Weight Loss Support - Maybe abstinence (from junk food) is not a bad thing




nostoneunturned
02-26-2014, 02:38 AM
Hi, I just registered right now feeling down and a little bit hopeless about weight loss. I am 194 tonight after eating way too much over the past two weeks and binging all night tonight on top of it. I feel depressed about it, and annoyed because I have tried so many times and have succeeded but can't make a permanent change. I've lost 30-40 pounds on Weight Watchers (informal, no meetings just old flex plan point counting since I dislike the new counts), and more "intuitive" eating; these are the only two methods I could stick with long term enough to lose more than 5 pounds. The intuitive eating only worked in retrospect since I was dealing with heartbreak and depression and really didn't care to eat.

I would like to be 127, my adult low weight but at this point being in the 160's (heck even 170's) would suffice. I hate how all my super cute clothes are do not fit and even my ugly frumpster clothing is tight and ill-fitted. I feel awful, look awful. Earlier this month I tried adding light exercise and focused on the journey versus outcome (just focused on new habits, not weight on scale, etc.) but even then I felt anxious and eventually couldn't keep it up. I want to just eat a freaking normal meal and not think about it anymore!! How to exorcise this obsession??

I really hate restriction. I hate the idea of it. It makes me feel deprived and more obsessive than usual. However I wonder if abstinence isn't such a bad plan after all. Maybe I just can't deal with certain foods -sugary and/or processed in particular - and should avoid them. They do me no favors. I used to think, that is no way to live and get indignant in my mind, that it was unfair and ridiculous to have to be extreme. BUt tonight I thought, I bet an alcoholic or drug user or gambler probably thinks the exact same way. I can't survive without food, but I don't require Little Debbie snack cakes to remain upright. Or Cheetos or cookies or gummies (fave candy). In fact all this food does is drive me binge-wild and cause headaches. I think by drawing a line between food that is necessary to live and food desires driven by cravings is almost parallel to drinking/drugging... really opened my eyes!!

Has anyone else successfully abstained from certain foods and shown good results (ie weight loss)??? Is it not advisable for someone with binge tendencies?:?:


Olivia7906
02-26-2014, 07:12 AM
Wow....it's crazy that you type this post on this day....because JUST YESTERDAY, I was driving and pondering THE EXACT SAME THING! (These thoughts must be floating around in the Universe or something lol).

I was thinking about my addiction to junk food and felt the exact same way. I decided, just yesterday, to abstain from it completely. Yes, I need food to live. But I don't need junk food. Junk food is my addiction, just like an alcoholic or a drug addict. When I eat it, I go wild. It's never enough. I have to eat tons and tons at a time. Then I feel like crap afterwards. But yet I find myself doing it yet again. So I've decided to kick my addiction completely. Right now, I'm challenging myself to 150 days with no junk food. I hoping that after such a long time away from it, I can truly rid the addiction....who knows, maybe I'll never want it again. :)

nelie
02-26-2014, 08:13 AM
So here is my take on it and I think many people have said the same thing. When you start eating better, your body starts to crave better foods and junk food has less of a draw.

When I first started losing weight, I was all gung ho on just eating fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, etc. And I will say that it worked for the most part getting me off a lot of high sugar/high fat foods that I used to eat. Over the years, I've modified my diet quite a bit and now I'm at a place where I allow myself to eat whatever I want. The thing though again is I rarely want what you might consider 'junk'. If I do want a piece of cake though, I've decided I'm going to have cake and not feel guilty or feel like it is the last piece of cake I'll ever have. Feeding my body lots of good foods is what makes me feel better, exercise better, sleep better, etc and that is overall what I want for myself.

Does that make sense? I don't know, people approach changing their eating habits in different ways and you just have to find the right way for you. One thing to remember is that if you do happen to have 'junk' food, be kind to yourself, remember that you are working on a process to eat better overall.


Wannabeskinny
02-26-2014, 08:52 AM
It sounds like you've gotten sick of junk food, hear hear! I really hate the word abstain but if you're feeling naturally drawn to healthier foods then go with it. You know yourself better than anyone and if you can't stop at just one then don't eat the one. I'm with nelie on this, eating good food makes me feel good so I try to do more of that than the other stuff.

KatMarie
02-26-2014, 09:18 AM
I had to get rid of all the junk food to lose weight. Some can have small amounts of sugary/carby treats and control it. Not me. I'll admit the cravings were bad at first. The bad cravings do go away. Heck, I used to dream about ice cream, cookies and chips. Now, I don't even think about them unless they are right in front of my face. We just don't have them in the house anymore. After I lost the weight, I do occasionally get a dessert when we go out to eat...which we rarely do. Now, the sugar makes me feel bad...jittery at first, then a big crash where I just want to go to bed. In all honesty, I do not miss junk food. I crave veggies and fruit like I used to crave sugar! With what you've shared about how you react to junk food, I'd say you would do and feel much better just cutting them completely out of your diet. It'll be hard at first, but trust me, that'll pass and you'll feel soooooo much better! You can do it!

lin43
02-26-2014, 09:48 AM
I remember reading some study once that indicated that most people who struggle with their weight like to eat a variety of foods whereas those who are "naturally thin" eat more routinely. That goes along with other information I've read about willpower and how having fewer choices makes resisting fattening foods easier. All this is to say that perhaps cutting out junk food completely is not a bad idea (at least for now). If you take a strict stand on it and just consider all junk food absolutely off limits to think about, to buy, etc., it may make it much easier. I find that I can sometimes derail myself if I allow myself to eat certain "trigger" foods in moderation. It may work for a time, but after a while, I notice that I get immoderate with that food. That's when going cold turkey often works. As odd as it seems, going cold turkey takes the pressure off me; I know I cannot have whatever it is I've banned, so I stop negotiating with myself about it.

