Weight Loss Support - How do you stop "dieting"?

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02-11-2009, 11:42 PM
I want to stop dieting, I've had enough. Dieting has overall brought more negative things into my life than positive. Since starting all this last year I've gone through a terribly ugly eating disorder, fad dieted, and lost and regained several times. I am the textbook case of why dieting does not work. I honestly wish that I could go back in time and change it all. An ED is something I will most likely have to struggle with for a looong time, if not, forever.

At this point I know pretty much how many calories are in every kind of food and every dish at every restaurant. I know what's low carb, what's high carb, low fat high fat etc etc. This drives me absolutely mental. I can't NOT count calories, no matter how hard I seem to try. And from this stems guilt, emotional eating, bingeing, purging etc. I NEVER had these issues before I started this. I would simply eat when hungry and stop when full. I want to go back to that. I'm training for a half marathon and hopefully eventually a full marathon. I have a passion for running and want to focus on that. I want to get over all the self loathing and just eat when hungry, stop when full. I want it to be that simple. How do I do this? Are there any helpful books anyone can think of? I just want to detach all emotion from food, I want it to be my fuel and that is all.

Also, I live with my dad who is an amazing marathon runner, my house is stocked with nothing but healty food so that is not an issue.

02-12-2009, 12:31 AM
Have you read Intuitive Eating? That may help. We have a thread for it too. Also, I'd recommend therapy, if you aren't doing that already. You deserve to feel good about food :)

02-12-2009, 01:54 AM
I hear ya!! I dunno....I was struck when I visited France last year how nobody was "on a diet" or fat, and they all ate beautiful food every day.

I am also trying to get off dieting and just eat the proper amount of good quality food.

So now you have a new goal -- and there are different ways to implement it. I find affirmations helpful, just eating mindfully and not impulsively....eating slower, those behavioral type things.

One thing I love about the Sonoma diet - using smaller plates. It amazed me that when I used a salad plate for dinner, I wasn't hungry afterward; my oversized bistro plates hold three times as much. That's an easy way to control portions, and I like a veg based first course (soup, salad, raw veggies) to start.

02-12-2009, 02:30 AM
I think most of us who have developed good diet habits refer to it as a "lifestyle" rather than dieting.

ED behaviours, yo-yo, and all that stuff has little to do with food and everything to do with self esteem and self worth. In order to stop "dieting" in this fashion, you need to take steps to accept yourself and want a healthy and fulfilling life.

02-12-2009, 02:36 AM
SM177, I identify with your feelings. I hate dieting for this very reason. It becomes an eating disorder (obsessive compulsive disorder) for me. But I started with an ED (emotional binging) that will probably be with me for life, so I have to choose one or the other.

I hope you can learn to live without dieting. I don't wish this on anyone.

02-12-2009, 07:59 AM
According to the BMI chart, you're normal weight right now. So why not stop "dieting" and focus on maintaining?

You could try intuitive eating (read the book, though) and see how that goes while training for the half marathon.

Whether you'll always have to count calories depends on what kind of eating you do. If you normally UNDEReat, and then binge, you'll probably need to track somehow to make sure you're not setting yourself up for that. If you are someone who chronically OVEReats a little bit each day, then you might need to track so that you know where you're at in the course of a day. Either way, those habits need to be stopped.

Most of us by now know which foods are high in calories and which are not, even if we don't count calories. The reason that a lifestyle change is more effective than a diet is that in a lifestyle approach, one is not constantly jockeying around calories trying to find a way to fit in some crummy pizza. :p Tastes really do change.

Have you found the 3FC Chicks in Control forum?


You could also try to find a counselor who specializes in food issues--maybe find a way to reduce the obsessive component.

Good luck!

02-12-2009, 11:34 AM
If you constantly count calories, it's not a terrible thing. I mean, you're aware of how much money you have and how much you can spend, right? If you spend more than you have, you can overdraw your account, get slapped with fees, wreck your credit - there are consquences for overspending that keep us careful.

Think of calories the same way. Figure out a safe, sane calorie limit for your day and consider calories your "budget."

