Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Addict and 'Everyone Else'

I am stressed about my weight.

I did great in December. I worked hard and stayed focused and even through the holidays I lost 13 pounds last month. And then this month, I worked hard and stayed focused (well, except for 4 days last week) and have lost nothing. I have been losing and gaining the same pound all month long. I know the month is only halfway gone, but still. It's not even just about the scale right now. I look down at my legs when I am putting on my jeans. I look at my belly with or without clothing. I see myself in the mirror and depending on my frame of mind, sometimes I get a little distraught. I mean, yes, I am 78 pounds lighter than I used to be. I am very proud of maintaining that loss. Maintaining is no easy task. But I also look at my lowest weight pictures at 175 pounds and get so, so frustrated that I let it get this out of control and that I am 25 pounds away from there which does not seem like much AT ALL to someone who started aiming to lose 110 pounds, but that makes it worse. Only 25 pounds and I would feel so much better. Even 20 pounds, I would move more freely and be proud of my body and look relatively normal instead of relatively plump. It is right there within my reach, just 25 pounds... yet seems so, so far away and almost impossible to grasp.

I still have those super cute size 10 jeans with the fancy pockets that I took my 100-pounds-gone pictures in, just 22 pounds ago. Fitting into them lasted all of about a week before they were just a smidge too tight and I went back to the old comfortable 12's. Those cute fancy jeans are folded in my drawer, waiting, just waiting... I want to wear them so badly. I am tired of my clothes being snug. I am annoyed that the weight doesn't drop off the way I want it to. I have a lot of other junk going on in my life, and when it gets really overwhelming, I still turn to food. Last night I turned to a handful of Andes mints one of my kids left in the kitchen, and graduated to a few freezer burned cookies with a glass of milk. That's how it goes sometimes. I get through to day, focus off of food, dealing with the stress. And then when I finally get my little one to bed and the old dog medicated and tucked in and I sit down with myself in the night, I dig into something I had no intention of eating... usually something that doesn't even taste very good and is a pathetic substitute for... for what? I dunno. I just know it is the same as other people having a few drinks or smoking a cigarette to try and de-stress. I just haven't found a way to de-stress that works well for me. Exercise, yes. Dog sports, yes. But at the end of the day, in the night, when I am stuck in the house and tired... well, sometimes I write, or read, or watch a bit of mindless TV. But maybe it is the addict gene in me that wants something to make it all better. I can get by with a nice cup of tea or a fire in the fireplace and a snuggly blanket sometimes, but when the stress is high with no definite end in sight, it's just not enough. And the stress is quite high right now; things improved for a couple of days and then situations arose that put me on edge again.

I am getting the general idea that this is how life is going to be. You'd think I would have figured that out in 42 years, but the image I had in my head of "everyone else's" life has been making me thing I am somehow defective. "Everyone else" deals with problems in a calm, mature way. "Everyone else" gets support or doesn't even have these problems to begin with. In my mind, there were the addicts, and there was "everyone else." And I was getting angry at myself for falling into the "addict" category like my alcoholic mother because of my using food as some kind of drug. I was subconsciously putting a negative label on myself and classing myself with drunks and druggies and "bad people" because I ate a cookie when I was stressed out. Only now do I see how unfair and judgemental that was to myself. I wouldn't classify another person that way; why judge myself so harshly?

People do sometimes self-medicate with food, or a latte, or something else that makes them feel better and eases stress. That is pretty normal, and okay. Now, I am not saying it is okay to run out and binge on donuts because your boss yelled at you or your kid is sick. Binge eating is a problem that is NOT within the range of normal self-soothing behavior. But having 2 cookies once a month? Not really a big deal.

I don't have the answer, but I am cutting myself some slack.

Today's self-medication includes an extra coffee with sugar free creamer. Frankly, when I am *this* overwhelmed, I start to go into 'frozen in place' mode where I feel paralyzed to begin ANYTHING because there are so many things I *have* to do. That just snowballs into more stress and trouble, so if it takes an extra cup of coffee and 15 minutes goofing off online so that I can take a deep breath and start SOMETHING, so be it. I wonder if a lot of people cope this way; I tend to think so, although not everyone chooses the same thing to soothe.

That's all for now. I feel a little better already, just writing it all out.


Bonnie said...