Also, as nelie pointed out, I think after a time, our bodies start craving good food. I am MUCH less inclined to eat junk now that I was in my 20's. Yes, I still love sweets and fattening foods, but I choose them with care now and they're usually gourmet. Little Debbies, for instance, would not even tempt me.

pixelllate
02-26-2014, 10:50 AM
What takes up the LEAST mental energy for me is what works. Abstaining makes things a lot easier, because you don't have to debate - "hm how much of this treat and which one hsould I pick because I am trying to lose weight so I can't eat all of it!"

You won't have to think at all because you already know that the answer is NO.

I abstain until I reach a point where I can honestly ask myself "If you died tomorrow without this cake, would you feel devastated?" and I can honestly answer"No, I've had the cake, woulda been nice if I could eat have eaten it before I'm dying at my last moments, but that is OK. There are lots of things that I didn't do or eat up until this moment, but I lived my life the best I way I could." At that point, that was when I knew that I could reintroduce some of that old junk food in my life and be OK with it.

Arctic Mama
02-26-2014, 12:50 PM
It sounds like you've gotten sick of junk food, hear hear! I really hate the word abstain but if you're feeling naturally drawn to healthier foods then go with it. You know yourself better than anyone and if you can't stop at just one then don't eat the one. I'm with nelie on this, eating good food makes me feel good so I try to do more of that than the other stuff.

This, exactly. I think you'll find the bulk of the desire for junk goes away with time and distance, as new things become palatable to you. That doesn't mean it goes away 100% but then again! most folks don't need to spend 100% of their lives avoiding a certain food to be healthy in the long run. You just need to figure out your type - some folks abstain complete, some can moderate. One doesn't do well with the approach of the other ;)

QuilterInVA
02-26-2014, 02:20 PM
So watching what you eat makes you feel deprived? You are depriving yourself of good health, both physically and mentally when you are overweight. I'll take good health any day.

magical
02-26-2014, 03:52 PM
I really hate restriction. I hate the idea of it. It makes me feel deprived and more obsessive than usual. However I wonder if abstinence isn't such a bad plan after all. Maybe I just can't deal with certain foods -sugary and/or processed in particular - and should avoid them. They do me no favors. I used to think, that is no way to live and get indignant in my mind, that it was unfair and ridiculous to have to be extreme. BUt tonight I thought, I bet an alcoholic or drug user or gambler probably thinks the exact same way. I can't survive without food, but I don't require Little Debbie snack cakes to remain upright. Or Cheetos or cookies or gummies (fave candy). In fact all this food does is drive me binge-wild and cause headaches. I think by drawing a line between food that is necessary to live and food desires driven by cravings is almost parallel to drinking/drugging... really opened my eyes!!


For ME personally, I always make it a point to satisfy not only my hunger, but my cravings. The thing is that I'm craving healthy stuff too. I went through the process of going restriction-free and at first, I gorged on junk food, but then got fed-up with junk and started eating like a "normal" person (being defined as someone who eats everything in moderation and someone who is not obsessed with or have anxiety over food, not someone who is physically thin or fat).

At this point in time, I eat "junk" maybe once a week. Yes, I definitely watch what I eat BUT do not in any way feel deprived as my cravings are satisfied so weight management becomes easier and easier as time goes by.

I understand that this method is certainly not for everyone and is just another take on your question on whether abstinence is or is not a good thing.

hhm6
02-26-2014, 04:13 PM
This past week (7 days today) I completely gave up anything that was considered white (breads,pasta rice) and refined sugar (cakes, donuts etc) and I've been eating clean, like raw vegetables and 4 oz protein for every meal and some oat bran in the morning, oat bran is my only form of carbs, but I have to say I feel amazing!! I don't crave sugar, nor do I want it when I see it. I've also gone down 5 lbs, but I'm sure a large proportion of that is water weight.

I have to be one of those people who has to abstain from junk food. It spirals binge eating for me and makes me want to quit eating healthy. I also feel like my skin and hair feels better, maybe it is psychological but I for me going cold turkey just works, so I don't try to test the waters anymore to see if I can handle it. Although, when I'm out at parties I will allow myself to have a cheat meal (in small quantities) but I know with how much I can get (calorie-wise) with veggies, it's so little food when I pick carbs/sugary treats.

I completely understand what you mean by becoming obsessive, when I used to go on low-carb diets, everything I wanted was loaded in carbs, and I would actively search for it, buy it and eat it when no one was watching, I got so fed up with it I decided to give it up, it's worked in the past for me, and now it's helping me see the scale move again.

kaplods
02-26-2014, 04:41 PM
Foods can have drug-like properties, so I have to treat them that way. There are some foods I find easier to avoid altogethrr than to eat in moderation.

I find most high glycemic foods very easy to overeat, even healthiet ones such as fruit and potato with skin. The more carbs I eat, the more I feel I "need," not just want.

I've never really seen complete abstinence from trigger foods as an option, but maybe that's one of the reasons why my progress is so slow. I would never consider trying to use heroin in moderation, and I don't feel deprived by my non-use of heroin, so why am I so resistent to the thought of giving up foods that act like drugs in my body?

I think trigger-food abstainnce is at least worth considering.

Rana
02-26-2014, 10:14 PM
I'm in the same head space and I've been pondering this for years.

I have Insulin Resistance, so I know that carby foods affect my body in negative ways. But it is an addiction. Last year, I regained about 10-15 lbs because I stopped tracking and following the food plan that works -- because everyone around me says "moderation is key" and I am just eating it once in a while (it = high glycemix index stuff).

The reality is that I just don't function that way. Eating rice once a week means that by the three week, I'll be eating rice two or three times a week... and so on and so forth. It just doesn't work for me.

I've been back on my plan and I'm focusing on just eating three meals a day; no snacking, and definitely Paleo/low-carb. I've started to lose weight again (and stopped gaining) and I know that the problems were re-introducing those pesky carbs back in my diet.