Most of us manage our money every day without agonizing over "treats" and "good spending." We save for stuff we want and have occasional splurges. We know what we can afford and what we can't afford. There is no need to mystify food, it's just food!

the slim me
02-12-2009, 01:58 PM
I don't diet any more. That doesn't mean I don't watch what I eat. I eat healty meals and I exercise. I seldom get on a scale because I use my clothes to tell me when I'm gaining. That doesn't mean I'm not aware of what i'm eating. If you have dieted for a long time you know what a seving is and when you're eating too much.

Stop watching what i'm eating? I don't think that will ever happen. I like the weight I am not and don't want to go back to being over weight and feeling bad. But I don't panic if I eat a more one day, I just cut back a bit the next. Treats? Sure. I love my life and want to enjoy every moment. And chocolate is healthy, right? right??? I have a really great piece of chocolate every afternoon with my tea.

It's all about balance.

02-12-2009, 03:13 PM
I really liked The Complete Book of Running for Women (http://www.amazon.com/Complete-Book-Running-Women/dp/0671017039), both for the running advice, as well as the nutrition chapter. It really broke it down - you need this vitamin/mineral/nutrient, for these reasons, and here are the foods that have a lot of it. Some of the running stuff might be a little too beginner-ish for you if you've been running a long time, but maybe if you found it in a library or got it cheap it would be worth checking out. :)

02-13-2009, 10:46 AM
Easy to stop dieting (for me anyways!) ... just stop watching what you eat and eat intuiatively. But I would think the main reason for concern that way is that the weight could creep back up on you. But at 114 lbs I would think it would be easy to see it if it does.

My BIL who was a champion body builder used to always say "let the mirror be your scale"

I think that maybe the reason you find it hard to count calories is probably the lack off urgency of having to. At 114 pound you are in no danger (I hope at least) of having a heart attack whereas someone like me at my starting weight of 345, pre diebetic and sky high BP was on a straight track to one according to my doctor.

I can count calories easily because I feared for my life if I didn't take control of my eating. Fear is a great motivator! LOL!

And as someone who had an eating disorder myself (I was an emotional eater) I urge you to talk to a professional. I did and it helped me tremendously!

good luck!

Lori Bell
02-13-2009, 11:29 AM
While I agree with much of what Flatiron says, I strongly disagree with his comment on life threatening health issues you may have at your weight. Purging is VERY dangerous, and can and does cause heart problems as well as serious esophagus problems such as GERD, Esophagitis and/or Barrett’s Esophagus which can lead to esophageal cancer. Not to mention electrolyte imbalances, dehydration, oral cancers, tooth enamel erosion and higher incident of gum disease. Am I trying to scare you? YES...Bulimia can and does kill.

Please consider therapy. :hug:

02-13-2009, 02:15 PM
While I agree with much of what Flatiron says, I strongly disagree with his comment on life threatening health issues you may have at your weight. Purging is VERY dangerous, YES...Bulimia can and does kill.

Please consider therapy. :hug:

oops sorry your right Lori Bell purging is very bad I must have missed that part, I reread and I see it now.

I stand corrected but we both agree on one thing and thats professional help. I went and it helped me a LOT. I was lucky, because I got therapy for free at the VA Hospital and I am so glad I went. :D

02-13-2009, 04:23 PM
Thanks for all the responses.

Julie - I think I will try intuitive eating. It is a good plan for me because the overly full feeling is usually what sends me into panic mode.

As for therapy I don't think I'm ready for that. I've never admitted to anyone that I had a problem. I've tried to talk about eating issues with friends a few times and they gave me a negative attitude about it, saying I would have no idea what's it like to deal with weight or eating and that I should stop complaining etc etc. I've never actually told anyone about my problem because it's so NOT me. I see myself as a strong smart independent person. I feel like anyone knowing how bad my problem really is would completely destroy my credibility.

And for other things that were said, as much as I truely appreciate the advice, it is much easier said than done. It really boggles my mind to how I went from wanting to lose 10 pounds a few years ago, to this. At my worst I was probably spending $20-40 a day on binge food and I can't even admit how many times a day I'd be purging. I can't even admit to myself how bad it was. I have made a lot of progress since then and it has become more and more rare that I will get into that mode, but I still have triggers here and there.

For now I will try intuitive eating and smaller portion sizes. Has anyone tried this for a long period of time? I want to keep as sane as possible. If I feel I truely can't do this alone I'll consider therapy. And thanks so much for those who responded.

