Living Maintenance - Time to 'fess up: Having a difficult time (long)




lin43
05-23-2013, 05:02 PM
I feel like such a failure posting this, but I'm really having a hard time---and this after feeling like maintenance was effortless for at least a year. When I first started maintenance (Nov. 2011) I was 140.2. While trying to figure out my maintenance calories, I lost a few pounds. Over the course of 1 1/2 years, I've been a low as 133.5, but my standard weight is somewhere between 135-137, so that's what I consider my maintenance weight. I had weighed myself last month, and I was 138. I weighed myself on Tuesday of this week, and I'm now 140.6.

I have an idea of how this happened: It comes from far too much estimating (underestimating apparently). I've gotten sloppy in weighing and measuring my food. I guess I became a little cocky.

My problem is that what worked for me to lose (calorie counting - 1400-1600 per day) seems really, really difficult to stick to now, especially after having maintained for a year at 2200 per day. The exercise isn't the problem. I actually still love it. The eating is the problem. I feel like just doing low carb for a couple of weeks; I know that would get the 5 lbs off quickly, but I also fear that I'll regain when I start eating normally (and I'm not willing to go low or even reduced carb long term). I've tried various versions of intermittent fasting, and the hunger pangs are not as bad as the ill temper it puts me in (I wonder if this is a blood sugar issue). I think IF would work well if I could just eat breakfast/brunch at 11:00; I would be able to hold out for dinner. But during the summer particularly, my husband (retired) likes to go out for breakfast around 9:00, so if I eat that early, it's really difficult for me to wait to eat again at dinnertime.

I'm not giving up. I've tried to examine why I regained in past attempts and I identified one commonality in all my yo-yo dieting: I chose to ignore the reality that I was regaining (never weighing myself, pretending that little bites licks and tastes didn't matter, etc.). So, at least I've decided that I will be completely honest with myself no matter what. I started with weighing myself. Also, I've been more assiduous about weighing my food. Today, I had some snack mix while driving home (I know--this is part of the problem). A week or two ago, I would have just guessed at the amount I had eaten. This time, I forced myself to weigh what remained in the bag when I got home. I had guessed that I had eaten 2 1/2 servings. What I had really eaten was 4 servings. That kind of guessing really helps to explain my weight gain.

Anyway, I'm not sure why I'm posting all this, but I just wanted to get it out, I suppose. I feel like a phony sometimes posting advice to others as if I have it all together, when I really do not.


bargoo
05-23-2013, 05:32 PM
lin43 it is good to hear from you. Sorry you are having problems. Maintenance is not easy, in fact I think it is just as hard if not harder than losing. I have had to accept that maintenance is FOREVER . It takes some trial and error to find what will work best for each person. When I reached goal I asked long time maintainers how they did it. Their answer amazed me. They said they keep it off the same way they lost it. I realized they knew something I didn't so I followed their advice. I still count calories, I still plan my menus for the day, every day, I still weigh myself, every day. It is working for me, so I continue, oh, I have occasional treats but I get right back on track. I find this action to be easy compared to what it would be if I regained and had to start wearing extra large clothing again.

ikesgirl80
05-23-2013, 08:29 PM
Thank you lin43! I really needed that today! I am so proud of you for catching yourself at just 3-5 pounds over what your maintenance range is. I am attempting to do a weird combo of learning maintenance and losing the last 10 (or 12 or 13 after the past couple days) before my surgery. That is exactly what I am worried about, especially since the stress in the next couple weeks is going to be pretty intense. I am hoping with the support of my friends and family, I can get my sh!t together and do what I WANT and NEED to do in the next couple days!

Chris


freelancemomma
05-23-2013, 09:15 PM
I feel like such a failure posting this, but I'm really having a hard time---and this after feeling like maintenance was effortless for at least a year. When I first started maintenance (Nov. 2011) I was 140.2. While trying to figure out my maintenance calories, I lost a few pounds. Over the course of 1 1/2 years, I've been a low as 133.5, but my standard weight is somewhere between 135-137, so that's what I consider my maintenance weight. I had weighed myself last month, and I was 138. I weighed myself on Tuesday of this week, and I'm now 140.6.

Your experience is eerily similar to mine -- perhaps not so surprising considering we're self-identified weight loss "twins." I also reached maintenance (145 lbs) in Nov. 2011. Like you, I lost a few more pounds while figuring out my caloric sweet spot for maintenance, which turns out to be 2,000+. I've been as low as 135 and my usual range last year was 137 to 139.