I just can't do moderation.

laciemn
02-26-2014, 11:12 PM
I don't usually abstain, but today I sort of did. I was shopping and realized I was totally out of snacks. I usually keep 1 or 2 kinds of snacks I like around--chips, cookies or crackers--something like that. However, I'm really trying to keep my diet nutrition focused, while maintaining tastiness and the love of food that I just naturally have. There's always going to be unlimited pie, cake, pizza, hamburgers, french fries, cookies, donuts, frappes, or whatever your vice is! Always! There is no shortage of these foods and they can be a temptation if you let them. I didn't buy snacks, but honestly, I didn't want them that much. The realization that I didn't want it, but I was about to buy it anyway hit me. I automatically thought to get snacks, then realized it was a better decision to spend money on nutritionally valuable food--after all, it still tastes good! Sweets just have too much impact on blood sugar to be healthy in anything over a small amount, generally. However, even small amounts are dense in calories and low in nutrition--and not to mention, if you've got them in the house, you'll find a reason to have one! Just one, though!...or two, or three..

freelancemomma
02-27-2014, 08:59 AM
For me moderation is doable, even though it doesn't come naturally. I've never abstained from any food. The culture of abstinence doesn't sit well with me, I suppose. There are so many shouldn'ts and mustn'ts and don'ts in our world -- why should I pile on some more of my own?

If the day comes when moderation no longer works for me, I'll revisit my current position. For the time being, though, I can't see any compelling reason to say "no" to any food. I'd rather train myself to say "enough."

F.

Wannabeskinny
02-27-2014, 09:00 AM
So watching what you eat makes you feel deprived? You are depriving yourself of good health, both physically and mentally when you are overweight. I'll take good health any day.

Not exactly. I can't speak for the OP but in my case if I'm too restrictive with what I eat makes me feel deprived. And that feeling of being deprived leads to binging. A lot of people talk about their "trigger foods" but I don't have any trigger foods, the only trigger I have is deprivation which always, without exception, has led to binging. So for example, a long abstinence from potato chips I'll be fine for a while, then I'll get a craving, then I'll indulge in a small serving (trying to stay within a calorie limit of course), and then suddenly it's a free-for-all potato chip festival! I used to perceive the chips themselves as a trigger but in fact they're not, it's the restriction against them that makes me go after them. Everyone has to follow their instincts on what to eat and how much of it, but since I've placed my favorite brand of chips in the pantry a month ago I've yet to finish the bag. The restriction is gone and so is the need to binge. I too feel like I'm in good health.

canadjineh
02-27-2014, 09:23 AM
Re: Drug-like properties of foods.

Ever wonder why you can't eat a cup of butter, but you can easily eat a cup of very rich ice cream? It's the combo fats, sugars, and salt that affects our brains and really does cause a physical (not just psychological) craving. Interesting book by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss I read not too long ago. Very eye-opening.
http://www.weightymatters.ca/2013/07/book-review-michael-moss-salt-sugar-fat.html

In this case, abstinence from processed foods is the only way to go. If you are really craving something, make it yourself from scratch not a mix (ie: ice cream or potato chips) then I bet you'll change your food habits. The ease of pre-made junk in a package causes a lot of the problem. How often did people eat fries before fast food restaurants? When they had to wash and cut the potatoes, then deep fry them and clean the frypot up after?

Sorry if I sound preachy, but while you are re-training your body to like healthy food and eat moderately, it's best not to tempt it. Maybe afterward junk in moderation once a week might work for you? Best thing is to wait and find out when you get there. ;)
Liana

mars735
02-27-2014, 09:56 AM
Re: Drug-like properties of foods.

Ever wonder why you can't eat a cup of butter, but you can easily eat a cup of very rich ice cream? It's the combo fats, sugars, and salt that affects our brains and really does cause a physical (not just psychological) craving. Interesting book by Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Moss I read not too long ago. Very eye-opening.
http://www.weightymatters.ca/2013/07/book-review-michael-moss-salt-sugar-fat.html

In this case, abstinence from processed foods is the only way to go. If you are really craving something, make it yourself from scratch not a mix (ie: ice cream or potato chips) then I bet you'll change your food habits. The ease of pre-made junk in a package causes a lot of the problem. How often did people eat fries before fast food restaurants? When they had to wash and cut the potatoes, then deep fry them and clean the frypot up after?

Sorry if I sound preachy, but while you are re-training your body to like healthy food and eat moderately, it's best not to tempt it. Maybe afterward junk in moderation once a week might work for you? Best thing is to wait and find out when you get there. ;)
Liana

This has been my experience, totally. Once I stopped the junk foods, I stopped overeating and obsessing about food. Well maybe I still obsess a little :). If I want to feel indulgent, I can satisfy that very well and be done with it, as long as I don't use junk food. I love Kathryn Hansen's term for the craving of those binge-triggering highly refined fatty sugary salty foods:
neurological junk. By acknowledging the cravings and not acting on them, my urges to eat them are subsiding.

nostoneunturned
02-27-2014, 10:01 PM
Hey this is some really great advice/thoughts. Thanks everyone, truly!

I know it will vary depending on each individual, but I seriously think I will have to take the step of total elimination (sounds dramatic) of certain foods, my triggers. For me this is: all candy (especially "fruity" or gummy kinds), cakes, cookies, sweets in general. I can handle chips or salty/savory foods without going crazy, but I wonder if I should take a leave from fast food too. Usually the high fat content makes me feel very satisfied so I don't tend to binge, but it depends on the item. Either way it's not really a good choice.

I will have to decide whether or not to eliminate all wheat/starch items as they do not always cause binge feelings- I can handle potatoes or bread fine, Pasta would have to go though. Pizza is another binge provoker. Someone mentioned that when they eliminate sweets they move on to bread or other allowed carby foods and that triggers the whole cycle again which is a good point. I have ALOT to think about.