02-13-2009, 04:45 PM
I'm with Julie on I.E.!

02-13-2009, 06:59 PM
Don't forget the red line scale tip. Select a weight you want to be, and then put a red line on your weight chart (or scale or however you do it...mentally is fine) so that three to five pounds above or below that weight means you have to get back to the diet before your weight gets out of hand. Weigh yourself once to four times a month to make sure you stay in that red zone...but don't be obsessive about it (some people weigh in daily for maintenance...for me that would make me obsessive about dieting again). Let the intuitive eating, your current knowledge of healthy eating and portion sizes, and your red zone on the scale be your only "rules" for awhile. See how it goes. If you keep up with running regularly, you will probably be fine.

When I was a younger woman, and a runner, I never had to worry about my weight.

02-13-2009, 07:57 PM
I don't mean to harp on the therapy thing but I know a lot of people have the image of you must be crazy or weak or whatever to go see a counsellor but it's really not like that. All it is, is an objective, non judgemental, confidential third party to listen to you talk. Really that's it, you can talk about whatever you want, they won't push you to talk about things you aren't comfortable with.

You might find some freedom in having a neutral person to talk to about your life. I know counselling can make people uncomfortable so I don't mean to push....I just want to suggest giving it a try just once, the worst that can happen is you hate it and then you know for sure it's not for you!

02-14-2009, 04:04 AM
As for therapy I don't think I'm ready for that. I've never admitted to anyone that I had a problem. I've tried to talk about eating issues with friends a few times and they gave me a negative attitude about it, saying I would have no idea what's it like to deal with weight or eating and that I should stop complaining etc etc. I've never actually told anyone about my problem because it's so NOT me. I see myself as a strong smart independent person. I feel like anyone knowing how bad my problem really is would completely destroy my credibility.
I hope I'm not going over the top regarding that, and if I am, I apologize, because my intention is not to be hurtful. But regarding your words about therapy, I wonder if maybe that wouldn't be part of the problem. I too have a similiar attitude (seeing myself as strong, admitting such a weakness is so not me, admitting it to friends would destroy my credibility...). But even though it sounds cheesy, being strong is also being able to acknowledge when we need help at some point. I had to do that last year. After months of engaging in binging behaviours, I knew I just couldn't go on like this, and it was actually less terrifying to talk about this to a total stranger than to a friend; at least, if the stranger were to judge me, I wouldn't know anything about it, or I could just walk away and never see him/her again, and it wouldn't impede my daily relationship with a friend. Or something like this.

I'm not saying you *have* to try therapy, of course, but I think questioning a little that part about not wanting to admit/show weakness (well, I suppose posting here is already part of it, actually) can be a good thing. Why? Because these feelings may run parallel to a 'black and white', 'all-or-nothing' vision, which in turn can contribute to such problems with the dieting mentality.

As for how to go out of that mentality... Uhm... I can only talk about my personal experience here, so if it may help... Actually what I did was to walk away from 3FC and from any other place related to 'dieting' (don't mistake me, this forum and website is pretty good, but I couldn't stand seeing posts about dieting, meal plans, losing/gaining weight, etc. anymore for a while). I also picked up a couple of books about and overeating (J. Hirschmann & C. Munter are pretty good: lots of sensible things, and help to get rid of the feelings of guilt). I'm not saying it's perfect. I still have to deal with the remnants of that overeating disorder, I still remember the caloric intake of many foods, and I'm still careful with some of them; for instance I always weigh my rice and pasta, although I don't count anything any more in terms of fruits/veggies/fish/meat. But at least, I think I've managed to break the binging streak before it became too much and turned to something really dangerous.

Now what's worked for me may not work for you. Anyway, intuitive eating seems a good and sensible plan in any case, so if you feel it will be a good thing, by all means, go for it.

02-14-2009, 11:39 AM
Sweetie, at 114 pounds you are not overweight. Having said that , in order to maintain your loss you do need to be concerned about calories and think about what you will eat. There is no such thing as stopping a diet and forgetting about what you are going to eat, not if you don't want to regain.I find that I would rather be aware of these things than have to start all over again. Counting calories is preferable to having to wear extra large clothing.