Weight Loss Support - How do you stop yourself from becoming obsessive?

09-03-2011, 09:00 PM
I have been taking a break and just sticking to maintenance mode these last few weeks. My father in law passed away and I ended up having to go to the urgent care for unbearable pain and am now scheduled for gallbladder surgery this week. Needless to say its been a little hectic. I have still done well with my food choices and still feel pretty good. However I have noticed as the stress from the funeral and stuff has passed I feel so much better now that I'm not literally obsessing over every single calorie I put into my mouth. Before I would not even try something if I couldn't get an exact calorie count for it. Or if I didn't have my phone with me to access my fitness pal I would say over and over again in my head whatever I had eaten so I would not forget.

So my question for all of you is how do you walk the line between tracking and obsessing??

09-03-2011, 11:55 PM
That's a good question, but I don't have a good answer. It reminds me of some eating disorder documentary I watched a while back, and the fact that so many of them started out as normal calorie counters really freaked me out. A lot, if not most, obese people got the way they are through disordered eating (namely, binging), and that makes us very vulnerable to the other extremes, which may even lead to the various types of eating disorders. I guess the only thing I can think of in the way of an answer is to work on the psychological side while you're dieting (especially figuring out your relationship with food). If you start to get that out in the open, then other extreme behaviors may become more obvious to you and you may be able to stop them at the warning signs.

09-04-2011, 12:04 AM
Hmm, I don't know if I could say it any better than Kelly. It's hard not to obsess, but I guess when you realize that it could be an issue, then you just have to make a conscious decision. If you are enjoying the freedom of not worrying so much now, then perhaps in the future it will be easier to let it go. It's funny because I'm more likely to cheat and justify it, so I'm a little less dependent on knowing the calorie content of every single morsel, though I am more aware now than I have ever been. I have made some dietary mistakes this way. I guess it's 6 of one and a half dozen of another.

April Snow
09-04-2011, 12:33 AM
I used to do calorie counting and that was a lot harder on me than my current plan. Right now, on the Dukan Diet, there is a list of 100 permitted foods, and that is all you can eat, but you don't have to worry about the quantities, so I'm not weighing and measuring and counting and tracking.

So in a sense, I am obsessed about staying on plan. But the way this particular plan works, I am spending FAR less time thinking about food and not calculating every bite because it's a quick yes or no - if it's on the list, I eat it, if it's not, I don't.

I'm not knocking calorie counting but I think that being at least a little bit obsessive about it ends up being part of the process if you are going to be successful on it.

09-04-2011, 05:37 AM
I'm sorry for your loss, and also you have my sympathies over the gallstones. I've got them too, I'm due for surgery sooner or later, and ye gods, biliary colic is absolute agony. You must be stressed to pieces with all of this going on.

Tackling the psychological issues is probably a good first step, but it can also help to sort out the basic practicalities. Why don't you have your phone with you all the time? Right now I'm guessing that it's a multiple-handbag issue, my mother is always finding that she's left something crucial in another handbag. If that's the case, would it help to stash pens and paper/little notebooks in all your bags so that you can always jot down what you've eaten? The easier it is to track, the less you have to worry about it.

Most people tend to eat the same foods a lot of the time. Would it help you to have a list of foods you know fit well into a certain calorie count? Batch cooking and freezing portions, going for the same meals when you're out, that sort of thing.

09-04-2011, 06:31 AM
Excellent question. I can't answer it :)
But I do know that for me, in order to achieve the weight loss that I have, I HAD TO BE OBSESSIVE! Without the daily accountability for my actions, I would have failed, like the countless other times I tried to lose weight.

09-04-2011, 09:50 AM
Starbrite - bear in mind that a certain level of behaviour which is similar to obsessiveness can be useful, whether it's accountability in dieting or meticulousness in creative work, but the OP here seems to be talking about the level of obsessiveness which is unhealthy and can be counterproductive.

09-04-2011, 01:46 PM
This is actually a touchy issue that arises here a lot. Obsessiveness as a diagnosis is about disordered thinking -- one way to understand it is thinking that does not allow you to live your life to the fullest. (BTW, compulsions refer to the behaviors).

Thus, what to an outsider might look obsessive/compulsive (needing to track every calorie) might be something that is very useful to the person engaging in the behavior and may allow them to live the life they want to live... This is part of what makes this a complicated issue.

09-04-2011, 01:54 PM
And unfortunately we live in a world where it's socially acceptable to say, "I'm so OCD," when you don't actually have that particular mental illness, just as it's acceptable to say "lame" for "bad". I know, I'm very much aware of that one too. I don't think anyone was actually doing it, and I think there's a distinct grey area in that being obsessive about something in particular does not necessarily mean you have OCD. It does tend to mean doing something to the point of unhealthiness, and it does tend to get used when "meticulous" or similar would be more appropriate. For instance, I've been known to say that quilting is quite an obsessive activity, and as well as the fact that meticulousness and strong interest are common and very useful with this craft, it's also true that people often get drawn into it to the point where it can be damaging at a small or great level, whether that's overspending on materials, covering the house with quilting clutter, or spending so much time on it that you barely see the people you live with.