Saturday, July 23, 2011

I Don't Like Food Anymore...

This might not be the healthiest thing I could say, but it is the most honest. I think I am developing a real dislike of food, and eating in general.

Now don't get me wrong. I do enjoy a well-prepared healthy meal, or a fresh ripe juicy tomato from the garden. I do still see junky stuff like cookies or even a yummy homemade/not junky fresh baked pumpkin loaf, and I want to eat those things. Only, I don't. And the brain conflict and food experiences I have had over the last couple of years have left me truly wishing I never had to eat.

Maybe it is just an extreme swing in the 'other' direction after having spent decades *obsessed* with food and eating. I think in time it will level out and I will have a healthy relationship with food. But right now, if I could take an appetite suppressant, never get hungry, and have an IV pump on my arm giving me exactly the nutrients I need to be healthy, I would be pleased to not have to look at or eat food AT ALL. Period.

Then again, if I had a nutritionist and chef who sat down and calculated my nutritional needs and cooked all my meals for me and presented them to me at appropriate times, I wouldn't mind eating, either. So maybe it isn't food I am sick of, but thinking/planning/cooking it. Not really sure.

When I have gone off plan and eaten stuff I was dreaming about, it never tastes that great. I am ALWAYS disappointed. I thought it would be soooo super awesome to have a super special cupcake from the super fancy bakery, but when I bought it and started eating it, it was not that great. It was okay, just not the OMG THIS IS AMAZING experience I expected. When I was craving lasagna, and finally caved and made myself some, it totally sucked because instead of being a transcendent high it was... just a piece of lasagna. Just noodles and stuff. Nothing OMG SO FANTASTIC. And when I decided to finally go ahead and have that club sandwich at a restaurant, it was... just a sandwich. Just bread and lettuce and stuff. I mean it was fine. It tasted fine. But it didn't change my life. It didn't do what I thought it would do. It was a total letdown. So was the ice cream sundae I thought FOR SURE would take me to a new plane of happiness. But can you believe this... it was just.... ice cream. And toppings. And I didn't give a crap if I finished it, and I don't give a crap if I never have one again.

All of this would be okay except I feel the same way about pretty much everything lately. Spinach salad? Meh. Steak prepared on the grill just the way I like it? So what, it is just meat. Scrambled eggs and fresh peppers for breakfast? Sigh, what a drudgery, who cares? I only eat it because I have to, to be healthy... to be sustained. And I do get hungry and sometimes feel light-headed if I wait too long to eat. I need to eat. But I wish I didn't.

Okay, so maybe this means I am at a new (good?) place in my life where food IS just food, it does NOT mean anything else to me anymore. Hey, I have wished for that to happen. It's a good thing, in a way. But I have been coping with it in two different ways:

1) At first, I didn't know what was happening. I didn't like it. What?? Eating this ice cream does nothing for me??? I better try it again. Maybe a bag of M&M's will do it. No? Maybe some Belgian chocolate then... how about some chips?? Why is nothing working??

2) And then, when I realized that my food has become just FOOD, I had to sit down and figure out how to get in the correct amount of nutrition without having to constantly force feed myself stuff I don't care about.

One of the nice things about being on Medifast is that I can just drink a shake and be done with it. I don't have to care about it, think about it, interact with it, or anything. I just drink it. Nourished. Done. However I have been struggling with the whole "Lean and Green" meal thing because I have to prepare my meat/protein, my healthy fats, and my vegetables every day and NOTHING sounds good anymore! So what I ended up doing is buying a whole lot of plain, nonfat Greek yogurt and large bags of fresh baby spinach. Twelve ounces of Greek yogurt is a "Leanest" portion and 3 cups of baby spinach is a Green. I can add the Greek yogurt and the spinach to my Medifast shakes. I can also add spinach to my Medifast scrambled eggs or soups. Or I can eat the Greek yogurt in a bowl, plain or with Splenda, with Barlean's fish oil stirred in for the healthy fat. (I know fish oil in yogurt sounds gross, but Barleans comes in lots of flavors and trust me, does NOT taste fishy! I love it). So right now there is pretty much no prep, no shopping, no thinking. I just have my yogurt and spinach and Medifast meals and feel fine.