This past March I went to Texas and took a week off eating "sensibly." I went back on plan after returning, but I haven't quite found my groove. It seems there's always some temptation around the corner, and I've succumbed to several of them. (Example: Tomorrow I'm going to a family dinner at the very posh CN Tower restaurant. My brother's paying for everyone, so it's carte blanche. It's hard for me to picture myself eating sensibly at such an event.) As a result I now weigh about 147 lbs. I would like to go back down to 145 lbs or less (I think 137 was actually too low for my height), but I'm finding it unaccountably difficult to eat 1,500 cals per day (to lose about a pound a week), which used to be easy.

Like you, I've had no problem sticking with the exercise. It's just the #*&@ eating that I still haven't mastered.

Anyway, I'm with you all the way. Perhaps we can cheer each other on.

Freelance

free1
05-24-2013, 06:38 AM
Hi Lin:

Good to hear from you. Can I offer a different perspective?

Do I understand that you are .4 ounces more than when you entered maintenance. I understand you are a few pounds heavier than your lowest weight but I understand you are well within normal range (and regular fluctuations). The good thing is that you caught it early which means you know how to make maintenance work! :)

traveling michele
05-24-2013, 10:24 AM
Hi Lin:

Good to hear from you. Can I offer a different perspective?

Do I understand that you are .4 ounces more than when you entered maintenance. I understand you are a few pounds heavier than your lowest weight but I understand you are well within normal range (and regular fluctuations). The good thing is that you caught it early which means you know how to make maintenance work! :)

Very good point here.

Maintenance is a struggle. It isn't easy. Never give up.

saef
05-24-2013, 11:08 AM
I feel like a phony sometimes posting advice to others as if I have it all together, when I really do not.

Having a hard time doesn't mean you are a "failure." That language in your post and the shame radiating from your words made me want to hug you. Why so tough on yourself?

Does anyone here have it all together? I think not.

Nobody's advising from a superior position. We are simply supporting one another against our common enemy (which is often ourselves) and serving as sounding boards.

My advice would be, don't always think **further restriction** is the answer: Eliminating carbs, stopping eating, etc. As someone who's been there, I suspect this isn't happening because you're not working it hard enough. What are you gonna do if that works for a while & you get to this place again? What will cut then?

Roo2
05-24-2013, 11:40 AM
I am a work in progress ...and will always be as long as I am in maintenance.
I have loss the spontaneity and sheer joy of eating unmonitored...soo I decided to give myself a Gift ...Freedom !!!!
At 2am in the morning One night I made the conconcious Choice to Indulge in a bowl of Chocolate Mint Ice Cream ...with No measuring ...I ate it sitting on the sofa watching TV enjoying every bite guilt free than I had a second bowl and enjoyed it with great gusto And No twinges of guilt afterward....then did not eat till late that day but back on program !:D

What I felt was empowered and I brought the joy of eating back in my life! We all our different people ....I refuse to punish myself or be miserable about food ,my weight....whatever ! I was glad that I was brave enough to eat with abandon and joy again ! It was like winning a prize....the exhilaration I felt after eating that Ice Cream and being able to turn it off was a feeling I can not put into words!
I have accomplished my goal to have have the mind and body working in together not as opposing forces.
Good Luck and be as kind and thoughtful to yourselves as you are to others:hug:
Roo2:carrot::carrot::carrot:

lin43
05-24-2013, 12:18 PM
Thank you all for your encouragement! It means a lot to me.

It takes some trial and error to find what will work best for each person

Thanks, bargoo. I’m learning this now.

I am so proud of you for catching yourself at just 3-5 pounds over what your maintenance range is
Well, put that way, I feel better! 


Anyway, I'm with you all the way. Perhaps we can cheer each other on

Absolutely! :carrot: I have to keep reminding myself that no one said this would be an easy ride all the way.

Can I offer a different perspective?
Do I understand that you are .4 ounces more than when you entered maintenance. I understand you are a few pounds heavier than your lowest weight but I understand you are well within normal range (and regular fluctuations)

Thank you for pointing that out. It helps me to put it in perspective.

Maintenance is a struggle. It isn't easy. Never give up.

Thank you! I don't intend to (which is a major difference from past attempts where I chose to ignore the problem---aka "give up").

Having a hard time doesn't mean you are a "failure."

That language in your post and the shame radiating from your words made me want to hug you. Why so tough on yourself?

Does anyone here have it all together? I think not.

Nobody's advising from a superior position. We are simply supporting one another against our common enemy (which is often ourselves) and serving as sounding boards.

