100 lb. Club - Thoughts.....




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sunray077
03-10-2011, 09:13 PM
I realized something this morning. I am not a moderation person. My husband is always telling me you can eat anything in moderation. It seems everyone is always talking moderation. So I try that & I fail. Then I get mad at myself and think I'm a failure. I am unable to do anything in moderation! When I smoked I smoked 1 1/2 packs + a day. When I go out drinking with friends I get drunk. I started an exercise regime I have to go right for 40 + minutes....so I can't have the candy, potato chips, and fast food....I can't eat them in moderation. I can't eat them like a normal person. I can't eat them at all!

Not eating them at all will be hard at first. Just like when I quit smoking that was hard...but I don't need them. They don't bring anything good to my life and just like smoking will turn to disease THEY also have the capacity to kill me and make my quality of life not what I want.

Honestly, this realization has caused me to feel as if a weight has lifted off my shoulders. I'm ok and this is something I can do.....baby steps. :carrot:


Gale02
03-10-2011, 09:31 PM
WTG for realizing what you need to do! Good luck on your journey. You're off to a great start, it's all about figuring out what works for you. :)

Trazey34
03-10-2011, 10:13 PM
I guess as long as those things are the ONLY reason you gained weight, just plain old never eating them again might work??? I don't want to be a negative nelly, i just worry that those foods still EXIST in the world right, and when your will power evaporates, even for a few minutes as it does for all of us on occasion, do you have coping mechanisms lined up to deal with those times? I always thinks it's easier to work on our response to things than to pretend they don't exist in the first place.


kaplods
03-10-2011, 10:17 PM
My thoughts?

After I read David Kessler's "The End of Overeating," I realized that in many ways learning moderation is a myth. Not that moderation doesn't exist, but learning moderation is a very complex skill - so complex that abstinence is very often easier than moderation. And at the very least, moderation is more about finding tools to abstain most of the time (for example never buying icecream, but occasionally going out for an ice cream, perhaps once a month. Perhaps twice a year).

We understand and accept abstinence with some things. Alcohol, illegal drugs, gambling, even prescription drugs (we don't generally condemn a person who rejects all prescription meds because they had a problem with one).

But when we accept total abstinence as a viable choice for some moderation problems, it's not as acceptable when it comes to food. We say that abstinence is impossible because one cannot abstain from food, but that's not true because food-addiction is almost never out-of-control behavior with all foods. The foods that are prone to moderation-issues are food with very particular properties (drug-like properties) and they're properties that can be avoided without any risk of malnutrition.

You could just as easily say that abstainence for a "spending addiction" is
impossible, because one must spend money to live. But that's not what we mean. We understand that a person with a shopping addiction, may have to avoid recreational shopping. But we can't accept abstainence from recreational eating, because it's the national pastime. Avoiding the mall may be unusual, but avoiding food-for-fun, why it's just plain un-American (and I'm not saying healthy food can't be enjoyed. I'm talking about foods with little to no redeeming nutritional value, for which "fun" is the primary and virtually only perk to the food).


Food addiction, is generally carb-addiction. In fact, it's usually the carb and flavor combination that Kessler describes in his book. Foods that contain the fat/salt/carb combination.

Processed carbs, simple carbs, and short-chain carbs (carbs that either are sugar, or break down easily into sugar) are the most addictive. And there's no dietary risk whatsoever to abstaining 100% from these foods.

And yet, people will still tell you that you can't or shouldn't do it. How can you enjoy the holidays without cookies? How can you celebrate your birthday without cake? How can you offend the giver by not eating their lovely food gifts? You should learn moderation.

Of course it's difficult to abstain from these foods, because they do "feel good" (temporarily) but also because the drug isn't stigmatized and almost anyone can become a drug pusher, even grandma. And boy howdy, do they push. "Just one," "you deserve a break" "but they're so good," "I made them just for you," "you're no fun," even "I'll be offended/hurt if you don't at least try one."

In that regard, streetcorner drug pushers could take lessons from grandmas - because no one fights dirtier than Grandma when it comes to getting you to give in.


Of course, not many people would be persuaded by a drug dealer trying to guilt them into indulging because of the poor drug-deprived people living in China.



I firmly believe that the majority of overweight and obesity issues are a result of the ways in which our culture influences not only eating habits, but also dieting habits. We're "taught" to diet in ways that don't work permanently.

The secret of weight loss "success" always seems to boil down to some type of unlearning. You've got to become willing to "break" some of our cultures most hallowed food customes.



It is not sacrilege to say "no" even if it is to your sweet Grandma.

kaplods
03-10-2011, 10:25 PM
I always thinks it's easier to work on our response to things than to pretend they don't exist in the first place.


Avoiding quickly digesting carbs, isn't any different than any other kind of abstinence. If a person with any kind of control issue has friends and family that still have the same issues, they also cannot avoid every situation in which the substance/behavior is present or available. We expect an alcoholic to be able to turn down a glass of wine at a Christmas party, but turning down a brownie is impossible? Reallly?


Abstinence doesn't mean pretending that a thing doesn't exist. A person with a spending problem who avoids malls, isn't accused of pretending that malls don't exist. The gambler who avoids casinos is not pretending gambling doesn't exist. The sex addict who avoids prostitutes, is not pretending sex doesn't exist. The alcoholic turning down a glass of wine, isn't accused of pretending alcohol doesn't exist.

It's only when a person decides to abstain from foods, are these accusations made. Abstinence (whether or not one has a control problem) is acceptable in virtually all other areas of your life. If you want to give up anything else, permanently or temporarily, whether it be malls to lottery tickets, it's usually seen as a legitimate choice, but if you want to give up quickly digesting carbs, suddenly you're an ostrich with its head in the sand.

I think it's only our assumption that these foods are unavoidable, that makes them so. It's because of the assumption that any reasonable person should be able to learn maintenance, that we discourage abstinence.

"Learning moderation" was once the tactic that was taken with alcohol - for the same reasons "You can't avoid it, so you must learn moderation." We learned that isn't true. You can't (or at one time in history couldn't) avoid alcohol and cigarettes, but that doesn't mean abstinence is impossible or undesireable.

We see how well "learning moderation" did with alcohol (moderation is almost never encouraged as a treatment strategy any more). I think it's only a matter of time before we realize that moderation with uber-high GI/GL carbohydrates may be every bit as impractical. Possible for some, but not for many (maybe not for most).

Trazey34
03-10-2011, 10:35 PM
hmm that's interesting... I guess I've dealt with too many patients in my clinic who claim a food addiction, only to break that addiction (usually to a sweet) by abstaining from it and succeeding up to a point. What invariably happens is that that addictive behaviour is transferred to something else, which more or less negates the thought that that one specific item was an addiction in the first place, if you get my meaning. The 'behaviour' of eating that item was the lure, the thrill, the satisfaction, not the actual piece of food in and of itself.

I've read the literature as well, and it depends on what school of thought you want to believe, which evidence is more compelling to you. For myself, I can't and won't blame my morbid obesity on carbs, my penchant for gorging myself is what did it, not evil sugar they slip into my food. I knew it was there and I loved it and wanted it because I was very self-indulgent. I was not addicted to the food, I was addicted to the fun of it, the spoiling of myself, the thrill of having bags and bags of the stuff around me whenever i wanted and in any quantity I wanted. That was all me, and obviously I can only speak with any degree of certainty about my OWN experiences.

I would never suggest to eat candy bars in moderation while you're trying to lose weight that's silly, but I think it's really dangerous to go into a new life with a mantra of "Chocolate bars are forbidden to me for the rest of my life" because that opens up an entirely different can of worms. Yes we can live without them, but few of us do.

I'm more a fan of working thru mental issues and age-old behaviour patterns and kicking the crap out of them then just planning on ignoring or abstaining from entire food groups for the rest of my life. I want to NOT eat something because I WANT TO NOT EAT it because it won't benefit me, I don't need it, I don't want it. I don't want to fear food, that's why I did so much therapy myself. I can't have that fight every single day for the rest of my life. I couldn't live that way.

Let's see.... that's my 2 cents, twice, so i'm up to 4 cents worth of blah blah blah now LOL

sunray077
03-10-2011, 10:51 PM
Trazey, I understand your thoughts...I know there are likely issues that need dealt with also..and you bring up great points! But I agree with kaplods. No one would have advised me to smoke in moderation because (in my family & work) it is everywhere. But people think nothing of telling people it is ok to "learn" to eat that sugar loaded nutrional zero candy bar (or my weakness gummy bears...bag a day sometimes gummy bears) in moderation. LOL I can't eat my weaknesses in moderation..I can't. I think abstaining, period, is the only way I will be successful...I am still an addict to smoking..I fully believe if I take a puff I will once again be a pack + a day smoker..so obviously I do have addiction issues to work with....

