Weight Loss Support - Which to address first-emotional eating or sticking to eating plan?




Truffle
07-05-2009, 08:34 PM
Over the years, I've fallen into emotional eating as a way to cope with many things in my life.

I was just about ready today to sign up at ShrinkYourself.com to address this, but that isn't going to help me start taking off some of this weight NOW.

I feel like I can't stand going another day this fat, and I MUST fight myself to stick with an eating plan that will, hopefully, lead to weight loss.

I've been tracking my food off and on recently at Spark People, and it drives me crazy because I feel that it makes me obsess about food when I'm trying so hard to ignore a lot of it, if that makes any sense.

I need to lose at least 120 pounds, and though I've made many, many, many attempts, I haven't been successful at losing to this point. (I've been hypothyroid and on medication for it for ten years, so I know that isn't helping one little bit.)

Have any of you emotional eaters had luck just trying to stick within your calorie ranges and lost weight, even without specifically addressing the emotional eating problem, or have you run into a brick wall too?

Just wondering if I'm shooting myself in the foot yet again by trying to track my calories and stay within range without doing anything about the emotional eating except trying to white knuckle through and don't do it?


ennay
07-05-2009, 08:52 PM
Both. Do both. Dont say "I am never going to emotionally eat again, I am going to white knuckle this" because then if you slipl once, it is over.

The key is to count on the days you emotionally eat also. It's hard but it helps a lot. One it stops the beating yourself up cycle. If you emotionally eat a cookie or even 10 cookies, you record them and you deal with the damage and move on. It helped me a lot at the time to take some of the emotion out of it. "So I ate 4 cookies in a moment of feeling sorry for myself. 600 calories. Less than 1/6th of a pound. Lets move on" Or sometimes "ok, a bag of M&M's not great, but seriously, I can deal with 240 calories. Boy I wish I had used them on something more filling though"

The second key is to not try and "make up for emotional eating". Small things sure. If I have a cookie or a few candies maybe I dont get my other planned treat later that day. But if I have a 600 calorie cookie attack, NOT eating dinner to catch up will only spiral. Cause sure thing by dinner that sugar will be gone and I will be HUNGRY. Start back on plan. Eat your normal dinner. Forgive yourself. Move on.

And yes, if emotional eating is a pervasive thing where you cant get a handle on it, you may need more help, but dont wait to start.

ennay
07-05-2009, 08:59 PM
Oh...and plan for it. I was going through a super high stress time and started keeping bags of carrots and celery everywhere. I was FURIOUS one day just steaming mad and I emotionally chomped my way through about 4 stalks of celery and 4 carrots. My jaw hurt, my tummy was full and I hadnt done too much damage.


kiramira
07-05-2009, 10:20 PM
Yup, I spent YEARS debating about WHY I was fat and WHY I ate emotionally and WHAT was in my past and blah blah blah. I spent YEARS talking and analyzing and reading books and doing workbooks and I still ate. So I thought something had to change. I decided that I clearly wasn't going to figure things out any time soon, and the weight wasn't going away on its own. So I decided that if I could do just ONE thing for myself, I would stick to an eating plan. Every day. Even if I didn't feel like it. So, I found a plan I could fit into my lifestyle and am sticking with it. And you know what? The need to emotionally eat seems to be, well, going away. At least, the binging on crap has. And I've lost weight! Go figure!!!
What has happened for ME is that I no longer have given myself "permission" to binge on crap. You know -- I'm so MAD, I'll show THEM, I'll eat CAKE. Or I'm so HAPPY, I'll CELEBRATE, I'll eat CAKE...I personally believe that emotional eating is, well, a CHOICE, because there are so many other ways to deal with emotions. We just give ourselves permission to do so.
Now I've chosen to deal with my emotions in a different, non-destructive way. And I think you can, too...
JMHO
Kira

Truffle
07-05-2009, 10:45 PM
Yup, I spent YEARS debating about WHY I was fat and WHY I ate emotionally and WHAT was in my past and blah blah blah. I spent YEARS talking and analyzing and reading books and doing workbooks and I still ate. So I thought something had to change. I decided that I clearly wasn't going to figure things out any time soon, and the weight wasn't going away on its own. So I decided that if I could do just ONE thing for myself, I would stick to an eating plan. Every day. Even if I didn't feel like it. So, I found a plan I could fit into my lifestyle and am sticking with it. And you know what? The need to emotionally eat seems to be, well, going away. At least, the binging on crap has. And I've lost weight! Go figure!!!
What has happened for ME is that I no longer have given myself "permission" to binge on crap. You know -- I'm so MAD, I'll show THEM, I'll eat CAKE. Or I'm so HAPPY, I'll CELEBRATE, I'll eat CAKE...I personally believe that emotional eating is, well, a CHOICE, because there are so many other ways to deal with emotions. We just give ourselves permission to do so.
Now I've chosen to deal with my emotions in a different, non-destructive way. And I think you can, too...
JMHO
Kira

Thank you both for your replies.

