Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Change of Inner Voice

Something I have noticed since I got off the dieting crazy train is that there is a definite difference in my internal dialogue about food. In fact, that inner voice has changed several times over the last ten years. Some of the time, like when I was binge eating or when I was fighting myself to restrict, it was a nearly constant running commentary about what I should or should not eat, what I wanted or did not want, and how much/how badly I wanted foods. It could turn into a full blown obsession at times, and it was scary how out of control it made me feel. I wrote about this many times early on in my blog when I was still trying to stop binge eating; there were times I felt absolutely driven to go buy, say, a specific meal from a fast food restaurant, or a box of donuts, or a pizza. I knew I "shouldn't" but felt like I had to. This was definitely binge eating disorder with a high component of food obsession. But the interesting thing is, this crazy-making dialogue of what I wanted to eat, had to eat, needed to eat also popped up in my head when I was on certain diets. Even if I was not binge eating, I would sometimes go days convincing myself not to give in and go eat some food I "shouldn't" have... some highly caloric thing if I was restricting calories, or some days I just got obsessed with the thought of eating lots and lots of cake... even though I was outwardly sticking to my diet.

At other times that inner voice of food was almost completely silenced. To go from that constant food chatter in my head to total quiet was kind of startling; it happened most noticeably when I was on Medifast for quite some time. I found myself uninterested in food... sometimes wishing I could just drink my shakes and not bother to eat at all. Cravings were gone; I described food as like "a rock sitting on the table" and there was NO inner voice telling me I wanted to eat. It was a very strange feeling to me, but made sticking to the diet easy... until I ate something "off plan" and then the voices came screaming back like banshees.

There is something different going on now with my inner food dialogue. The obsessive voice is gone, and a more reasonable, calm voice is in its place. I think because I am neither bingeing nor restricting, everything has settled down. It feels normal.

I want food, I like it and enjoy it. Sometimes I see a food and want to eat it, and sometimes I see a food and don't care if I have any. I want to eat when I'm hungry and sometimes I want to eat for comfort or enjoyment. And since I am not trying to make myself NOT eat certain things, I am okay with eating what I want and not eating when I don't really care about it.


Binge/restrict dialogue: OMG that pizza looks fantastic! I wish I could have some of that but I can't, I'll get fat. It'll ruin my diet. It's not healthy. I hate this diet, why can't I just be thin? Oh that pizza smells sooo good. Ugh, how can I NEVER eat pizza again? I know I shouldn't but oh I want it. I am going to have a piece. Oh this is so good!! I want more. I will try again tomorrow and lose weight. I am going to enjoy this pizza. And how about a Coke and a Snickers bar too? I want cheesecake. Wow breadsticks sound great! I can eat more before I have to stop. I won't be able to eat this stuff next week so I am darn well going to enjoy it now.

Medifast/ketosis dialogue: meh, I hate having to eat. It's so annoying.

Current, eat what I want dialogue: What should I have for breakfast? Bacon and eggs sounds good. I'll add some fruit, too.


Oh hey, they have cake at this potluck. Oh, it looks okay but I don't really want a piece right now. Maybe later.


Oh hey, they have cake at this potluck and it looks delicious! I think I'll have some.

Notice there is no guilt or frustration in the current dialogue. I like it very much!

What's your internal dialogue sound like and how does your eating plan (or lack of plan) play into it?


Lori said...

Funny you should mention this. I have been thinking about doing a post regarding the messages we give ourselves.

I've definitely had those internal dialogs. I've fought to capture them and make them positive. Saying I 'choose' not to have cake because I 'choose' health. It is hard. Now, I'm thinking I should tell myself things like "I am a good person, regardless of what I eat." I haven't quite got that part sorted out. I'm still contemplating.

I am so glad you are back!!!!

Darcy Winters said...

This is what I was trying to tell someone a couple of days ago. When I'm in "diet mode" all I think about is food. I stay hungry all the time and all I am thinking about is my next meal. When I'm not in that mode, I can make rational decisions (most of the time) and don't obsess so much. Unfortunately, at the moment, I'm kind of in the middle so really struggling. Glad to know there is someone else who has "been there - done that."

Anonymous said...

Back in 2010, when I was losing weight steadily, I talked about the whole inner voice/food obsession dynamic in a post. My complaint was that I was not food obsessed at all until I started that diet. My regular "voice" was as you describe yours is now. I never fit the binge disorder or food obsession mold that many WL bloggers described...until the diet, that is. I understand exactly what you're describing here, and have been thinking about it lately as I approach the annual New Year's WL extravaganza. I don't want to repeat that whole mental storm.

When I wrote my "Now all I think about is food" post, I received a comment from an alcoholic who had been in recovery for many years. She told me that she had the same reaction as I did when she first quit drinking. She, too, said that she didn't obsess about booze until she decided to quit drinking.

The reason for that newfound obsession is pretty clear when an alcoholic says it. She started obsessing because she stopped meeting her addictive alcohol needs. There was no need to obsess when the booze was flowing as needed, but when it stopped...

I said all of that to say this: The current thinking you describe does feel normal when compared to the obsessive, torturous food thoughts that occur during dieting. . BUT that "normal" thinking kept me almost 100 pounds overweight. One hundred pounds. That number makes me think that my felt normal wasn't any more normal than the obsession free drinker had going on.

Although eating when I feel like it and what I feel like eating relieves me of obsession, as noted above, it also keeps me over 200 pounds. I don't know about you, but I need a different solution to the food thoughts.

Sighhhh. I am so resisting the addiction model, but as I reread this comment, it may hold an answer. At least for me. You may have a different answer. (I'm hoping I do, too!)


JM said...

I so agree Deb, I want to be NORMAL with food, but guess what, i am NOT. I have been this way my whole life and the only thing that has remotely helped ME is to work the steps. I don t do it perfectly, and it has taken 2 years to break through the denial that this is in fact my problem and that the solution is to do a program. I still fight it, i d rather NOT have this issue, but part of it is facing what is, and all the evidence, shows me it is in fact true. Like you said, my NORMAL thinking got me here! So something else must be missing. I cannot DIET anymore, so this is the solution for me. Everyone is different, and has to find their own way. I want to be thin. and normal. and i dont want to want that. Ugh.