I've done some other research to including a blog by a person who was formerly an amphetamine addict. She quit drugs and moved on to food and shockingly found sweets created many of the same cravings that drugs would! She gained much weight by overindulging and the same mental pathways of her drug addiction were reignited by junk food. She went abstinent on sweets for good and said she naturally lost weight. What an inspiration. She also stated that abstinence from junk food means the same as abstinence from drugs: no special treats, even at parties, weddings, holidays, ever. Wow. I've thought about this and I guess I've always thought it is okay to indulge on birthdays or whatever but she makes a poignant argument I will say. I tried the No S Diet for a couple weeks in the summer but the weekend's allowances killed it for me. I guess cold turkey may be the best option.

nostoneunturned
02-27-2014, 10:08 PM
I like that cravings and desire for junk foods disappears after a time of avoiding. That makes me feel much more positive about the idea of just telling myself, "NO" completely. It's kind of intimidating because I think of past experiences where I planned to have a small piece of cake or treat and then it went haywire.

The idea that I might just not even think consider it is and just leave it alone for good... well, strangely mind blowing. EVERY diet/weight loss effort of the past involved concessions that I get treats on special occasions (entitlement attitude much). I mean this has worked in some cases, in that I lost weight. But I wonder... if it is what hindered the overall maintenance of those losses? I'd cruise along, carefully counting points or whatever, get to a certain weight then suddenly go crazy and start overdoing it, making excuses, blah blah blah. Then I'd end up at my start point, or in this case higher than EVER.

I need to do something!! I am going crazy with unhappiness at my current state. I'm terrified to go out in public, that I might run into a former acquaintance and they'll see how much I've blown up. It's such a suffocating way of life. Always hiding, fearing, stuffing food when no one's looking. I pray that this will get me off that crazy train forever!!

mars735
02-27-2014, 10:09 PM
I've done some other research to including a blog by a person who was formerly an amphetamine addict. She quit drugs and moved on to food and shockingly found sweets created many of the same cravings that drugs would! She gained much weight by overindulging and the same mental pathways of her drug addiction were reignited by junk food. She went abstinent on sweets for good and said she naturally lost weight. What an inspiration. She also stated that abstinence from junk food means the same as abstinence from drugs: no special treats, even at parties, weddings, holidays, ever. Wow. I've thought about this and I guess I've always thought it is okay to indulge on birthdays or whatever but she makes a poignant argument I will say. I tried the No S Diet for a couple weeks in the summer but the weekend's allowances killed it for me. I guess cold turkey may be the best option.

The addictive nature of certain foods is well-documented by current research. I think many of us have noticed that we couldn't control how much we ate certain things, yet we assumed food couldn't be doing that, it was just our lack of will power. It's good news in a way because then it's ok to deal with junk food by eliminating it rather than endlessly tickling our addiction thinking we should be able to 'just have one.'

xRiotGirl
02-27-2014, 10:21 PM
The last time I attempted to lose weight, I stopped all my bad habits cold turkey and started eating tons of salads. I dropped 15 pounds like THAT. As the days and weeks progressed, I started bingeing here and there until finally i just gave up on my goals altogether. I gained all the weight back and didn't even attempt to be healthy for about another year. This time around I pretty much plan on junk food everyday...well, not everyday. But basically, if I want it, I eat it. I just do so in moderation. I have one scoop of ice cream with very rich (Ghirardelli mmm) syrup on top, or a handful of chips instead of the bag (although to be totally honest, I don't even crave salty snacks anymore. It's the sweets I can't give up!). Point is, for ME I quite literally had to do a little trial and error and I found out that I can't do abstinence. I crave the forbidden, even after the anticipated initial stages of withdrawals. You might be learning through your own trial and error and you require abstinence. But I think what is most important is to observe your own habits and how they effect you, that is where you are going to learn YOUR best 'diet tips.'

Good luck. It's hard at first and feels like a loooong journey but you just gotta put one foot in front of the other. :)

nostoneunturned
02-28-2014, 01:48 AM
^^ I couldn't handle tons of salads myself! I don't really like lettuce honestly :D.

I truly envy those who can controllably consume small amounts and not feel overwhelmed. I no longer feel that I am that kind of person. I hate to feel like I have a problem mental health wise, that I can not control something as simple as what goes in my mouth. However maybe looking at it as a terrible habit that is triggered by consuming those particular foods I can find my way to healthy and happy. I feel like a junkie or even a toddler throwing a tantrum: I want it now! to heck with the consequences. And then the fallout continues to get worse and worse...I'm at my heaviest weight EVER. I gained 25 pounds since last summer alone! Even now I am thinking of things I wish I could eat. Nothing in the house but I feel scared for tomorrow. What's a good way to go about starting abstinence process? All in, or small steps?

nostoneunturned
02-28-2014, 01:52 AM
Thank you all for your posts. I keep re-reading them and considering the various angles presented. I feel better, knowing that you guys have overcome some obstacles similar to this! I am going to do this.

crispin
02-28-2014, 05:24 PM
The cleaner I eat, the easier it is for me not to overeat. By clean, I mean eating whole foods, the stuff from the perimeters of the supermarket. When I eat like that, it's hard for me to overeat. If I eat too much processed food (including bread), I start to lose control of my appetite. I don't have to completely abstain but I do need to be at about 80% clean. If 100% clean is what works for you NOW, I'd say go for it. You'll feel wonderful when the cravings stop, so long as you fill your diet with whole foods you do truly like.

In time, you may find that you can add some processed foods back w/o food taking control. I know that's caused you to backtrack in the past, but maybe there were other factors. Perhaps you hadn't been eating whole foods long enough? Or you treated the junk food as a treat or reward, which then made your regular diet feel like, well, a "diet" in comparison?

I believe we can improve our ability to handle trigger foods to an extent. Fore example, I used to never be able to eat a small brownie. I'd consume waaay more than I should. But since I've been eating better, I just can't eat as much of it as I used to. I pair it with some milk and the protein helps fill me up plus prevents a blood sugar spike. And I guess a small amount just seems bigger to me now. So change is possible. Five years ago, I wouldn't have thought I'd ever be able to restrain myself with brownies.

kaplods
02-28-2014, 07:24 PM
Abstinence doesn't have to be about deprivation. If you give up any behavior that you've found problematic, abstinence won't help (or last long) if you spend most of your time thinking about what you're giving up.

I do best when I avoid processed sugar and other high glycemic carbs, but only if I focus on low glycemic foods I love (and there are many). If I feel deprived, it's only because I chose to.

