Thursday, December 27, 2012

Caught

What is really hard is when you get caught in the cycle of eating stuff that is not conducive to weight loss for whatever reason, and every time you get up in the morning and start out "on plan" (whatever your plan may be) but then it all falls apart before dinner.

I lived in that "diet cycle" for years and years, swinging back and forth repeatedly between 250 and 280 pounds. It was my LIFE, really. I would count my calories and measure my food (or eat from the South Beach Phase 1 food list, or count my Weight Watchers Points, or count my carbs for Atkins) all morning and then something would trigger me to throw it out the window so I could eat xyz and "start over tomorrow." And I start-over-tomorrowed myself through morbid obesity for the better part of a decade. Not a good thing, any way you look at it.

But so many... SO many... people are caught in the same cycle. You want to lose weight, but *in the moment* you want potato chips more, so you eat the chips because you can start over tomorrow. Or worse, you eat the chips and then since you are starting over tomorrow, you hurry and eat all the other things you want like cake and ice cream and fried chicken because when you start over tomorrow, you won't be able to have it (or at least not in the quantities you can NOW!) But then tomorrow goes the same way, and the next day does too, and it all melds together into one big off-plan eating festival with a sprinkle of dieting on top. Only, this festival does not bring you joy. It just makes you sad.

I got out of that cycle, and that's the reason for me being able to maintain about 60 pounds lower than my high weight for several years now. But the last couple of days I have gotten the taste of that cycle in my mouth again and I've been fighting it tooth and nail. I know if I fall back into that cycle, all the weight will come back and I will be extremely unhealthy. And I know that once I succumb to that cycle, it would be only a matter of time before I'd start up the binge eating again. Because once you start having the pressure of a diet or weight loss or "lifestyle change" looming in front of you and you start eating junk in a short, set frame of time ("I will just eat whatever I want tonight, and then start over again tomorrow") there is a lot of pressure to eat as much as possible before the "deadline." Thus, the binge eating disorder arrives and once it does, it is most difficult to rid ones' self of.

I have not binged in a very long time. More than a year... maybe two? I'd have to go back and look. I do not binge and do not want to binge. But in order for that the remain true, I can't start up the cycle of restrict-overeat-restrict-overeat. The timing of that cycle can vary and, in my experience, is very important... meaning if I am restricting (calories, carbs, junk, whatever) for weight loss 95% of the time but have an "off" day (non-bingeing, just ate too much or unhealthy choices) here and there, once a month or less, it's not going to lead to binge eating. But if those off days are getting strung together like beads on a necklace and you find yourself pretty much eating off plan *every day* or even *every week* with restriction thrown in occasionally, that is what can lead to big problems... and no weight loss.

I am talking about this because last night, I had some of the biggest stress ever with one of my older kids. I felt helpless and extremely upset. I grabbed a handful of bite size mini Kit Kat bars and sat alone on the couch unwrapping them and shoving them in my mouth. I ate five of them and then stared at the little pile of shiny red and green wrappers on the end table and thought, "oh my gosh. This is how it used to be." Only it used to be a much bigger pile... a whole bag, literally. I did not enjoy the Kit Kat bars. I am used to having a small square of very dark, high quality chocolate once in awhile when I am eating Primal. The Kit Kats tasted like absolute junk. But I was not eating them for the taste. I was going very deep, to an instinct of numbing that used to be a way of life for me. This is not where I wanted to be, and the wrappers and the rest of the bag of Kit Kat bars went into the trash.

I found myself toying with the old mindset, though. I ate off plan, I may as well enjoy it. Hey, I ate off plan a few days ago. I ate off plan on Christmas. I may as well. And instead of making split pea soup for dinner (which was no longer on the agenda anyway because of the issue that was stressing me in the first place) I ate a plate of crackers, cheese, and summer sausage. I didn't OVEReat them. But I ate them, I shrugged and thought I'd start over tomorrow, and then I sat there and thought, "when will it end? This stress is going to continue for weeks, months, maybe YEARS. If I start back up in the cycle of stress eating/restricting/starting over tomorrow, I am going to find myself cornered by disordered eating and back to morbid obesity in a heartbeat. When will I stop? If not now, when?"

I got up this morning and thought about New Years, a family birthday party coming up, a several-day trip out of town to a medical specialist next month. I thought about just tossing everything and deciding to start over AFTER all of that. I also thought about how I can gain ten pounds in a week if I screw around. I thought about my pain and my life and how far I've come. I don't want to give it up. But I am in a place of struggle right now.

I had my black coffee this morning. I intend to be on plan today, and tomorrow, and the next day. It is very difficult in my current mindset. I feel like the kid stuff is so overwhelming that A) what I eat doesn't matter and B) I need food to cope. I am glad I don't drink because I'd be in a bad place with that right now if I did. But I am worth fighting for. I am worth taking care of, even when things are not going well. This really sucks but eating to cope with the heartache is not going to benefit anyone in the long run.

18 comments:

Margaret said...

You are speaking for a lot of us right now, who will get on plan "tomorrow" or first of the Year, but better make the best of it now and shovel it in.

In honor of your courage, I will make it through today on program. Just one day.

Deb Willbefree said...