I have never looked at my eating in this way before and kaplods you have given me even more points that support they way I am feeling and make me think I may be onto something (for me)! Thank you! I hope I am successful in this because nothing else is working! :hug:

kaplods
03-10-2011, 11:07 PM
I know I'm giving far more than two cents here, but the science is amazing, and fascinating. Some foods are far more like drugs than we've given them credit for. We acknowledge that most people can use many drugs in moderation, but some people cannot, but somehow saying the same about food is seen as conroversial.


hmm that's interesting... I guess I've dealt with too many patients in my clinic who claim a food addiction, only to break that addiction (usually to a sweet) by abstaining from it and succeeding up to a point. What invariably happens is that that addictive behaviour is transferred to something else, which more or less negates the thought that that one specific item was an addiction in the first place, if you get my meaning. The 'behaviour' of eating that item was the lure, the thrill, the satisfaction, not the actual piece of food in and of itself.


This doesn't at all contraindicate addiction, in fact quite the reverse. Most of my education and career (B.A. and M.A. in behavioral psych and developmental psych respectively) I've worked in fields associated with substance abuse treatment, law enforcement, and mental health and social services, and in my education and experience, crossaddiction is extremely common, especially during the transition from use to abstinence. When an alcoholic gives up alcohol, their risk for addiction transference to another substance or behavior is greatly increased, but no one says that an alcoholic who takes up eating, smoking, gambling or risk-taking behavior when they begin alcohol abstinence, must not have actually had a problem with alcohol. Rather the propensity for addiction, increased the potential for multiple-addiction. And withdrawal from one substance puts a person at far greater risk for seeking out behaviors that will illicit similar effects in the body and brain.


Often now, treatment actually encourages people to find healthier and and more socially acceptable ways to trigger the same brain chemistry. When I was a probation officer, I had a probation client who took up sky-diving, and because it is a legal activity, everyone was all for it. Still an "addiction" but a healthier one.

It's why probation and substance abouse treatment now encourages people to meet their needs for novelty, excitement and other stimulation - "the lure, the thrill, the satisfaction" as you put it, by other more socially acceptable, healthier means. They're encouraged to seek it out through participation in religion, hobbies, activity, social support... because the same brain chemicals are produced by all of these (good advice for obese people as well, though obese and overweight people avoid these for the same reasons other addicts do - shame).

The food addiction research suggests that the "pay off" for food addiction is the same for other addictions - the brain and body chemistry effects. Primarily dopamine and serotonin, but also, adrenaline, cannabinoids and other body/brain chemicals...




obviously I can only speak with any degree of certainty about my OWN experiences.


I also can mostly only speak from my own experiences, but "abstinence" isn't even seen as an alternative for food, where it is seen as a legitimate choice for other behaviors. I tried for decades to learn moderation, but I never considered even attempting to avoid certain foods entirely, mostly because it just never dawned on me that it was possible (virtually everyone told me it was not).

When I avoid high carb foods, my hunger is a fraction of what it is when I eat very high carb foods. There are also other negative consequences to eating a very high-carb diet for me. I see autoimmune disease symptoms return, and I start experiencing more pain flares. I feel healthiest on a relatively low-carb diet, but somehow people argue that sugar is somehow something I "must" learn to eat. That's ridiculous.


I think it's really dangerous to go into a new life with a mantra of "Chocolate bars are forbidden to me for the rest of my life" because that opens up an entirely different can of worms. Yes we can live without them, but few of us do.

It's also dangerous for an alcoholic to go into a new life with a mantra of "beer is forbidden me for the rest of my life" because that also opens up an entirely different can of worms.

Few of us can live without unhealthy foods, because we're taught that we can't live without them - or at least we can't live enjoyably without them. With that assumption, we make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.


There is a distinction between food and heroine. A "slip" with abstinence has less severe consequences. I can and do slip frequently with foods I intend to abstain from. I've found that wheat causes tremendous health problems for me (if I have a large serving, my face will be fuchsia, almost like a sunburn in a few hours and will flake like a sunburn the next day. If I eat more, my skin will actually become swollen and will break out in an impetigo like rash - yellow fluid will ooze from the pores, which will become crusty and will caue intense, maddening pain and itch. The itch is almost worse than the pain, because it's so hard to avoid scratching - I'll wake in the morning with deep scratches from clawing it in my sleep).


With such an intense reaction, no sane person would suggest I not abstain from wheat, and yet it's still difficult, because wheat is everywhere (often hidden), and it's tied to such wonderful sensory and social memories.

If I were to think "good bread, cake and pasta are forbidden me for the rest of my life," it makes a day or two of icky skin and some joint pain seem like a small price to pay for a wonderful piece of crusty italian bread.

Abstinence makes a better choice for me, but I don't plan it forever. I plan it for today, and only today (just like everyone else on any abstinence plan - it's not forever, it's just for today, and I'll deal with tomorrow when it gets here).

Abstincence is always short-term. You never look ten years down the line, you take it one day at a time, and if you slip, you continue to take it one day at a time.

I've only been able to lose weight and keep it off, by intending abstincence from foods that I have difficulty eating in moderation. When it comes to carbs, and even wheat, I slip sometimes, but I don't beat myself up, I just get back to avoiding them.

For me, it's far easier to intend to eat "none today" than to intentionally eat some, but not more.

I'm just saying that one choice should be considered as legitimate as another. I've known problem drinkers who were able to learn moderation. More power to them, but abstinence is ok too. Whichever works best.

But often, we're not even encouraged to try abstinence with food (except for the duration of a quick diet or Lent).

There's nothing wrong with giving it a shot.

Trazey34
03-10-2011, 11:16 PM
Best of luck Sunray, you find what works for YOU and you're golden!!! other people can give all the advice in the world and it matters not, only what works for you is what works for you!!

I know it's never as easy as saying "i'm never eating xyz again" and that's that; just like the recovering addicts kaploids mentions, there's constant ongoing therapy and struggle to avoid those things so I'm sending good vibes and thoughts your way that your choices works for you!

And @kaploids, I agree that all our choices are equally valid if they work for us. This weight loss journey is a buffet of choices, every day. I get on my therapy bandwagon, I can't help it LOL it's like discovering quinoa, i can't wait to share it with people!!! Losing 160 pounds (HOLY F**K) is great don't get me wrong, but my sanity over food is worth more to me than just about anything else I possess. My main concern for Sunray was her assertion at the outset that she's an 'all or nothing' personality and i know how far that got me in this journey :( I worry too much!!!

Okey dokey kids, that's it for reals ! LOL I'll stop being a mother hen and let folks get on with their choices!!!

i really have to stop using so many exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!

sunray077
03-10-2011, 11:29 PM
:D You both have done tremendously well with losing weight! I only hope this is the kick I need to do as well as you are! Thank you for your opinions/different ways of looking at things!

ubergirl
03-11-2011, 12:04 AM
This is such a fascinating discussion. I have to say that I am with Trazey on this, BUT, I HAD to make a big long list of absolute NO foods, and stick with it for a really long time, like more than a year, before I got to the point that I could start to figure out what was REALLY going on with me.

I was (and am) a binger-- and I'm one of those bingers who goes straight for the sugary carbs: in fact, I ate stuff that was barely even food, like cake decorating frosting straight from the tube. Yuck. Sometimes it felt like it sort of hurt to eat it, and yet "I couldn't control myself..."

So I quit, cold turkey, and stuck to it 100% for over a year. That's when I realized something really important. On every other weight loss attempt, I had always tried to substitute lo-cal or no-cal alternatives for the "bad food"... when I got that uncontrollable urge that I had to eat something, I would eat something "diet" which never quite cut it. Eventually, I end up not being able to fight the cravings any more. So this time, I trained myself to wait out the cravings. It was really horribly painful. I would get this fidgety empty feeling inside. That feeling had nothing to do with hunger-- it was more like trying to break a very very bad habit, almost an OCD like compulsion.

And I haven't broken the habit entirely. I have become a marathon gum chewer, and when I'm really tense, I substitute gum for what would have been jelly beans or junior mints in the past. Also, sometimes I eat raw flax seeds (I know, weird...) by the spoonful straight out of the bag.

So slowly, over time, I've come to understand that the problem is the behavior. I developed a coping strategy of eating when I was nervous or anxious and it took on a very compulsive quality.

I still have not perfected it, but I am much more able now to separate myself from the urge and realize that I'm reacting to a feeling by engaging in a deeply ingrained behavior...

A lot of the time, I do really well. Sometimes, I chain chew gum and eat flax seeds... Occasionally, I just crack and start doing the old thing.

So, that's a long way of saying that you may find it helpful to ban those foods entirely and not try to eat them in moderation. I think I absolutely had to do that in order to get enough distance to be able to break the cycle.

shannonmb
03-11-2011, 07:48 AM
I also think this discussion is really fascinating! Sunray, I am just like you. All or nothing! And amazingly to me, I am really torn between Trazey and Kaplods' approach to this. On the one hand, I think it was really wise for me to abstain from stuff that I have figured out to be my trigger foods (mostly the fat/carb combo). Doing that has really helped me realize that it is possible to eat healthily (and heartily) and not be white-knuckle starving the entire way. That has been THE difference for me.

