100 lb. Club - How do you get out of THIS mindset?




Dawn2Dusk
04-11-2007, 03:50 PM
I think I've realized what my problem is. I, along with so many people, have used food for enjoyment. Feeling happy? Celebrate with food. Feeling lonely? Cheer up with food. Food food food. It's all about good tasting food.

But my question is this. I know the moment I stop treating food as an emotional crutch and treat it as fuel, that's when I'll be successful with my weight loss. But how DOES one go from the first mindset to the other? How does one person who is so in love with food actually start looking at food as nothing but fuel for the body?


boaterswife
04-11-2007, 03:57 PM
That's a good question, and a tough one to pinpoint an answer to. I think it's a gradual process, and realistically that it just evolves over time. When you first start your journey food is the focal point of your life. Let's face it, that's how we got to the size we were/are. Every time you make a healthy eating decision your mindset changes just a wee bit. Every time you say no to the dessert, your control gets stronger, and the power that food has over you weakens. Over time and many seemingly insignificant food choices, you will change, and one day you'll wake up and food won't be the first thing on your mind. Not long after that you'll be out somewhere and suddenly have the thought of "wow, I'm starving, OMG, I forgot to eat!" Yep, you'll actually forget to eat, and that's when you'll know. That's the point when you'll look at yourself and know that you've changed your mindset, and that you are now the one in control.

nelie
04-11-2007, 03:57 PM
Personally,

I don't look as food as nothing but fuel for the body. I love food. I've learned to change my tastes and portions somewhat but still everything I eat I love, I just love a little less of it.

I understand using food emotionally and that is something that does need to be worked on. I can't tell you how amazing it is to buy clothes in a new size or to be able to do things that were difficult for me at one point or just to see how my body is taking shape as it sheds the weight. Those honestly are real rewards.


Runundefined
04-11-2007, 04:00 PM
Let me tell you, this has been the HARDEST thing I have had to do... I have found more times that I subconsciously was steering myself to food... when I am happy, sad, excited, want to congratulate myself or stressed... I am very "indulgent" in personality.. I like to eat too much, drink too much.. spend to much money.. etc..

The VERY first thing I did was put something in my face very often, to keep my focus.. it was a few words, actually these are the exact words:
"KEEP AN EYE AND YOUR HEART ON THE LITTLE SELF-INDULGENT (BECAUSE OF NEGLECT) GIRL INSIDE MYSELF..
KEEP HER FULLFILLED WITH LOVE, NOT FOOD" I put it on my mirror in my bathroom, it flashes up every day on my OutLook calendar, I have it in my mind all the time now...

I felt inside like I neglected taking care of myself emotionally... I started thinking of things (this came slowly) that I really loved.. like long baths, and going to a tanning booth (I use very high sunscreen on my face and chest) and do the lowest wattage.. It is like 20 min of therapy.. and I do home facials about once a week.. a whole series of masks and stuff.. I paint my toenails, I look at glossy, gossipy magazines, music, I love to read... what do you love besides food?

You will find things that help... sometimes I have been know to scream... (if I am at home.. or in the car), it's an instant mental shift for me..

it's a learning experience.. like an onion.. discover your layers!

sera20
04-11-2007, 04:01 PM
I too had the same problem. I was not in control of food at all. I ate all the time, being depressed and a student! I now try to mentally associate overeating or secific food that i wont ever put into my mouth again with the image of parts of my body that are grossly bulbous from eating so poorly. I have decided to not eat extremley unhealthy food due to becoming educated on what really happens to our bodies internally from obesity. Its worse than the outside! So, as most people say, you should not lable foods and all that, but from my point of view, i have. and it works for me.

sept15lija
04-11-2007, 04:04 PM
I think Kelly nailed it how I feel about it. I still have a long way to go but gradually my control has gotten so much better, and like Nelie, I can look at food as fuel. However, I still have an emotional attachment to it, and I do sometimes eat emotionally, instead of viewing food as a means to an end (as in, I eat so I can keep my body healthy). I am slowly working to change this although after years of this kind of thinking, it's definitely gradual.

