Today is only the third day since I gave up calorie counting, and I feel immeasurably better. I am much more relaxed and the tension over food is gone. I know that is not a "normal" response (meaning, a response one would have if they never had food issues), but I have struggled with eating disorders for many years, and I don't want to ramp that back up. To be clear, I know I have a problem with overeating sometimes, or eating too often, just because something tastes really good. I sometimes make a choice that is not the best for health, just like most other people I know who do not have an eating disorder. Sometimes the cheesecake just looks really good, or you take seconds on dinner because it was delicious, even though you're not hungry anymore. I think those are pretty normal behaviors. Not saying they are *wise* behaviors for an obese person, but if a thin person has a slice of cake after dinner or takes seconds, no one thinks twice about it. It's not a sign of disorder. What IS a sign of disorder, or the first symptom of an ED coming out of hibernation for *me* is the "voices in my head." I don't mean literal voices. I mean the running dialogue of thought that is generally calm and low key turns into a rambling commentary about food, moving to a higher and more fervent pitch as I am exposed to food thoughts and smells and sights. THAT is not normal, so when I start getting this tense feeling and thinking, "omg, I have to have a burger and fries, I miss having a burger and fries but I cannot eat that because it will put me over my calories for today, and I CANNOT go over my calories for today, because I went over yesterday and I am never going to lose weight if I don't stick to my calories, but oh that burger that lady was eating looked SO good and I really want a burger and not a salad, and not chicken or vegetables but a BURGER and fries...." and so on... then I know the eating disorder is coming back to life. And that's what was starting to happen with all this weighing, measuring, tracking, counting, etc. As soon as I quit, all of that noise in my head stopped, and I felt relaxed and not hyperfocused on food anymore.
I have to stay here, in this healthy mind-space about food and eating. It is *really* dangerous, not to mention terribly distracting to me, to spend all that time and energy on FOOD like I used to do when I was binge eating years ago. I NEVER want to go there again. I do need and want to lose weight, but not at the cost of my mental health. Do you want to know what I think would happen over time if I kept trying to force myself into the calorie thing? I think I would become bulimic. I think my BED would rise from the dead along with my obsessive food thoughts, but I would not be able to control my eating and would, at this point, do ANYTHING not to get back up around 300 pounds, and I would find a way to purge after the binges. I know I would. I cannot go there, just can't.
So that leaves the question: what to do about the unhealthy extra fat I am carrying around? WLS is still on the table for next year. But I also still have time to try and work this out.
The last couple of days I have not restricted AT ALL. I have not told myself I *cannot* have any certain food... only that I *want* to eat for health and that I will *usually* avoid higher carb foods. I know that ruling out whole foods groups (like grains) gets tricky for me (mentally) but I also know they are not helpful in my quest for health. So I tell myself, "if you want bread you can have it. But do you really want it?" and sometimes I do... often I can skip it. If I do want it I take half the portion I think I want. I look at my food and decide if it will be healthy or not. I don't add up calories in my head. I am just... trying to relax about food again.
Yesterday for breakfast I made this "Paleo Pumpkin N'Oatmeal" (not because I am going Paleo, but because Paleo recipes are, in general, a healthier choice for me) and it was so good!
I had a little bit leftover today... just a few spoonfuls... and heated that up to have for breakfast with a pastured pork sausage link and some berries and a small nectarine from the Farmer's Market. I am having some coffee with coconut milk now, and the dinner plan is smothered pork chops with onion and mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and sauteed fresh green beans. I often will make mashed cauliflower in place of the potatoes for myself, but I don't have any on hand so I will limit myself to a small spoon of the potatoes, load up on green beans, and have some fresh cantaloupe for dessert. I did go to the Farmer's Market this week and got some locally grown squash (butternut, acorn, and spaghetti), apples, plums, berries, nectarines, celery, carrots, leeks, greens, onions, and melons.
This is my method: plan healthy meals based on protein and produce. Stock up on the healthy stuff and prep it so it is ready when I am hungry. Get back on the bike today and get back into the riding habit. I'll give it a week for the food thoughts to settle and see how the scale responds to that. I will cut back in non-triggering ways as needed.
I am 38 years old, female, a degree-holding stay-at-home-mom, and I weigh 278 pounds. I have been obese for ten years now. Time to get out of this fat prison I have made for myself.
--This is the original introduction I wrote when I first started this blog in 2007. I leave it as a reminder to myself of where I came from. Currently, I am 46 years old and weigh significantly less...see the blog for details. I lost 103 pounds, then had a partial regain, and am once again working at weight loss and better health.
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