Kira, I think what you wrote is pretty much what I reached the conclusion on today too. I've done all sorts of introspection, analyzing, buying and reading of books...and I still want to eat crap all day, every day.

I'm amazed that your emotional eating is going away just by sticking to an eating plan. I'm not sure I've ever heard anybody say that before, but that's good to know.

Since I really can't afford to keep gaining, I don't feel like I have the luxury to keep trying to "find answers" to why I do emotional eating. As you said, I've just got to get a grip on myself and stop doing it.

Ennay, I think this is where your suggestions will come in---to track what I eat even when it's way over my limits. That's where I always bog down. One handful of mini Reese's too many and my plan is out the window because I "failed" to be perfect.

As you can see by my stats, this hasn't been working very well, since I'm close to 300. :(

Madison
07-05-2009, 11:04 PM
Ditto what Kira said. I spent many years pontificating and having those lightbulb moments only to eat my way up to almost 300lbs. In the end all of that time that I had spent WAS very worthwhile.

Becky - what I found was that just STARTING had a lot of power in it. Starting something that makes sense for me. And along the way there were many aha! omg yes! moments. But getting a little bit of momentum and confidence that I could do it and that I would was important for me.

I really struggled with this recently at having regained some of the weight I lost but I am starting to feel confident again :)

I would think about what way of eating makes sense to you and then just start! Even if its for one meal, or one day, but make a start.

And the longer that you do not eat for reasons other than hunger the easier it is . . . that is the other thing that I am remebering. It does get easier.

Hugs to you :hug:

kiramira
07-05-2009, 11:13 PM
Ms Truffle, I still get the urge to just eat, eat, eat. But the fact that I have a plan lets me say "NO. I can't eat this. I have only x weight watchers points left for today and I have a great dinner planned. If I EAT this, then I can't have a full serving."
It takes a huge effort at first, because my ingrained habit was to just, well, grab something sugary, quick, and fast or salty, crunchy and snackable. I think emotional eating is just a way of DISTRACTING us from our emotions -- doing something to dull the feeling, so to speak, whether it is a good feeling or a bad feeling. If you are like me, you eat whenEVER you have a big feeling, be it happy OR sad. You know, "I don't want to feel this, so I'll do something instead", and that "something instead" is to EAT.

Sometimes I wonder if this is linked to my upbringing, when displays of emotion were completely forbidden, so I compensated by eating. And this has become a HABIT. And HABITS can be broken.

I've had to do other things to distract myself that are healthier -- I leave any eating situation if it is too distracting. I jump in the shower -- now THAT'S distracting! I weed the garden. I long onto 3FC :). But I do SOMETHING that involves my mind connecting to my body. Because if I don't, I'll focus on the "I wanna eat" thoughts because I'm not physically engaged in something else.

So I don't think the URGE to dull one's emotions are completely gone -- I've found other things to do other than eat.

Let us know how it goes for you -- I know you can overcome this. And if you break the bad habits and get some great ones, it does get easier. Even LIFE gets easier, because you have better coping strategies all around that aren't self-destructive.

:hug:

Kira

Tai
07-05-2009, 11:51 PM
Truffle, I had a lifetime of emotional issues with eating. I want to give you encouragement, because I had good luck with just calorie counting when I started out. If I can do it, anyone can.

I wish you the best of luck; I know this is not an easy thing.

CountingDown
07-06-2009, 12:15 AM
OK, first - you CAN do this! If I could end my emotional eating cycle at ate 50+, you can too.

The others ar right. Plan. And, make a list of substitutes. WHAT will I do when I want to reach for food as a reward, to get me through a stressful day, when I am bored, etc.?