I do worry how this is going to work when I switch back to whole foods, though. I mean, if I don't "get" anything out of food (except nutrition), how am I going to decide what to eat? Medifast has a Transition plan that is very detailed, but if it says "3 vegetable servings and one lean protein" for lunch, or "one fruit serving and one dairy serving" for snacks, that still means I have to think, plan, decide, eat. I don't want to trigger myself back into food obsession. I am pretty nervous about how I am going to eat for the rest of my life. Whole foods? Yes. But the actual mechanics? More complex. I figure if all else fails I can keep having Greek yogurt, hard boil a dozen eggs and keep them in the fridge with light string cheese, and make my own protein shakes with spinach in them. I can have nuts and seeds and maybe some grains but it is the whole measure/count/figure out thing that I hate... that I burned out on after two years of blogging and losing 64 pounds.

I think if I can just find and list 3 or 4 breakfasts, lunches, and dinners I enjoy (and a couple of snacks), and just stick with those, that will make the choosing and simplicity doable. We'll see.

22 comments:

ssm said...

This might sound crazy, but my sister-in-law has a meal plan for a year, which she plans on using for her family for the rest of her life. She has a monthly schedule based on the foods in season, and then has a generic breakfast/lunch/dinner plan (like "whole wheat pancakes/hummus and pita/fajitas") for each day. It seems to take a lot of the thinking out of food prep. I do a weekly meal plan that helps me a little, but I still have (a lot of) moments of weakness.

Deb Willbefree said...

Too funny. Because I'm feeling the same thing, nothing that I can have seems appetizing and I'm not craving things I shouldn't have, either.

So--what did I do to get in the healthy protein and carbs? I just bought plain 0% fat Greek yogurt for my go to meal and add a i/c cup frozen blueberries or peaches to it. :D

Here's the bad news: I'm sure this phase will pass!

Deb

Lisa said...

i had the same issue after surgery. Food was a chore, borning... I still find myself going for shakes 4 months later. I think it is less about the food as much as it is about an addicts brain making food the enemy. The thing that is "bad" that we have to stay away from if we are "abstaining." 99% of this is mental.

- Lisa
http://inweighovermyhead.blogspot.com/

DiZneDiVa said...

I don't enjoy eating either anymore... It is a chore. I do look forward to treats and snacks though and that is what I wish I could get rid of. I am thinking I need to do the 5 day pouch test to get rid of the cravings again but unfortunately, They do still taste good to me, not the fantasy that I dream of ahead of time but still yummy. I am bored of all the "healthy" foods that I eat and I want to move on to feeding for energy and nutrition only but I am in mourning about the loss of the LOVE of food. Isn't that what I've hoped for?

Bec said...

What a place to be in, I kinda wish I was there. Maybe I am in a way, coz I rarely eat b4 lunch and that is just rice cakes with vegemite. The only meal I like is dinner as I use my creative side and enjoy making new things for my family. I get more of a kick from making it, then eating it. But I think I could happily go around not having to eat if I was satisfied/not hungry.

timothy said...

i'm with you sometimes the 1st bite of the forbidden is great then the rest diminishes enjoyment with each bite. switching up and gonna try ww for a while i guess my over 40 body just isn't gonna co-operate with atkins anymore.

Marilyn said...

Not such a bad problem to have, IMHO - but I also empathize because I'm pretty bored with "healthy" foods these days, myself! I came across an interesting webpage that explores theories of how we might have messed up our "receptors" for insulin, leptin, dopamine, etc. and become resistant to their effects. Near the end of the post he discusses PLEASURE set-points, which is what has driven my overeating for most of my life. If we don't have enough serotonin receptors and/or they're not functioning properly, NO amount of ANY food is going to be able to scratch that itch! But maybe we don't have to STAY that way? Maybe we can replace or repair those parts of our cells that would make food interesting and rewarding but not TOO exciting, i.e. addictive. Check it out when you get a chance, Lyn! http://gettingstronger.org/2010/10/change-your-setpoint/

Anonymous said...

