from 200 again.

Not to be a debbie downer, hopefully good weather and feeling better will help you make your way. It's never just one way, one solution. It's choices everyday. Sometimes having a new goal, something to work toward or a deadline can motivate people. Do you have summer plans, or getting together with someone you haven't seen for awhile, perhaps a new plan for your life--job, getting out with people? Volunteering? Making new friends? Something to concentrate on besides the food and scale. The new dog is great, but can pose it's own stress, no matter how cute and active...that can send one to the pantry.

I find that I need something outside of myself at times to stay on track. Being busy at home, with kids, with dog, with chores is not always as rewarding as finding something that is just you, a purpose for your life that is just you. Welcome Spring, and a renewed spirit!

Princess Dieter said...

You clearly seem to be better. I'm glad. You've got your fighting spirit! :)

The people I know who stay slim tend to have a "five pound" or "fave jeans are tight in the waist" bumper zone. And I'm guessing the "tight jeans' waist" is probably equivalent to five pounds, more or less.

One friend who is movie star lovely and slim and athletic never lets herself get above 3 pounds of her ideal weight. That's her limit. Her philosophy: It's easy to handle 2-3 pounds in a week or two. More than that and it's a chore rather than a correction.

I think that makes sense. I find myself getting right back on the saddle these last few months as soon as I see 2 lbs up (could be salt, could be carbs, whatever, but 2 lbs starts to make me think I'm ruining my journey).

One thing I know about you: When you set your mind to it, it gets done. Many weight loss bloggers yap and yap and yap and it's all about yapping. When you "yap" it's about self-exploration and understanding in order to take action. Not just yapping to excuse yourself or give reasons for stuffing yourself. You are genuinely on a journey of self-understanding and overcoming. This is where you are powerful to read and know.

You aren't just whiling away the time between binges. I've gotten tired of those self-excusing blogs.

I admire your self-awareness and continuing's empowering to me and, I suspect, to many others. You are truly fighting...not just treading water. I cheer you on!

I expect to see you reach goal by year's end. :) My pom poms are shaking for ya!

Tazchick said...

This is something that works for me nearly every time:
When I'm tempted I imagine the part of me that wants to "eat wrong" as Eric Cartman from South Park- selfish,nasty, whiny, and yeah, fat.
Then I mentally give the little creep a swift kick, out of my life :D

Hey, if you're craving a big mac, can you make a version that fits your diet?

Lyn said...


Thank goodness my "puppy" has started to become a "dog" at 4 months old! So much less work now... no potty accidents, less chewing etc, and more focus when I want to work her. I do volunteer in my daughter's school and am pretty involved in her dancing activities, but for me, the dog sports I think are *key*. I am meeting lots of new people with common (dog) interests and spending about 4-5 hours a week right now in dog sport activities outside the home. I should do a post on this, because one thing I HAVE to lose weight for is agility. Right now I cannot move fast enough to really work her in agility, and I have a goal of starting it this summer, so I need to get fit enough to work her. Tracking, which I am doing now, involves a lot of walking over sometimes rough terrain so I can't be gaining anymore weight or I won't be able to do it.

Princess Dieter~

Thank you! I do expect to reach goal this year also! I am working hard and when I slip I refocus. So far so good today, and making plans for SUCCESS :)

Anonymous said...

I have once again started my weight loss journey, and at this point have lost 60lbs. I find myself searching within as to why, during my last weight loss of 80+ lbs, I allowed myself to regain it all+, and very quickly. It's what I really want to examine at this point, even though I'd like to loose at least 40 more pounds before I try assessing whether or not that is my stopping point. One thing that I find curious is your "off limits" food. Mine would be true ice cream. However, like you, I find myself not wanting to return to the days of McD's - there's no reason to return. However, you went to DQ, is there a difference for you? Does McD's carry more emotional baggage - or is it just where you meet your binging demons?

Hanlie said...

The craving is absolutely a mental thing... and it's not about the food. I think we all struggle with this, but we end up blaming the food, instead of addressing the real problem - the unconscious mind. Good for you for seeing through this.

Ex Yo-Yo Dieter Debbie said...

Yes, I've sometimes found a "relief" (in the past) in the purchase of donuts rather than in the eating of them...but like you, I just went ahead and ate them anyway.

I've learned over the past year or so to take the argument with myself to the next level...When I stop and check-in with myself if it's physical hunger, it's usually NOT - then I ask myself "What's really going on here?"