I developed a long list of alternatives.
Some of mine are:
Work in my garden
Take a buble bath
Work a puzzle
Read a book
Take a walk
Meditate / pray
Exercise
Craft or sew
Clean my closet
Experiment with makeup or hair styles
Do my nails
Call or visit a friend
Come visit 3FC
Surf the net for goal clothing ideas

I log everything in Fitday - this helps me see my emotional eating patters as what they are. And, if I absolutely MUST grab food to deal with my emotions, like ennay, I grab healthy, crunchy foods - fresh vegetables, a 100 calorie bag of popcorn, Fiber One cereal, etc.

We are all works in progress, and progress - NOT perfection is the goal!

rockinrobin
07-06-2009, 01:00 AM
Another emotional eater here. I too got sick and tired of trying to wait to figure everything out. I waited long enough - 20+ years. No, it was finally time to take some much needed ACTION.

And absolutely planning was essential. I counted my calories which helped to put the brakes on. Figured out what I was going to eat IN ADVANCE and stuck to it like GLUE. Set some STRICT guidelines and food "laws" for myself to follow. Lots of rules, definite NO's. Rid my home of the junk, while adding in good healthy, delicious lower calorie foods. All these things helped GREATLY to keep my emotional eating in check.

Adhering to my calorie budget forced me to find other ways to deal with my sadness, frustration, boredom, anger, joy, annoyances, stress and what have you.

The list that CountingDown gave you has some great diversions from food. And like the others, when I just "have to eat something", I turn to string beans, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, cabbage or cucumber salad, a glass of water or a hot cup of tea.

You can do this. One day at a time. Start incorporating some healthy habits into your life. DEMAND and REQUIRE more from yourself. Find out what strength you really have, dig down deep - it's there - and find out who you were meant to be. You will amaze yourself.:hug:

mandalinn82
07-06-2009, 01:07 AM
For me, then plan come firsts. If I COMMIT to being on plan, and I get emotional, then I am FORCED to come up with something else to handle my emotions. And that has helped me to deal with my emotional eating, because eventually, you learn new strategies to deal with the emotions. If you CUT OFF the option to eat emotionally, you will either deal with the emotions, or come up with an alternate way to self-soothe. Both are good!

So make the commitment, however you need to do it...whether requiring you take 15 minutes before eating anything to cool off, plan your meals strictly and only keep the food in the house to prepare them, etc. Commit and let the emotional learning follow after.

joyra
07-06-2009, 01:15 AM
Many people have written some great things already so I'll just say the mantra "Stop Thinking & Start Doing" works well for me... I totally overthink things and whenever I start a diet, if I don't perfectly plan it out I feel like I'm walking through the woods in the dark... but none of my perfectly planned diets have ever worked. I found it was okay to figure things out as I go.

Also, overthinking sometimes made me feel emotional and consequently eat emotionally.

Madison
07-06-2009, 01:22 AM
Also, overthinking sometimes made me feel emotional and consequently eat emotionally.

Yup. My head likes mind games and making things more difficult than they need to be. The doing seemed to sort that out.

obnoxious kisses
07-06-2009, 01:47 AM
I've recently found that keeping a blog, journal, or something will help you deal with your emotions. Or even talking with someone. Just get it out of your mind either written or spoken, and it will make you feel 100% better.

That was my big problem. I recently found that I love writing, especially poetry. It takes a lot of creativity to write poetry, especially mine because you really have to try and figure out the meaning of it all. What can I say, I guess I'm pretty clever. :P

Joking aside though, it's really a great way to clear your head and instead of eat, you find yourself doing something more constructive!

Kery
07-06-2009, 03:29 AM
I'd say both, too. Emotional eating won't just go away, and it can hit you back full-force if you don't take care of it, but as you said, keeping on gaining or somesuch isn't a very good option either. Although it may depend on the plan you choose to follow. I've had serious issues with emotional eating last year, and I found out that counting calories triggered/increased them, whereas other kinds of 'plans' worked better, since they made me focus on food too but in a different way. But again, it probably depends on the person.

Truffle
07-06-2009, 08:40 AM
I've had serious issues with emotional eating last year, and I found out that counting calories triggered/increased them, whereas other kinds of 'plans' worked better, since they made me focus on food too but in a different way. But again, it probably depends on the person.

There's a lot of great advice in this thread, that's for sure.

The problem for me is that counting calories, following Weight Watchers--anything "diet-y" like that--makes things WORSE. It makes me obsess all the more, which isn't helpful.

