I have just been reading some of the quotes on the Maintainers Forum that relate to the million pieces book (of which I must definitely get a copy - thanks Sandi/Boibaby for the update re: book). I keep coming back to a question that I want to pose to you fine folks. The answer is simple when it comes to weight loss. We know that it is input/output and this has been proven time and time again in scienfic studies as well as by our maintainers/losers here. My question is, the answer is simple so how do we make it uncomplicated? I read an abstract from a medical journal that said anyone with over thirty pounds to lose was considered to be suffering from emotional eating. Where was that learned? Infancy? Does it relate to the biological changes in serotonin that can be achieved from food? I know I can get an immediate calming from chocolate if I am in an anxious state. Refined carbs will also lull me into a calmer place. Exercise, thank god I have found this out, also brings me to a happy place if I am anxious.
So, my question to my fine friends here is, the answer is simple so how do we make it uncomplicated?? Is it practice in adding a new behavior, repeating it and having it reinforced by success? What are your thoughts?
My keys to success: Consistency, Awareness, Movement
If you don't look after your body, where are you going to live????
I'm hoping that practice makes perfect I've heard people say that the longer it takes to take off the weight the longer it stays off - once I'm at goal I should be there forever
I think that we learned these bad behaviours at our kitchen tables with our families. I have had these bad habits in my brain since I was atleast 15 years old. Fast forward 20 years and here I am. It's going to take a while. I'm trying to cut myself some slack. Not always see black and white.
When I used to smoke.. It took a long time to get over it - to say, I'll never smoke again. And I wasn't a "heavy smoker" Excuse the pun - but I am a "heavy eater" It's an addiction. One that I can't just quit. One that I must live with and improve.
I believe time and tons of practice will be the key for me.
Well, you are right, the answer is simple: eat less, move more.
I think what clouds things is that each person has his/her unique reasons for not eating less or moving more. So, while you may read books or posts that you can relate to there isn't a blanket solution that covers everyone's particular situation. For instance, I am an exception to the abstract you read which said anyone with more than 30 pounds to lose is suffering from emotional eating.
There are just too many variables that lead up to a person being overweight. I mean, a person who has only gained weight as an adult won't have the same issues as someone who has been struggling with obesity since childhood. A person who is overweight because they have gone from an active lifestyle to a sedentary one without adjusting their eating habits accordingly will face a different journey than someone who has never been active. Someone who overeats as a result of some personal trauma won't follow the same path as someone who eats poorly due to social or economic influence. Factor in all of these variables (and many, many more) and it IS NOT so simple after all.
I agree with Jen that it is helpful to get to the root of the problem. But, in the meantime, it is possible just to suck it up and do what you have to do - it isn't easy, but it is possible. In fact, I think often the root of the problem is much more identifiable after we've managed to lose some of the weight that we need to. Maybe it is because we gain confidence and self esteem and can more readily face those problems. I don't know. I do know that I spent a lot of time blaming my weight on emotional eating. Now that I've lost a significant amount of weight I know that wasn't the case.
The English don't do therapy!!!! If you CAN find a therapist, they are sooooooo expensive, and not necessarily guaranteed to be that good because the English don't do therapy!!! LOL
When I decided to lose weight, I knew the basics, the eating less, moving more making better food choices. But I knew for a fact that my problems were caused by emotional eating and laziness. The laziness was fairly easy to overcome (gettinghome late from work, getting takeout that sort of thing). I ate healthily 80% of the time, but that 20% could really send me over the edge. I had put my weight on at about 20lbs a year, so I knew I had to do something.
So, not being able to afford therapy I sat down and wrote a list of triggers. Then I wrote a list of alternative behaviours I could do instead of eating, like using the internet, making a phone call, or exercising. Now I exercise. I did it yesterday! I could have eaten all afternoon, I was lonely and bored. So I went to the gym. They all laughed at me, as I had been there earlier in the day for a swim!
I think losing weight can be very complicated, as our heads are a maze of mess, negative comments spiralling years of negative thoughts which in turn have prompted some wacky behaviours to deal with all that mess. It takes time to sort all that out.
Kylie and Lucky both posted great posts.
We all gained our weight for different reasons and I agree that at some point you have to face those demons or you are just going to regain it. I too sat down and wrote down all that fun stuff (with the help of Dr. Phil's book of course) so I would know what my triggers were and how to avoid them.
What I have found that works the best for me is to plan, plan, and more planning with the understanding that the plan be flexible if necessary. I know that it sounds like a lot of work but it takes me less than 5 minutes a day to plan out my meals. That way if something comes up and I want to eat Mexican with the coworkers or something else, I already know what I'm planning for lunch, dinner and snacks and can rearrange them if it is worth it for me to use all those extra calories on high fat foods.
I know that what I find working for me I will do for the rest of my life. It will mean that I go through some trial and error to find the right combinations of things and I may have to give up certain foods at least for a small amount of time to get the results I seek.
I wouldn't call myself an emotional eater in the sense that I eat to calm myself. I ate to entertain myself. Whether it was because I was bored, or just wanted something to do while I watched TV, or because the situation called for it (movies=popcorn), or to reward myself, or just because it was there and was fun, the main "emotion" I had was the desire to be amused and pleased. Couple that with the fact that I'm a compulsive overeater, and there ya go.