rockinrobin
04-11-2007, 04:49 PM
It's a tough one all right. But it is ESSENTIAL to weightloss. You must decide once and for all which is more important, eating or your health and happiness. You simply must, must get over using food for entertainment, anger management, consolement, lonliness, friendship, happiness and all the other emotional stuff we use it for. It's especially hard in the beginning. Those first 3 weeks or so were murder for me. But I really, really tried to look at is as not what I would be losing, but what I would be gaining - a healthier, happier, more productive life with so many less worries. I knew if I stuck with it the rewards would far outweigh the sacrifices and it really has - by A LOT. Oh and it gets sooo much easier. Once you start seeing those results, it propels you to go further, your willpower becomes stronger and before you know it, you have found control. It's the coolest thing!!!! Being smaller, and thinner and healthier, more active and energetic, looking better, feeling better, the relentless amount of compliments that come your way, shopping in regular stores - it all just feels so much better then any of the food ever, ever tasted.

mandalinn82
04-11-2007, 05:38 PM
To me, though, it also is a process, not just a complete and total, instant switchover in state of mind. Last night, i slashed my finger open and had to spend 3 hours getting stitched up in the ER. On the way home, at 2am, I fully admit to using food solely for comfort value, which I haven't done in a long time. It was a temporary slipup that does not determine my overall success. I was in pain, i was exhausted, and I was actually hungry, but I made a bad choice for comfort reasons, which i have not done in a long time.

You will also find, if you are anything like me, that the foods you use to comfort yourself will change, both in quantity and quality. At 2am, I went to a fast food drive through, solely to comfort myself, and it was not a good choice. But I got a small french fry. So its something I am still working on that still pops up sometimes, even this close to goal...but my old order would have been a complete biggie-sized meal that I had "earned" because I was in pain. The new me said "you are comforting yourself with food, so order as little as you possibly can to still acheive that goal". Not perfectly healthy mindset wise, no, but a change nonetheless.

rockinrobin
04-11-2007, 05:55 PM
Mandalinn, I am sooo sorry to hear about your finger. I hope you have a full and speedy recovery. Best wishes to you. I love what you wrote by the way. About how our "comfort" foods change. Quantity and quality - so very true. Because I suppose to some extent we will always use food for comfort. It just doesn't have to be to the same extent. Which in turn brings me to my next point"

When I look back on all that mindless/emotional eating, I truly never, ever found real comfort or happiness there. If I ate because I was bored, I was still bored, if I was angry, it didn't change the situation and on and on. It most certainly didn't gain me anything. Well excepty for an extra 150 lbs or so. It didn't SOLVE ANYthing. It just ADDED to my problems. Now for the very first time, I really DO find comfort in my food. I find it so incredibly comforting that I eat healthy and nutritious foods in healthy portions. I find it comforting that the foods I now eat have helped me to lose 119 lbs and gain my life back. I find comfort, big time comfort, knowing that I have a plan every day. I find it comforting that I finally have control over my food and not the other way around. I love food waaay more now then I used to. I appreciate and enjoy every crumb that goes into my mouth. Before I was too busy shoveling it in, it wasn't special. It was just there. Now I savor every bite and really, really enjoy it.

pambo
04-11-2007, 06:15 PM
Hi! I'm new to this site so I don't even know if this will be read.:?: However, I will speak nonetheless. I am 52 and have reached goal weight 3 different times over the last 25 years. Each time food becomes an obsession once again. I go right back to the original weight!! While I am dieting i feel in control and healthy. Then something in my life changes, like my job, or a new baby, etc. and I start eating again! I believe that constant attention to your eating habits and quick correction is the only way to stay on track, plus exercise, of course. Sometimes I get so angry that I have to watch my eating so closely and as I get older it gets harder to keep my weight in line. I started out years ago trying to diet so I could be sexy. Now I diet to just keep healthy and because I don't want to be that "fat old lady "down the block with all kinds of health problems and then one day they have to cut out the wall to remove my body. I ramble. Sorry.

mandalinn82
04-11-2007, 06:26 PM
And to add onto Robin's point, I probably would have been more comforted by making myself a healthy snack at home, guilt free, since I was actually really hungry (dinner was 6 hours before by the time i got out of the ER). I just wasn't about to do so at 2am, with my finger throbbing, and other options were limited. But it is a transition in mindset, for me, not just a "switch" you can flip over, which was the point I was trying to make.

Pambo - welcome! We have an "Introductions" forum for our new members to say hello - post here, there, and everywhere!