I'd like to say that I'm out of that cycle, but I'm not. I spent most of 2012 in that cycle, which is why I didn't get under 200...you know like I planned to do before January was over.

So, I'm facing another January...

Today, I've planned to throw out all of the remaining holiday food after encouraging bill to eat the rest of the scalloped potatoes. the cycle you describe must stop. It's just too hard to work so hard with nothing to show for it but a 2 in front of my number on the scale.

This time. This year. Le'ts get it done.

Deb

katie said...


Lyn
I have done the same thing over and over too. The ONLY thing that has stopped this for me is this:
NO Treats, Snacks Goodies in my house. NONE.
It's all crap anyway so why is it in your house? Something to think about. "The kids" = no excuse. Having a healthy active fit MOM for years to come trumps kit kat bars.

Anonymous said...

Don't be too hard on yourself, Lyn. Even people without BED probably do the same thing when they're under this much stress.

Get some exercise if you can. I know it is difficult with your foot problems--do you still have access to a pool? Exercise is still the best stress reliever I have found, by far. It is harder than turning to food, but much more effective (and I don't hate myself afterward like I do if I overeat).

Take care.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

no pool access since my membership expired Nov 23, but I am stalking the gym website for any New Years specials as I'd love to have a membership again. $100/month plus a joining fee is over my budget, but if they offer a price break I might do it. I have a kid who would benefit very much from it as well.

Lori said...

Lyn,
Good for you for recognizing what was happening with the Kit Kats. So many times we live in such denial, we don't see what is happening.

This time of year it is so easy to say, "I'll start January 1" and but what we are really doing is giving ourselves permission to pig out between now and then.

Thanks for the reminder.
Lori

Anonymous said...

You ARE worth fighting for. And that's all that matters. The rest will follow once you believe that.

I've been yo-yo'ing for a long time now (after a huge loss). It's not just about getting the weight off. It's about fixing what's inside, as you know. And I've been reading your blog with interest -- especially the posts where you've "succumb" to the stress, and allowed yourself to feel it. That must be one of the hardest things to do, but it's so much better than food therapy.

Keeping fighting, the fight Lyn.

Sonya

Anonymous said...

Lyn -

OMG! I would not have stopped at 5! I would have eaten the whole bag. You are so hard on yourself. Know that the only-5 was an inspiration to me.

you are soooo worth it !

MargieAnne said...

Festive eating does that to me let alone stress.

Today I'm sticking to no sugar and no starch. Don't care how much coffee and cream it takes.

Although I ate way less sweet and mainly low carb foods my body was still bloated and uncomfortable this morning.

Hope your day is going well.

Blessings

Dreaming of New Me said...

I love the way you are so honest on your blog. Thank you for that.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a 12 step meeting might help with this? OA is FREE and everywhere, pretty much. I enjoy a meeting sometimes just to have a place to go and be heard w/o judgment. You could use the support! Just thoughts.

h2oratt said...

Hmmm that's a lot to think about
I went off plan on Christmas Eve and Christmas
Christmas night I got up and ate Lindt balls and home made English toffee
It was not on plan but I caved in after it was Christmas if any day to go off plan this was it
Yesterday and today back on plan
Your post took me by surprise I have been so scared I won't be able to get back on plan
I have been on a pink cloud pretty much all year on medifast loosing and feeling good about my being on plan scared if I give in I can't get back on plan
Thanks for the reality check I am under no stress compared to you I pray that you and your family will be able to work it all out your family needs you strong and healthy don't give in.

Alana in Canada said...

Bravo.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. I totally see myself in this post. In 2011 I lost 140lbs. Gained back 85 this year. Most of it because I was "going to start back up tomorrow". Yikes. But today I am starting again. I can't live like this anymore. I lived in a thin body for a few months and it felt so good. I want that back.

Crystal said...

I am amazed at how aware you are of your thoughts in the moment. Your thoughts of what is coming up in your life and when maybe you should "start then", are the exact thoughts that go thru my mind continually. There is always something. You should be really proud of yourself, for so many things here. I can sit and even have those thoughts, and as I am saying, ok no more kit kats... I will be unwrapping and eating another.

Cris said...

Lyn,

Have you read Geneen Roth's work? Or Brene Browns?

Specifically Browns The Gifts of Imperfection. And Roths "When you eat at the refrigerator, pull up a chair"

Both are about self-love (NOT fat acceptance). I hope that you will at least have the samples sent to you. :) Much love! Cris

Anonymous said...

I hope things are better today, Lyn. I'm wondering what happened on Christmas? You did so well at Thanksgiving. You didn't write about going off plan at the time, so I'm just curious what happened.

I sympathize . . . I had a bad couple of days this week myself. Hang in there.

Lyn said...

Cris~

I have several of Geneen Roth's books and have read them a couple of times. They're insightful but on some things I don't relate... especially her intuitive eating stuff. My intuition appears to be broken. I will look up Brown's book on amazon.

Anonymous~

I had a plan and didn't follow it. I was going to make a low fat cheesy cauliflower bake to enjoy and ran out of time, didn't get it made. Also ate some extras like cheeses and olives. And the party I went to was extremely off plan, so although I ate light, it was too carby. Seems Thanksgiving was much easier for me.

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