But with a nod to Trazey, I have also found that at Christmas time, I was able to eat a 7-layer bar my aunt made, order popcorn at the movies, and eat a full Christmas dinner and not totally derail myself. I had some cravings for a couple days after that week or so of indulgences, and was willing to accept the cravings for the experience. And I was able to get right back to it.

The slippery slope for me, and one that I will have to constantly stay vigilant about if I am to continue flirting with these choices in this way, is that if I don't get RIGHT back to it and let one day of it lead to the next, then I am screwed and will be right back to my old ways in the blink of an eye. So I am still frightened to do this with any regularity, as well I should be IMHO. I'm talking a couple times a year, max, with LOTS and LOTS of attempting to abstain in between. (Edit to highlight attempting, as I do stray at times. I'm talking about planned, all out splurges.)

Good luck to you, Sunray, and thank you SO MUCH for the discussion, ladies!

KatMarie
03-11-2011, 09:25 AM
"In that regard, streetcorner drug pushers could take lessons from grandmas - because no one fights dirtier than Grandma when it comes to getting you to give in."

Omg...so true! Lol. My granny moved in with us 10 years ago so I could care for her. She's forever pushing food at me. She's 110 pounds, 90 years old, and her main food group is sugar. She's always "Here, have just a bite of this, one bite isn't going to hurt you." ....while she holds a chocolate bar to my lips. Seriously...I'm not exaggerating. Thankfully, I'm stronger than I've ever been to saying no to junk food. Haven't had any junk for over 10 months and the longer I go without that crap, the easier it gets to say no to it. Nine months ago, she might have lost a finger holding that chocolate up to my mouth, lmao.

Trazey34
03-11-2011, 10:54 AM
I slept on it, and was so curious to see what everyone else is experiencing. This IS SUCH an interesting thread, I love reading all the opinions!!! I want to know more about how people deal with abstaining from everything. Like alcoholics who give up liquor there’s a lot of hard work behind it, working the A.A. steps, therapy to overcome addiction etc., and I wanted to know what goes into the abstaining of food?

If it were simply a matter of saying “I will never eat junk food again” then we’d ALL be 110 pounds LOL And if it’s just sheer will power, well that can last for a while but not forever. So I’m interested in the mechanisms and coping strategies people employ in order to abstain from what they consider a drug to them, and how it works long term and what kind of success those who have done it for a long time have had?? I know it’s just empirical data but I’m really curious and interested!!!

runningfromfat
03-11-2011, 10:59 AM
I'm not either but the good news is you don't have to be to lose weight. :D

Actually, I find creating my own diet is really the best thing for me. Right now I'm not in strict dieting exercise mode because I'm stuck with the in-laws until the beginning of next week and don't have 100% control over my food AND I'm actually not allowed to exercise at the moment. :(

That being said, when I do go into 100% diet mode I do NO sugar, no fried foods, no pop, no alcohol and low carb (but I still eat bread sometimes and pasta but I go for whole wheat). That works really well for me as long as I stick to that like glue (I didn't even need to count calories with that and I lost well) but once I start falling back on my rules I can slip up very easily.

sept15lija
03-11-2011, 11:00 AM
I really think this is an individual thing - some people need to swear off of it forever, do it, and are very successful, much like a recovering alcoholic. Others are able to have things in moderation. Personally I can have things in moderation...I am a slave to my calorie budget, and if I want something, I fit it in and have only what my calories will allow. I don't know why I'm able to do that, but I am. Perhaps I'm lucky. I don't know where this ability was my whole life. But for those who one bite is a slippery slope to many many bites, they are better off just saying no. God knows I say no to a ton of things now...and saying no is so worth the results!!

reptogirl
03-11-2011, 11:45 AM
so far i have been able to have things on moderation..my sister had curly fries from arbys the other day, andi limited myself, or when we had a bag of chocolate last month, i took one serving only..yum yummy dove caramel.

obviously i haven't always practiced moderation, i wouldn't be 300+ pounds if i did..as long as i am on a diet, and seeing downward motion on the scale. but i am on a pretty loose diet..right now my calorie goal is just to stay under 2000, and as long as i can loose on that, im good. so that allows me a little more freedom. i could never get an order of curly fries for myself..the calories are outrageous!!! but i could go get a couple of jr roast beefs at 200 calories each

now i don't trust myself with say dominoes pizza i truly truly don't think this stage in my diet, i would be able to have only one or two slices..probably couldn't stop at 3 either. so for now anyways it is a boxed out food...

i have actually been reading some about this in the thin commandments. about boxing in a food, or boxing it out.

everyone is different, you just have to find what works for you and respect what works for other people.

fattymcfatty
03-11-2011, 02:01 PM
This is weird for me. I had to "detox" for quite a while. I have certain rules as far as sweets. I do not buy them and bring them into the house. I haven't allowed myself milk chocolate since Halloween.

However, I can go out and have an off-plan gourmet dinner with a dessert and be fine, or splurge and have a couple of glasses of wine on the weekend and it doesn't send me into a tailspin. I have been practicing moderation, because it is a skill I am going to have to learn for maintenance.

For instance, my Mom's b-day was last week, DH and I are taking her out to dinner and going to have cake and frozen yogurt. I'll have a small slice and work it into my calories. At restaurants, I always strive for the best choice, and do nothing deep fried. It's like I've reprogrammed myself, but this has taken MONTHS.

Vixsin
03-11-2011, 02:11 PM
Not that moderation doesn't exist, but learning moderation is a very complex skill - so complex that abstinence is very often easier than moderation.

THIS!!!!! I agree 100% that practicing moderation takes a skill that comes with time.


I firmly believe that the majority of overweight and obesity issues are a result of the ways in which our culture influences not only eating habits, but also dieting habits. We're "taught" to diet in ways that don't work permanently.

The secret of weight loss "success" always seems to boil down to some type of unlearning. You've got to become willing to "break" some of our cultures most hallowed food customes.


I also agree whole-heartedly with that. Society teaches us so many things that are totally wrong when it comes to dieting.

Great post!

mmel3283
03-11-2011, 04:51 PM
For me...I'm trying to learn what my trigger foods are and avoid them.

Candy is a huge one...and I need to just not eat it. It's easy to not count a couple of peanut butter cups.

I haven't eaten fast food since October...and I can honestly say...I have no desire to.


I've limited Pizza and Wings to once a month...maybe. We used to do it once a week...and while I could fit it in...not a great choice and led to much worse choices.


I always have low fat/ weight watchers desserts. I love dessert, but I make sure it's a better choice. I'm an ice cream girl...and I am sattisfied with a WW sized dessert...it's perfectly portioned. I'm coming to find that the normal sering size is satisfying...but I never take that much, but if it's already portioned out for me...I'm fine.


I haven't had cheesecake since I started WW. I did find a low fat recipe which I will try, but I just can't do the real thing right now.


It's all about finding a balance...not all junk food temps me...some does. You have to do whatever works for you...if never eating it again is the only way to do it...then good for you. Everyone has to do what works best for them.

MonicaM
03-11-2011, 05:43 PM
There are certain foods that I am totally adicted to, and I have learned to use a substitute. For example, if I buy a large container of Breyers' Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, I honestly will not be able to go to sleep until I have polished it off. I now buy the Weight Watchers small cups of MCC ice cream; eating one satisfies my craving without putting me into the binge mode. I cannot have Dove milk chocolate squares in the house, so I buy their dark chocolate ones, and one or two satisfies me. It is weird. But, I am the same with drinking. I can be at a party and have seltzer water; but, if I have one drink, I will have many more, then will binge on food.

kaplods
03-11-2011, 07:26 PM
I want to know more about how people deal with abstaining from everything. Like alcoholics who give up liquor there’s a lot of hard work behind it, working the A.A. steps, therapy to overcome addiction etc., and I wanted to know what goes into the abstaining of food?


I don't think there necessarily has to be a lot of hard work, 12 steps and therapy to food addiction. There can be, but there doesn't have to be.

It's important to realize that abstincence isn't "only for addicts." There are many reasons for abstinence that have nothing to do with addiction.

Even if you see it as "addiction" you don't necessarily have to see it as an addiction that requires hard work and intense therapy to cure. We certainly do not look at caffeine and tobacco addiction that way (but we also don't give anyone a hard time for giving up caffeine or tobacco either).

Just because several people see food as a drug, doesn't mean they see it as the same type of drug. A candy bar might be heroine to one person, marijuana to another or coffee or tobacco to another.

We know tobacco is addictive, but we also don't expect smokers to join a 12-step program and go through decades of therapy to quit smoking (though some do, that's pretty rare), and when have you ever heard of someone going into therapy or rehab to give up caffeine. Though people swear off caffeine "forever" all of the time (for some people it really will be forever, and for others it will be many relapses planned and not).



