Weight Loss Support - It's not food. It's ME.




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HotWings
08-17-2009, 01:54 PM
I am a bit hesitant to post this. I hope it helps not only me, but someone else as well. It is a bit long, but hopefully worth the read.

I have tried to "diet" my way thin many times in my life, only to fail each and every time and regain the weight. And though I have only lost 23 pounds so far in my final journey to being healthy, I have gained knowledge about myself that I did not have before. I had a lot of knowledge before regarding how to actually lose weight. But the missing piece, which I only realized this time around, was knowledge about my SELF.

I read a lot of posts in these forums. I don't respond to all, but I read *a lot*. Over and over again I see people struggling to stay afloat on their eating plan. I see people who have fallen and are finding it hard to get back on. I see people with stress in their lives that find it difficult to stay on their eating plan at those times. I see people who eat their feelings. And, I see people with medical issues who have to deal with those along with trying to lose excess weight. The one thing that all of these seem to have in common, is that it's a struggle - some days on plan, some days not. Some days wanting to give up, some days perfectly happy.

Why is this? What really makes us grab that donut? Is it just because we haven't removed it from our house? Is it because of the food industry making things so tempting? Is it because there are fast food places on every street corner? Is it because we are stressed or emotional? Is it our environment? Is it because of the co-worker that keeps bringing in the tempting food?

We need to stop playing the blame game. Let's get real here. Does the food leap off the plate and stuff itself into our mouths? No. Does the food call to us to eat it? No. Does the local McDonalds employee yank us off the street and stuff a Big Mac in our mouth? No. Do restaurants force us to stop there and eat piles of unhealthy food? No. Do advertisements leap out of the television and shove a candy bar in our mouth? No. Does the convenience store open the bag of chips, hold us down, and shove them into our mouth? No.

So what is it then?

This is the single most important thing I have learned in the last two months about myself - and possibly in my life. It is what keeps me on plan and will keep me on plan for life. It's not the food. It's not emotions. It's not the food industry or the co-worker or the friend who likes to eat out. It's ME. It's my MIND. It's all the excuses I have ever made for why I eat. It's completely MENTAL. It has always been mental and will always be mental. Unless you have a medical condition (and there are those!) that makes it nearly impossible to lose weight, it's YOU.. you and your mind. Your thoughts each and every day. It's the mental beating you give yourself when you go off plan. It's the mental beating you still give yourself when you are on plan and are disappointed by the mirror, or the scale, or the tape measure.

To lose weight and keep it off, I need to master my MIND. My thought processes. I need to develop a mind of steel. I need to recognize that it is folly to blame someone or something else for my food issues. At the end of the day, *I* am the one who puts food into my mouth. No one does it for me. I am in complete control. I make the decisions. I have no use for excuses anymore. All of the above (except for medical conditions) are excuses. I am not saying I have no empathy for struggles. I have had many of them, and still have some. But now I am mastering my mind.

I daily replace negative thoughts with positive ones. I listen to my internal conversation (yes, we converse with ourselves all day long!). I blast out the negative and replace with positive. As a result, my resolve is even greater than day 1. When stress or another struggle presents itself I ask "Who is in control here?" No thing, event or person is my master. *I* am my own master. *I* am in control. And so are YOU. YOU make the decisions on how to deal with things. We should not let anything take our power away from us... especially food. One cannot expect perfection, but if we examine our mental selves, recognize our decisions as our OWN, and take responsibility for our own actions.. we are growing and changing by leaps and bounds. We are conquering not only our weight & health, but also our minds. No more negative thoughts that intrude on our well-being and our power over ourselves.

Recognize it, examine it, OWN it, and change it.

:hug:


Glory87
08-17-2009, 01:56 PM
That floppy thing at the end of your arm - that's YOUR hand and it's the only thing that lifts food to your mouth :)

jendiet
08-17-2009, 02:05 PM
lol. heh. I am an emotional eater. I think to ignore that trigger for me would be dangerous. Food really does comfort us. It has to with chemicals in our brain. The same chemicals that give us a "happy" feeling when we exercise or when we are in a hot relaxing bath are also emitted when we eat creamy, fatty, sugary foods. In that sense it is a MIND game. For some of us we can no more shut off the need for chocolate when we are sad than we can shut off our heartbeat just by thinking it to stop. WE need to learn that the chocolate would make us feel good YES, but so will the exercise, and so will the hot bath or the happy little kitten we just bought.