My advice would be, don't always think **further restriction** is the answer: Eliminating carbs, stopping eating, etc. As someone who's been there, I suspect this isn't happening because you're not working it hard enough. What are you gonna do if that works for a while & you get to this place again? What will cut then?

As usual, Saef, your words of wisdom are appreciated. I know I'm of the "hair shirt" school of weight control, i.e., feeling the need to deprecate myself for daring to veer from eating perfection. I need to work on that.

JenMusic
05-25-2013, 08:25 AM
I'm sorry I wasn't able to reply earlier, as I'm away with family.

There's lots of wisdom in this thread and I agree with what's been said. Including your original post - that's ME in many ways. I also find exercise easier than food and spent some time "rebelling in the wilderness." :)

One thing that is helping me in my current journey is reframing the mental discussion: I'm trying not to make it a matter of what I'm unwilling to do, but a matter of what I am willing to do. For a short, simple example - I'm unwilling to give up cupcakes, which in my head translates to "Must eat this cupcake immediately, in front of me, right now!!!" Instead, I tell myself I am willing to wait until the cupcake is one of my favorite, home-baked cupcakes from my amateur baker co-worker. I realize that's a mental game I play, but isn't most of weight loss?

Does anyone here have it all together? I think not.

Nobody's advising from a superior position. We are simply supporting one another against our common enemy (which is often ourselves) and serving as sounding boards.


And I love this ^^ from saef. I am often my own worst enemy, but I am so thankful for the mutual support I find here at 3FC!

Bright Angel
05-25-2013, 09:43 AM
Does anyone here have it all together? I think not.
Nobody's advising from a superior position.
We are simply supporting one another against our common enemy
(which is often ourselves) and serving as sounding boards.

Very True. :hug:

Emma4545
05-25-2013, 11:09 AM
I am having a similar issue. I am coming up on one year of maintenance... and for some reason I seem to be gaining easily and also... not losing. I try to think, maybe I am cheating but I don't feel like I am. It does feel like what used to work for me to lose weight, isn't working anymore?

This winter I went though a very stressful time and I had a few slip ups. Then in April I had a massive terrifying binge. This resulted in a 10 lb gain. But I got back on the wagon and even after a month of that... I haven't lost it. Although I have lost some.

Although it is taking a lot of discipline, I too find it much more brutal to stick to the low calories this time around. I am about 80% on plan while when I was dieting I was 100% and it didn't feel that bad. But now there feels like a little part of me that is always screaming at me... EAT EAT EAT!!!

I also find it hard to keep my life "on hold" .. last year I benefited from a few strange events.. a slow time at work and a warm winter. This year.. not so much. As the weather gets better, my boss stubbornly refuses to cut back on work when he should plowing down a lot of my discipline. These things were temporarily in good shape last year, but not this year.

It is tough.

lin43
05-25-2013, 02:02 PM
Jen, I completely agree that the mental part of all this is major. Gradually, over the past few years, I've realized that I tend to give up easily (this isn't just connected to weight loss;it applies to other areas of life as well). I am trying to use that knowledge of myself to help me this time around. I love what someone said on another thread about changing the word "can't" to "won't" in our mental monologues. Rather than "I can't give up that chocolate cake" reframe it as "I won't give up that chocolate cake." That small word change makes it much clearer that eating or not eating something is completely within our control (an obvious truth but one that doesn't seem to sink in sometimes).

Emme, I completely understand what you mean. I seems like for a while after I reached maintenance, I was able to splurge quite a bit without gaining. In fact, sometimes, I was sure I was going to see a gain after eating heavily, but I would actually see a loss! I keep hoping this isn't the dreaded "creep" I've heard about where people who have maintained for a while actually start slowly gaining (maybe that happens because our metabolism decreases slightly every year we age?). My hunch about my own gain, though, is that I just wasn't keeping track as well as I used to. I was probably consuming 100-200 calories a day more just from "bites, licks, and tastes." I have cut that out during the last few days, though (ever since I weighed myself), and it feels easier as time goes on.

JayEll
05-25-2013, 04:56 PM
Oh, I've gone through this. Easy the first year, then it gets harder. In my experience, continued long-term efforts at restriction eventually fail. The body adapts as best it can to fewer calories--but it knows when it's being shortchanged. And mentally and emotionally, it is draining. Getting more and more strict is probably not a viable long-term strategy.

Let me just suggest that sooner or later, you may have to make choices about how you want to live your life. The way you want to live may mean weighing more than some idealized number you came up with or managed to get down to once.