If it were simply a matter of saying “I will never eat junk food again” then we’d ALL be 110 pounds LOL And if it’s just sheer will power, well that can last for a while but not forever. So I’m interested in the mechanisms and coping strategies people employ in order to abstain from what they consider a drug to them, and how it works long term and what kind of success those who have done it for a long time have had?? I know it’s just empirical data but I’m really curious and interested!!!



For me, I see my food issues more like nicotine and caffeine addiction (there were times in my life, when food was more like heroine - but those were days when I included far, far more carbs in my daily life). When candy is in my life daily, and I'm not restricting calories and carbohydrates in some way, high glycemic carbs are more like heroine. When I'm eating my trigger foods rarely or never, they're more like nicotine or caffeine. It "pays" for me to keep my addiction in the caffeine/nicotine category and out of the heroine category.

Sometimes I do take a bite of something I didn't really plan for - the equivalent of a "puff" or more off a friend's cigarette, but I try to get back on the abstinence path as soon as possible. And I do best when I don't intentionally try to incorporate the equivalent of "smoking" into my day.


I don't guilt over relapses any more than my husband does when relapses into smoking. I just get back on track. Some foods choices make that easier than others.


Some foods and some eating habits I have to see as heroine - never a good idea to intentionally incorporate into my life.

Most of my abstinence foods though I see more like scratch-off lottery tickets, something I'm currently abstaining from, for a specific reason - budget consciousness. I have no plan to take up lottery tickets at some point in the future, but neither do I have a plan to "for the rest of my life never buy a lottery ticket."


With food, the potential addiction strength really can run the gamut of severity from chocolate, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, codeine, lottery tickets, marijuana or heroine . People choosing abstinence, may do so for extremely powerful reasons, or just for casual ones. All of them should be respected.

Most people won't (thankfully) have a heroine response to sugar, but for many, if not most it will be like coffee, cigarettes and alcohol - possible for most folks to do "moderately," but not required for quality of life.


Giving up sugar shouldn't be seen as any stranger than giving up caffeine or cigarettes.

Goddess Jessica
03-11-2011, 07:50 PM
Whether your answer is moderation or not, the problem with making absolute rules, no lists and abstinence is not the idea themselves but what to do when that fails.

The problem with all-or-nothing mentality is that for MANY women, if a slip-up occurs, it's all over. All the work, all the effort, all the training is thrown out because "I obviously screwed up, so why even try?" And it can take months to get back on board.

The same thing can happen in moderation if we don't account for the times when an item becomes a trigger -- do we decide to throw in the towel or keep going? Should we throw the plan out because "it's obviously not working."

I've seen women go from couch to working out every day and then they skip a workout and they never go back to the gym. I've seen women who lose weight, binge on a favorite food and deem the whole eating plan a failure. This is not helpful. We have to learn that like life, this is not going to be simple, binary or black and white. We're complex people and although we're told "it's as simple as calories in, calories out," it's really more complex than that.

shannonmb
03-11-2011, 09:13 PM
I can't thank every single one of you enough your thoughts on this thread! I am really getting a lot out of it. :)

kaplods
03-11-2011, 09:26 PM
Whether your answer is moderation or not, the problem with making absolute rules, no lists and abstinence is not the idea themselves but what to do when that fails.

The problem with all-or-nothing mentality is that for MANY women, if a slip-up occurs, it's all over. All the work, all the effort, all the training is thrown out because "I obviously screwed up, so why even try?" And it can take months to get back on board."

Although "all-or-nothing" mentalties are often associated with abstinence and addiction, I think there's actually no connection. Oh it definitely can screw up abstinence (by any definition), but even heroine addicts are encouraged to avoid the "all-or-nothing" mentality.

It's just as likely to occur when you're choosing indulgence as when you're choosing abstinence. In fact, some people may find it even more likely with inclusion, because if you haven't defined the demarcation between success and failure, you can see failure whenever you wish your success were just a tad more impressive. "I lost 2 lbs," becomes "I only lost two pounds." That one little word, "only" instantly transforms success into failure.

"I obviously screwed up, so why even try?" can be used as an argument for and against abstinence. While it "kind of makes sense" to think that including chocolate in your life would prevent you from thinking "I obviously screwed up, so why even try?" we wouldn't use that argument with heroine. I think the argument is just as irrational for both.

Casual, "no biggie abstinence" is just as possible as "white-knuckled, tragedy-will insue if I slip even the tiniest bit" abstinence.

Abstinence (or lack there of) is not going to cause or prevent you from thinking "I obviously screwed up, so why even try?" So that's not what your judgement should be based on. Rather, everyone finds that some things are easier to indulge in than avoid, and some things are easier to avoid than to indulge in. Everyone has to decide for themselves which things those are, based on their experiences.

Also people prone to thinking "I obviously screwed up, so why even try" need to learn ways to prevent those thoughts whether or not they choose abstinence.


For me, abstinence AND learning not to think "I obviously screwed up, so why even try" have both been extremely helpful, but different tools. I can't even say which "tool" is the most vital to my current success. I wouldn't want to sacrifice either.

NorthernExposure
03-12-2011, 10:06 AM
I'm in the moderation camp. Which is funny, because I tend to be an "all or nothing" type of person in other aspects of my life. In previous dieting attempts, I took that "all or nothing" approach and I always failed. Sooner or later, the foods from my "banned" list would come calling, and I'd give in. Once I had that bite of pizza or doughnut, or whatever, that was it. I blew it. I'd eat until I was sick and then I'd give up on the whole thing all together, believing I just didn't have the will power to "diet."

Of course no one loses weight without making changes. When I started out this time, I told myself that things like fast food, etc., were off limits, "for now." Knowing I would and could have them, someday, was enough to keep my "inner child" quiet. Chocolate has NEVER left my diet. From day one, I have allowed myself a small piece of chocolate every day. As along as I account for it (I'm a calorie counter), it's ok. I learned very quickly that "wasting" 70 calories on a fun size candy bar is a much better choice than wasting 300 calories on a chocolate doughnut. Eventually, I actually lost taste preferences for certain things (i.e., I haven't had little debbies for over a year.)

Of course there are still many things I have NOT lost taste for. I still love pizza, but I learned I don't have to eat it every weekend. But when I do eat it (maybe once a month or so), I've learned that I haven't failed just because I indulged. Instead of giving up the next day like I used to, I go right back to my healthy eating and it's all good.

This really works well for vacations, special occassions, etc. Sure, I could have probably lost more weight by now had I not allowed these "cheat" events and stayed "on plan" 100% of the time...but for me, "cheats" ARE part of my plan. This is the way I have to live the REST OF MY LIFE. Might as well practice now :)

This, of course, is just my experience. It is no more or less valid than anyone else's. The important thing is knowing what works for YOU. If you are truly a food/sugar/carb addict, then yes, it's probably best to abstain. I guess it's kind of like the difference between someone who's truly an alcoholic, and someone who just drinks too much when they go out (but can otherwise go without alcohol in their daily lives....yep, that's me too!)

Very interesting topic though. Thanks for the brain food!

sunray077
03-12-2011, 10:52 PM
How interesting to read different perspectives on the same problem! Thank you ladies! I would love to hear more from readers!

Lyn2007
03-13-2011, 12:59 AM
This thread is so, so full of insights and I haven't even finished reading page 1 yet. I have to read it slowly, to figure it out for ME. I started getting teary eyed as I was reading, because I want so badly to figure out WHAT the heck I need to do to make this weight loss permanent and continued.

What's it mean when one minute you want the weight loss more, and the next minute you really want the brownies more. I sit here and battle in my head over and over because SOME part of me seems to want to make and eat an entire pan of brownies more than I want my health and my weight loss. Of course that is not the rational part. I KNOW I don't want a 15 minute brownie spree more than I want health/good weight, so WHY? Is it addiction? I think addiction is what makes me eat the whole pan instead of one brownie (as Kessler suggests)... I know I cannot eat one brownie. The thought of eating ONE brownie is just ridiculous to me. Like, what's the point? It is gone in a minute. If I am going to eat brownies I AM GOING TO EAT BROWNIES. You know?

I dunno. I am succeeding today, right now, and the scale is going down, but I want to eat junk. I want it all the time, at least lately, and I don't know how on earth to fix that. I did have a time I seemed to be fixed, but maybe I screwed it back up again.

Thank you all for contributing to this thread. And for letting me add my own vent.

ubergirl
03-13-2011, 01:18 AM
I can say, speaking personally, that making "no" rules, is helpful, but only partially so...

I've developed a mental habit over the past two years, where, for example, when I walk into the grocery store alone (a former trigger) I mentally repeat to myself "no , I'm not going to buy any candy. no, I'm not here to buy something to eat right now..." And I find that very helpful.

What really bugs me is that there is this element of my self-control that feels like "magic." Sometimes, it's just easy for me, really effortless-- I am just coming off a run like that where I turned up my nose at chocolate without a moment's hesitation for almost two years...

