Hi. This is the first time I have ever posted in a weight loss forum so please bear with me.
I really need your help, suggestions, comments, etc. I have been struggling with my weight all my life (I'm 46 now). I went on my first diet at the age of 12 and lost weight by counting calories and keeping the total under 800 a day. I kept doing that during most of the 70's. During the 80's I mostly lost weight by fasting (and then bingeing and purging). I also lost weight using the Stillman Diet (all the eggs, meat, fish and chicken you can eat). Needless to say I always gained it back. Then I stopped dieting and applied the principles where you eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full (I was reading most of Geneen Roth's books at the time). I actually never was able to do this very often but the up side of it was that the problems with binging and purging went away when I just stayed away from dieting. But I never lost weight and I never resolved the compulsive eating.
Last summer I managed to stay on a diet for about 4 months and lost about 25 lbs. This was the longest I have been able to stick to a diet in years. I counted calories and kept them under 1500 a day but then 2 days a week I would eat what I wanted. This was working pretty well at the time; In fact this was a plan that I thought I could work with for the long term. But, then I couldn't do it any more. I get so incredibly angry at the thought of tracking calories yet again.
The trouble is I don't know what to do now. How do you force yourself to do something that you don't really want to do? (like restrict your eating). I have got to lose some weight. My health is pretty good but I need to resolve this problem. I exercise 3 days a week right now doing 30-40 minutes of cardio and then lifting weights. I don't mind exercise too much. At least you can do it and it is over with for the day; I don't stress about it every minute of my life like I do with dieting
The main reasons I want to be thinner are 1) health 2) vanity 3) to resolve this issue once and for all. I hope posting here will be helpful.
I'm sorry for the whining. Hopefully you all will overlook it and give me some feedback or suggestions or enlightment or anything to help.
Thanks you guys.
Current weight: 210
First goal: 195
09-28-2004, 09:08 PM
Hey there --
I'm a compulsive eater, too. I think that, like with other compulsive behaviors/addicitions, you can say you're in recovery but never that you are cured. I think finding peace with that concept actually helps.
I know what you mean about being weary of the whole thing. I "gave up" in my late 20s / early 30s and went from about 220 (my lowest adult weight) to 339 in the course of 10 years or so. But, a convergence of events and circumstances finally helped me feel some optimism and a sense of purpose, and I started "one more time." That was three years ago and I'm down nearly 150, and still kicking.
I also know what you mean about being angry. I have spent a lot of time in my life cursing at people who didn't have the issues I have, and at myself for being different. But, I was finally able to adopt the attitude that I could only play with the hand I was dealt. I could not waste my precious energy on anger and envy. It took a lot to learn to let that go, but when I did, I turned a corner. "Whatever works," became my motto.
I can't tell you the magic words to make you suddenly do this thing you want, but don't want to do. I think you're smart enough to realize that. But, I can tell you that what worked for me was, in part, embracing the idea that the changes I made were going to be for life. I gave up the idea of getting to an "ideal" weight -- when I started, I was hoping against hope to get back down to 220. But, I decided that just getting to a healthier place food-wise, and losing SOME weight, was enough of a goal to start with. I also finally got deep in my gut that my condition was something to manage, rather than conquer. I could not go on a diet, but I had to undergo a retraining period. That meant balance, balance, balance, working on the interior issues and being hyper-aware of myself and my body and my reactions. It meant getting creative, having a problem-solving mindset. I could go on and on, but that's enough to start with.
I did find a commercial program I like, Jenny Craig. It IS about counting calories in the end, but you do it through exchanges, sort of a modular system. Since you are tired of the grind, you might find it helpful. You do purchase their entree items for essentially most meals for the first half of your program, then you start weaning off. It relieves some of the burden of being creative about meals and counting and balancing every thing, but as you get used to the system you start going off on your own. SOrt of like training wheels. It makes meal planning a lot easier, and eating out, too. So, you might think about that. They always have a free trial membership deal going; you can find out more at www.jennycraig.com.
Even if you don't go that route, look for something that you can live with forever, something you can do every day, but that has enough flexibility to live your life. ANd, I HIGHLY recommend spending some time before jumping into anything thinking and reflecting and reading. I did this for about 6 months before starting my program, and I think it made a world of difference. I'll recommend two books for you: Thin for Life, and The Thin Books. Both offer a life-long approach and emphasize the things that help you change from the inside out. It's all about attitude, baby. :) The second book you might find especially helpful, since it is about compulsive overeating. Also, don't count out professional counseling.
Don't worry about "forcing" yourself to do something you don't want to do. You had the drive to come here. You have the drive to start asking questions. Don't worry about food plans and the like right now, just keep that drive alive by reading and thinking and analyzing and letting your spirit breathe. Think about what makes you tick, what makes you happy. Rejoice in the fact that you already exercise, that your health is pretty good. Dress up, go out, live your life. Let all of your successes in all areas of your life inform your opinion of yourself, and let that self-love feed your desire to be healthy. If you keep approaching it from this positive, affirming point of view, there will be a day when you can't HELP but start again, where wild horses couldn't keep you away.
Finally, I encourage you to seek out yoga, particularly Anusara yoga if you can find an teacher in your area (check out www.anusara.com). I started taking it when I weighed about 230, and it has made an enormous difference in my spirit. Sure, it's good exercise, but it's a wonderful way to help yourself open yourself up to possibility and self-affirmation.
09-28-2004, 09:25 PM
I've struggled with my weight all my life as well and it has taken me a few years to find an eating program that I believed that I could live with for the rest of my life. I've tried counting calories, starving myself, eating extremely low carb, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, eating quasi low carb and now I am doing South Beach Diet. I take pride in my eating now because I know I am eating healthy, I am eating non processed foods as well as eating low saturated fats and healthy foods in general.
I think you really need to find an eating plan you think you can live with for quite a while.
Beyond that, I also believe you have to really believe that your food is fuel for your body and something that will help you lose weight and provide your body with the nutrients you need. Sure I used to love eating french bread, cheesecake and chocolate, but I know that stuff doesn't do anything for my health or my weight. I have learned to enjoy foods that are healthier. I don't count calories but I do watch my portions because I tend to be a binger and that is the last thing I want to do. I also eat 6 small meals a day so that I am never hungry and I keep my metabolism up.
You also need to believe in yourself, believe you can do it and know you are working towards a better you.
I wish you luck and success.
09-28-2004, 09:32 PM
If counting calories is hard, don't. There are ways around it and still be able to start taking weight off. Go ahead and eat what you want. That's how I first started out. I ate what I wanted with a few substitutions and additions.
1) Substitute ground beef for ground turkey, white flour with whole grains, sweets for natural sugars.
2) Drink a large glass of water before every meal.
3) Eat a large salad before every meal (except breakfast of course LOL). Eat salad or fruit whenever you feel like binge eating. Eat as much as you want and you'll still lose weight.
This is the way I started out, and as I shrunk, so did my appetite. I still want to put food in my mouth at times that I'm not hungry, so I chew sugar free gum.
09-30-2004, 06:40 PM
I just wanted thank all of you for your thoughtful and sensitive responses. Funniegrrl, the statement that "my condition was something to manage, rather than conquer" has been helpful to me. It is giving me something to mull over.
Thank you all for your consideration and for taking the time to respond.
10-01-2004, 12:34 PM
Glad you found it helpful! That realization has been key for me -- in a way, the cornerstone of everything I've done.