Monday, May 9, 2011

Change in Perspective

I've been trying to figure out how to get back to the place I was last summer, where food didn't matter so much and life was great. Lately, I've felt obsessed with food and weight and binge eating and everything surrounding it. I don't like it. I feel like real LIFE is passing me by while I focus on food.

It's as if my DIET is the foreground... the main event in life when I am trying to lose weight. (and by "diet," I just mean "what we eat." Feel free to substitute "lifestyle change" or "food" or the phrase of your choice in this post.) The foods I eat... whether they be healthy or junkola... eclipse everything else. Kind of like this:

life life life DIET DIET DIET life life life

Instead, I want the "diet" to be in the background. I want it to just be a calm, silent backdrop to the rest of a rich, vibrant life. Like this:

diet diet diet LIFE LIFE LIFE diet diet diet

That is pretty much how I felt last summer on Medifast. I lost the obsession with food. I ate every couple of hours, on a schedule, and didn't think about food in between. In fact, sometimes I forgot to eat! I was so busy experiencing life that food didn't really matter.

I want that back. I didn't even realize I'd lost it.

My theory is that the less I have to think about food, the more time I have to think about other things, like, for example, my children. Or friends. Or hobbies. Life. And that "food on the brain" for me comes from two places:

1) eating refined carbs, sugar, white flour, salty greasy addictive-type stuff. I read about that here and I am a firm believer. I think I am carb sensitive and have to watch the carbs. I eat a slice of whole wheat bread and I want 6 more slices. It's like I can't stop thinking about the bread. So, when I eat a lower range of carbs (85-100 grams/day) I have an easier time NOT obsessing about food.

2) eating predictable, limited choices. Medifast took care of that. Pick a bar or a packet or a shake and be done with it. Very limited choices. Dinner had to be prepared but was also fairly limited from a list of protein sources and vegetables... usually I was eating some combo of salad or steamed broccoli and chicken breast, fish, eggs, or lean beef. Simple. Takes the obsessing out of the picture.

Right now I am trying to get to a place where life is in the forefront and food/diet is in the background. I will let you know how it is going. Today, very well, so far!


Ali @ A Serendipitous Life said...

I know exactly how this feels.....I wonder if you made and frozen various meals yourself? Maybe this would be medifast-ish? A big job, but perhaps worth the effort?

Ali @

Anonymous said...

BRAVO Lyn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WOW I KNOW I have mentioned this before in my responses to you BUT I totally understand you and your story is my story...THANK YOU for putting things together for me..I LOVE your honesty and how you deal with your struggles..
The thing I realized is that I fail on DIETS that I have to THINK too much on..I too have to keep it very simple in order to keep in control..
Good luck to you and God Bless you and give you strength to carry on this really tough journey that we are all on
HUGS,Blessings and Peace
Your biggest fan
Stacey from Sylmar California

401Sue said...


You are so on target of my life (are we twins?!?!)
We seem to go through the same things at the same time. Up 23 lbs for me (from my lowest this year) I am owning it. Not surprised, felt it in my clothes. Gave myself the best Mother's Day gift. A day of healthy eating, exercise and family love. I feel so much better today. Thank you for posting.

Anne H said...

When I eat less carbs, I have less cravings.
When I eat more carbs,I have MORE cravings.
It is soooo worth it to go along with this - for me!
And sooo not worth it when I don't!

Losing weight and making changes
is hard enough. Why sidetrack ourselves
with food obsessing?

Fun and life! Oh yeah, those!

Kimberly said...

Lyn -

I have been reading your posts over a year now and was right with you at 186 last October and feeling so good! And then I got sick (I have MS) and went back up to 208 over the next few months. Steroids & depression. Ugh!

Once again I am back on track and at the same weight as you yet again. I am finding it difficult to be happy about seeing the numbers coming down after rejoicing in it last year. Haven't I already celebrated that number? I too got rid of my larger clothing...

But - we are both headed back down and I am confident we can sort this out and reach our goal weights. I love reading your blog and thank you so much for your honesty. You are certainly not alone in this battle!


Dinahsoar said...