I don't have an overly stressful life, a traumatic life, I didn't have a difficult childhood. Yes, my family's eating habits were instrumental in forming mine, and I believe that they had a larger influence on me than on others because of my compulsive personality. I exhibit other compulsive behaviors, although no other addictions. I have a brother who is also overweight AND has other addiction issues. Yes, I've had to do a LOT of observation, analysis, identification of triggers, reprogramming, finding other things to do when the "EAT!" voice kicks in. But, like Lucky, I don't eat to stuff down emotions or to make myself feel better.
Could I have done this better with therapy? Maybe. Maybe if I'd had therapy years ago by someone who really understood compulsive overeating, I would have done this sooner, just because I wasn't able to put the pieces into place myself until recently. But, I can't go along with the idea that anyone more than 30 pounds overweight is an "emotional eater" as the term is commonly used. After all, there are plenty of people who are normal weight who are emotional eaters, they're just able to balance it more with extreme cutbacks. And, there are plenty of us who are/were a lot more overweight who aren't using food to cope with negative emotion, at least no more than any other human.
I'm pretty partial to the 'suck it up and move on' school of thought. It doesn't matter what came before. You need to decide what's right, right now.
It's simple but it's hard. Does that make sense?
It's gets complicated because humans are complex beings. We make things mind-boggling. If I had known at the start that I would someday be counting calories, protein, carb and fat percentages, weight lifting, almost jogging, planning food and exercise 2 or 3 days in advance, shopping differently, cooking different things for me than my family, eating 6 or 7 times a day etc. I'd never have made it out of the blocks. That's too much to think about all at once.
Is that focus? Doing what's right, right now?
Eat good food. Move yourself. Lift something.
You'll be surprised how much you don't miss grain.
funniegrrl, I am so glad to finally hear someone else say this. I am always surprised by how much push back I get from people when I tell them that I got fat because I ate to entertain myself. It seems as if the majority of people need to assign some "issue" to explain a person being obese. I've talked with people who actually seemed uncomfortable when I admitted that my weight problems were nothing more than a love of eating and lack of personal responsiblity. Certainly, there are plenty of people whose weights can be attributed to emotional, physical, or childhood issues but I am not one of them.
I'm another "eat to entertain myself" type person, I call it boredom eating. I want something to do, a break from whatever it is I'm doing, and I eat. I still do, if I have anything unheathy in the house (for some reason I manage to cope with boredom better when the only option is fruit and veg )
I always knew what I should be eating, I just couldn't bring myself to actually do it. I don't know what the trigger was that finally made me doing it, possibly learning that I could lose weight through exercise alone but that I'd lose it faster if I cleaned up my eating too.
SW - 260, Original GW - 160 - achieved 21 March 2006, CW erm... I'll get back to you on that
You are right, Susan. Love IS an emotion and I do love food! But, usually when I read articles or posts regarding emotional eating they seem to always use the phrase in the context of some avoided feeling(s) being addressed with food. Or some underlying unhappiness, anxiety, anger, etc. soothed by eating. And while that may be the case for a lot of people I was just indulgent and inactive.
Jaws refers to my three kids - their first initials, as in Jaw's mom. But, when the new year rolled around I decided that I wanted to stop identifying myself in terms of other people (not just here but life in general). Lately, I've been in the rut of always thinking of myself as someone's mother or wife or friend. I'm trying to get back to thinking of me as me. So I had my username changed to lucky - because I am!
I used to think I was an emotional eater too, but when I really started to examine my behaviors last year, I too ate out of boredom, lack of caring, and a love of food! Sure, sometimes emotions fuel eating, but I have been surprised actually how infrequently that happened to me.
As I think about it more, some of the strategies I've been using may be working because I'm not the emotional eater I thought I was. When I get bored, I find something to do, I DO care now (and have found ways to keep myself accountable), and I have found lots of healthy food to love! Of course I get cravings sometimes, but I am trying to retrain myself in lots of ways to either delay, substitute, or just eat less. It's still long and hard work and I need to plan a lot, but I just haven't encountered the emotional roadblocks I thought I would. Except for that love of food part...
My 5 C's of healthy living: Commitment to conscious control, with the understanding that choices have consequences
You know when I read this - being a political junkie I thought you know, the answer to the Arab / Israeli is simple - they just need to stop trying to kill one another. Putting that into practice seems to be a a bit more complicated.
I don't claim to be an expert, but for me - it came down to "throwing the switch". I finally hit a point where it became no longer acceptable to me to be obese. Once I knew that - the next thing I had to have was belief that I had the power to change. I had to become internally focused so that I took accountability and responsibility for my actions and behavior as it related to food. I also had to ditch all of the old black and white thinking. Eating off plan one meal does not mean you are a failure, fat slob and about to gain all your weight back. It means you are a human that can make mistakes. You made a poor choice. Own up to it - learn from it, come up with 5 ways to avoid it next time and move on. Keep going - every time you put something in your mouth to eat is a chance to make a good choice. Don't wait to get back on track the next day, the next week whatever - get back with your next choice.
It is also important to apply the same philosophy to exercise. Just do it - get consistent. If you miss - learn from it and work to make sure you build good habits and behaviors to replace the old ones. Many people have said it - it is a process - one that can take a lifetime to complete - but the journey is the reward.
I wish you all the very best!
__________________ Charles - Houston, TX
"The future is not some place we are going, but one we create. The paths are not found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination." John Schaar