But, right now, every day is a struggle... I'm having trouble keeping my desire to graze in check and I'm struggling with it every single day.

Why the difference? I don't know. I wish I did.

But I can say that I cling to my "don't eat that" rules by the tips of my fingernails...

There simply is no place in my life for eating sugary carbs-- I've eaten enough one pound bags of jelly beans and M&Ms to last me several lifetimes. And like Lynn, for me, eating one or two M&Ms-- well, there just would be NO POINT.

But, I suspect, from hanging around the boards for quite a while that those of us who are true binge eaters may really fall into a separate category. I got fat eating a pretty normal and healthy diet and then secretly binging on mostly candy or very high calorie treats in very large quantities.

I think I got fat as a side effect of a full-blown eating disorder, and so I'm not sure the strategies that seem to work for others will necessarily work for me.

I suspect that may be why our approaches tend to be all over the map-- I'm not sure you can compare a person who is fat due to an eating disorder and a person who is fat due to eating too much and the wrong amounts of food, but who does not have an eating disorder.

Lyn2007
03-13-2011, 03:18 AM
Ah, dear ubergirl, so true. I always sort of laugh when people talk about eating a "few" M&M's because that is so foreign to me. Let me be honest... eating one normal sized little bag of M&M's seems pointless to me. In fact THAT sometimes keeps me from the binge. I'll be in the checkout, looking at those bags. And I KNOW that to really get my "fix" I would need way, way, more candies than are in that little bag. Maybe 3 or 4 bags minimum and even then I would want more, so I tell myself "listen, if you start this you will end up eating 5,000 calories because one little bag of M&M's does ZERO for you!" so I don't buy it. It IS an eating disorder. For sure.

I hate that I went for months (on Medifast) with zero cravings or desires to binge, and then I screwed around with it so much over the winter going off plan and eating junk that I am struggling again. I want that BACK. I blogged at one point that I sat by a warm loaf of bread at a restaurant and it was "like a rock" to me. No temptation, not even a second glance. Now, I have to almost grip the table to avoid the bread. I want it... I want the whole freaking loaf. I always thought I was unfixable, and then I went for months feeling "fixed" and now, ugh. Going back to the struggle sucks!

I have ONE nugget of success though. I was a big time McDonalds binger. My standard was to have lunch and dinner at home, but at 2:30 on my way to get my kids from school I'd go to McD's and get a supersized Big Mac meal PLUS soe cookies or a sundae. I did it a LOT. Like, 3-4 times a week sometimes. Issues. And when I cut back I still could not fathom a life without McDonalds. Yet I quit McDs and almost all other fast food completely about a year and a half ago and I have NO desire to ever eat McD's again. Oh I want fries and junk from other places, like diners, but not there. What did it take? Finding a freaking dead fly in my food (http://escapefromobesity.blogspot.com/2009/09/lighter.html). And suddenly I was cured.

Ah, so much to learn.

milmin2043
03-13-2011, 05:24 AM
There are little bits and pieces of each of your posts that ring true for me. I have been quite successful by not bringing any unhealthy food into my house. None. So in that way, I guess I really could compare myself to an alcoholic. There is still booze at the bars and grocery stores, but as long as they aren't exposed to it on a day-to-day basis, they most likely can abstain. That's what has worked for me, keeping it out of the house.

I have been crazy for the chocolate/sugar combination since I was a child. I could easily eat 5 full-sized 3 Musketeer's bars at a time. No kidding. That was from the time I was 10 y/o. I would save up my tiny sum of babysitting money and walk to the store, buy a package of them and eat them all on the way back home. An eating disorder in the making, for sure. I would even hide the wrappers way back then as I knew it was abnormal behavior. At that time I was thin. I was very active and ate very little normal, healthy food.

No way would I be able to have one little piece of chocolate a day. You can't buy one little piece of chocolate, you have to purchase it in a larger quantity. The larger quantity would be too much for me. I am always in amazement when people say they can do that. (Just eat one piece of chocolate at a time or per day). Truly in awe. Since last June, I have figured out my trigger foods, mainly sugary foods, white carbs, Mountain Dew and pizza, and I don't bring them home. So yes, abstinence with certain foods has worked very well for me. I can go out and eat a small ice cream cone, but bringing home a package of say "skinny cow ice cream sandwiches" wouldn't stand a chance against me.

I agree. This is an interesting topic and I have enjoyed reading the responses.

dragonwoman64
03-13-2011, 01:39 PM
What's it mean when one minute you want the weight loss more, and the next minute you really want the brownies more.

Lots of interesting thoughts here.

I think the all or nothing approach for me made me tend to binge more. (I can't eat that, I can't eat that, I can't eat that...then boom, I'm eating a whole bag.)

Then, I can also say it's easier for me to just avoid having certain stuff around (baguettes, for instance; bags of potato chips, etc.), just because having it around makes it easier for me to eat it whether I REALLY want it or not, simply bec it tastes good and is pleasurable to eat.

Extreme eating behavior in any direction doesn't feel healthy to me (for me.)

I know what you're saying, Lynn. It makes sense in so many ways. Eating is pleasurable, and when your dealing with weight loss over a long period of time, keeping a longer term goal solidly fixed in your mind over the short term satisfactions -- esp if you're a person who uses food for emotional reasons (like me) -- can be extremely tricky.

So it's the mixed back of eating for pleasure and dealing with anxiety, rewarding myself (I let myself see it as a reward). Plus, I can let NOT eating certain things feel like a deprivation. Discovering healthy foods not loaded with calories, like quinoa :) for Trazey, for me has been a part of the process. Learning to exercise, and finding types of exercise I like, and developing and building routines I can stick to.

It's so easy to lose my sense of balance, and to feel weak and like a failure when I'm not on plan 100 percent, or not losing weight consistently. This is not only a lifestyle change for me, but a complete mindset change.

I think it's true that a lifetime way of dealing (habits and emotionally), can take lots of work and some time to revamp.

kaplods
03-13-2011, 05:42 PM
I think words like "abstain" and "avoid" get linked with the word "forbid," and that's not the real issue. I don't really "forbid" myself anything, but I make choices based on consequences (at least I try to).

I chose not to hit myself in the head with a hammer, but not because it's "forbidden." I don't hit myself in the head with a hammer because it would hurt (and possibly worse).

Last night my husband got the Girl Scout cookies he had ordered from a neighbor girl. I ate two Samosas. I chose to eat the cookies and then applied steroid cream to the areas of my face that usually break out.

Even though I sometimes make contrary choices, I still see wheat as something to avoid with good reason. Abstinence is my goal for good reason, but sometimes I fall short and must resort to damage control.

For me, it's about making ALL food choices more deliberate. To steal the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network’s slogan, "Respect every bite."

To use the food/drug analogy, Chocolate/sugar/caffeine/carbs they all have drug-like properties. So before using them, make sure they're the right drug for the job. Don't just pop mystery pills. Make every choice a conscious one.

I knew that those cookies were going to make my evening difficult. I knew that I was going to have the "munchies."

I never experimented with recreational drugs of any kind for a lot of reasons, but one of the reasons I avoided marijuana, was because I was horrified at the prospect of "the munchies." (Yes, I appreciate the irony of being more concerned with the munchies than the mind-altering effects, but munchies ARE a mind-altering effrect).

But if I'm willing to avoid marijuana, at least in part, because of it's appetitie-inducing properties, why is it so odd that I'd also avoid chocolate and high-carb foods for the same reason?

Why am I "doomed to failure" for abstaining from high-calorie, high-carb foods, but not for abstaining from marijuana?

Trazey34
03-13-2011, 08:33 PM
Well I for one don't think you're doomed to failure. I'm not sure why you think because someone disagrees with your method we think you're going to fail. That approach would simply not work FOR ME. If it works FOR YOU than it WORKS full stop! I was simply curious as to the mechanics, because as I said in an earlier post, if abstaining from chocolate was simply a "that's it, I'm never having that again" chat with ourselves, we'd all be 110 pounds no problems ever again.

All I'm saying about the whole situation is that FOR ME, it was all mental. The food is secondary, it wasn't about the food for ME. Once I conquered my issues and realized it, life got a whole lot easier, again for ME.

kaplods
03-13-2011, 09:01 PM
Well I for one don't think you're doomed to failure. I'm not sure why you think because someone disagrees with your method we think you're going to fail.

I'm not saying that everyone or even anyone here thinks I will fail. I'm refering to the reaction that talking about abstinence gets in general in the real world.

No one here has said to me (in this thread), "That won't work" - but I have gotten that response, and have seen other people get it too - a lot, and not only in the "real world" but even on this website and similar ones. It has been said, and it will continue to be.

I've heard it from friends, family, coworkers, Weight Watcher's members, doctors, TOPS club members, and even on this website and other weight loss sites - and I will continue to hear it until voluntary food-abstinences become an acceptable and main-stream choice.