I'm trying to let food go back to being "in the background", something I don't give a lot of thought to unless I'm hungry. Weighing, measuring, tracking, and keeping a food diary all seem to mess with my head more by keeping my mind busy worrying about whether or not something will put me over my calories, will I be able to fit this in, etc.

The minute I try to restrict my eating in any way, whether it's by counting calories, doing low carb--it touches off some kind of "rebellion" thing in my mind, and I eat all the more.

I seem to do better with an "intuitive eating" or non-diet approach, and staying off the scale, but the weight loss is extremely slow (and not consistent) with that, and I usually end up worrying that I'll NEVER lose anything that way, or else I let somebody else's excitement about following an eating plan spill over onto me, then I try it, and blow it, and end up feeling worse than ever.

This is a terrible thing to have gotten stuck in, that's for sure.

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions here!

Madison
07-06-2009, 08:55 AM
I understand how you are feeling Becky, have you thought about the foods that you will and wont eat?

TJFitnessDiva
07-06-2009, 09:06 AM
I'm an emotional eater but have cut it down considerably. I did start on the Core plan with WW (they don't have it anymore) to get on track with healthy eating then started keeping track of points later on too....I completely cleaned house, threw out most of my pantry and fridge :lol: and just started over. This helped me get rid of the things I knew I would just sit and eat when I got stressed.
I also started doing some sort of activity to help get rid of the stress...if I felt the urge to eat afterward I would grab baby carrots, grapes, peel an orange to eat, etc. Something filling but light on points.

It is something you are going to have to figure out with what will work for you but don't let the emotional eating be an excuse ;)

Madison
07-06-2009, 09:12 AM
Tanee makes a good point :) The reality is you will have to change the way you eat, and what you eat .. . I fought it for a long time but its not as scary as it feels ;)

rockinrobin
07-06-2009, 09:25 AM
There's a lot of great advice in this thread, that's for sure.

The problem for me is that counting calories, following Weight Watchers--anything "diet-y" like that--makes things WORSE. It makes me obsess all the more, which isn't helpful.

I'm trying to let food go back to being "in the background", something I don't give a lot of thought to unless I'm hungry. Weighing, measuring, tracking, and keeping a food diary all seem to mess with my head more by keeping my mind busy worrying about whether or not something will put me over my calories, will I be able to fit this in, etc.

The minute I try to restrict my eating in any way, whether it's by counting calories, doing low carb--it touches off some kind of "rebellion" thing in my mind, and I eat all the more.

I seem to do better with an "intuitive eating" or non-diet approach, and staying off the scale, but the weight loss is extremely slow (and not consistent) with that, and I usually end up worrying that I'll NEVER lose anything that way, or else I let somebody else's excitement about following an eating plan spill over onto me, then I try it, and blow it, and end up feeling worse than ever.

This is a terrible thing to have gotten stuck in, that's for sure.

Thanks for all the replies and suggestions here!


The thing is that for lots of us, intuitive eating is what got us to be overweight in the first place. My intuition tells me to eat, eat and eat. That's what an emotional eater does. Turns to food at the first sign of well - almost anything.

You say that you "worry" using this "method" and that counting calories or WW also makes you "worry" and obsess.

Eating well, eating healthy DOES require some thought. It won't/can't happen on it's own. Leaving it up in the air, letting the cards fall where they may - again, that's why most of us are here.

Things that matter, things that are IMPORTANT - they DO require advanced planning and thought. It's not obsessing - it's doing what is REQUIRED. What's NECESSARY. I wouldn't leave my finances up in the air. I may overspend my money, go overboard with credit cards and be MAJORLY screwed. My children, my family - I need to always know what's going on with them. My job, my work - I can't just let it run on it's own. It requires an ongoing effort. If I slack off - I'll be fired.

You also mention that you can't do anything diet-y. That's also why lots of us here have decided to quit dieting and change our lifestyles instead. We eat healthy foods that provide us with slim, trim, fit and healthy bodies. We now eat carefully, mindfully and responsibly. By tracking/monitoring our food intake - that's the mature, responsible, sensible thing to do.

I think you may have to decide what you want the MOST. You really can't have it both ways. You also have to decide what you are WILLING to do to make this work. Two often tossed around quotes" "The definition of insanity - doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result". "If you want what you do not have, you must do what you have not done."