I struggled when I was the only one in my household trying to eat healthy. I finally got my DH to support me in my efforts and I stopped trying to force him to conform to mine. But with children, you are the adult and are setting the rules for them. Why should they eat junk food? Why should it be in the house? If it's not good for you, it's not good for them either. As my Mom always reminded me, "I'm not your friend, I'm your Mother".

Anonymous said...

Lyn, have you ever read "Brain Over Binge"? I know, another book recommendation....but it's a seriously good read that, if nothing else, may give you a few new tools for the toolbox. Lorrie over at Token Fat Girl just posted her review of it, and you may want to check it out. It's a GREAT read....full on binging hasn't even been my issue, but I've found really helpful information in the book.

Anonymous said...

I have that same problem. After the kids go to bed and I breathe that sigh of "It's quiet and my time to relax", I immediately think of food. Stress or not.

I'm reading a book that tells us what we aready know, but puts it a pbit differently.

Here's a snippet. At some point early in your life, your body discovered that food helped you to relax. Time to relax-->food-->rerlaxation and sighhhhhh. nice.

That little scenario made a little path in your brain. (You know that whole synapsis thing) The scenario played out a few more times...and the little path got stronger. And then it became a "go to" path.

Soon, when the thought/feeling comes indicating that it's time to relax, that old path just fires right up. And we respond as tho it's our own thought.

Except that it's not. It's an electric/chemical brain event.

The book says that what we need to do is 1. realize this is just neurological junk formed by old haiits. 2. Distance yourself from that urge, reminding yourself that it's not you...it is "it". Neurological junk. 3. Do not engage the urge. Do not argue with it, consider it. Give it no more attention than you would the sounds of your neighbor's TV when it drifts into your window unbidden. 4. Do not act on the urge. Just let it be, separate from you, not worthy of your engagement.

Theory is that when NO attention is paid to that particuilar wiring, it will fade and disintegrate.

I just read the book in the last two days. We'll see.

Like I said, it's not new info, exactly. But a bit of a different application.

One thing I found interesting was that the author proposes that we do not eat in response to what we call triggers. We eat in response to the URGE to eat. The urge shows up in response to the trigger, but once the urge shows up, we simply need to know how to deal with the urge to eat. Via the 4 steps, of course. :}

I do know that the need to feed at night as part of the relaxation process is certainly a conditioned response. Pavlov revisited, right here at my house every evening. :} Woof.

As far as the weight...yes, me too. Same exact numbers. And the weight has landed on my ordinarily (relatively) thin thighs. My legs just look HUGE. I am quite annoyed.

Hugs, Lyn


My Inner Bovine said...

First off, let me say that you are amazing...78 pounds!!! I realize it was more and this was due to a gain but seriously...you have lost almost my entire 13 year old. (okay he is super thin but he weighs 85 pds)

Secondly, I do exactly what you do. I am an emotional eater and sometimes I eat when it doesn't even taste good. I too had an alcoholic parent and I am sure this is some sort of addiction on my part. I don't know the answer but I think you need to take a deep breath and realize how far you've come, how motivating and impressive you are to the rest of us, and pat yourself on the back.


Lyn said...


True, for my minor children. But I also have two adult children living at home, and I don't regulate what foods they buy from their jobs. Actually, they don't buy much junk. Those cookies were leftovers from the ones I made at Christmas. I shoulda just thrown them out.


no I have not! I will look at Lorrie's review. I just got myself a Kindle and will be doing a lot more reading in waiting rooms and during my kids' classes... will see if it is availble for Kindle. My library has e-books to check out on Kindle too and I can request that book there. Thanks!


excellent thoughts as usual :) I am sure you are right; my mom TOTALLY comforted me with sweets when I was very small!


Thank you :)

Melanie said...

Hi Lyn,

Sorry you're having a tough time. You've always persevered and I know you will this time as well.

One thought on the scale - I have such a distorted relationship with the scale that I only weigh in once a month. That has helped me quite a bit. Still some accountability, but less of the emotions that come with daily or weekly weigh ins.

Night time eating is tough!! I struggle with this as well. A few suggestions: a nice bubble bath, a manicure, a pedicure, a facial, ....things that pamper yourself without food. If you're a crafty sort of person, things that involve your hands so you can't eat are another option...scrapbooking, cross stitch, crochet, jewelry making, etc. Just a thought!

Taryl said...

