Wednesday, September 12, 2018

On Not Overreacting

Even after I wrote my post yesterday on my struggle with eating this week, I did not totally clean up my act. I kinda sorta tried to just get busy and ignore any food urges, but I noticed something. The more I tried to say in my head, "You can't have that" or "you shouldn't eat that," the more I started to get those old irritated feelings of resentment towards a "diet." I have not had that feeling in a long time, because no food has been off limits and I've just stayed at peace with eating whatever I wanted. So when I'd "want" something yesterday, and tell myself I needed to not eat it so I could get "back on track" with my eating, it kind of ticked me off. Childish? Yeah, probably. The old binge-eater Lyn of a decade ago was *very* childish, with the McDonald's and the cupcakes and the tantrums over getting what she wanted. I'm definitely not there anymore, and don't binge... but I did have a little mental foot-stomping moment a few times yesterday.

At that point, I had two paths I could choose:

1. Just tell myself to knock it off, make myself skip the food I wanted, and try to force it. Or
2. Tell myself I can have it. Eat what I wanted... even if they're not the best choices and was more food than I usually eat... and lay off the guilt and worry.

I chose 2.

I decided I have *got* to learn to truly trust myself with what I eat and not go back into the old diet mentality where foods are morally right or wrong and what I ate made me a good or bad person. I can definitely say no to foods I think about eating. But if saying no is setting off some kind of "eat more" emotional reaction, then it's not about the food. It's something else. Time to examine that and not make it about the food.

So I ate the sandwich I wanted yesterday, with chips. I had some breaded mozzarella sticks. I even had a slice of really good, 10-layer chocolate cake from a fancy bakery at a birthday party I attended last night. And I calmed myself down about it and said "this is not binge behavior. It is okay if I eat this way sometimes."

More importantly, I spent time examining *why* I've had this shift in the way I eat and feel. I uncovered some answers.

Yes, the chilly fall weather and shorter days does result in my wanted to move less and eat more. I crave starches and hot, comforting foods.

Yes, the hormones are raging at this time of the month. I always want to eat salty and greasy foods around this time of month.

But more than either of those things are the mental reasons: 1) medical stuff going on with family members has been emotionally stressing me out for about 2 weeks. 2) a job I had to do for about a month that was fairly stressful has ended, and I have this sense of relief/decompressing that wants food. 3) I have felt a bit overwhelmed with life in general this week. Too much to do, I cannot get it all done, and I was exhausting myself trying. And then there is the bit of emotional stuff internally that surrounds the looming "100 Pounds Gone Again" milestone, with all the feelings that evokes and the thought of measurements and pictures.

You know, it's temporary. I can address all of those things and be okay with sometimes coping with food, but also coping in other ways (exercise, counseling, journaling, hanging out with friends, resting, focusing on my hobbies). I have kept taking phentermine through this, and that will make it easier to get back to eating less. I think it would also help to ask myself a question before I eat anything that wasn't planned: "Can you take a walk or ride the bike or do one thing on your to-do list *before* you eat that?" Note, it's not a rule or a demand. It's a request to myself to see if that sounds doable. Then even if I do come back and eat it, I've done something productive first and given myself time to think about what I really want.

Today, though, I just worked on my peace, and I feel much better. I weighed this morning (184) and have eaten:

coffee with cream x 4
bacon and avocado
corn on the cob with mayo and cotija
lunch with friends: deviled eggs, pasta salad, cucumbers and baby carrots with dip, steamed peas, a croissant with butter, watermelon, and two cookies.
sugar free brownie with walnuts
small bag of bbq chips
Dinner will be meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans. Probably another sugar free brownie for dessert.

My cravings and food volume will go down as I address what made them go up. I refuse to overreact, restrict, freak out, and undo all the hard work I have done to normalize food. I feel really good about this! It's going to be a better week!


Anonymous said...

I would say this is going to be the interesting part of the journey. If you can maintain through the winter that will be a great victory and a conquer of past habits.

Anonymous said...

Perspective: You are not eating that much. Sure, odd food choices and not so nutritious, but certainly not very high in calories. That list of food you'd eaten today and planned for dinner? I entered it into my calorie tracking app and it totaled 1980 calories with 27% from carbs. That is not bad, Lyn. I did assume you mean standard serving sizes on things so I could be wrong if you ate very large portions. In fact it is probably good for your metabolism to have a 2000 calorie day here and there.

Janet said...

See? You've got this and, yes... Overreacting is what you're NOT to do!

If the 100-pounds lost moment and photos you plan to take to mark the milestone is causing you to be triggered, perhaps it's time to reframe the moment and your motivations for needing to "prove" you got there... Remember, the binge eater in us is a bratty twelve year old who wants to have her way in all ways... So what if you don't take the photos or post at 100 pounds lost? So what if you never reach 100 pounds lost and what if the moment turns into 95 pounds lost with photos or 110 pounds lost without photos? The flexibility in this journey is yours to use; so use it to your best and highest advantage.

Mindfulness, awareness, kindness, forgiveness... Focus on these aspects of self-care to get through stressful moments. Remember, stress is a word we put on ourselves that makes everything worse and escalates reactions. Instead, tell yourself that situations are intense and not stressful, which implies a breaking point/danger/suffering/possibility of no end.

You are a strong, capable, intelligent woman capable of handling intensity in your life and intense moments.


Anonymous said...

^^^^ Lyn! THIS (post that includes "If you can maintain through the winter...")