If you want this very, very badly, you'll definitely find a way to make it work and won't allow any, not a single excuse to stand in your way. You'll do whatever healthy measures it takes. :hug:

jendiet
07-06-2009, 09:40 AM
I'm probably going to get yelled at...but I feel your pain. Counting calories makes me mad literally. I sit there and tally up my total. Then my mind actually goes like this:

"see that you got 200 calories left, you can break that up into 4 and have 4 50 calorie snacks. That means you can eat one cookie. Or you can have 1/2 banana, or you can have an apple." something along those lines...it's like I couldn't just let those 200 calories be a deficit. I'd have to use them or I'd go mad. I would constantly be thinking about it...carrying a little notebook around with me. And this does work. In my more obsessive days while I was dealing with 2 eating disorders. I kept a log very very detailed. I ate 1800 cs. I was an avid exerciser. I had a line for my expenditure and a line for what I took in. I kept a daily deficit log. IF I went over one day, I'd make it up over the next few...or something like that--and there's nothing wrong with that because you are trying to create a deficit in whichever way is most comfortable for you. Every successful diet plan DEMANDS a deficit. And you have heard that a 3500 cs. deficit = 1lb loss.

I have found though after many restarts of this type of plan--it just makes me more upset about being on a diet. And if I plan on that 50 calorie snack--I end up eating more than the 50 cs. Then the feeling of failure comes over me. that one cookie becomes 2. All of the time I spent calculating and thinking about food--could have been used on other things.

I have come up with electronic logs. I like WW better than calorie counting because it is less tedious. I kept spreadsheets of everything. As long as I logged everything religiously--I could tally it up immediately.

But everytime I ate, I would look at what I ate the day before, I would plan what I would eat at dinner. What I'd eat the next day, and so forth. I couldn't live like that. I am too spontaneous a person.

eventually I got burnt out. I think you have to find what works for you. I found a plan that worked for me--fast 5, and ADF. I don't think about food all day. I actually enjoy that. I spend more time looking for things around the house to do. When it is time to eat. I enjoy the spontanaeity of being able to pick something not planned out. I know as long as I eat reasonably I won't undo my hard work. For me seeing results keeps me motivated. Plus, I see the results of my body using it's own stores while I am not eating. The scale and the tape measurer also confirm the success. Now, I spend more time looking in the mirror then I do at a calorie log. and That's how I like it. The fast 5 is not a very low calorie diet. I ate about 1200 cs yesterday. But during the day I did not eat so that my body was forced to burn my fat stores for fuel. I still created a deficit though. Also--to me the fast 5--is not my lifestyle--but a tool to lose weight. Also to maintain. For me a diet is that a diet--not a lifestyle. The lifestyle is eating healthier and learning from my past mistakes. Not living by a calorie counter.

Eventually of course I have to figure what I can eat to maintain and I plan to use the WW system-to get the pattern right.-but by that time I will be so super motivated by my weight loss-I know I will stick to it. I too am tired of being fat. And can't stand it for even one more day. That determination will get you results.

I said all that to tell you--I understand the overwhelming feelings of constantly thinking of food and how calorie counting seems to enhance it.

I found something that works for me. We all have to do that. I encourage you to not try to get boxed in by what others deem the correct way to diet. It may not be correct for you!

Thighs Be Gone
07-06-2009, 09:40 AM
RR--always the voice of reality. Thank you!

Thighs Be Gone
07-06-2009, 09:47 AM
As for the calorie counting--I almost find it a game. I have always been a foodie. I love food. I love preparing food. My first job as a teen was at a grocery store and I guess my love for food began well before then. I love buying new things and creating something I have never had.

What I have changed is learning what works in my body. I am truly interested in learning more about food and it has become one of my hobbies over the years. Now though, instead of only being concerned with the way something tastes, I also concern myself with what it does for me once it is digested. I have learned about the superfoods and the power of whole foods. I never cease being blown away by the amount of them I can have over processed items. I never cease being amazed how wonderful my whole food options are--how there are very few items I have not found satisfactory replacements for. I monitor how I feel after different indulgences. I track my weight and activity as well as foods to understand my patterns.

I do not consider myself obsessed--just learning what I should have years and years ago--how to properly care for myself and my body and learning how to respect my own boundaries and love what God has given me. I hope to one day understand and "intutively" know how to feed and care for myself. Not now though--health wise I am still in my infancy.

ennay
07-06-2009, 12:05 PM
It makes me obsessy too. And ride it out. That's why for me it was important to commit to the TRACKING. I didnt set a firm set in stone calorie budget. I refuse to be at the end of a day and starving and say "oh well, I'm out of calories" I have a target range, I commit to the tracking. I got rebellious and bingy for awhile, but by simply committing to the tracking it really stopped the whole thing much better than anything else.