I guess this is the feeling that people that have never had an issue with food. Let's pretend that we have only ever had this mindset & nothing else, ever. Isn't it easy to think, "Why can't they just stop eating so much?"
I have a weight problem and have experienced this feeling once or twice. It's so weird but for me, by the time I understood what was going on & was cool with it, it passed.
Hopefully it won't pass but can be the way you live your life from now on. If I ever get another crack at it I will embrace it & do my best to never let it go.
Stacey

Anonymous said...

Lyn
I have been following your journey and enjoy your posts so much.You have truly inspired me on so many levels. I am on a similiar journey (hahah ..anyone who is obese knows the journey)I stumbled across a documentary on Netflix and if you have not seen it then you MUST...it is called Fat,Sick and nearly dead by Joe Cross. This inspired me to get a push on getting my mind and body to where I think it needs to be..<y own Doctor thinks that juicing is a great idea and I already feel the relief of not having to THINK about food and my energy level has changed..I HAVE energy and also NO FOOD cravings..if you can make it through the first few days when the toxins are being released then you are completely on your way..In my opinion juicing clears your mind and believe it or not you dont feel any hunger after the first few days (just like the start of any other diet)...look into this it may be what your body and mind need
Blessings and Peace
Stacey from Sylmar California

Anonymous said...

I guess I am reading this post with a whole other outlook. I have a brother in law who almost died from throat cancer (never smoked). He was given 2-4 years to live. Somehow he survived and recovered, but he has a permanent port in his stomach for Ensure "shakes", he can never eat or swallow anything again. To say that you would be happy just having shakes for the rest of your life is probably not true, he is miserable but happy to be alive.

Don't take this the wrong way, but you always seem to be all or nothing, somewhere there is a happy medium where you can enjoy food but not go crazy. I know I'm still fat but I don't think I've ever been as fanatical about the whole food issue as you describe yourself to be. That's why I don't think the whole Medifast plan is really effective, not for "life". People were designed to eat real food, not strange shakes and bars.

PaulaM (not judging, just my opinion for what it is worth)

Erika said...

Hi Lyn! Longtime reader, occasional poster :-)

I agree with Ann, in that the pattern I see from your posts is a combination of binges and regrets, to you hating or being indifferent to food.

What if it isn't about food at all, and something else in your life is making you unhappy? I don't know you, and it's not my place, but I've found that for *myself* when I am feeling one extreme or the other about food it is never about the food itself. I am at my healthiest, mentally and physically when I allow myself to eat what tastes good (and to me, what tastes good is fruits, veggies, lean meats, lean dairy, and whole grains).

I have lost 40 pounds and am now thin and healthy, and I know anyone can get here! You have come so far! It really is more simple than we all make it out to me, at least in my case it was. Crash or fad diets never worked for me, and neither did only trying to change my eating habits without physical activity. To each one's own, though. I'm not out to try and tell anyone what to do.

I hope you get to where you want to go, Lyn! Thanks for always being so honest about your journey!

Debbie said...

I can relate to some of what you said and I appreciate you sharing your journey so honestly. I have also found myself eating something that I thought would rock my world and found it didn't even make it vibrate. I have a few different go to breakfasts, so that meal is never a problem. But lately, when it is time to fix lunch or dinner I find myself standing in front of the refrigerator turning up my nose at everything I see. Nothing sounds good, it's too much bother to fix, I just can't decide what I want. And then I'm finding fruit and veggies spoiling before I use them and I hate the waste. I don't have an answer, I'm just hanging in there. Stay strong, I hope we all someday find a peace with eating and food.

Lyn said...

Anonymous (PaulaM)~

I am so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law. In no way do I mean I would prefer to be in that kind of state. I wish him as much peace as possible and I AM grateful I have the ability to eat.

I do think we tend to think that "complaining" is bad. That if one is blessed to have children then they should never complain about them. If they are blessed with living parents they should never say a negative thing about them. I think not acknowledging one's feelings is a huge part of stuffing things down with food. At least it is for me. So, when I share my honest, raw feelings about something, it is never meant to say I am not grateful or don't appreciate the plights of others. I just think it is okay to acknowledge one's pain or troubles, even if those pains and troubles are far less than *someone else's.* All our feelings are valid... yet there is always someone worse off.