For me, it is more of an issue to learn better COPING skills than it is to try to deny that food has more of a hold on me than I care for it too.

I recognize my problem and I choose to replace my bad habits with good ones. For me that is where my mind comes into play.


HotWings
08-17-2009, 02:23 PM
jen : I don't believe you should ignore it either! But look what you have done - you recognize it.. you KNOW what your triggers are.. and you are working to change it. You are not making excuses.

My main concern was that there just seem to be some people blaming someone or something else, rather than recognizing that it's us.. internally.. that is the problem. Or we mentally beat ourselves up at the first sign of trouble. Everyone has their own unique mental battle to fight - our own struggle. But if we concentrate on conquering our thoughts & our mind.. possibly that might help more than just me on this journey.

better health3
08-17-2009, 02:33 PM
I think not losing the weight is a failure to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. It is a failure to not take ownership of our lives. The food will always be there, it is never going away. The choice is always there to correct our habits--following the path of least resistance is difficult sometimes, not all the time. The one commonality of the weight loss winners is they do it regardless, no excuses, it just is....

rockinrobin
08-17-2009, 02:45 PM
Everyone has their own unique mental battle to fight - our own struggle. But if we concentrate on conquering our thoughts & our mind.. possibly that might help more than just me on this journey.

I'm an emotional eater. A this eater and a that eater. I just was an "eater". For me, yes it was conquering certain things, thoughts and my mind. But the most important thing was not conquering them, per se', but finding ways, skills, methods, techniques to put the brakes on the overeating IN SPITE of what I was feeling or what I wanted.

I couldn't necessarily figure out why I would turn to food, but it didn't matter anymore. I was done trying to figure things out, wasted too much time - and just took some action. Because in the end, none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was stopping the irresponsible behavior.

And of course in doing so, I had to find other things and ways to deal with stress, joy, happiness, anger, frustration, boredom, the temptation of the food, yada, yada, yada...

HotWings
08-17-2009, 02:46 PM
I think not losing the weight is a failure to take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. It is a failure to not take ownership of our lives. The food will always be there, it is never going away. The choice is always there to correct our habits--following the path of least resistance is difficult sometimes, not all the time. The one commonality of the weight loss winners is they do it regardless, no excuses, it just is....

Exactly! The winners have conquered themselves. For me, that is sometimes a daily struggle. Most times now, though, I just do what I need to do, because I recognize that no one is to blame. It's me and my thoughts.

Which brings me to something else. I want to read all I can about positive thinking and mastering my mind. Not necessarily weight loss books - but my mind in general. I am off to post somewhere for a list of books!

HotWings
08-17-2009, 03:03 PM
I'm an emotional eater. A this eater and a that eater. I just was an "eater". For me, yes it was conquering certain things, thoughts and my mind. But the most important thing was not conquering them, per se', but finding ways, skills, methods, techniques to put the brakes on the overeating IN SPITE of what I was feeling or what I wanted.

I couldn't necessarily figure out why I would turn to food, but it didn't matter anymore. I was done trying to figure things out, wasted too much time - and just took some action. Because in the end, none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was stopping the irresponsible behavior.

And of course in doing so, I had to find other things and ways to deal with stress, joy, happiness, anger, frustration, boredom, the temptation of the food, yada, yada, yada...

Yes! Perhaps conquer is not the right word? I was trying to get at really examining ourselves and figuring out how to deal with it all mentally (and thereby helping us be strong), instead of putting it off on something else. I used to say "I just love food. That is my problem. I like the taste of things. I am a food lover." .. While that might be true, in my mind I was really blaming the food. It was an excuse to let myself keep eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I know some of this might just be personal to my own struggle. But I really think that if we don't get the mental part right, we are setting ourselves up for failure - and that includes alternate ways to deal with what our unique problems are. We can count all the calories, carbs, etc. all we want. But if we don't deal with what is going on in our brains & recognize why we really do what we do.. and even why we have failed in the past.. we set ourselves up for the yo-yo.