I think you've nailed it. Eat less carbs. And choose 3-4 breakfasts, lunches, and suppers that you can eat/repeat without a lot of forethought.

Heather McWhorter said...

I know EXACTLY what you are going through. I went on a carb binge this weekend. I just couldn't stop! :(

Kari said...

I feel like the constant thinking about food is the worst part of food addiction...the constant obsession makes you feel like a failure. I really hope you get back to where it's just background noise.

Princess Dieter said...

The End of Overeating was life-changing for me. Totally the one book that set me on the road to losing, really losing, and I'm 16 pounds from not being obese anymore. :)

I find that it's totally true. I take out the starches/sugars and I 'm not hungry, don't have to think about food, eat whatever is there. And THERE is nearly only what I should eat (Hubby can eat more than I, so there are temptations.)

I find food is a non-issue for months now. And I attribute this to ditching all but 1 starch serving in January and then ditching sugar and starches pretty much altogether not long thereafter. Reading WHY WE GET FAT made it easier for me mentally to give up my faves (pizza, pasta, toast, subs, mac n cheese, etc). Pasta was the hardest to ditch.

You don't need bars or packaged foods (most have a lot of crap ingredients, anyway, and too much soy is not prudent). Although a whey shake can be helpful on busy days.

Just choose limited meals you LOVE or REALLY LIKE and keep the ingredients for them handy so meals are no brainers.

For me it's having egg whites/eggs, cheese (lowfat or full fat), olive oil, butter, flesh proteins (beef, chicken, pork, since I'm seafood allergic), assorted veggies and assorted fruit. I don't have to buy milk or bread or pasta anymore, which does simplify life. I do buy taters for hubby, who loves em.

Braekfast is scramble or omelette with veggies and fruit and coffee.

LUnch is generally a salad with protein and fruit. Or grilled or sauteed meat and veggies andf ruit.

Dinner is protein and veggies (or if I didn't have the salad at lunch, could be that) and maybe fruit or a no-sugar treat (sugar free ice cream with unsweetened cocoa or sugar free chocolate or sugar free Jello with sugar free whipped cream).

It makes shopping easy and I don't have to overthink food. It's this or this or this. All I interchange are the veggies and the type of protein, but pretty much it's cooked simply (I hate to cook) and my oils/fats are butter/coconut oil/Evoo and that's it.

I remember reading in a book by Anne Fletcher following those who lost weight and kept it off for years that eating a routine set of meals was very common. People figured out what worked, what satisfied, and they knew portion sand that made it easier.

I'm starting to find the same thing. I know what I like, what keeps me full, and the less I have to think about what to eat, the less dieting is on my mind. More automatic.

I hope you find the perfect set of meals/snacks to keep food off the brain and eating automatic and simple. It can be awful to just think DIET DIET DIET.

Hugs, babe...

Diandra said...

Maybe it can help you to plan your food more? We make a weekly dinner list, and breakfast and (office) lunch are about the same every day... that way, I don't have to think about food and can concentrate on the things that are even more fun... ^^

Debbie said...

I understand what you mean about wanting life in the forefront and diet in the background. I do best when I choose from a few different set meals for breakfast & lunch, then I don't have to think about what to fix.

HopefulandFree said...

Yes, it can be a delicate balance (I find) in living with food issues firmly in the BACKGROUND as an incidental part of life, not its focus. Especially with media messages shouting "OMG obesity EPIDEMIC!!!" every time I turn around. (And I don't even watch TV!)

I'm happy keeping carb grams low (probably under 75 most days), which is fairly easy after eliminating all but one serving of grain a day. It's great to feel hungry--at meal times, instead of constantly. I eat a lot of fat, though, which (after doing much research) I've concluded are healthy for my particular body.

Good luck getting back the balance you seek. Life is hard, sometimes. No getting around that. So. It just makes sense to find a way of eating that doesn't make life even harder than it is already. :)

chana said...