I shouldn't have to say "I'm allergic" to avoid food pushing. I shouldn't have to defend my choice to eat or not eat any food for any reason, but that's not the world we live in.

We live in a world where it's ok to turn down a joint, even a glass of wine, but not Grandma's brownies (even if it's for the same reason), without having to take a lot of flak for it.



This is another case of my not arguing for myself. I know that abstinence from certain foods is in my best interest. I'm confident in my choices and their success. It's annoying to defend my choice, but it's my choice to do so or not.

My concern is for all the people who would benefit from abstinence (whether permanent or temporary) who will never try it because they've only heard that it's not healthy or that it can't work.

I never gave low-carb dieting a chance, for that reason. I avoided it for more than 3 decades. If my doctor hadn't recommended it (and if I hadn't gotten a second opinion recommending it) I still would be avoiding the only plan that has worked for weight loss and hunger/control and for symptom relief of pain/joint and other issues, because "common wisdom" still says it's not healthy and can't work.

Trazey34
03-14-2011, 01:35 AM
My concern is for all the people who would benefit from abstinence (whether permanent or temporary) who will never try it because they've only heard that it's not healthy or that it can't work.


that's a really interesting statement to me, virtually EVERYONE I know HAS tried it?! I thought that was everyone's 'go to' idea?? I know it was mine when I first started, and like I said, almost every single dieter i know has done abstaining???? I don't think people are afraid of it, or don't try it???

oh well, like so many things in life, we'll all have to agree to disagree and stick to what works for US, because ultimately that's the only thing we can control and know for any certainty that we're right!

We'll check in on this topic same time next year and see where we everyone is on this subject again, it's a date! LOL

shannonmb
03-14-2011, 06:26 AM
that's a really interesting statement to me, virtually EVERYONE I know HAS tried it?! I thought that was everyone's 'go to' idea?? I know it was mine when I first started, and like I said, almost every single dieter i know has done abstaining???? I don't think people are afraid of it, or don't try it???

My take on that was, that a lot of people who diet/calorie count, do try to fit stuff in like those 100 calorie packs, one piece of chocolate at the end of the day, a pizza "cheat day". That's what I always did when dieting before, keeping those cravings alive and in full swing, never appreciating that FOR ME, one little pack, piece, pizza day, was keeping me right in the cycle that I feel (again, for me) can be broken by just staying away from that kind of stuff *almost* all the time.

Trazey34
03-14-2011, 10:40 AM
^^ oh sure, I know people do that - I mean the ones (myself included) who quit sugar in its entirety cold turkey, or cereal, or potatoes, all sorts of stuff, gave it up completely. Sometimes for a low-carb diet or just because it was a food that they felt unsafe around, i mean those folks. Almost everyone I know has tried that at some point.

tlynn1974
03-14-2011, 11:48 AM
Unfortunately, I have to agree with kaplods. I am at the point where I have to almost eliminate specific carbs from my diet because I seem to eat/binge horribly afterwards. Even when I am very careful and plan, it is very difficult. I really wanted to avoid totally eliminating anything from my diet because it falls into my black and white thinking and I don't want to ever feel like I can't have something, but I am going have to strongly consider it. If I have something sweet (like cookies, which are my favorite thing in the world), my brain will tell me that I have to eat more. It's the same for alcohol. After I leave the bar, I head right to CVS for junk food. I try to plan for it by eating anything sweet late at night knowing I will go to bed and hope the cravings subside by morning, but there have been times that I've jumped in the car at 1am because the cravings wouldn't allow me to sleep.

Lyn2007
03-14-2011, 01:28 PM
Low carb is, in fact, the *only* eating method that has ever given me relief from binge eating issues and cravings. South Beach was very successful for that reason, until I thought I could get away with getting a pecan coconut chocolate Blizzard ice cream and "just eating the nutty parts" and throwing out the rest (because you know, nuts are healthy) or that I could smear a block of sugar free chocolate and a spoonful of peanut butter on a sugar free fudgesicle 4x a day and make it work. When I started doing that kind of crazy finagling with my eating, I regained the weight. I did Medifast for a solid 5 months with no cheating or cravings or binges because ALL I ate was 5 low GI packets, lean meat, and vegetables with a measured fat. NO carby or sugary stuff. THAT kind of cold turkey worked for me.... sugar withdrawal headaches for 3 days yes, but it *worked*. Yet even as I lost the weight and my doctor sang the praises, people hassled me about what I was doing. People said it couldn't work because I "should" eat healthy whole grains and I "should" have a piece of cake once in awhile. And when I listened and had a piece of cake, I went insane with the cravings and have struggled since. I am cutting the grains, occasional cake, full fat dairy etc back OUT even though people tell me it "can't work" to abstain from those things... because I know it DOES work for me and relieve my binge eating issues.

I think different ways and methods work for each person. We have to respect that, and each of us try different things for ourselves until something clicks.

ubergirl
03-14-2011, 02:15 PM
My experience may not be typical at all, but when I was losing well, I was perfectly able to eat sugary carby foods without having a binge-- a single dessert here, a bite of a cupcake there, NO PROBLEM. No triggering binging, nothing. And when I did start creeping toward binging again, it was the behavior that started first, not the food choice. I started with crunchy salty things, pumpkin seeds, then flax seeds, then pistachios....

For me it is NOT the food, it's the food behavior that is an issue....

kaplods
03-14-2011, 07:34 PM
that's a really interesting statement to me, virtually EVERYONE I know HAS tried it?! I thought that was everyone's 'go to' idea?? I know it was mine when I first started, and like I said, almost every single dieter i know has done abstaining???? I don't think people are afraid of it, or don't try it???


I agree with what you're saying here, but we're "both right," because we're talking about two very different mindsets or definitions of "abstinence."

Everyone tries "temporary abstinence," but very few go in with the idea that permanent or even "indefinite" change, is desirable or even possible.

The "go to idea" is "don't eat x, y, and z until you lose the weight, and then you can eat (at least some of) them again."

It's like someone saying, "I don't have a problem with drugs, I can quit any time I want to, I've done it a thousand times before." Or "I gave it up for Lent, which proves I don't have a real problem."

It's the universal assumption that only temporary abstinence is possible, that I'm arguing against. People "try it" and then decide that it isn't possible, because it was difficult, or they didn't like it, or everyone told them it was unhealthy...

None of those "reasons" are reasons to continue or discontinue abstinence. You continue abstinence (whether it be smoking or chocolate) if your life is better when those things are not in your life. Your physical and mental health are benefiting. You don't discontinue abstinence because you didn't like it, or because anyone says it's unsustainable, you discontinue abstinence because (and if and only if) you find that you don't suffer negative consequences because of it. If adding it back in causes negative consequences, then take it back out.


But that's not what people are encouraged to do. We're encouraged to learn to "deal with" or work around the negative consequences.

In our current culture, you can choose to give up almost everything, but carbs and sugar just because you want to. Tell people you've sworn of sex or dating forever, and they'll empathize (even if they're convinced you'll change your mind), but they're not going to send a prostitute to your house.

Tell someone you've sworn of carbs and sugar, and they'll tell you that you're ruining your life and offer you cake.

Joszac
03-14-2011, 07:50 PM
sunray077

moderation? what is that? lol. Kidding.

I have never been good at moderation either. Be it food, alcohol, work, play...you just name it. I know I have to learn moderation and quit this "all out" or "barely anything". Not that I'm glad to hear others have this problem but at least I feel like I can "talk" about it here and others get it.

sunray077
03-14-2011, 09:30 PM
LOL I agree...Moderation? I like what a previous poster said about choosing the brownies over the healthy lifestyle. I don't mean I Like it (the act of choosing the brownies). LOL I mean I understand that....I really wish I could STOP that! ;-) I've decided I am going to start with the no chips first. My husband (for once) didn't encourage the moderation...I think he is finally getting that just isn't something I can do.I'm not sure how long I should abstain from them before I stop with something else. Any suggestions?

DixC Chix
03-14-2011, 11:07 PM
I am interested in learning why these things are different:

I can quit smoking cold turkey and forever - total abstinence
I can decline alcohol for months and months and 99% of the time have just one drink when I do have it - extreme moderation

But I can't apply this mindset to food.
I can't imagine not have sugary desserts ever again.
I can't decline sugary desserts for months and months and 99% of the time I have more than one serving when I do have it.

Why can't I muster the same discipline? Did I use it up with cigarettes and booze?

sunray077
03-14-2011, 11:15 PM
Quitting smoking was very hard for me. I think I was able to do it though because I didn't have to smoke anything where as with eating you still have to eat. It would be so much easier if you didn't huh?! LOL My husband & I quit together & we are both so competitive neither of us wanted to be the 1st to fail...on that note I challenged him tonight to see who could eat better....He said he could so I'm hoping it's on! :D

Nola Celeste
03-14-2011, 11:17 PM
I am RIGHT with you on those, DixC!

