Originally Posted by funniegrrl
Yup yup yup, physical addiction to certain foods -- especially carbohydrates -- is a very real phenomenon. There's a book called Anatomy of a Food Addiction that explains this in detail.
And no, I'm not Oprah, far from it. And, I understand the cycle, because I've lived through it many times. What I'm saying is that it is possible to BREAK the cycle with the right mindset and the right tools. WHY do you "let yourself fail?" What is it that allows you to do well on a program, then fall off and never get back up again? Only you can answer those questions, but until you do, the cycle will just repeat. You say you get where I'm coming from, but you can't do it. You can't plan, you can't think of alternatives, you can't work on stress reduction, you can't journal? You're waiting for a magic wand to wave over your head and make everything different? And if that doesn't happen, you're just going to throw up your hands and quit?
The way I broke the cycle was by finally realizing deep down that I could not "go on a diet" and "lose weight." I was so deeply mired in my fat, compulsive overeating way of life, and in being vastly overweight, that the only way out was through approaching this like a disease. In previous weight loss attempts I, like most people, assumed that I would eat a certain way for a while, lose weight, and when I reached my goal I would be magically transformed into a person who naturally ate properly. When something happened in my program that showed that magical transformation wasn't taking place, that I was still the same person with the same impulses, I became discouraged and quit, either all at once or gradually. What I finally realized was that I would ALWAYS be the same person with the same impulses -- that was never going to change. But, I could work on how I reacted to those impulses. That meant a LOT of self-observation, self-learning, conscious effort, and planning, planning, planning. I had to be CONSTANTLY aware of what was going on in my brain and whether it was leading me the wrong way. I had to learn to recognize which thoughts were destructive and which were helpful. I had to make a conscious effort to think more helpful thoughts, even if I didn't really feel that way.
What it also meant was that I could not go on another diet. It DID mean that I had to find a way to manage food -- and my illness -- for the rest of my life. I thought about people who have, for example, diabetes. If they want to be healthy and manage their disease, they don't really have the option of "falling off the wagon." If they make a slip, they can't just say, "Oh well, I give up." They have to get back on the wagon the very next day, if not the very next bite. I had to approach my problem in the same way. When you look at this as a LIFESTYLE CHANGE, and not a diet, the wagon gets a lot bigger and more secure. You may get jostled around a bit, but there's more padding. And, if you do fall off, it's a lot easier to get back on.
This is where that demon "all or nothing thinking" is so hurtful. When you are trapped in that mindset, you assume that doing things perfectly is the only way, and if you can't do it perfectly, there's no point in even trying. That is a load of hogwash, and I should know -- it kept me fat for 39 years. You have to teach yourself to think differently; even if you slip, even if you slip every single day, it's still worth the effort to get up in the morning and try again. If you are approaching this as a new lifestyle, then overeating one day is no big deal. If you are on a diet, ruled by the scale and timetables and perfectionism, then one day of overeating is a disaster.
If you haven't already seen this, I highly recommend the book The Thin Books by Jean Eddy Westin. She is an OA member, and I found a wealth of information and encouragement there.