Feeling deprived comes from wanting what you didn't or couldn't choose or acquire. Contentment is about being happy with the choices you made and the things you have.

If I'm not happy unless I eat crap that isn't good for me, it is not because I needed the crap. For thay matter, if I'm not happy unless I get an apple, that isn't because of the apple.

Giving up a single food (for any reason) doesn't have to involve any drama whatsoever. It's not like giving up food altogether. There are thousands of food choices, and avoiding a few really doesn't have to be a big deal unless you choose to make it a big deal.

I have been trying to avoid wheat for several years now, and for most of it, I failed often, because I allowed myself to feel deprived. I wouuld eat pasta and bread and then suffer the consequences (itchy, red, crusting skin sores on my face, hands, and feet, digestive and joint pain...) because I threw myself a tantrum called, "It's just not fair that I can't have 'real' pasta and bread."

Now that I am choosing to see wheat as a toxin (to me) rather than as a need or a right, "abstinence" is no big deal.

People avoid foods all the time, for sillier reasons. It's perfectly ok to avoid onions, garlic, beans or sauerkraut, because they cause unpleasant breath and flatulence odors, or give you a tummyache, but it's somehow unnatural to avoid foods that promote obesity. God Forbid you avoid cake on a birthday, even if it's not your own.

Why is giving up sweets any more traumatic than giving up another food because it gives you smelly breath or foul gas (in other words, socially acceptable reasons).

If I had to choose between giving up forever, chocolate or alliums (onions, garlic, chives, leek, shallots...) I would much rather sacrifice the chocolate.

For some reason, stinky gas is considered an acceptable reason to give up an enjoyed food, but weight control isn't.

It won't kill me to give up chocolate, onions, or any other single food, and whether or not I feel deprived by such a choice is completely up to me. Feelings of deprivation or of indulgence are choices only slightly tied to behavior. You can give up all your worldly goods and be content, and you can have more than anyone else in the world and still feel deprived.

canadjineh
02-28-2014, 07:37 PM
Abstinence doesn't have to be about deprivation. If you give up any behavior that you've found problematic, abstinence won't help (or last long) if you spend most of your time thinking about what you're giving up.
Feeling deprived comes from wanting what you didn't or couldn't choose or acquire. Contentment is about being happy with the choices you made and the things you have.

If I'm not happy unless I eat crap that isn't good for me, it is not because I needed the crap. Giving up a single food (for any reason) doesn't have to involve any drama whatsoever. It's not like giving up food altogether. There are thousands of food choices, and avoiding a few really doesn't have to be a big deal unless you choose to make it a big deal.

People avoid foods all the time, for sillier reasons. It's perfectly ok to avoid onions, garlic, beans or sauerkraut, because they cause unpleasant breath and flatulence odors, or give you a tummyache, but it's somehow unnatural to avoid foods that promote obesity. God Forbid you avoid cake on a birthday, even if it's not your own.

Why is giving up sweets any more traumatic than giving up another food because it gives you smelly breath or foul gas (in other words, socially acceptable reasons).

Feelings of deprivation or of indulgence are choices only slightly tied to behavior. You can give up all your worldly goods and be content, and you can have more than anyone else in the world and still feel deprived.

Oh so true, and well said. We need to focus on the positive... remind ourselves of all the yummy & healthy foods we choose to eat, not the crap we choose not to eat. And do it out loud when you are preparing a meal or sitting down to eat... "I get to have this delicious (whatever) and I choose to fuel my wonderful body with it so I can enjoy my life!" YEAH!! :cheers:
There's something to be said for Cognitive Behavior Therapy!

Liana

nelie
02-28-2014, 07:54 PM
I mentioned previously but I think part of the problem is we see a lot of foods that we put 'off limits' in our daily lives and sometimes, for whatever reason, we choose to have those foods. That doesn't make us a bad person, we haven't failed, etc. The thing is that that little 'cheat' of a snowball becomes an avalanche as feelings of 'well I might as well just eat it all because I blew my diet' or 'I feel so guilty for eating, I am just going to just eat until I'm stuffed'.

I used to think I was addicted to bread, but now I've realized that I just never fully allowed myself to have it and when I did, I felt like I should eat as much as I could of it while I can. The end result means eating tons of calories when if I had just allowed myself some bread and not felt guilty about it, I would've been fine. I still rarely have bread even though I allow myself to eat it, and I make my own bread regularly. The funny thing is the thing that used to be my biggest draw, I rarely actually want to eat so I don't.

diamondgeog
02-28-2014, 08:05 PM
Great posts by Nelie and Kaplods and everyone.

I was a junk food addict. I gave myself a month of cold turkey and great things happened. My life is night and day now since I am truly no longer hungry.

I also started exercising more which studies show can get the hunger hormones working better. Also studies showing overweight people 'can't hear' the I am full hunger hormone.

In any event, for me, best thing I ever did. It seemed to reset my body and appetite. I can even have most former trigger foods and they don't trigger anything now. But I don't because wheras before I could eat and eat them, now my body rejects them and I feel awful. So as Nelie said you start craving better foods.

I've basically gone grain free because it works for me. Never though that would be possible but it was. But that leaves such an abundance of super yummy foods I am enjoying food just as much as before, probably more. And life infinitely more. When you get down to it, for me, at least grains are pretty boring tastes. A nice small piece of extra sharp aged cheddar gives me more pleasure than a bowl of cereal ever did.

kaplods
02-28-2014, 08:36 PM
I think abstinence only becomes a problem when you stop seeing it as a freely given choice or when you allow self worth and failure into the equation.

No one feels bad or guilty or like a total failure if they pass on the onions they're craving in order to spare others the aromas later

I firmly believe that feelings of guilt and failure and the social pressure to feel weight-related guilt and failure are the main reason weight loss statistics are so dismal. We're taught to define everything but the top 1% as failure.

By the way our culture defines weight management success, it's surprising that anyone ever makes the cut.