Jay

lin43
05-25-2013, 07:21 PM
Oh, I've gone through this. Easy the first year, then it gets harder. In my experience, continued long-term efforts at restriction eventually fail. The body adapts as best it can to fewer calories--but it knows when it's being shortchanged. And mentally and emotionally, it is draining. Getting more and more strict is probably not a viable long-term strategy.

Let me just suggest that sooner or later, you may have to make choices about how you want to live your life. The way you want to live may mean weighing more than some idealized number you came up with or managed to get down to once.

Jay

Thanks for the perspective, Jay. I, too, have been here before. That's why I'm trying to use that experience (and others' experiences), to help me react differently now than I did then (of course, "then" I just ignored the problem, and regained). I completely agree with the last part of your post about weighing more. I think if I had never been on a diet and just ate "normally," I would probably be slightly overweight (because that's in my genes on both sides), but not "fat" or obese. Unfortunately, all those years of dieting have screwed with my head, so every time I've ever rebounded from a weight loss, the pendulum has swung the other way, and I've gotten uncomfortably (and unhealthily) fat (yes, "fat"---I won't sugarcoat it).

I wish I did have the courage to say, "to heck w/ society!" But I'm not there yet. Having gotten down to a particular size, right now, my goal is to stay that size. I'm sure that one day I'm going to do what someone on another forum suggested: start eating to achieve a comfortable [for me] goal lifestyle, not a goal size or a goal weight. Right now, though, the sacrifices I have to make to stay size 4-6 are not outweighing the benefits. When the balance goes the other way, then I'm sure my way of eating will change (especially since my husband doesn't care whether I gain another 20; he just cares that I care).

freelancemomma
05-25-2013, 08:02 PM
I wish I did have the courage to say, "to heck w/ society!" But I'm not there yet. Having gotten down to a particular size, right now, my goal is to stay that size. I'm sure that one day I'm going to do what someone on another forum suggested: start eating to achieve a comfortable [for me] goal lifestyle, not a goal size or a goal weight. Right now, though, the sacrifices I have to make to stay size 4-6 are not outweighing the benefits. When the balance goes the other way, then I'm sure my way of eating will change (especially since my husband doesn't care whether I gain another 20; he just cares that I care).

This. It's crazy, it's counterproductive, but I'm in the same place. Is getting compliments about my bikini body THAT important to me at 56? Evidently it is.

F.

lin43
05-25-2013, 10:07 PM
Jay, I meant to address this before, but I forgot:

In my experience, continued long-term efforts at restriction eventually fail. The body adapts as best it can to fewer calories--but it knows when it's being shortchanged

I agree with your point if I were, in fact, restricting in the stereotypical dieting sense---e.g., eating cottage cheese and salad, never having dessert, etc. But I don't believe that eating 2200 calories a day is "long term restriction," especially for someone of my age (45) and height (5 ft. 3). My problem is that I want dessert not just once or even twice a week, but every night. I don't want one serving of fettucine alfredo; I want two. I don't want one crusty roll with butter slathered on it; I want three. You get the picture. So, I don't think my body is reacting to restriction. I think my mind is rebelling against sensible limits. I want to eat excessively, and that is what I'm battling against. Now, I suppose I could just give in to that and gain, but besides the vanity aspect I mentioned previously, I don't believe that eating to excess should even be the "goal lifestyle" that I mentioned earlier. I'll bet that if I found that sweet spot of "moderate eating" I would be within ten pounds of what I am now. My problem is that I rebel against those "moderate" limits. Even my "goal lifestyle" would be to eat moderately, so either way (now or pursuing a goal lifestyle), I would have a struggle on my hands.

I just wanted to clarify my previous point.

lin43
05-25-2013, 10:16 PM
This. It's crazy, it's counterproductive, but I'm in the same place. Is getting compliments about my bikini body THAT important to me at 56? Evidently it is.

F.

At least you can wear a bikini! :) I wasn't able to do that even at 18. So, here's another compliment for you (sorry if I'm exacerbating the problem :).

JayEll
05-26-2013, 08:01 AM
Hey lin43,

My comment about making choices about how you want to live your life still stands. If your tendency is to double down on all your food, then you'll need to make a conscious choice about not doing that.

I am not imagining a life of total indulgence. Rather, I imagine a life in which I eat food I enjoy in appropriate amounts, and I don't constantly think about food--what I ate, what I will eat, whether I should eat something, etc. A life where I am not eyeing every event as some sort of test of will about food. A way of living in which I am physically active, but not looking to get into extreme sports or hours of gym time. And, in which I'm not constantly guilty and anxious about a number--whether it's total calories, scale weight, clothes size, BMI...