I think it is important to have gratitude and compassion but also express and acknwledge one's own very real emotions. Hope that makes sense!

Erika~

you are totally correct! It is not really about the food. I have been working through a lot of emotional/mental reasons that I use food the way I do. I think it's like alcoholism or drug addiction or any other thing that people "use" to get through whatever is upsetting/stressing them. But then again, it IS also about the food, because we have to eat. And there is a reason I picked food and not booze or gambling.

Marie said...

Lyn, where you are at is where I DON'T want to be.

We have five senses. I wouldn't want to take the pleasure out of any of them.

Just as I wouldn't want to stop the pleasure of seeing (sick of beautiful paintings?) the pleasure of hearing (sick of great music?) the pleasure of touch (sick of foot rubs?) the pleasure of smelling (sick of roses?)

I don't want to be sick of eating. I always want to enjoy it.

I want to look forward to eating, enjoy the eating, and look back on how pleasant it was.

I am afraid of eating becoming a chore. It would take like a fifth of the pleasurable physical sensations I have away. Why would I want that?

Lyn said...

Marie~

You know what's crazy? Last night I started looking at some food blogs. Like the pioneer woman's cooking posts, and kath eats. And I was drooling for those foods. I wanted them and I have to think I would enjoy them if I had them.

I have to think what I don't like/care about/want/ get pleasure from is the foods I am eating NOW. Which surely means that if I want pleasure from food I have to change what I am eating. I am very glad I don't get pleasure from JUNK anymore. That's a relief. But I would like to at least enjoy my meals somewhat.

Colleen said...

Lynn, I have to agree with the others that from the vantage point of a long term blog reader you do go through distinct cycles. Maybe a therapist could help you move beyond awareness of your mental state and towards actually changing it long term? I think this is something almost anyone with baggage struggles with - sometimes knowing it's there isn't enough.

Also, a question about greek yogurt as a lean - I thought dairy was not part of the medifast plan until transition? I don't see it listed as a "leanest option" on the official site or my literature from them, and looking up the nutrition info, it looks like one serving has 7g of carbs which sounds high for a lean. Just wondering because I sure as heck miss my greek yogurt!

Lyn said...

Colleen~

dairy products (low fat cheeses/cottage cheese etc) are listed on the Meatless Leans list on the Medifast site, here: http://www.medifastmedia.com/shared/docs/meatless_options_list.pdf

Greek yogurt is not listed there; however, Medifast has a Registered Dietician Support board on their online forums where you can ask questions about foods that are not listed. Someone asked there about Greek yogurt and Nutrition Support responded that 12 ounces of Chobani nonfat plain yogurt = 1 Leanest portion.

A Lean & Green meals is supposed to contain 15 grams or less of carbs. Some of the meatless options, such as soy burgers, are a little high but as long as you stay below 100g carbs/day you should be fine.

Lyn said...

Hmm, looks like part of the link did not post. The rest of it is:

options_list.pdf

Lyn said...

oh... and re: the cycles some of you noted... yes, for sure. I do go through cycles. I have made major, huge life changes over this past 4 years of blogging that have allowed me to keep most of 100 pounds off long term. I have plenty of work to do, still. No doubt about that!

Diandra said...

Making sure you get the food you need (all of it, and nothing more), is an important aspect of being a grown-up and taking care of yourself. And I really feel that enjoying food (in a healthy way) is part of what we came here for. I mean, if it were just food, we might also live on algae, they have pretty much everything we need (plus the occasional octopus). But honestly? I'd rather have tuna steak and spinach and pasta. ^^

theresa said...

I think it is the side effect of ketosis.

Claudia said...

I get like this sometimes. It usually passes but I definitely know what you're talking about.

It's something only a food addict could understand. We have one of those addictions where you can't just stop what you're doing, you have to 'moderate.'

I have often said before that I wish I could just stop eating and only drink my calories or something...feel satisfied and be done with it. I guess for me personally, I just get tired of the whole thing. Measuring, counting, always watching everything....can be very overwhelming.