If you're not in the top 99%, even if you're in the top 89%, you suck! And if you don't know that you suck, you're delusional and lazy and not even trying.

So, I guess yes, abstinence will not work if you choose to tie food to guilt, but I would argue that weight loss in general rarely works when you tie guilt to food or a number on the scale.

So I guess that means, if you want to try abstinence, make sure you've ditched the guilt first.

nostoneunturned
02-28-2014, 09:15 PM
Oh I am so glad I posted here. You guys are blowing my mind with your insights! I thought I had a pretty good handle on what to or not to do but so many points here are rich:

-Kaplods' note about tying guilt in with abstinence, so true. I don't want to feel like I don't [B]deserve[B] certain things, but I need to come around to the idea that I don't want them because they don't make me feel good/they don't taste good (after awhile as many have mentioned). YES.
-diamondgeog's post about exercise and how that controls appetite. I used to get discouraged with exercise, since as we know the calorie-burn factor is not as great as we sometimes like to hope. Earlier in the month I did well with adding light exercise in 3x week and felt good, slept better, started to feel a tiny bit fitter (I didn't want to weigh myself since that wasn't supposed to be the point) then I had a treat meal, which evolved into a treat weekend, to a treat week, to a... well, I was back on binge train. I definitely need to get back into walking again.
-I love Nelie's point about how binging can be caused by feeling like you're not allowed to have something. YES. I know this feeling. That's why I've avoided abstaining from certain things. But I think I need to give myself at least a decent timeframe where I commit to avoiding sweets (my trigger) and seeing how I feel in, oh, 3 months or something. I would hope by that point I would no longer crave them and they would be replaced with new foods I love (healthier, non binge-triggering ones!).
-which leads into Crispin's great post. I definitely never laid off the binge triggers for a long enough time period. I was too concerned with not feeling deprived or cheated out of something special, especially for holidays and birthdays. Well neither are coming up for a while now (not sure when Easter falls this year..) so now is the time to get cracking!

My plan: I'm going to begin the practice of eliminating sweets/pizza/pasta tomorrow (3/1). I may count ww points for a time to assure I don't go crazy with overeating other things. I will take note of what foods (if any) cause triggers beyond sweets and eliminate them as well. My focus is on finding filling, tasty and healthier foods. I will look at this as a short run process, but allow no "off days" or cheats anywhere for at least 2 months. I will make adjustments as needed but the no sweets/binge triggers can not be revoked. I really need to find out if this will be the key to freeing myself!

Thanks so much for all your wisdom :) I will update with the results as I continue forth!

mars735
02-28-2014, 09:23 PM
"but the no sweets/binge triggers can not be revoked"

I found this book to be incredibly helpful in dealing with the urge to binge:
Brain Over Binge by Kathryn Hansen. Best wishes to you as you move forward!

diamondgeog
02-28-2014, 10:02 PM
Nostone,

Go for it. It IS doable. I just said no matter what I am going to give it up for a month and see how it goes.

Now it is virtually effortless. Hunger is just gone with no grains, little to no processed food, and little starchy veggies, and moderate fruits.

Everything else is literally on my plate. My combo might not be right for you. But if you stick with it, it will get so much easier and be one of the best things you ever did.

Remember these are lifestyle changes not a diet.

I truly believe most times there is failure people haven't gone quite long enough to get over a transition period. Don't forget enough water daily as well.

nostoneunturned
02-28-2014, 10:52 PM
Thanks diamondgeog! I agree, no matter WHAT, I have to stop this out of control freight train. I will be up over 200 (a first) and out of all my clothes in a matter of weeks if I don't make a real change. I definitely don't see it as a temporary diet solution: I want to not crave junk food ever, so hopefully abstinence will do the trick! You inspire me, it's exciting to think in a matter of weeks/months I could feel potentially feel indifferent to my now favorite processed binge items.

And mars- I have read Kathryn's book too! And I loved it. She writes so well in an easy to read format, and her binge experiences really ring true. I struggled to have the breakthrough that she did the way she did though. It was like, I read it, and said "OH!" It sounded so easy. And maybe with more practice it could have been? But it was difficult for me to not justify, well one more binge, then I'll try again. Sigh. I may get a chance to try it again over the next few days/weeks if any triggers occur though!

mars735
02-28-2014, 11:09 PM
I struggled to have the breakthrough that she did the way she did though. It was like, I read it, and said "OH!" It sounded so easy. And maybe with more practice it could have been? But it was difficult for me to not justify, well one more binge, then I'll try again. Sigh. I may get a chance to try it again over the next few days/weeks if any triggers occur though!

Same here. But I got some things that have really helped me: viewing the urges as neurological junk, & understanding my lower brain, in trying to help me survive, can be oh so persuasive! I know how to spot the pre-binge behavior more easily and nip things in the bud, like when I try persuading myself that I need something at the store just to have an excuse to buy binge foods.

There is another technique called surfing the urge. I haven't read up on it, but apparently you learn to ride the wave of an urge to binge as it intensifies and then falls off. Apparently it WILL pass in ?20 minutes?. Eventually they go away altogether.

Pattience
03-01-2014, 01:44 AM
I guess we all have to try different things and work out what works for us.

I am currently on my second serious attempt to quit sweets. I am more serious this time though last time i did it for six months successfully and got to a very low weight. A major change of my routine messed the whole thing up.

I started out that first diet doing exercise every second day. I started out with a long walk and got up to running about 10km by the third month i think. I may have been able to continue that for a fairly long time i don't know but sometimes i just don't really want to start exercise because i need to focus on other things like now.

So this diet i am doing now which i started two months ago, is also a quit sweets one. And as of about a week ago i feel a lot more committed to doing it forever. I would not quit pasta though as i'm a vegetarian type thing and rely on it. I also don't really binge on it.

but i do binge a lot on anything with refined sugars in it like iccream, lollies, cake and so on. And when i'm in binge mode, i will binge on nuts of any sort, weetbix with milk, cornflakes with milk, just anything basically except meat and vegetables. At one point i was even worried about the amount of milk i was consuming.