I think that most attempts to lose weight and keep it off approach it from the wrong angle. We do the calculations or look in the charts, get some numbers, and proceed--and then when we reach our (arbitrary) goal, we see an endless future stretching before us of slightly adjusted numbers.

So I'm suggesting that considering a different approach--looking at how one wants to live and adjusting accordingly--might be less burdensome. But it is also scary because I think there will be a period of weight regain during the adjustment. There has been for me.

I don't think I mentioned anything about saying "to heck with society"--although, why would that be a bad thing? How often do we run into "society" anyway? Mostly we just deal with individual people, don't we? And most of our worst judgments are in our own heads.

I hope you can manage to find a middle path. I'm still looking for mine.

Jay

Emma4545
05-26-2013, 10:19 AM
I keep hoping this isn't the dreaded "creep" I've heard about where people who have maintained for a while actually start slowly gaining (maybe that happens because our metabolism decreases slightly every year we age?).

I have actually heard that the metabolism only drops by at most 5% per year. If say your RMR is 1400 at 38 you drop like 70 calories per year. That just doesn't seem like enough to really make the creep happen. The good news is that I dropped two lbs last night so now I am down 5 of the 10 I gained. But it took about 6 weeks to really start feeling like something was happening.

I have been exploring a theory about gut flora and a particular type of bacteria that responds to carbs and also is known to provide more energy than other types. So like for me, during my binge, I ate 7 bags of Hershey candy. Did that essentially cause a disruption that both makes me hungry and also makes me eat more? It sure seems that way. I ate the first bag in response to a stressful situation -- sheltering in place- and then couldn't stop.

So like you have a slice of cake (something you might not have had on the diet) and it disrupts your gut flora enough to keep you from losing weight well and also makes you want more food.

But, the thing is... perhaps we do something in maintenance that we did as fat people that sends us right back into similar body response.

bargoo
05-26-2013, 12:13 PM
I don't know about gut flora but when I eat more sugar than usual my body cries More, More !
I use very little sugar, but let a cookie or piece of candy pass my lips , look out.

magical
05-26-2013, 12:49 PM
I agree with your point if I were, in fact, restricting in the stereotypical dieting sense---e.g., eating cottage cheese and salad, never having dessert, etc. But I don't believe that eating 2200 calories a day is "long term restriction," especially for someone of my age (45) and height (5 ft. 3). My problem is that I want dessert not just once or even twice a week, but every night. I don't want one serving of fettucine alfredo; I want two. I don't want one crusty roll with butter slathered on it; I want three. You get the picture.

Lin, to me, what you're doing still sounds like restricting. Rules for portion control, rules for what to eat and when to eat (I.F.) and so on - so still in the "diet" frame of mind.

Can you trust your body enough to try eating the two servings of fettuccine alfredo and not wanting food for a long time after the meal? Or have dessert every night and automatically compensate by having less of something else the next day?

Emma4545
05-26-2013, 01:24 PM
I don't know about gut flora but when I eat more sugar than usual my body cries More, More !

Well, I have the same issue. When I was dieting I had no candy and low carbs (not that I was on a low carb diet) it just worked out that way. But maintaining at all.. has meant having small pieces of cake or 4 Hershey kisses or a candy bar ... although not enough to gain weight... it seriously is as if it breaks something in my body that makes it impossible to lose unless I go 4 weeks without ANY candy.

I actually have suspected this for a while. In the 1990s I went on a diet and suspected that the 4 hershey kisses I had ever day were somehow stopping my progress... but I could NOT give them up and eventually I dove off.

And I don't have any PCOS or high blood sugar. My blood sugar is 80 and fasting insulin is 5.

lin43
05-26-2013, 04:19 PM
Thanks, Jay. What you seem to be describing is similar to something I read on another thread and have been quoting left and right since: creating a “goal lifestyle.” It makes so much sense. I guess the risky part is the weight gain you mentioned. I’m not ready for that risk yet. What you’re saying is reasonable, though. Thanks.

Lin, to me, what you're doing still sounds like restricting. Rules for portion control, rules for what to eat and when to eat (I.F.) and so on - so still in the "diet" frame of mind.

Can you trust your body enough to try eating the two servings of fettuccine alfredo and not wanting food for a long time after the meal? Or have dessert every night and automatically compensate by having less of something else the next day?