I stopped tracking and well...my ticker tells it all, nearly 20 lbs regained "intuitively eating". I went through a 2 week stretch of intuitively eating only healthy food. I was POSITIVE I was on a good stretch. Then one morning I decided from memory to track the day before. 2700 calories. All healthy food.

Even after years of doing this. If I dont write it down, I have "another healthy snack" and another.

LisaF
07-06-2009, 12:17 PM
The problem for me is that counting calories, following Weight Watchers--anything "diet-y" like that--makes things WORSE. It makes me obsess all the more, which isn't helpful.

I'm trying to let food go back to being "in the background", something I don't give a lot of thought to unless I'm hungry. Weighing, measuring, tracking, and keeping a food diary all seem to mess with my head more by keeping my mind busy worrying about whether or not something will put me over my calories, will I be able to fit this in, etc.

The minute I try to restrict my eating in any way, whether it's by counting calories, doing low carb--it touches off some kind of "rebellion" thing in my mind, and I eat all the more.


Oh, I know exactly what you mean - I am the exact same way! I've gotten better, but still, the idea of counting calories (or points or carbs or...) for the rest of my life makes me start twitching. I have a history of emotional eating as well, so I suspect we may be coming from the same place about it.

A couple of years ago, when I decided to give weight loss another shot, I sat down and thought about all of the things about dieting that make me miserable, and then decided I wasn't going to do them this time around. I wanted to find something I could do for the rest of my life, something that would be easy for me to sustain and that I could be happy with. Since counting, weighing, and measuring were right at the top of the misery list, I needed to find a different way. It meant changing my approach to food and eating, and it took work, but it is so worth it.

Here's what worked for me:
When I first got serious about losing, I decided to cut out whole categories of food. For me, that meant no fast food, no deep fried food, no junk food, no "real" desserts (but definitely yes to diet desserts). I limited my snacks to things like fruits, veggies, nuts, cheese, and yogurt. The reason this worked for me is that I had a lot of trouble having just one cookie or french fry or pretzel (etc.) It was so much easier to say no altogether, and not to even have the first one, than it was to have one and then try to stop. Plus, it's mentally and emotionally easier for me to have a lot of flexibility within the categories of food I can eat. I can't deal with feeling bound to eat according to a laid-out menu, but I can easily deal with choosing one out of a whole bunch of acceptable snacks.

I don't wish to imply that I completely ignore calories and fats. I do things like check a restaurant's website to find out the healthier choices. But I think of that as just having the information, not being part of a plan that rules me. And while I don't regularly measure things, I've done it on occasion to learn what one portion looks like. But again, that's about having the information I need to make the best choices.

Now, here's the most important thing:
Willpower can only get you so far. I truly and firmly believe that willpower has its place, but you cannot depend on a strong will to keep yourself in line for the rest of your life. What willpower is great for is giving you the time and space to develop new habits. First you get used to the idea of an apple for a snack, then you start to accept that as the new normal, and eventually it is normal. And that time when you're depending on your willpower to firmly tell yourself, "no, I cannot eat that," is the time in which you're adjusting to your new normal.

Now here's the awesome part:
It is no longer a struggle for me to eat healthily. I never, ever, believed that this could happen, but it did. (And it was something of a shock when I first realized it was happening - if you're curious, I wrote about it here (http://www.3fatchicks.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135470).) These days, it's just normal for me. And the other part I never expected is that now I can have just one fry, or half a cookie, or a sliver of cake, and feel completely satisfied with it. It's not that I try to convince myself that I've had enough; it's that I HAVE had enough. This also means that I can be at a birthday party or a pot luck and not feel deprived, and when I do have what I want I don't feel like I'm out of control or doing something wrong.

There are definitely still times when I need to remind myself that the only problem food can solve is hunger. There are definitely still times when I feel the impulse to try to fix a bad mood with chocolate. But there are far, far fewer of them and they've gotten a lot easier to deal with. Part of that is that they've gotten a lot easier to identify - if I feel the sudden need for chocolate, I can recognize that it's not a normal thing for me, and then ask myself where the craving is coming from. Once I recognize the stress for what it is and figure out what's causing it, I try to figure out what actually might help, because food's not going to do it.