But for me its the sweets that are the key to my binging behaviours. You may find if you can just quit sweets you will be able to eat pasta and stuff like that without binging also. In the South beach diet, they seem to leave pasta and bread for phase two. I think it sounds like a sensible system they've got from the little i know about how that diet works.

Anyway so now i'm doing no exercise except in my garden and being active.

I think one of the things that triggers my binge behaviour is low mood brought on by disappointments i can't deal with, frustrations and other negative events that come in sequences and accumulate to wear down my positive mood. But once i start binging, even when my mood picks up again, i tend to keep on binging unless i get on a diet.

ON this one, i worked on my resolve quite intensely for the first few days and now its easy for me.

Also i avoid getting hungry and am not super rigid with myself. I don't restrict my calories too much but i am losing weight easily and steadily. I"m not in a big hurry. I'm not stressed about it. I am confident it will happen because i've done it before.

This time i'm already thinking about maintenance though and intend to try to keep a food diary even after i reach goal weight.

Its important for me to try to anticipate and be prepared for diet negative events so that i am not brought unstuck because usually my diets end fairly suddenly and its ages before i can start again. I tend to go with the flow whatever the flow is at the time.

Have a look at my food blog in my signature.

mam1958
03-01-2014, 07:48 AM
nostone I agree with you 100%. Abstain from what makes you feel out of control.

I too binge from sugar and carbs. I too am starting my no white sugars or possessed foods. I did it before I can do it again for life.

On a side note am a reformed Alcoholic , and a reformed smoker. No Alcohol for 21 years and No smoking for 34 years.

I know now that I can not eat these kinds of foods. Like mentioned before why eat something that makes me feel horrible and unhappy.

There are many diets and much advice out there. Just do what works best for you. Everyone is different. What works for me may not work for you.

But I can highly recommend not eating sugar. Get ready to feel wonderful.

Good Luck...

kelijpa
03-01-2014, 08:49 AM
I haven't read everything. So forgive me if I'm repeating what someone else has already said.

You mentioned old WW, one of the things I keep using from very early on in WW is a concept called, red light foods, think of a traffic light, red, yellow, green, pretty simple, but involves figuring out how your mind and/or body react to different foods.

Red light foods are ones you can't control, for me chips, yellow you can sometimes control, green, no prob. Not saying you can't have these ever again, but knowing which are stronger triggers can help you plan when it would be ok to indulge.

I have chocolate just about every weekend, but never during the week anymore, same with chips, it's a delicate balance in the beginning, but for me now simply a habit, I know I can have it on the weekend so I can limit myself during the week, it's not as restrictive as never again.

Wishing you the best of luck finding what will work best for you, don't give up, keep trying, you will find it! :sunny:

Forgot, I wanted to say "knowledge is power"

Wannabeskinny
03-01-2014, 09:00 AM
I mentioned previously but I think part of the problem is we see a lot of foods that we put 'off limits' in our daily lives and sometimes, for whatever reason, we choose to have those foods. That doesn't make us a bad person, we haven't failed, etc. The thing is that that little 'cheat' of a snowball becomes an avalanche as feelings of 'well I might as well just eat it all because I blew my diet' or 'I feel so guilty for eating, I am just going to just eat until I'm stuffed'.

I used to think I was addicted to bread, but now I've realized that I just never fully allowed myself to have it and when I did, I felt like I should eat as much as I could of it while I can. The end result means eating tons of calories when if I had just allowed myself some bread and not felt guilty about it, I would've been fine. I still rarely have bread even though I allow myself to eat it, and I make my own bread regularly. The funny thing is the thing that used to be my biggest draw, I rarely actually want to eat so I don't.

I can identify with this so much. I know there are people out there who can swear off certain foods and let's face it, sugar is a completely unecessary nutrient in its processed form! We don't need it to survive or to thrive do we? Unfortunately for me when I put it off there comes innevitably a day that I will eat it again, and then it's a snowball effect that I can't seem to ever stop. Eventually I start questioning the logic of giving up something forever and it begins to feel inherently stupid (to me) and then I go for it, starting an avalanche that I can't stop.

The most immediate thought that comes to my mind when I'm cheating is "let me eat as much of this as possible because tomorrow I will punish myself heartily for this no matter how little of it I eat, no point in stopping now is there?"

So rather than abstaining from a certain food I've started abstaining from punishing myself from eating that food. Remarkably this has helped me avoid binges. I'm just a criminal when it comes to food, the more I tell myself not to eat it the more likely I am to go out of my way to eat it. There is no amount of dieting restriction or imprisonment that will change that fundamental truth about me. I can control myself much better with a little trust and freedom than I can control myself with massive restrictions.

diamondgeog
03-01-2014, 09:02 AM
Part of my particular journey was observing, tweaking, expirementing, more tweaks. As I suppose everyone does.

So for me after a number of months I could add some stuff back in without any problems. This may or may not happen to you. But my main point is the 'transition phase' doesn't necessarily become your longer term way of eating.

I found cutting out grains, just recently corn as my last one, had profound positives for me. It might not for you. And they weren't weight loss related. I was doing fine with corn weight loss wise. But cutting out stopped my back pain, even though I am running MORE, and allergies.

The other big point is you can always go back. You cut grains out for a couple months, not worth it for you or anyone, you can always go back.

Serenity100
03-01-2014, 11:03 AM
I love this discussion. I agree it takes "self discovery" to figure out our triggers are. I have finally had a smack my forehead moment for my binges. It is not the food itself. It is the food, coupled with the stress/anxiety happening in my life.

No matter what is happening in my life, illness, death, crappy work conditions, I can't make that an excuse to eat sugar and carbs. Maybe I will feel better for five minutes but then it will only boomerang and cause me more anxiety because I gained more weight.

There are people who "can't eat" when anxious or stressed. This has never happened to me. ;)

kaplods
03-01-2014, 01:52 PM
The other big point is you can always go back.


I think this may be the key point. Even with alcohol and drugs, the focus of abstinence is on "one day at a time," not on "never again."