The answer is usually something else bugging me, nothing that food can fix - which can feel sort of scary if I don't try to eat it away (but I'm always glad when I don't do that).

I have a no-fly zone list of foods - mostly sugary stuff because I lose all rational thought when I eat a lot of sugar.

Have you ever read "The End of Overeating?" You may never want to eat McDonalds again.

Lyn said...


Yes. McDonals is THE place I used to stop and get supersized meals and binge at 2-3PM almost every day. It was like an addiction. It was very hard for me to imagine EVER having a life without a Big Mac. So I had to break that (Arby's was bad too). When I swore off fast food, I made one exception, and that was Dairy Queen. I made that exception because it doesn't really do anything for me, I rarely eat there, and it has very fond memories for all my children. We traditionally go to DQ after special performances like when my kids have recitals or concerts, and even their sports events often have team celebrations there. So DQ is my exception to the fast food rule. I think I am going to throw in a "no onion rings at DQ" clause though.

Lyn said...


Yes! Excellent book, loved it! I don't crave McD's anymore anyway, but that book was a wake up call in a lot of ways.

Jack Sh*t, Gettin' Fit said...

Here's my experience on the eat-too-much crap front: a great deal of thought goes into that first bite. So much so that I can often fend it off altogether. If I don't, then about half as much thought goes into that next helping, and so on and so on until it's just shoveling and chewing.

It'd be nice if this stuff got easy over time, wouldn't it?

DiZneDiVa said...

I am coming to the same awareness that you are... I buy certain binge items and just knowing that they are there when i need them is enough. I don't actually eat them. I love chocolaste so I have a bag of Sugar Free Dove Raspberry Dark Chocolates... They are delicious but even now that I am making myself think about them... I am not going to eat any, That is success. BTW, If I eat the whole bag it's like 453 calories so... life goes on.

As you have also said... I don't allow myself certain things at all and I have my mind convinced that certain "Healthy" items are a treat... So they are treated as such. It feels great to have control over yourself and your eating most of the time, like "normal" people.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, Thanks for your imput as to the McD's over DQ - was just curious. I have the Dunkin Donuts demons - something about the pastry/fat/sugar combo. If driving by myself to work, would make that an excuse to stop off for a dozen donuts to begin eating on the way to work. I even remember this scenario at 16. I find myself wanting to reach for food when I am tired and feel like I just want "something" for me. I teach K and with 21 kids in my room, it can be an exhausting day of trying to meet everyone else's needs. However, if I can get past that critical point and remind myself that it's not going to give me anything than a very temporary good taste, I can usually do okay. But it is a very powerful draw and seems to offer something magical when it's out there. Wishing you the best.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, what you are describing is the classic thinking of addiction and/or compulsive behavior. It is based on the illusion of personal control, and works like a rubber band being stretched in 2 (opposite) directions. The more you pull on one side (attempt to maintain control), the stronger the tension on the band becomes until finally the tension becomes unbearable.

Snap. You *decide* to binge. Tension is gone. The need to maintain control is gone. With the need to control no longer an issue, there is no driving tension to force you to binge. Hence, relief.


So the question then becomes: if the tension is gone, and the overwhelming sense of one's need to binge is gone, why binge?


Ah. People tend to greatly dislike the answer to that question. People tend to dislike paradoxes.

The compulsion to binge isn't about the food, it isn't about the weight. Instead, I believe, it is about maintaining the illusion of control.


You binge, you tell yourself, because you have CHOSEN to do have decided (supposedly) that you will binge.

Really? It was a free choice?

It had nothing to do with all that built up tension between maintaining control and your mind's (b.s.) focus on food as the problem?

I suggest it is the latter.

When you give up the illusion of control, when you accept that sometimes in life you are compelled to reach out to another living breathing human being for intimacy, for support, for honest communion, then the tension does not build.

No tension=You do not need to maintain the illusion of being in control=You are no longer driven to behave in self destructive ways.

Just my take on this.


Anonymous said...

I have read EVERY single one of your blogs from the beginning (took me an entire rainy weekend to do it but I did) I can not tell you how AMAZING you are...You are so honest with yourself and it is more and more apparent to me atleast that you are slowly understanding what makes you tick...we are ALL trying to figure ourselves out but I think a lot of us are in denial so that holds us back..I understand your frustrations and where you are coming from and because of that you are totally helping me to understand myself..You NEED to go through these ups and downs even if they are painful and sometimes make you feel sick...this is how you are going to completely GET IT!!! God Bless you and may He keep you strong and focused...You have come a long way and you will do this..stay strong and honest and forgive yourself when you have missed the are a WINNER!!!
Stacey from Sylmar Ca

Vee and the Kid said...