I don't know that what I'm doing will work for anyone else. We've all got our own issues, and I think that for me, part of being successful was trying to work within the framework of those issues rather than ignoring them or trying to fix them. That they did get fixed (at least, to a large degree) is an unexpected joy, but it wasn't part of my goal.

All of this is to say: It is absolutely possible to lose weight without counting and without making yourself into a crazy neurotic. It takes work, but then, any eating change is going to take work. You just need to figure out what kind of work you are capable of doing.

Lisa

Onederchic
07-06-2009, 12:32 PM
If you want this very, very badly, you'll definitely find a way to make it work and won't allow any, not a single excuse to stand in your way. You'll do whatever healthy measures it takes. :hug:


I agree with this completely. I use to give myself excuse after excuse when really I was the only thing holding me back from accomplishing my goals. No more excuses for me ever :nono: . Now I take responsibility for my own life and if I succeed or fail, I am the only cause for that.

Truffle
07-06-2009, 01:35 PM
I'm probably going to get yelled at...but I feel your pain.

I said all that to tell you--I understand the overwhelming feelings of constantly thinking of food and how calorie counting seems to enhance it.

I found something that works for me. We all have to do that. I encourage you to not try to get boxed in by what others deem the correct way to diet. It may not be correct for you!

Not getting boxed in by what others think is the correct way to do this is the conclusion I reached this morning.

They say not to start anything that you don't think you can continue for the rest of your life, and believe me, I could not/would not count calories/record them, etc. for the rest of my life, so something else is going to have to be the way for me...

Thank you for all the great replies in this thread. Lots to think about.

rockinrobin
07-06-2009, 01:51 PM
Not getting boxed in by what others think is the correct way to do this is the conclusion I reached this morning.

They say not to start anything that you don't think you can continue for the rest of your life, and believe me, I could not/would not count calories/record them, etc. for the rest of my life, so something else is going to have to be the way for me...

I too resisted counting for years. Until I was sick and tired enough of being soooo miserable. I was at that point WILLING to give anything a try.

I'm not trying to convince you of anything. Really, I'm not, because I do think it really is a very individual thing and I think we all need to figure out what will - and won't work for each of us.

I know it seems alien and foreign, but honestly when you get used to the counting it's quite easy, shmeazy. I know the calorie counts of everything that I'm eating now. All my breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks all have similar calorie counts. They are all interchangable. All the work has been done a long time ago.

There's also the fake it till you make it mentality. You can always give it a try. Who knows? You may get hooked and realize how freeing it is, and like me wonder why in the world you didn't do it years and years earlier.

All the best. :)

Nuxmaga
07-07-2009, 05:06 PM
For some people it is calorie counting actually is obsessing--if you have OCD. I resisted calorie counting for a long time because I wasn't in treatment for my OCD, and it did truly consume my life when I tried tracking my food. OCD goes beyond planning and helpful rules, into the need for absolute certainty, the anxious thought that I'm not doing it exactly right, so I must keep checking the numbers, keep thinking about it, going over it in my mind to the exclusion of anything else. I started Exposure and Response Therapy(ERP) for my OCD--and I treat calorie counting as an "exposure"--I expose myself to the thought that I may not be accounting for every calorie exactly right, and practice tolerating the anxiety until it subsides. Doing ERP with a therapist is one of the best things I ever did for my peace of mind, and ability to actually do things rather than spend all my time in my head.

rachinma
07-07-2009, 05:21 PM
On one hand, I feel like counting and tracking and measuring is really disordered eating behavior. But, when I don't do this, I have the propensity to overeat on healthy foods. I tried Weight Watchers once and the facilitator was talking about the Core program and said, "No one is going to overeat on plain oatmeal..." Wanna bet? ;)

So, now I track. I don't love doing it, but it's OK. I don't think I'll do it the rest of my life, but it does make a HUGE difference in my case.

kiramira
07-07-2009, 07:20 PM
You know, there are SO many plans out there, and the basis of them is to cut calories. Some do it through counting them, some count WW points, some eliminate starchy carbs, some eliminate red meats, some through intermittent fasting of some sort, some through eliminating sugar from their diet...So if you keep LOOKING you'll FIND something.

I think what RockinRobin and the others who have been successful are trying to say is that it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to lose the weight without coming to the conclusion that your intake HAS to be controlled. It HAS to because your intake to date has left you with extra weight.