I'm sorry you're struggling, I really am :(. I was there for about six months last year and it sucked. Sometimes those seasons come and we just have to take it one choice at a time. Don't give up, Lyn, just keep moving forward.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! You could be writing about those size 10 jeans! I lost about 100lbs in 2008 - going from 275 to 175, but I have not been able to get below 170. Lowest was 170.2 and I was eating like crazy later that night. I can go up to 200 in about 6 weeks, and then in takes 12 weeks to get down to about 180. The week before Thanksgiving this year I was at 176, I am now at 196 today! SO frustrating! And even though my loss has been somewhat maintained and was a large amount originally, I still don't feel true success because I know I want to be in the 160's and haven't gotten there. I have such cute clothes in my closet that I wore all spring and summer but can't fit into now - like your cute size 10's! I know that I have to be careful and should never let scale pass 75, but I just eat and eat. I get so upset with myself & feel like I am all alone in this. Your post made me feel like I hadn't lost my mind. Good luck to you (and me, haha!)

timothy said...

one day and one pound at a time sweetie. that's the only way, shoot sometimes i struggle with one hour at a time. it's 11 just make it till 12 etc etc. good luck sending positive vibes your way! xoxoxoxoxoxo

Diandra said...

Yeah, the evening when the day is over and the thoughts aren't... I often try to do something else that is relaxing, such as reading a good book or doing some yoga I am ridiculously inflexible and invented a pose called, "The falling tree". ^^ A few days ago I started teaching myself how to knit because with the knitting in my hands I won't go for sweats or salty snacks that would get fat and crumbs and stuff on my work. (Now all there is on that first work is cat hair.)

NAN said...

Would it help you to keep those jeans in plain sight? Also, how about changing your routine and going to bed early or retiring to your bedroom? I get up very early, read and email on the computer, do some exercises and take my dog out for a walk all before 7 AM. Sometimes I eat right away away or just have my coffee like now. You pretty much have a free day when your daughter is in school right? If you are really tired later, a little rest for 15 -20 minutes can revitalize you.

Jaclyn said...

Oh Lyn... I don't even know you or exactly what situations you're dealing with, but it all just makes me wish I could pop over with a giant pot of soup for supper and an offer to babysit and clean your kitchen while you went out for a break. I only have 3 kids (4 years and under) and a husband with a very family-friendly career, and yet I feel overwhelmed all. the. time. I cannot even imagine the strength you must have to keep up with everything you do!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear it's a struggle right now. I've been reading your blog for a long time and don't comment but just wanted to let you know for what it's worth - you have this non-fish-eating, veggie-hating girl eating salmon and broccoli twice a week! And now yogurt daily. Me and my health thank you!

Lyn said...


Oh how I wish I had a free day when she is in school! No, it's not like that. If it was, I'd be getting way more done, exercising more, making cool recipes to post... I do get a fairly free day a couple times a month, but my time during the day is taken. I still have a child who is with me all day for now, have kids with medical issues and one with a disability and that stuff is sucking up a lot of my day. I am up at 5-6am and in bed after 11. But your point is well taken about getting in a 15 minute rest period. In fact I would like to start meditating daily to center myself. I think it might really help me feel more peaceful. Thanks!

Thanks all for the kindness and I sure wish we were all neighbors and could get together and share a pot of soup! Melissa, so proud of you! Hope you liked the salmon!

SNOW DAY TODAY!!! Wheee :) I love being stuck at home!

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

I've got some too-tight jeans up on the shelf that seem to be mocking me every time I poke my head in the closet.

But the good news is that I have a bunch of too-big jeans lying dormant in a box in the attic. They're waiting, waiting, waiting for their chance to see the light of day again. Those bitches can keep waiting.

Amy said...

I am the daughter of an alcoholic parent as well, and comfort eat. Worse yet, I celebrate with food too, so whether I have a great day or bad one, I want to eat. You shouldn't beat yourself up for enjoying food sometimes, what we strive for is to be normal, and normal people eat cookies sometimes. Your persistence will pay off, cookies or not.

Stephanie said...

For me the difference between "regular" people and me is that I feel so guilty when I eat something off plan. I don't think everyone feels such overwhelming guilt. It's just a cookie. I need to stop giving it so much power. One or two cookies is not a binge and we have to stop judging ourselves so harshly. I love reading your blog and again it's great to know I am not the only one feeling this way.