Heather
08-17-2009, 03:06 PM
I realized a while ago that while this was outwardly a physical journey, it is the inward mental aspects that drive the outward ones.

The hard part -- for me at least -- is that knowing it is a mental journey and that I can control what I eat doesn't solve the problem. It doesn't turn off the wants or make the donut taste any less good at the moment I inhale it (later it doesn't taste so good!). As other have noted, I needed to combine this knowledge with a lot of strategies to get me through.
- I need to commit to the exercise that helps my mind and body feel better.
- I need to plan meals and snacks so that I have healthy foods in the house and office and don't need to turn to the junk.
- I need to avoid the all or none mentality that doesn't stop me at one donut.
- When I do go off plan, I need to think about why, so that it won't happen in the future.
- I need to not give up, even when I am struggling!

But on the other hand, I don't personally feel the need to explore some of the more emotional reasons why I let myself get (and stay) fat in the first place.

rachinma
08-17-2009, 03:15 PM
I am an excellent mother. I make sacrifices for my family and my children.

I am an excellent employee/worker. I make smart choices, nurture my staff, and contribute to the bottom line. It is difficult sometimes, but I do it.

I am a productive citizen. I do community service, even though I do not have the time. I donate to charitable causes, even though I cannot afford it. I am nice to (most of) my neighbors.

I do these things because they are important to me, even though they are not always easy. I have the same approach to weight management and health. It is difficult to be away from my family to go to the gym, but I am modeling good behavior for them. The kids would rather have pizza every day, but by offering healthy(ier) choices, I am giving them the tools they need to be healthy for their whole lives.



I will learn to make better choices, even if they are difficult.

JayEll
08-17-2009, 03:33 PM
In a way, this is like getting sober from alcohol abuse, something I also have experience with. No one ever held me down and made me drink. I was more the kind who would snatch your drink out of your hand! :lol: I had so many reasons why I drank--my disappointing life, my hard job, my relationships, my home life, :blah: All B.S. I drank because I liked it and I didn't want to stop. It was hard to stop! It meant going through withdrawal, doing things I didn't want to do, finding different ways to cope, taking responsibility...

And in some ways, being a "food abuser" is similar. In the end, although therapy can be very useful, it's the behavior that has to stop, whether the causes are discovered or not.

Instead of using a will of steel, though, I prefer "skillful means." When I quit drinking, I sometimes needed to be strong not to take a drink--and when losing weight I also needed not to pick up that donut. But there have been many other times where I've simply LET GO of what's called "self-will run riot"--an immature point of view that says I get to have anything I want any time I want it and nya nya nya :p. What that feels like to me is going limp. You can't pick up a drink or a donut if your arms have gone limp. I give up! And I leave the opportunity behind... step away from the donut...

So before I write a book here... there are many approaches, but I agree--it's not the food, it was never the food.

Find your way out of it! Succeed! Be free of the food compulsions!
Jay

HotWings
08-17-2009, 04:03 PM
I realized a while ago that while this was outwardly a physical journey, it is the inward mental aspects that drive the outward ones.

The hard part -- for me at least -- is that knowing it is a mental journey and that I can control what I eat doesn't solve the problem. It doesn't turn off the wants or make the donut taste any less good at the moment I inhale it (later it doesn't taste so good!). As other have noted, I needed to combine this knowledge with a lot of strategies to get me through.
- I need to commit to the exercise that helps my mind and body feel better.
- I need to plan meals and snacks so that I have healthy foods in the house and office and don't need to turn to the junk.
- I need to avoid the all or none mentality that doesn't stop me at one donut.
- When I do go off plan, I need to think about why, so that it won't happen in the future.
- I need to not give up, even when I am struggling!

But on the other hand, I don't personally feel the need to explore some of the more emotional reasons why I let myself get (and stay) fat in the first place.