Very well said, as usual. Made me realize that I go through the same thing, and had never realized it.

Now that I'm aware, I wonder if it will change anything.

We'll see.

Vee at

Anonymous said...

As I go through life eating meals that consist of turkey chili, or sliced sirlion, sliced chicken breast with green salad and maybe kefir blue cheese dressing (which all make me happy) I try to focus on the fact that I really can eat whatever I want, but maybe I don't want it today. I need to want to eat how I eat and I do like my salads. I often will make grilled cheese or grab burgers or pizza for my kids (all young adults) when they are around, and just ask them for a bite. I love the flavor of those bites, but for the past few years that is usually enough for me. I grill the chicken and steak on the weekends and have it sliced with the salads through the week.

I had a bite of a cream filled paczki on Tuesday that my daughter brought home, she actually brought home 4 and I had just the one bite. Yeah, I could eat the whole thing, or 20, I guess. But I work on not.

Those sugar free raspberry Dove chocolates sound good, would I eat the whole bag? Maybe. Maybe if I thought the whole bag belonged to my kids, as I kind of think the pizza, grilled cheese etc. do...I would refrain.

I recently have been craving, and eating, Total Raisin Bran. It's so good with just a splash of half & half (not a fan of milk). But, it has more sugar in it than I should eat, just messes with me and I have to give it up. Always something, no?

Back to my Greek raspberry yogurt--100 calories.

Deanna @ The Unnatural Mother said...

It's an argument I have a lot - unfortunatly. I so understand this post, too well. The cloud will clear, I think you know that, and when it does, you'll kill it. Again. And you won't stop till you reach your goals. I often reach for what I believe you have said in the past "if you trip, you don't throw yourself down a flight of stairs", and I found that when I make a bad eating decision and what to continue the trend, I recite that and it helps. A LOT!

Christel said...

I mentioned this in one of my comments, but I too have an upper limit on my weight. It's not really formal, but once I am under a weight ending in zero I won't let the scale go back over that number. That means that once I fight my way to, say 149, I am watching things really close for at least a week to get a few more pounds under so that I NEVER see 150 again. I never really decided this, it's just sort of wound up that way. There's something mental about it.

The bad thing about this is it can take a really long time to get to the next milestone as there's no real sense of urgency about it. I just bounce around a five or six pound radius until I finally decide to get serious about it again. The good thing is I can maintain my weight without constant vigilance. When I'm not actively trying to lose weight I am fairly relaxed in my eating, and I don't worry about it until my weight starts to creep up to 148 or 149.

When I AM trying to lose weight I don't like being more than 3 or 4 pounds over my most recent lowest weight. This includes weighing myself at the end of the day. 4 pounds is pushing it big time. That usually bothers me enough to buckle down. Usually.

Like most overweight people I have gained and lost weight many times over. The biggest thing that has been different about this time is that I always stopped weighing myself before. Once I stopped weighing myself the weight came right back on. Tighter clothes didn't bother me. I just stopped wearing them and bought larger sizes next time I went shopping.

Stephanie said...

Hi Lyn - thanks for stopping by my blog. Hey I think I noticed in the comments that you have, in fact, read the book by Dr. Kessler called "The End of Overeating." I am just finishing it and wow, I think it was an excellent book in many ways. I loved the exploitation of the food industry part (who KNEW?) but though his "food rehab" suggestions were extremely helpful. There really are ways to deal with the issue and one of your other commenters is absolutely right - it is no different than any other addiction such as alcohol or drugs. The problem, though, is that we cannot go "cold turkey" off of food! So we have to find a way to make peace. After reading your post, I just couldn't help but think of that book and how its advice might be helpful to you in your struggle. I know it's hard, girl. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

When such arguments are overcoming me, I try to stop and pray for the strength to overcome them. Sometimes it helps, others it doesn't, mostly dependent upon the level of resolve in my prayer. (taking time to really focus and connect to God's power versus blurting out a quick "Help God.")

Caitlin said...

I know this argument well!

I handle it by telling myself no foods are off-limits. Of course I can have that donut. I can eat whatever I want! And then the question becomes about whether I really want it. It is freeing in a way to tell myself that nothing is off-limits. Because then I own all of my choices, and I force myself to think about what I will feel like if I make that choice, after I eat that donut. It becomes easier to make better choices for myself this way.

It's a long road, but I am making progress with this argument!