"Never again," is deprivation focused, "Just for today" isn't. And if a whole day doesn't feel doable,, focus on an hour or whatever DOES feel doable.

Even "maybe later, but not now" can be helpful.

I know this all, and it works wonderfully when I use it. I just forget too often to use all the strategies at my disposal.

lin43
03-01-2014, 02:33 PM
I have read Kathryn's book too! And I loved it. She writes so well in an easy to read format, and her binge experiences really ring true. I struggled to have the breakthrough that she did the way she did though. It was like, I read it, and said "OH!" It sounded so easy. And maybe with more practice it could have been? But it was difficult for me to not justify, well one more binge, then I'll try again. Sigh. I may get a chance to try it again over the next few days/weeks if any triggers occur though!

My thoughts/experience exactly, except that I discovered I'm not really a binger, just an overeater (still a problem, though). I did not have the "Aha" moment that many who have read her book have. To be honest, I sort of got annoyed after reading it because it essentially boiled down to her realizing that her binges were mainly habit, deciding to break the habit, and voila, she was cured. I do not believe the process is so easy for many, though.

lin43
03-01-2014, 02:35 PM
There is another technique called surfing the urge. I haven't read up on it, but apparently you learn to ride the wave of an urge to binge as it intensifies and then falls off. Apparently it WILL pass in ?20 minutes?. Eventually they go away altogether.


Yes, this does work, for me at least. As I mentioned in the previous post, I am not a binger, but I am an overeater. I find that if I can just resist the immediate urge, then 15-20 minutes later, I won't even think about the food I wanted (usually). The urge is so powerful sometimes, though, that the initial resistance is extremely difficult.

nelie
03-01-2014, 02:42 PM
One thing I thought with mindful eating was if you weren't hungry and wanted to eat then distance yourself from the food and distract yourself. Often, the urge will pass. If the urge doesn't pass, then allow yourself the food but enjoy it and let it be the focus. But distance and distract works more often than you think it would.

kelijpa
03-03-2014, 09:05 AM
I know this all, and it works wonderfully when I use it. I just forget too often to use all the strategies at my disposal.. -Kaplods
Too true

magical
03-03-2014, 01:46 PM
If a strategy is not natural for you, then it's hard to adopt it so that it becomes a habit.

We all need to find a way that will work for us and that way must get easier over time.

brelo
03-03-2014, 11:39 PM
I have been studying a little bit lately on the topic of the science of food addiction. It is maddening to know that food companies are certainly doing their part to make sure we find food products completely irresistible. There is a whole science behind their activities. The way the food feels in your mouth, the taste of the food (which in some cases the taste is created in a lab!), and even how the food hits the pleasure centers in our brain!! It is hard to stand up to this with will power alone. Of course there is the element of personal responsibility, but with mountains of highly addictive food surrounding us on every side, just having a taste is for me is a poor option. Now, I just need to practice what I preach.

lotsakids
03-04-2014, 02:17 PM
I eat very low carb / higher (good) fats. I do have recipes for things I love though that replace some of my un-healthy favorites.

I have diabetes so keeping my blood sugar as close to normal is my goal. I have been following a plan (Trim Healthy Mama) that separates higher carb meals from higher fat meals. The idea is that your body can only burn one type of fuel at a time and if overloaded you cause a dump of insulin into the blood stream. I am losing weight but more than that my blood sugar rarely goes out of normal range. I had removed sugar and high glycemic carbs from my diet before I started the plan and I also eat gluten free.

I eat chocolate, but I have a recipe for it that uses coconut oil and stevia
I love fries and hash browns, but I use jicama instead of potatoes
I love pizza so I make a cauliflower crust that kicks butt.
cooked radishes in a pot roast taste like red potatoes.

You can have your favorite foods but you have to make it yourself and not rely on the local drivethrough.

Mer du Japon
03-04-2014, 09:39 PM
I've been in your shoes, many times. I absolutely must abstain from junk foods--especially ANYTHING sugary and sweet. I struggle with binge eating/boredom eating, and sugary foods are extremely triggering for me. It definitely is like a drug and causes strong cravings, so I really have found abstaining is the only way to go. After a couple weeks, cravings are gone and I don't even think about those bad foods anymore.

nostoneunturned
03-05-2014, 09:02 PM
I'm loving all these posts! Best WL comm online.

This week (beginning Sat, Mar 1 as planned) I have abstained from sweets, all the way. I've had moments of weakness; such as seeing a baggie of gummi bears on the ground on campus today- not that I'd ever pick them up and eat them!, but just seeing them, and thinking OMG look SO good. But I powered through. I wish I could say I feel better about it but it's kind of hard with lots of stress going on. Nevertheless, my new "go to" is to simply remind myself, just make it through one month without. Then you can have it.

I actually hope to make it more like 2-3 months without sweets/triggers (or, wistfully, my whole life) but for now it's easier to say, just one month. Someone upthread rather smartly pointed that out, that it doesn't have to be forever, at least mentally. I think that is key. I can get through a month mentally but not a lifetime. Realistically I sense abstaining will have to be the reality for a very long time in order to avoid binge behaviors but at this point I'm keeping my sights very short.

I am counting points which is helping keep me in check. I only have a few weeklies left for two more days. Eh. My issue there is lack of planning so I eat out, try to make good choices but those foods just aren't as filling/low point as stuff from home. I'll be brown baggin Thur/Fri for sure LOL. I weighed in at 189.6 last Saturday and will weigh in again this Saturday morning to see first weeks' results.

Arwen17
03-06-2014, 04:40 PM
This is how I finally became vegan. I started to see junk food as an addiction, just like cigarettes and alcohol. I've always had some disdain towards drug addicts because I saw it as a supreme lack of control and intelligence. But I finally realized I had the same kind of addiction to terrible food, particularly cheese.

mars735
03-06-2014, 10:25 PM
Same here Arwen17, I always thought addicts were other people than me. Was I ever wrong. We all have the wiring to be addicted to something, I think.