The "all or none" mentality is a big one for me! :yes:

I do feel the need to explore why I let myself get fat, though... even the emotional stuff. For me I think it is one of the keys to help me really understand myself, deal with it and cope with this issue I have with food. I didn't stand up for myself. I didn't love myself enough to take care of myself. I always put everyone else before me. I let negative thoughts about myself take over my eating habits. I don't like that it happened, but now I can deal with it in better ways because I know why I got fat and why I failed in the past.

HotWings
08-17-2009, 04:09 PM
In a way, this is like getting sober from alcohol abuse, something I also have experience with. No one ever held me down and made me drink. I was more the kind who would snatch your drink out of your hand! :lol: I had so many reasons why I drank--my disappointing life, my hard job, my relationships, my home life, :blah: All B.S. I drank because I liked it and I didn't want to stop. It was hard to stop! It meant going through withdrawal, doing things I didn't want to do, finding different ways to cope, taking responsibility...

And in some ways, being a "food abuser" is similar. In the end, although therapy can be very useful, it's the behavior that has to stop, whether the causes are discovered or not.

Instead of using a will of steel, though, I prefer "skillful means." When I quit drinking, I sometimes needed to be strong not to take a drink--and when losing weight I also needed not to pick up that donut. But there have been many other times where I've simply LET GO of what's called "self-will run riot"--an immature point of view that says I get to have anything I want any time I want it and nya nya nya :p. What that feels like to me is going limp. You can't pick up a drink or a donut if your arms have gone limp. I give up! And I leave the opportunity behind... step away from the donut...

So before I write a book here... there are many approaches, but I agree--it's not the food, it was never the food.

Find your way out of it! Succeed! Be free of the food compulsions!
Jay

I had to deal with that one too - man, since I was little I hated anyone telling me no. So I always told myself yes. "self-will run riot" is a great term for it!

VickieLou
08-17-2009, 04:51 PM
Thank You for this excellent post. I need to realize how much a mental game this weight loss journey can be. I will try to watch my excuses to see what they are and how often. Good Luck with your weight loss!

DCHound
08-17-2009, 04:53 PM
Yep you found it, that's the secret. It's 99% mental and 1% everything else. Good job HotWings! I predict you will be posting your first 100 lb loss very, very, very soon. :)

HotWings
08-17-2009, 06:44 PM
Thank you, thank you. :encore: :lol:

Honestly, I just can't believe how long it took me to actually "get" it. It's almost embarrassing. Geez. I was really shrouded in excuses where my weight was concerned.. all the time. Daily. I guess I just never wanted to think any of it was my own fault. Now I feel kinda dumb. What a dork - couldn't see the forest for the trees. http://cosgan.de/images/smilie/konfus/s065.gif LOL!

Lori Bell
08-17-2009, 07:38 PM
YUP...I was the queen of excuses, heck, I was also the inventor of a few...:) But, thankfully I quit kidding myself. I think that is why I'm a little, (okay, a lot ;)) blunt sometimes, I see my own past behavior in other peoples posts and I think..."Oh man, I USED to say silly things like that"... As my Grandma used to say when I'd make up some lame excuse, "You can't kid a kidder".

It's funny though. I used to make up excuses, but deep down in my heart I always knew that they were just that...excuses.

nooch
08-17-2009, 08:18 PM
Oh man, thanks for posting this - it gives voice to a lot of the stuff that has been rolling around in my head recently. Suffice it to say that over the last week I felt the same thing you mentioned feeling yesterday - having the power instead of the food having the power for the first time ever.

Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I am learning such elementary things as an adult but hey - better late than never.

pucedaisy
08-17-2009, 09:51 PM
[QUOTE=rockinrobin;2879707]

I couldn't necessarily figure out why I would turn to food, but it didn't matter anymore. I was done trying to figure things out, wasted too much time - and just took some action. Because in the end, none of that mattered. The only thing that mattered was stopping the irresponsible behavior.

Yes! That's so true. I've been in therapy for years and I didn't really start getting better until I stopped thinking that understanding WHY I was depressed was what would heal me. Knowing WHY I wouldn't get out of bed wasn't what got me out of bed. Putting my feet on the floor got me out of bed! How we feel effects our behavior, but it's just as true that our behavior effects how we feel. I'm not saying its not important to figure out what's going on inside, but being in an upright position helps with that, too.