Okay, I see that by “restricting” you mean having rules for eating, right? I was thinking of “restricting” as cutting back on food to some sort of unnatural level. Don’t you think that everyone has some sort of rules for eating, even those who are intentionally doing “intuitive eating” (which is what you're referring to, right?)? After all, they’ve made the rule that they will only eat when hungry and stop when satisfied? I would love if that worked for me, but it hasn't every time I've tried it. One problem is that social eating gets in the way (I cannot sit at dinner and sip water while my husband eats dinner; some can, but I'm not willing to go that route). The other problem is that I eat too fast for my body to register fullness when it should. Eat more slowly, you say? This is my constant battle. For some reason, I do not enjoy the food as much when I eat it slowly. I know that's strange. I know it’s counter-intuitive and contrary to what the conventional wisdom says, but it's the truth. To eat at a "normal" pace, I have to intentionally take tiny bites of food, and that is so unsatisfying to me (it's as if I cannot taste the food).

Emme, that gut flora info. Is interesting. I’ve never heard that before. Thanks for sharing it.

freelancemomma
05-26-2013, 04:20 PM
Can you trust your body enough to try eating the two servings of fettuccine alfredo and not wanting food for a long time after the meal? Or have dessert every night and automatically compensate by having less of something else the next day?

I'm not Lin, but she and I have similar food issues, so I'll answer the question as it applies to me. My answer is no, I could not trust my body to do those things. That's because my body also includes my mind, which wants to keep experiencing the stimulus of food well past the point of physical satiety. (I also have a constitutionally large appetite, an iron stomach, and don't get strong physical satiety cues.) There is no such thing as "automatically compensating" for me. Or if there is, I haven't figured out a way to access that pathway.

I also agree with Lin that just about everyone has rules about eating, even so-called naturally thin people. My naturally thin friend, who can never finish a restaurant entree, recently told me that she too has to "be careful" with her eating. The difference is that she accepts being careful as a natural part of adult living, which we foodies have trouble doing.

Freelance

lin43
05-26-2013, 04:25 PM
That's because my body also includes my mind, which wants to keep experiencing the stimulus of food well past the point of physical satiety

YES, YES, and YES! Well-put. You've expressed exactly why intuitive eating rarely works for me (besides those other two issues I mentioned in my previous post). I went to the grocery store on a full stomach last week. I was considering buying some goodies. I resisted, but I could actually feel my mouth watering ---I'm serious. Now, that had absolutely nothing to do with physical hunger; it was all in my mind. Yet, I had to white knuckle it to prevent myself from buying that food.



P.S. --Freelance, we're on at the same time again! How did you do on your time in the 5k?

magical
05-26-2013, 06:01 PM
Okay, I see that by “restricting” you mean having rules for eating, right? I was thinking of “restricting” as cutting back on food to some sort of unnatural level. Don’t you think that everyone has some sort of rules for eating, even those who are intentionally doing “intuitive eating” (which is what you're referring to, right?)?

I also agree with Lin that just about everyone has rules about eating, even so-called naturally thin people. My naturally thin friend, who can never finish a restaurant entree, recently told me that she too has to "be careful" with her eating. The difference is that she accepts being careful as a natural part of adult living, which we foodies have trouble doing.


I don't mean intuitive eating. To me, that too comes across as "dieting". At the same time, I don't mean eating with abandonment either. I agree that no one can eat with abandonment or be totally free from healthy eating rules without facing adverse consequences.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the focus here is still on food when it should not be. Freelancemomma, I read your thread on coming up with a strategy for the next 2 weeks. The thing is that it's still a focus on food whereas the focus for the dinners should be on socializing or looking for new business opportunities or for whatever reasons you need to attend those dinners. The reason for the dinners should not be to eat (if you see what I mean).

Like Lin, with your husband, the focus should be on spending quality time with him rather than on thoughts about eating. Similarly, rather than eating tiny bites, why not finish quickly, then turn your mind to talking (aka socializing)?

Perhaps when the mind is not focusing on food, then it becomes easier to control the appetite?

I really don't mean to make it sound simple or easy and I hope my post does not come across that way. Just some further thoughts on strategies.

freelancemomma
05-26-2013, 08:45 PM
Perhaps when the mind is not focusing on food, then it becomes easier to control the appetite?

An interesting idea that's definitely worth exploring.

F.

IanG
05-26-2013, 08:51 PM
Perhaps when the mind is not focusing on food, then it becomes easier to control the appetite?

And that's why beer works for me. Sorry to jump in so inappropriately, but you hit the nail on the head!

lin43
05-27-2013, 11:40 AM
I guess what I'm trying to say is that the focus here is still on food when it should not be.