I personally agree with this. I would LOVE to intuitively eat just the right amount of the right foods and not have to think about it. But it ISN'T. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. for me. Because if it worked this way, it WOULD HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED. Naturally. After all, it isn't like I WANT to be fat. But I am.

I BEHAVED MY WAY INTO A SIZE 22; I HAVE TO BEHAVE MY WAY OUT.

Unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. It sucks. I hate having to count WW points. I want to "listen to my body" but when I DO, it says "More Doritos, please", and I can't trust it as much as I trust my handy food journal and WW calculator. And it takes time and effort and is frustrating and it isn't FAIR. There is no magic switch or mind set or pill or ANYTHING that will let you resolve a weight issue permanently without pain, effort, or getting a grip on your intake. THIS is the truth for those of us who are losing weight. And the longer you resist this truth, the longer it will take you to lose the weight and keep it off.

JMHO

Kira

Truffle
07-07-2009, 08:39 PM
You know, there are SO many plans out there, and the basis of them is to cut calories. Some do it through counting them, some count WW points, some eliminate starchy carbs, some eliminate red meats, some through intermittent fasting of some sort, some through eliminating sugar from their diet...So if you keep LOOKING you'll FIND something.

I think what RockinRobin and the others who have been successful are trying to say is that it is VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE to lose the weight without coming to the conclusion that your intake HAS to be controlled. It HAS to because your intake to date has left you with extra weight.

I personally agree with this. I would LOVE to intuitively eat just the right amount of the right foods and not have to think about it. But it ISN'T. GOING. TO. HAPPEN. for me. Because if it worked this way, it WOULD HAVE ALREADY HAPPENED. Naturally. After all, it isn't like I WANT to be fat. But I am.

I BEHAVED MY WAY INTO A SIZE 22; I HAVE TO BEHAVE MY WAY OUT.

Unfortunately, this is the truth of the matter. It sucks. I hate having to count WW points. I want to "listen to my body" but when I DO, it says "More Doritos, please", and I can't trust it as much as I trust my handy food journal and WW calculator. And it takes time and effort and is frustrating and it isn't FAIR. There is no magic switch or mind set or pill or ANYTHING that will let you resolve a weight issue permanently without pain, effort, or getting a grip on your intake. THIS is the truth for those of us who are losing weight. And the longer you resist this truth, the longer it will take you to lose the weight and keep it off.

JMHO

Kira

I do agree with you that to lose weight, we must get the amounts we eat under control.

However, I "dieted" my way up to a size 26, and I truly believe that if I had never tried so many diets, I wouldn't be anywhere near this size.

The quickest way for me to ramp up my eating is to start roping myself into some sort of "eating plan". Also, saying "lifestyle change" or whatever other phrase is used, doesn't fool my mind either, because I know it's still a "diet".

I have the best results every time I STOP tracking, writing down what I eat, jumping on the scale, trying to follow a certain food plan--but the problem is that I let outside factors convince me that I'm doing something "wrong" by doing this, so I never get to the point of taking off a chunk of weight naturally.

This has been a very interesting discussion.

kiramira
07-07-2009, 09:03 PM
Hey, we all have to find our own plan. And if it works for you, it works for you! And who's to say any differently.

I wish you well...

:hug:

Kira

JayEll
07-07-2009, 09:40 PM
Truffle, you might try also looking outside the food issue.

Are you physically active? If not, are there ways you could become more physically active? I don't mean logging exercise calories and all that... I consider that all guesswork and meaningless. I just mean being more physically active. Walking. mild exercise. Stretching.

Do you eat enough of the main food groups? Are you not getting enough protein? It's easy to feel hungry if one isn't getting enough protein, and unfortunately, one tends to reach for sweet foods, which just keeps the hunger going.

Have you been to your doctor lately for a checkup?

I have managed to avoid the OCD version of tracking myself--I just use it as a tool that tells me kind of where I'm at with food. Like so many other posters, I tended to overeat when I didn't keep track. But after doing it for a long time, portions become second nature. I know what a serving of rice looks like, and what a serving of pasta looks like. I also know that just because a pile of something gets put on my plate doesn't mean I have to eat it...

If you have issue with eating because of emotions--by all means look into therapy or counseling, especially with professionals who specialize in food issues. This may pay off for you in the long run.

Truffle, let us know how it goes, OK? :cheer2:

Jay