Being depressed didn't make me gain weight. Whatever happened in my past didn't make me gain weight. Putting too much food in my mouth made me gain weight. I can change what I put in my mouth. I can change how I cope with my feelings. Its not easy, but it IS simple.

rockinrobin
08-18-2009, 08:23 AM
YUP...I was the queen of excuses, heck, I was also the inventor of a few...:) But, thankfully I quit kidding myself. I think that is why I'm a little, (okay, a lot ;)) blunt sometimes, I see my own past behavior in other peoples posts and I think..."Oh man, I USED to say silly things like that"... As my Grandma used to say when I'd make up some lame excuse, "You can't kid a kidder".

It's funny though. I used to make up excuses, but deep down in my heart I always knew that they were just that...excuses.

Yes. I know what you mean about seeing yourself in other people's posts. And the thing is that we've got hindsight on our side. So it's all perfectly crystal clear to me (us), so when I "talk" it might (probably) comes off a little (a lot) "know it all-y" and - yes - blunt. Because I've been there. For a loooong time. And I finally woke up. And I want soooo badly to help others "wake-up" too. Because they can.

As for knowing all along that they were excuses, I think I may have, deep, deep down. But knowing it - and then doing something about it, are two different things. But it's an important first step to realize that they are indeed - excuses.

Knowing WHY I wouldn't get out of bed wasn't what got me out of bed. Putting my feet on the floor got me out of bed! How we feel effects our behavior, but it's just as true that our behavior effects how we feel. I'm not saying its not important to figure out what's going on inside, but being in an upright position helps with that, too.

"being in an upright position helps with that too". I love this. LOVE IT. And I'm so glad you're on the mend. :hug:

goodday
08-18-2009, 10:36 AM
sometimes i find myself wishing that it WAS the food, that it WAS other people. i know its my fault, i know i have to battle myself to battle the weight, its just...i know my every move! i know how to beat myself! it would be so much easier if i had to fight anyone or anything else. oh well, at least i know the enemy...its just too bad my enemy is also my greatest ally! whew, what a paradox.

Pita09
08-18-2009, 12:58 PM
Great thread! As a looooong time dieter (since I was 13) I've had to take a long hard look at myself more than once. However, I would continually refused to think I was eating from an emotional place because I've always felt that I had my emotions in check. I was lying to myself and over the last 4 years, I've come to realize just how self-destructive I've been with emotional overeating.

It was back this last May when I was driving in my car heading to work and feeling really humongous in my work clothes that I had my breakthrough moment. I had put on over 50 lbs that I had lost the year before and I was seriously depressed. I actually said the words out loud that I was a compulsive overeater. It was a real moment that seemed to free me just by saying the words. Then I had to tell myself that being an overeater who ate out of emotional circumstances was no excuse whatsoever. It meant that I would have to change my behavior and relearn how to eat which is what I've done since June 16th.

I really do feel that I've somehow gotten a handle on my eating and the steps I have to take to get the weight off for the first time in my life. It feels great! I still mess up, but it's getting easier and I'm relearning better habits that I will keep for the rest of my life.

HotWings
08-18-2009, 01:49 PM
...it would be so much easier if i had to fight anyone or anything else. oh well, at least i know the enemy...its just too bad my enemy is also my greatest ally! whew, what a paradox.

Agreed! A paradox for sure. And I don't think that will ever go away.. the enemy might be less prominent, but will never go away. But one thing I do know, is that in the next year I will know so much more about myself and how to cope with all the issues that come along regarding my past food abuse. I'll emerge a much stronger person - and I'll have learned lessons that I am willing to bet a person who has been thin all of their lives might never learn.

I really admire all of you ladies (Lori, DC, Robin, & others) that have gone through this and have emerged on the "other" side. I can understand, now, why you would want to hang around here and try your hardest to help others "see" what's really going on. THANK YOU so much for being here for everyone else!

Pita - I feel the same - for the first time in my life I am actually in control! It's empowering.