Arg, I identify with you so much. Stephen King wrote a short story once about this quit smoking program where if you smoked a cigarette some guy would jump out of the bushes and beat you senseless (I think, it's been a long while since I read it). But, I've kinda wished that I could find some guy to secretly follow me around and jump out of a bush and menace me with a bat if I ate a burrito. I really hope my desire to not be beaten would trump my desire for a burrito! Anyway, thank you so much for this blog. I love to read someone articulate my thoughts better than I ever could =)

timothy said...

i have to stick to less than 20g of carbs or it triggers my binge/cravings as proven by the last week. maybe you should go back to the plan that you were using last summer for a while till you get back to that place.

LHA said...

Lyn, YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!!! Life if to be lived, not spent obsessing over food. This is something I have been working on for the past year. There are many more things that are more fun, more rewarding, more profitable and just more IMPORTANT than food. Good luck putting food in its place and enjoying the rest of life!

I do have one trick I have used that helps me. When I start to obsess about food, even if it is obsessing about what good foods I am going to eat, I stop and say to myself "You have done everything you can do about it today (or this morning, or this hour or whatever) so there is no use in thinking about it right now." Even if I have to resort to saying that to myself several times in an hour it keeps me from obsessing about food.

Thanks for a great blog!

Anonymous said...

have you considered just going back on the medifast Lynn? You did so well on it, I know you didn't like how chemical-y it was, and that you really wanted to incorporate more real foods into your diet, but you had such success with the plan...I hope what ever path you take it leads to happiness and putting your life back in the foreground!

BrendaKaye said...

You are so right. I am reading Dr. Amen's latest brain book and he says they have studies that say sugar is more addictive than cocaine. I certainly seem to be addicted to it, and have to leave it alone. He talks about brain types that focus on food (mine). It is all very hard trying to figure the brain, food, and its connection. I am working on it too Lyn. It is a long process.

Anonymous said...

I wrote a post like this not too long ago. Wait. I've written several posts like this not too long ago.

Uh-hmm. It's kind of my theme song.

I just can't seem to get the melody quite right...


Ms. PJ Geek said...

I was struck by your comment
"I've been trying to figure out how to get back to the place I was last summer, where food didn't matter so much and life was great."

what struck me is that it can't be like last summer. You now have the experience and knowledge of the past and eveything since then , so you are a bit different. You have evolved. Not necessarily in a perfect way with the healthiest results. But you have moved forward.

You now have to incorporate all of that experience-the learned wisdom in to a new LIFE , with a diet plan.... and you know what you want it to feel like.

In other words, I know exactly what you mean....exactly. I restart my delivered meal program today which helps me to give up my control issues over food and just accept that this is what I have to eat, it's just food, and I need to just eat it and not screw around with it.

Hope that makes sense

Sarah said...

This is how I feel my journey has gone. EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT life life life EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT EAT life life LIFE LIFE EAT EAT EAT eat eat LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE life life EAT life EAT life EAT EAT EAT life life life et eat life life life life EAT LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE eat LIFE LIFE EAT life LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE eat LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE LIFE.

You get the idea.... it's a change that doesn't happen over night and takes lots and lots of trys. I get what you mean about the headspace. You can and will get it back. Just keep at it.

Darcy Winters said...

You hit the nail on the head with this post. The more I try to lose weight - the more I think about food. I believe the key is (as you said) consistency. Not having to think about it - just a limited selection of foods and the constant availabiity of them.

Mrs Darling said...

I do believe that one has to be obssessive about the diet to really be first. As time goes on the diet should become habit and it wont need to take such a huge place in our every day thinking. But when one is trying to get back on plan oner should begin obdeesively atching what they eat. It HAS to be a main focus or it will never happen. Continually pushing the diet to the back burner means continual misstarts and constant feelings of failure. How do I know? Because I've been there!

Mrs Darling said...

Oh my it looks like my old keyboard was at it again. Sorry for all the typos!!

Anonymous said...

susan b.

Anonymous said...

that would be "versus"

Anonymous said...

I was feeling pretty bad this morning about myself and my inability to lose more weight (I've lost 42 so far). After reading your blog I feel better knowing that I'm not alone in my feelings and struggles. Thank you for sharing your story!!! Good luck as you continue your journey.

Best Regards, JB