Like Lin, with your husband, the focus should be on spending quality time with him rather than on thoughts about eating. (my emphasis)

I completely agree with you about what "should be," magical. I only wish it could be. The problem is moving from "should" to "can." That's where I get stuck. How does one magically transform one's mind? I would love to go back to some Edenic state of unawareness about food, calories, etc., but it's too late for that. Somewhere along the line (probably from our society's focus on dieting and my attention to that since my teens), putting food into its proper place in my life became screwed up. I am now working within that reality to try to stay at a decent weight. I can certainly try pretending that food is not as important, but it would be pretense, and struggling to maintain that pretense is just the same as struggling to stay within eating boundaries.

I really don't mean to make it sound simple or easy and I hope my post does not come across that way. Just some further thoughts on strategies.

Not at all! I truly appreciate your input. It makes a lot of sense (applying it is what I find difficult).

lin43
05-27-2013, 11:41 AM
And that's why beer works for me. Sorry to jump in so inappropriately, but you hit the nail on the head!


No need to to apologize. All ideas are welcome. I'm not a drinker, though (a glass or two of wine or a martini on occasion, but that's it), so I fear your beer idea would not work for me :).

JenMusic
05-27-2013, 12:58 PM
Just thinking about this and processing. Here's an anecdote from a couple of weeks ago that I've kept in the back of my mind since then - I think it might relate a little.

I was at an end of the year celebration cookout with a group of friends. I'd already had my planned food and dessert. Because of our location (public land) no alcohol was allowed, which is usually a cause for lowered inhibitions and more overeating for me, so that wasn't an issue. Anyway, after we'd all eaten our fill and were just sitting around and talking, I notice that my attention kept returning, over and over, to the food left out on the table. I was involved in an interesting conversation with a good friend, but one half of my brain was obsessing over the leftover food, and wondering if I could eat another brownie, and asking myself it would be too obvious if I snuck a little piece of cookie cake (darn you, cookie cake! :)).

We soon packed everything up and left. I walked to my car with two others, continuing our interesting conversation. It was so engrossing (same topic!) that I soon realized we'd been standing my my car for 30 minutes, still talking, and NOT ONCE had I thought about food. The only difference, that I can see, is that there was no food out to think about.

So . . . is my lesson that I just need to ignore food if it's present? Physically distance myself from it? Argh.

(Sorry, Lin, for doing a bit of thread hijacking!)

lin43
05-27-2013, 01:36 PM
Just thinking about this and processing. Here's an anecdote from a couple of weeks ago that I've kept in the back of my mind since then - I think it might relate a little.

I was at an end of the year celebration cookout with a group of friends. I'd already had my planned food and dessert. Because of our location (public land) no alcohol was allowed, which is usually a cause for lowered inhibitions and more overeating for me, so that wasn't an issue. Anyway, after we'd all eaten our fill and were just sitting around and talking, I notice that my attention kept returning, over and over, to the food left out on the table. I was involved in an interesting conversation with a good friend, but one half of my brain was obsessing over the leftover food, and wondering if I could eat another brownie, and asking myself it would be too obvious if I snuck a little piece of cookie cake (darn you, cookie cake! :)).

We soon packed everything up and left. I walked to my car with two others, continuing our interesting conversation. It was so engrossing (same topic!) that I soon realized we'd been standing my my car for 30 minutes, still talking, and NOT ONCE had I thought about food. The only difference, that I can see, is that there was no food out to think about.

So . . . is my lesson that I just need to ignore food if it's present? Physically distance myself from it? Argh.

(Sorry, Lin, for doing a bit of thread hijacking!)

Don't apologize, Jen---I'm so glad you posted this. As I was reading your reaction to that food on the table, I kept thinking, "That's me! That's me!" It actually made me feel so much better to read that experience because someones I feel like such a freak for being so obsessed with food. I'm sorry that you struggle with this, too, (as do many of us here), but it's nice to know that I'm not alone.

To your point, though, that removing the food took your mind off of it, I completely agree. In fact, I believe that the proximity of food has a direct bearing on how much I obsess about it. If I know I have something great in my kitchen, I will think about it several times throughout the day/night. If I remove it from my line of vision (i.e., take it off the counter, put it behind something in the refrigerator or freezer, etc.) that will help me to stop obsessing about it. Also, I cannot seem to leave great-tasting treats in my kitchen for long. I feel compelled to finish them.
All this reminds me of an article I read in the NY Times a while back. It was discussing America's obesity problem, and it highlighted a reason and some evidence from a mathematician, no less. He hypothesized that our nation's weight problem directly coincides with the abundance of food in our country. That is, our weight has increased concurrently with the increase in our food supply. He even provided a mathematical formula in the article.
And that reminds me of a bit of trivia I read some time back that naturally thin people (i.e., those who don't seem to have a struggle with their weight) tend to eat the same foods more routinely than overweight people (i.e., overweight people like more variety). These points about abundance of food, variety, etc., stuck out to me because they seem anecdotally true not only from my experiences but from others I've observed.