RitzyFritz
04-11-2007, 06:48 PM
For myself, I KNEW I had to do something about my weight. So, I went to the library looking for SOMETHING that would click with me. Once I started reading books on how food has a direct impact on our body's health and how we feel, it became clear to me that this is what I had to do and what I WANTED TO DO! The power of getting knowledge was a time of change for me. I USED to see food as a comfort. But, after gaining knowledge (more than just the general "I shouldn't have this" thoughts), I then could have an understanding of myself and what it really was that I needed in times when I needed comfort - and it is NEVER food (in my case). So, I would encourage anyone to read books on healthy eating. Though I'm REALLY far from where I should be and have SO MUCH left to learn, it truly was a turning point for me...simply because it provided tools to acheive it rather than the blanket knowledge of "I should eat right." Just my 2 cents. Good luck to you on your journey!

rockinrobin
04-11-2007, 07:06 PM
And to add onto Robin's point, I probably would have been more comforted by making myself a healthy snack at home, guilt free, since I was actually really hungry (dinner was 6 hours before by the time i got out of the ER). I just wasn't about to do so at 2am, with my finger throbbing, and other options were limited. But it is a transition in mindset, for me, not just a "switch" you can flip over, which was the point I was trying to make.
!

mandalinn, I by no means meant that you should have not eaten what you did at 2 am. Do you really think that at 2 in the morning, finger throbbing, hours spent in the ER you COULD have gone home and started preparing a healthy meal? I would have probably been freaking out, passing out from hunger and would have ordered one of everything on the menu.

Sometimes LIFE does get in the way of our usual way of doing things. No matter how much we've learned and how far we've come. But EVEN though life DID throw you a curve, a big one at that you handled it beautifully. I can only hope that when I am thrown a curve, inevitably so, I deal with it the same way you did. I mean can you imagine what you would have done in your previous life? Again, my heartfelt wishes for a painfree and speedy recovery.

And WELCOME to you Pambo. Glad to have you on board. Post often so that we get to know you. This is a GREAT place, full of advice, ideas, support and encouragement.

Cheryl14
04-11-2007, 07:51 PM
Just re-read my post! Rambling...still warming up from five hours in the mud and rain and wind at a high school track meet...Brrrrr! Forty degrees, rain, wind, and mud...NEED COFFEE TO WARM UP!!!:coffee2:


Mandalinn! OUCH! :( My son took a slice out of his finger on the table saw in the wood shop last month, and we spent about the same amount of time in the ER. Hope yours is fine. His is pretty much back to normal. The skin has almost completely grown back. The body is an amazing thing!

On the topic at hand...

Dr. Phil says that to make a change you must replace one habit with another. I'm replacing using food for comfort with learning other ways to comfort myself, to release stress, to deal with anger etc. For me, just realizing that I was actually USING FOOD AS MY COMFORT, ETC. was a huge eyeopener for me! I was shocked that I was doing it. :o That's how far into it I was! After I read that people do that and I was one of those people, it was a lot easier for me to stop myself and turn to some other method.

Here's my overall NEW plan:

When I am sad I read the Bible or I read the newspaper to find all the people who have a much worse life than I have. Praying definitely helps as well!

When I am angry I clean or go out walking. By the time I'm done I don't have any more energy to support the emotion of anger!

When I am lonely I write in my journal, visit this site, watch TV or do another workout.

I've worked too hard to let food be my boss anymore. I boss it now. Sure I have slip-ups, but I really don't have many EMOTION-BASED slip-ups anymore. If I have a binge (as in my chocolate free-for-all with the foil-wrapped Easter eggs a few days ago!), it's because I JUST LOVE CHOCOLATE! Haven't had any chocolate eggs since, and I'm still alive!

Tonight I picked up Crispy Chicken BLTs, fries, and hot coffee from McDonald's for the throwers on our son's track team. I honestly didn't even THINK to order anything for myself! We came home, and I made coffee. (getting warmer! At least I can feel my fingers now!) I picked up a pizza and a salad for my skinny husband, and am sitting here enjoying my coffee. I'm done eating for today. The key has been eating enough throughout the day so that I am never starving. I also make sure that I have enough protein and some fat, too. Fiber helps A LOT, too. Staying away from sugar with its empty calories has helped me as well.

As many here have said, you know that you are succeeding in replacing a bad habit with a good one when you don't have to struggle as much with the decision. Sometimes you just NEED to eat a certain something. If you do, all is NOT lost. You just don't eat something else. It's all about tradeoffs.

My youngest son and I worked all morning and into the afternoon finishing up the grass, finishing the last part of the mulching, trimming trees, and edging. While I was up taking my shower he made a delicious macaroni and cheese dish with fresh broccoli and roast turkey. He had the table set and lunch on the table when I came down. Now, was I going to say, "Oh! I think I'll just have a salad with fat-free dressing for lunch?" NO WAY! I would NEVER hurt his feelings! He was proud that the dish had turkey (lowfat), broccoli (yum and nutritious) AND had put it in a serving dish so that I could take the amount that I wanted. It was A LOT more carby and had more fat than anything I would have made, but I ate it and THOROUGHLY enjoyed it! :D The trade-off was I had an apple and some carrots for dinner because I had used up my calorie allotment for the day. I'm enjoying my coffee AND feel proud that my son would be so sweet!

