183 today! That's ten pounds since I took a deep breath and got on the scale 8 days ago and decided to take the reins back no matter how hard it was. I promised myself I would stay completely on plan for seven days, no more excuses, no more eating "just a few ounces of cheese" or "just a few extra cups of coffee with sugar free creamer" on day 2 or 3 or 4 which always ended up in my eating even more stuff I shouldn't. One slice of cheese at the end of an on-plan day seemed to usually lead to several pickles, a handful of olives, 3 more slices of cheese, and a couple ounces of cream cheese. Yeah, I do have a 'thing' for cheeses and pickled stuff together. But that kind of "little snack" can pack a whole lot of calories... enough to keep me from losing or even make me gain a bit (partly from sodium). Too bad I don't have a 'thing' for celery...
But anyway, the first 4 days were hard. Almost torture to slice cheese for my little girl and not eat some myself. I had to shut off those voices in my head saying "just have a bacon cheeseburger and don't eat the bun! It's still low carb!" or "hey, eating a whole bag of sugar free chocolate candy is okay... it has lower carbs, it is better than bingeing on Easter candy, and it even has a laxative effect!" I had to really quit letting myself play games with my health. After five days it clicked and got easier. I still think about off plan food but it does not take me nearly as long to "snap out of it" and walk away from the cheese or the burger or whatever. The healthy eating seems to become automatic, for the most part, after a week or so. And since I am eating low carb, my sugar cravings have almost disappeared now.
I really believe, at least in my experience, that when I am struggling day after day... eating right all day and then losing it at night... or eating healthy for 2 days and then going nuts on the third... that the *reason* it is so hard is that, for me, 2 or 3 days is just not long enough to get the sugar and carbs and junk out of my body and let the soothing, calming, stabilizing effect of a different diet take hold and lead me through weight loss. I need 5-7 good, solid days with NO eating off plan to get there. I am there now.
However, I also know from experience how hard it is to not binge or overeat during specific times: twice a month during my monthly cycle, and also during very stressful days when I feel frantic to use food to soothe myself. I have some techniques, though, to help myself with those times.
For hormone-related cravings/desires to binge: be aware. Mark the cycle on the calendar. Know that right before my cycle starts and 2 weeks after it starts, I crave salt, carbs, cheese. PLAN some indulgences that fit my plan: some salty roasted kale chips or broccoli, a cheesy cauliflower pizza, a decadent but protein filled Medifast chocolate shake with peanut butter added. Keep an eye on the calendar to plan for those days and work through them.
For stress- or emotion-related cravings/desires to binge, I have to just feel the feelings. Nothing goes in my mouth until I feel the feelings. I can write them out, cry, call someone, just think about them, mutter to myself, pray, get angry, take a walk, whatever. When I come down from the cliff I can eat a normal meal. It hurts, it is difficult when you're used to avoiding uncomfortable feelings by eating, but it is necessary to learn to feel the feelings instead of stuffing them down with food.
I don't have all the answers, not at all and especially not for other people. But I *am* becoming an expert in *myself* and learning (although not always implementing) what works for me.
I think this is my time. I am only 8 pounds away from my low weight on this journey which was 175. I can hardly WAIT to reach 168 pounds and post 110 Pounds Gone pictures! What a great day that will be!
Enjoy your weekend!
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