magical
05-27-2013, 10:47 PM
(my emphasis)

I completely agree with you about what "should be," magical. I only wish it could be. The problem is moving from "should" to "can." That's where I get stuck. How does one magically transform one's mind? I would love to go back to some Edenic state of unawareness about food, calories, etc., but it's too late for that. Somewhere along the line (probably from our society's focus on dieting and my attention to that since my teens), putting food into its proper place in my life became screwed up. I am now working within that reality to try to stay at a decent weight. I can certainly try pretending that food is not as important, but it would be pretense, and struggling to maintain that pretense is just the same as struggling to stay within eating boundaries.


I don't know how to answer this one :(

"How does one magically transform one's mind?"


I know for me, once I gained control of my ED, food became much less of a focus, to the extent that I've been skipping meals because I had to do other things. Yes, I do feel hungry but the hunger is no longer important to me. The other things (work, postgrad studies, kids) took precedence.

I really don't know, Lin, I'm sorry...

JayEll
05-28-2013, 07:02 AM
How does one magically transform one's mind?

Just some random thoughts.

There isn't any going back--you can only go forward.

Transforming the mind is possible through awareness, which isn't the same as obsessiveness. Obsessiveness is a battle for control. Awareness is seeing what is.

It may take a long time for your desire to eat more, even after you are full, to go away. Probably you'll need to practice eating enough and then stopping. By "enough" I mean a good plateful of food--but not seconds. Once that full plate is empty, you're done. And maybe you'll find you're done before the plate is empty. That is OK. It is OK to not eat all the food you are served.

Try a day where you don't count calories at all, but go by good, full plates at meals and no grazing or snacking between. It's just an experiment--one day won't make or break anything.

Slow down your eating not by taking tiny bites, but by taking a good bite and then chewing it a long time. I don't mean count the times you chew, I mean doing more than chewing three times and swallowing. You are probably tasting your food less than you think. Rest in between bites. Set your fork down from time to time. Meals can be leisurely.

Cultivate awareness and intent. The habit of "wanting more" when you are not hungry may take awhile to go away, but as long as you remain aware and avoid eating more just because of that, you help extinguish the habit.

Jay

lin43
05-28-2013, 12:14 PM
Just some random thoughts.

There isn't any going back--you can only go forward.

Transforming the mind is possible through awareness, which isn't the same as obsessiveness. Obsessiveness is a battle for control. Awareness is seeing what is.

It may take a long time for your desire to eat more, even after you are full, to go away. Probably you'll need to practice eating enough and then stopping. By "enough" I mean a good plateful of food--but not seconds. Once that full plate is empty, you're done. And maybe you'll find you're done before the plate is empty. That is OK. It is OK to not eat all the food you are served.

Try a day where you don't count calories at all, but go by good, full plates at meals and no grazing or snacking between. It's just an experiment--one day won't make or break anything.

Slow down your eating not by taking tiny bites, but by taking a good bite and then chewing it a long time. I don't mean count the times you chew, I mean doing more than chewing three times and swallowing. You are probably tasting your food less than you think. Rest in between bites. Set your fork down from time to time. Meals can be leisurely.

Cultivate awareness and intent. The habit of "wanting more" when you are not hungry may take awhile to go away, but as long as you remain aware and avoid eating more just because of that, you help extinguish the habit.

Jay

Great post, Jay---and some useful suggestions that I will try. Your point about not counting calories for a day stood out to me because it is something that I have contemplated but have not done. There have been times when just the knowledge that I have extra calories to spare has spurred me to eat when I actually had no strong desire to.

ubergirl
06-06-2013, 11:36 AM
Just chiming in to say that this thread was extremely interesting to me, coming from the perspective of someone who lost a lot of weight, succeeded at maintaining for a long while, and then found that my seemingly tamed binge eating disorder emerged full force (leading to a substantial regain.)

I'm now trying with some success to reshed the weight that I regained, but I definitely find myself often thinking about a number of the different thoughts and perspectives reflected in this thread. The most important one being that I will have to find some kind of a balance between managing my weight so that I'm not living the the morbid obesity range, while at the same time, finding a new way of looking at food, life, and myself, so that I really and genuinely can be at peace with this issue.

Thanks to everyone who shared thoughts here, as there are many helpful perspectives to contemplate.