If I think "never again" about once-favorite foods, I feel miserable and deprived in ways that I certainly don't about swearing off of cigarettes. I don't believe for a minute that you or I used up all our willpower; there's just a lot more at work when it comes to food.

Cigarettes are unequivocally bad for us and we don't need them to survive. Alcohol is bad for us in quantity and we don't need it to survive. Food...food's vital. We absolutely need it, so it can't be considered "bad" and therefore unavailable to us. We can maybe try to consider certain things off-limits, or acknowledge that they have unacceptable consequences, but it's hard-wired in us to like certain stuff.

Millions of years of evolution have taught us that sweet stuff with fat is good; hundreds of thousands of years of experience have taught us how to combine sweet stuff and fat into ever more potent and delectable configurations. When you look at it that way, standing up to that creme brulee is an impressive feat! :)

I get around the "never again" thing by telling myself, "Not now." I can live with "not now" in a way that I can't with "never again." "Not now" lets me pass on stuff without deprivation; "never again" makes me feel desperate and broken.

Bodies are weird and brains are weirder, I guess. :D

kaplods
03-15-2011, 01:27 AM
Quitting smoking was very hard for me. I think I was able to do it though because I didn't have to smoke anything where as with eating you still have to eat. It would be so much easier if you didn't huh?!

I always thought this too, and then I discovered that it is entirely possible to eat only the foods I have little to no problem with. I don't have to avoid all food, only the food that I don't control well.

Will I ever be able to successfully resist "perfectly?" That's not even my goal.

I just have to remember the effects of those foods, and remind myself that if I indulge, I have to take the consequences of those foods (just as I would with medications and alcohol).

It's a lot easier to avoid them entirely, than to try to have only a bite or too.

It's also not as much of a sacrifice as I expected it to be. The food I don't have control problems with, is still delicious food. Some foods are borderline, but safe enough to keep in my diet and work at moderation.

For example I have some issues with some fruit. With fruit, I do have to work at moderation, but moderation with fruit sugars is possible for me, whereas moderation with "Death by Chocolate," isn't.


It is entirely possible to avoid all or nearly all food triggers. Most people just aren't willing to. And most people probably don't have to, but a small number of us have to learn to be willing to, because we find it's the only thing that works.

Jojo381972
03-15-2011, 01:59 AM
I always thought this too, and then I discovered that it is entirely possible to eat only the foods I have little to no problem with. I don't have to avoid all food, only the food that I don't control well.

Will I ever be able to successfully resist "perfectly?" That's not even my goal.

I just have to remember the effects of those foods, and remind myself that if I indulge, I have to take the consequences of those foods (just as I would with medications and alcohol).

It's a lot easier to avoid them entirely, than to try to have only a bite or too.

It's also not as much of a sacrifice as I expected it to be. The food I don't have control problems with, is still delicious food. Some foods are borderline, but safe enough to keep in my diet and work at moderation.

For example I have some issues with some fruit. With fruit, I do have to work at moderation, but moderation with fruit sugars is possible for me, whereas moderation with "Death by Chocolate," isn't.


It is entirely possible to avoid all or nearly all food triggers. Most people just aren't willing to. And most people probably don't have to, but a small number of us have to learn to be willing to, because we find it's the only thing that works.

Great points, and summary here. This whole thread is an interesting read.

I don't buy my trigger foods and keep them in my house because I know I won't be able to eat them in moderation. I just don't buy chips, chocolate, desserts anymore.

If I am craving a chocolate bar or a bag of chips, I will go to the corner store and buy them (rare these days). I will accept the consequences of my choices.

I will also accept the consequences of eating a slice of cake at my parents on the weekend. I told her lately, that it makes it hard for me when she always has sweets around when I'm there. I bet I'll get just fruit from now on (not that I'm complaining).

There are times when I give in to my cravings and buy a bag of chips, and I wonder why I'm doing it when I know they are not good for me. I guess out of habit, emotional eating..we turn to the foods that comfort us?

Sometimes I allow myself to eat a chocolate bar or a dessert, because I've been so good the rest of the time. I think that not having these trigger foods in the house help me in abstaining from them unless I buy them on a binge or craving.

Trazey34
03-15-2011, 10:58 AM
I'm so in love with thread! I keep thinking about it, even when I'm not on 3FC, that's how you know it's super interesting!!!

I can't imagine anyone saying that abstaining from chocolate for the rest of your life is "unhealthy" i wouldn't suggest THAT ever, my only issue with all of this is that I haven't heard any mental health component that seemingly MUST go in tandem with this lifestyle choice?? Addictions are a serious business, if they aren't addressed in some form or another, they'll crop up somewhere else. If someone believes they can be addicted to a food item, then just quitting that food item won't 'solve' it permanently - something else will take its place.

And the nitty-gritty of implementing it - if you don't eat sugar, is life like that of a diabetic, having to check labels on every single item to be sure there's no sugar in it? like no ketchup or jam or bbq sauce, stuff like that? because even a little bit would 'count' right? No 'lite' foods because of the high sugar content etc., but weight must FALL off which is the upside no doubt!!

DixC Chix
03-15-2011, 12:45 PM
I'm so in love with thread! I keep thinking about it, even when I'm not on 3FC, that's how you know it's super interesting!!!

I can't imagine anyone saying that abstaining from chocolate for the rest of your life is "unhealthy" i wouldn't suggest THAT ever, my only issue with all of this is that I haven't heard any mental health component that seemingly MUST go in tandem with this lifestyle choice?? Addictions are a serious business, if they aren't addressed in some form or another, they'll crop up somewhere else. If someone believes they can be addicted to a food item, then just quitting that food item won't 'solve' it permanently - something else will take its place.

And the nitty-gritty of implementing it - if you don't eat sugar, is life like that of a diabetic, having to check labels on every single item to be sure there's no sugar in it? like no ketchup or jam or bbq sauce, stuff like that? because even a little bit would 'count' right? No 'lite' foods because of the high sugar content etc., but weight must FALL off which is the upside no doubt!!

Totally agree with this. I sometimes wonder if the act of counting calories or points or grams is addictive. Much of my daily life involves buying, planning, evaluating, counting points. Have I substituted this for planning, buying, preparing crap food or binging?

Or does exercise becoming an addiction? It certainly releases brain chemicals that make me feel good. Am I substituting exercise classes to get the endorphins and stop getting the mind numbing affects of sedentary activities (TV, books, Sudoku, etc)?

Or is it in my belief system? I believe I can't get along without sugary desserts therefore I can't, i.e. self fulfilling prophecy. I believe weight loss is difficult, there for it is difficult for me.

Love this thread. Its making me think.

laueliz
03-15-2011, 03:41 PM
Hi, I'm new on this sub-forum :)

I don't have anything to add to the discussion right now, since people have thoroughly gone over both sides of moderation v. abstinence.

I just wanted to say thank you for really discussing this issue in such depth because it sounds like it is quite different for each individual. It gives me hope that I can find a way to pick a strategy that works for me (and one way or another isn't "wrong"). I always assumed I was a carb addict who must abstain, but I think I will look further into developing moderation. Even when I abstain from carbs/sugar, I really suffer during social situations and special occasions. If I could learn the complex skill of moderation, I think it would pay off for me, big time :)

kaplods
03-15-2011, 03:46 PM
I'm so in love with thread!

I am too, it's one of the best conversations I've ever had on the subject.

I can't imagine anyone saying that abstaining from chocolate for the rest of your life is "unhealthy"

I think you'ld be surprised. I only like chocolate during TOM. I'm just not a fan, and even when I would just turn down an offer of chocolate, people would tell me how healthy chocolate was, how I shouldn't deny myself the pleasure, all the health benefits I would get by ...

Chocolate pushing is relatively mild. Tell someone you're giving up most grains, and really see the uproar about "eliminating an entire food group." Even though humans lived quite well without grains for more than 90% of our existence, it's suddenly an "essential food group." Yet no one is concerned that we've eliminated the "food groups" of insects and organ meats (the "science" of nutritional food grouping is more art than science, as there are dozens of different systems in use in different cultures and scientific disciplines).




Addictions are a serious business, if they aren't addressed in some form or another, they'll crop up somewhere else. If someone believes they can be addicted to a food item, then just quitting that food item won't 'solve' it permanently - something else will take its place.


This is actually a myth. In extreme cases it's true. It's even common, but it's far from universal. Addiction is perhaps a poor word choice, because it's generally used too broadly, to describe everything from a person self-medicating with food/drugs/whatever as a result of deep underlying psychological problems, but also to describe mild to severe physical dependence issues which can be entirely physiological or present in the absence of "deep, underlying issues."

When I worked in probation and in substance abuse treatment, we used assesment tools to determine what type of treatment was needed. Not everyone who had abuse issues needed intense therapy. And not everyone who chose abstinence did so, because they needed intense therapy. There are a lot of good reasons for abstinence that don't involve underlying emotional issues.