You already know that the cooler weather and shorter days do a number on you. And all of us struggle with the extra pressures and special foods of the holiday season - from Halloween through New Year's. If I were you I would keep an eye on the scale and set a goal of staying under 190 until I celebrated the arrival of 2019. That's STILL over 10 pounds past the border into Onederland - think about how that once seemed like an impossible place to reach!

After New Year's you can see how you are feeling and decide if you want to enter another phase of gently losing. And as the other post on here mentions, 2000 calorie days are not the end of the world by any means!

It's more important for you to be there for your children (or whoever has the medical problem that is concerning) and stay in your safe/calm space with food than to try to crash off a few pounds right now that probably won't stay off under these circumstances anyway. Yay, Lynn! I think you are doing so well with all this!!!

Lyn said...

Thank you guys so much (and the comments on the last post as well)! I feel so supported and encouraged! Today has been a happy day so far: I am choosing to engage LESS stress, walk away from what I can walk away from, and accept the rest. I was so hungry this morning (probably because I got used to eating earlier) so I put it off while I walked the dog and then heated up tamales. They were so good, and filling so I didn't even need lunch. This afternoon I have a lot to do and am fueling it with a great big iced coffee with sugar free cinnamon syrup and lots of cream. And I feel much better!

Anonymous said...

You’re still on phentermine and eating all that? Is it not working anymore?

Lyn said...

last Anon~

phentermine only "works" if you work it. It doesn't eliminate hunger completely, but it does make it easier to go for longer between meals and to eat smaller portions. But if a person wants to eat, they can still eat.

Anonymous said...

Are you saying you got a job but it was too hard so you quit or were let go? Just wondering.

Lyn said...

last Anon~

no, it was just an intense, month-long project for a non-profit I volunteer for. I finished that one and am on to the next, less stressful project :)

Anonymous said...

I enjoy your blog. I am always surprised at your food choices. I would never snack on bacon and cheese and expect to be normal weight. You unfortunately crave fatty foods. Have u ever thought about becoming a vegetarian? I found that eliminating animal products from my diet results in almost no cravings for that sort of thing. Good luck in your journey

Anonymous said...

But seems as if you are eating a lot? I thought phen was an appetite suppressant, is maybe what the above was saying.

Lyn said...

vegetarian Anon~

I like meat way too much to become a vegetarian, but I do think I could stand to eat more fish and less pork. People on full keto eat way more bacon, cheese, fat (add butter to their coffee) and lose weight/stay a normal weight, so I don't think it's fat that's an issue. For me, the carbs are what make me gain.

last Anon~

I guess it depends on your definition of "a lot." It is definitely more than I've been eating, but it's always far less than I ate when I was heavier. It's not huge portions, if that's what you mean. Lunch was one plate of food, not heaped. Dinner was also one plate of food, with plenty of space on the plate that wasn't filled. But I know that is not a level of intake I can have every day and still lose weight. If the person above is correct and it was just under 2000 calories, that's not bad. And re: phentermine - yes, it suppresses appetite, but if a person *wants* to eat for whatever reason, they can.

MaryFran said...

I have been tying to put this very same thing to proper words on my blog for days and I feel I haven’t been able to clearly convey my thoughts. You just did it perfectly!!! When I tell myself I can’t...I struggle! I stopped telling myself I can’t and I am proud to say that I gave myself the ok to have a sweet treat and it no longer had that hold on me. Yeah, I did dive headfirst into a bowl of edible cookie dough, but surprisingly I was able to stop after just a bit because I knew I could have it the next day...if I wanted!

Unknown said...

Just came upon your blog today. Must be honest haven't read it all. What I really wanted to comment on is your upper arm issue. I'm not sure, maybe someone has told you already but you clearly suffer from lipodema. This is fat distribution disorder. You cannot loose this fat with diet or exercise. Try wearing compression sleeves. Lymphatic massages on a regular basis can help. The only real way to get rid of it is liposuction unfortunately.
Anyway I wish you good luck.

Xani said...

Hi Lyn,

Wishing you peace as you deal with the ups and downs of your journey. I noticed that you struggled on 9/11 without acknowledging (or maybe even recognizing) the significance of the date. Our subconscious can remember stressful times and trigger coping/soothing behavior without our conscious understand why!

I also wanted to ask if you have ever researched, or discussed with your therapist, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Trauma-informed-care? The original ACEs study focused on individuals struggling with obesity. Trauma-informed care accepts that our past traumas still impact our current health and behaviors, involves understanding, recognizing, and responding to the effects of all types of trauma.

These concepts have been very eye-opening and helpful for me, and I wanted to share.

Lyn said...


I'm glad you relate to what I was saying! I know that indulging a bit can stall the weight loss, but sometimes that is the better option. Fighting myself and white knuckling has never worked long term.


Thank you for the comment. Do you have any suggestions on where to get compression sleeves that are large enough for my type of arms? I actually ordered a pair from Amazon several months ago but they were sooo small and impossible to get on. I have not tried the Spanx brand arm sleeves because they don't look comfortable (covering the chest area) but I've thought for a long time that compression sleeves might help, even just keeping things tighter so it's not all stretching out more. I am also scheduled for massage. A friend told me about lymphatic massage so I am looking into that as well as traditional. Thanks.


Thank you, I will check into that.

Anonymous said...

What, no weigh in? This worries me.

Anonymous said...

Me too!

Anonymous said...

I hope your week continues to be peaceful and you are returning to calm with your food, cravings and thoughts!