Cheryl

mandalinn82
04-11-2007, 08:05 PM
Robin - wasn't saying you were saying that. Just saying that I agreed with you that the foods I eat now are more comforting, and if I had been able to do so at 2 am, I totally would have cooked something at home and been more satisfied and more comforted anyway. I was agreeing, I promise!

Luminous
04-12-2007, 01:43 AM
When I look back on all that mindless/emotional eating, I truly never, ever found real comfort or happiness there. If I ate because I was bored, I was still bored, if I was angry, it didn't change the situation and on and on. It most certainly didn't gain me anything. Well excepty for an extra 150 lbs or so. It didn't SOLVE ANYthing. It just ADDED to my problems. Now for the very first time, I really DO find comfort in my food. I find it so incredibly comforting that I eat healthy and nutritious foods in healthy portions. I find it comforting that the foods I now eat have helped me to lose 119 lbs and gain my life back. I find comfort, big time comfort, knowing that I have a plan every day. I find it comforting that I finally have control over my food and not the other way around. I love food waaay more now then I used to. I appreciate and enjoy every crumb that goes into my mouth. Before I was too busy shoveling it in, it wasn't special. It was just there. Now I savor every bite and really, really enjoy it.
QFT.

I thought I was using food as an emotional crutch, but I believe now a more precise term is "self-medicating." I've realized that if I don't eat right, I feel like utter crap, and when I feel like utter crap, I crave crappy food for a temporary mental effect, and a cycle ensues. If I don't get a good balance of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and protein for more than a day, my mind goes cloudy and my energy plummets. I've also realized I've been "sensitive" to food this way all my life. On the flip side, if I am getting proper nutrition, celebratory/bored/lonely/whatever eating becomes a non-issue.

Jen
04-12-2007, 06:32 AM
It's like so many other things in life especially weight loss, we know that food is an emotional crutch but it is hard to stop using it as a crutch. Every holiday, every emotion, every trigger has its own food and don't we feel deprived if we can't have what we want when we want it. I know that I eat when I am bored and completely mindlessly some days and even though I know that sometimes it is hard to stop myself from making the same mistake over and over.

kaplods
04-12-2007, 07:01 AM
I like the term "self-medicating," because it acknowledges that there is a benefit to the behavior - not that it's smart - but that there's an underlying reward. When we don't see the reward, we punish ourselves for "bad," or "stupid," behavior, when it is neither - it may be misguided, but the behavior "makes sense". Understanding that comfort foods, raise serotonin levels and comfort us both chemically and with pleasant memories associated with them, makes it possible to see the payoff, and find a healthier alternative that still meets the underlying need. Exercise, for example, also raises levels of serotonin and other "feel good" neurotransmitters in the brain, but it isn't the first thing we generally think of when we need comfort. Food is "easier," and almost hard-wired for some of us, so it takes conscious effort (sometines a great deal of it) to substitute "better" for "easier."

rockinrobin
04-12-2007, 07:43 AM
Robin - wasn't saying you were saying that. Just saying that I agreed with you that the foods I eat now are more comforting, and if I had been able to do so at 2 am, I totally would have cooked something at home and been more satisfied and more comforted anyway. I was agreeing, I promise!

Mandalinn, I actually thought that you might be, I just wasn't 100%. Hope you're feeling better this morning.

Kaploinds, sorry but I'm a bit abbreviation illiterate - what does QFT mean? Or anyone else for that matter.

And as far as the benefit of self-medicating with food and it's benefits you are talking very, very short term. Because in the longterm it does just the opposite. It only ADDS to your problems. And there is no doctor in the world who would prescribe it. I certainly agree though that it takes a great deal of effort to change the behavior, but it is 150% doable. We most absolutely must make a conscious effort to do so. Luckily the brain is retrainable. Before you know it new habits become - old ones.

BooBear2071
04-12-2007, 02:01 PM
I try not to replace that need (for comfort or whatever) just to recognize it and say "no" and just "be" -- don't do anything just be and let it wash over you. Generally it washes over and goes bye and I am good. I guess I get joy from the challenge of what is going to happen, and nothing does.