For some drugs "it's illegal" is reason enough. For my trigger foods "because I gain weight and they makes me feel like crap" is reason enough.


There are many drugs (including caffeine, nicotine, and sugar) that will create physical and emotional dependence in anyone who takes them long enough in high enough doses, not just in people with underlying issues. For example, early studies of heroin (which would never be done in this day and age, because of ethical issues) found that at certain doses, it took only a few administrations of the drug to create physical and emotional dependency in more than 90% of test subjects (all of the subjects were deemed mentally fit before the study, and had no personal or family history of emotionaly problems or substance misuse).

One study in particular (done in 2007, I believe) found that refined sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine. Rats were given a choice between sugar water and cocaine, and 94% them chose sugar. Even the rats that had previously been addicted to cocaine switched to the sugar once it was a choice.





And the nitty-gritty of implementing it - if you don't eat sugar, is life like that of a diabetic, having to check labels on every single item to be sure there's no sugar in it? like no ketchup or jam or bbq sauce, stuff like that? because even a little bit would 'count' right?


Actually no. "every bit would count?" is a myth even in substance abuse treatment. Vanilla, almond, mint and other flavor extracts have a significant alcohol content, but most alcoholics are able keep them in the house and use them appropriately. They can add vanilla extract to a milkshake, and not break "abstinence." There are some people who do choose to abstain even from flavoring extracts, but most don't have to.


The dependence potential of food, has very little to do with psychological instability or "deep, underlying issues." When it occurs, it's often pure physical dependency (lab rats don't have deep, underlying psychological issues that must be worked out in years of therapy). Sure, a person with underlying issues can become dependent upon food or other substances, but it's also possible to have purely physical dependency issues.


Books that were influential in my realizing that my "addiction" to food was primarily physical (I'm not saying that emotional issues weren't significant, there's just tremendous evidence that they were not primary)

Gary Taubes book "Good Calories, Bad Calories," David Kessler's, "The End of Overeating," and Barbara Berkeley's "Refuse to Regain"

Other books which I can't remember title and author, were books on autoimmune disease (and the link to grains and excessive carbohydrates in the diet), "ancestor" diet books like Neanderthin, Paleo Diet, Primal Blueprint, and other books critical of excess carbohydrate and grain consumption.

kaplods
03-15-2011, 04:20 PM
Totally agree with this. I sometimes wonder if the act of counting calories or points or grams is addictive. Much of my daily life involves buying, planning, evaluating, counting points. Have I substituted this for planning, buying, preparing crap food or binging?

Or does exercise becoming an addiction? It certainly releases brain chemicals that make me feel good. Am I substituting exercise classes to get the endorphins and stop getting the mind numbing affects of sedentary activities (TV, books, Sudoku, etc)?


Probably, but there's nothing inherently wrong with that. As with all dependency issues, consequences are the real issue. Even the goal substance abuse treatment is not to eliminate all habits, obsessions, and dependencies, it's to create positive habits, obsessions, and dependencies.

Substance use is a coping mechanism. And it's not always an unhealthy one. If you drink a glass of wine once in a great while to relax, that's not "addiction." It becomes a problem when the risks/damages outweigh the benefits.

When I worked in substance abuse treatment, 80% of the focuswas on helping the person find healthy ways to acheive the same benefits (s)he was getting from the substance.

Trazey34
03-15-2011, 04:37 PM
so you're honestly saying you got close to 400 pounds because of 1 thing only? I'm not being flippant here, or trying to sound snotty, it's hard to use a 'sincerity font' but i mean it sincerely, that you honestly believe one thing and one thing only caused you to gain that much weight?


I'm editing my post, it's only going to encourage more argument and I don't want that! i'm respectfully agreeing to disagree, and wish everyone well and hope whatever path anyone takes is successful and sustainable!

Namaste! (wow I miss LOST!!!)

kaplods
03-16-2011, 03:20 AM
so you're honestly saying you got close to 400 pounds because of 1 thing only? I'm not being flippant here, or trying to sound snotty, it's hard to use a 'sincerity font' but i mean it sincerely, that you honestly believe one thing and one thing only caused you to gain that much weight?


That's not at all what I'm saying, not in the least! I can name thousands of factors that went into my weight issues, and I'd bet that for every one I can name, there are ten or twenty that I'm not aware of. Anyone who thinks it's ever a one-cause problem, is seriously misguided. Anyone who thinks they understand every factor that went into their own (or anyone else's) weight issues, they're naive as well.


No one on the planet is obese because of one thing, or a dozen things, or even a hundred things. It's always far more complicated. At best, a person can expect to understand 10% of their issues. While there are thousands of causes for obesity, luckily each cause doesn't require a specialy tailored solution. There are fewer solutions than causes (thankfully, with thousands of issues, having to address each individually would be a nightmare).

What I am saying is that one specific factor did NOT cause my obesity - and that is "deep, underlying emotional problems." I spent a lifetime looking for them, not only going to counseling myself, but also making psychology my career choice, getting a BA and MA in psychology.

I never looked for physiological factors to weight loss, because I didn't think those issues were important. I figured that at best, they were out of my control, so the "mental" ones were all I could focus on, because I thought that all diets work equally well. I thought that low-carb diets were unhealthy and unsustainable, and impractical. Before "this time" I had never tried low-carb dieting for much more than a month (6 weeks or so at the most, probably), and every time in hindsight considered them a serious mistake.

I can't tell you all the causes of my obesity - I don't know them all, but I can say that where I've found my success, certainly does hint that physiological issues played a bigger role than I suspected (otherwise counseling and cognitive-behavioral therapy would have helped a lot more than birth control and low-carb eating).

My first clue pointing to physiology, occurred when I swore of crash dieting. In the 90's I encountered the Fat Acceptance movement and the idea that crash dieting actually contributed more to obesity than it helped. I decided that giving up dieting was worth a shot. I stopped crash dieting, and I stopped gaining weight (Wish my doctor and parents had discovered this for me at 5 years old (first crash diet), or 8 years old (first Weight Watcher's membership), or 13 years old (doctor prescribed amphetamine diet pills). My weight fluctuated between 350 and 360 (from which it was stable for three to four years, until I returned to dieting after a back injury (and regained to 375) and before my wedding (started at 375 and and gained to 394 - while on Weight Watchers
).

My second clue came when I finally chose to take birth control for my severe PMDD issues. From the time I was 9 or 10 and started my period in the 4th grade, my weight and hunger followed a very specific pattern. During the 7-10 days of PMS/TOM 7, I was insanely hungry, and the urge to binge was almost uncontrollable (I also didn't know that the foods I craved, were the ones most likely to fuel the hunger even further. Even as a 10 year old, if I had eaten a low-carb diet ONLY during those 7 - 10 days, my hunger would have been greatly diminished - but I didn't know that then. I didn't know that until three or four years ago). Those 7 - 1- days of non-stop hunger/binging, were followed by strict (often starvation) dieting for the remainder of the month to get off what I gained during "that week." If I was lucky, I could get the weight off in two weeks and have a one week "window of opportunity" to lose weight.

In hind sight, this was a really big clue that I had serious physiological issues. That every ounce of weight I gained from puberty onward, occurred during "that week" and the rest of the month I had no problem eating healthfully or following even a strict diet, should have been a bigger clue that there were hormonal issues going on. It's quite possible that if my pediatrician would have put me on birth control at 13, rather than amphetamine diet pills, I might never have exceeded my weight at the time (225 lbs).


And the third clue was the hunger-control of low-carb dieting. Between low-carb eating and birth control, I have never had this much control over hunger. As long as I'm eating cleanly, I'm never painfully hungry. I'm rarely even annoyingly hungry. Low-carb enough, and I can even "forget to eat" (which I never would have thought possible).

The effort I now put into weight loss is absolutely minimal compared to the effort I had to put in the past, just to keep from gaining. In the past, to succeed weight loss had to be 90% or more of my daily effort. There was little room for thoughts of anything else.


The "secrets" to my current success were well hidden, because they literally were in the last places I looked. I was so busy looking for emotional problems, that I (and apparently my parents and doctors) never thought to look for physiological ones.

But even though my obesity wasn't caused by one factor, only four relatively small changes were necessary to reverse it. 1. Refusing to crash diet, 2. oral contraceptives, 3. low-carb diet, 4. Refusing to be shamed away from being active in public (whether it's swimming, walking, biking, dancing or just existing).

and 5. social support (3FC and my TOPS group).



I listed #5 seperately, because it is an emotional/psychological factor, but it's also one I've acknowledged from the beginning. It isn't a "change" at all, because I've always sought out group support (since I was 8 years old and joined WW with my mother). More of my weight loss attempts than not, were made in the context of a weight loss group. I've always appreciated the support that a group can provide, whether it was Nutristystem, Weight Watcher's, OA, TOPS, weight loss bible studies...

So while I appreciate the helpfulness of group support, it's not sufficient for success.