Anyone manage to quit dieting with positive results?
Hi, I've decided to start a new thread for people who would like to stop dieting and being restrictive. I am also hoping those of you that have been successful at this will give tips on how they were able to transition from being a chronic dieter/restrictive eater to someone who no longer restricts and considers themselves recovered from disordered eating.
I am a binge eater and have considered that to be my problem for some time now, but I think my main problem is really being an obsessive dieter/restrictive eater and binging is just the symptom of that behaviour. Please any tips on how to not diet would be much appreciated. Also, just personal stories for inspiration would be so great. I have never had a weight problem and have never weighed more than 120 pounds at 5'5", yet I struggle so much with restriction followed by binging.
I was never a chronic dieter or long term restricter but I stopped counting calories (this caused horrible binges and a lot of self-hate) and focus on eating enough to (A) fuel workouts and (B) not feel starving or stuffed at nearly any point. I do have a roster of "daily" foods like Greek yogurt, chicken, tuna, turkey burgers, fish, veggies etc but if someone else cooks I will happily eat whatever they make. I guess I am trying to trust my intuition and hope for the best - I do weigh a lot more than you (ok 5-10 pounds I guess) and used to be overweight so from my perspective this is "best shape I've ever been in."
What's made it easier for me is focusing on fitness goals particularly in lifting weights, and sticking to a consistent routine in my life. I work the same hours every day, practice leangains-ish meal timing (I eat 2 meals - one in early afternoon and one at dinnertime), and make getting a lot of sleep a priority.
Thank you so much for responding. I had realized I was really getting off topic on the March binge free challenge thread and thought it best to start a new one. I also felt I was coming accross as bashing calorie counting and I don't want to do that. I know it works for many people and I myself have counted calories for the past 12 years, and I guess some could say it works because my weight only fluctuates within a 10 pound weight range. However, I did not start binging until I started counting calories and the more obsessed I am with adding up everything so precisely, the more I binge, and the more It ruins my life. I become socially isolated, and an angry anxiety ridden mess.
I have noticed your posts throughout the chicks in control forum and they have really stood out to me and have really resonated. Reading your words It reminds me of my twin sisters attitude towards food, who once was severely bulimic and now is the poster child of moderation. If it wasn't for her, I would probably just accept that I am a binge eater and will have to count calories and will struggle for life and would blame genetics. But she is an example, with the same genes and who started out with an even worse relationship with food, that it doesn't have to be that way. On the outside, to most people we are almost the same, with her only being slightly thinner. But on the inside she is free and happy and never diets or counts calories, and I am tortured with the hidden binging secret noone would ever expect in a million years.
I have not counted calories for the last 3 days and have made it impossible to do so by putting away my food scale, measuring cups etc, and taking just what I think I want instead of taking what I am "allowed to have". And it has been a scary leap of faith, but I want to persist. I do feel the void having neglected my food diary that adds everything up so nicely, and feel odd not doing mental calculations, but I also feel a load off and like I am exhaling after holding my breath for too long. And I havn't binged and haven't felt the urge. By no means do I think it is a cure to end binging as I believe there are many other reasons, emotional etc; but I think restricting makes the other urges so much stronger and harder to ignore.
I will keep those two things you mentioned in the forefront, A) eat enough to fuel my workouts and B) not feel starving or stuffed at any point. I am really loving these as things to remind myself of throughout the day. Also, I am glad you mention that you will happily eat what someone else makes. I have been at that point a few times throughout all the madness and I do think it's key for ending the obsession and letting go of total control. I have actually planned to stay at my sisters on my days off where she said she will cook me dinner which will force me to give up control over knowing the exact calories.
Also, thanks for the idea about fitness goals. Maybe that will help to fill the void left behind from not tracking and obsessing over what I am eating. I really have no idea what leangains is. I've heard the word but have never looked into it which actually shocks me because I feel I've read almost everything out there.
Seriously, thanks so much. It really helps give me the courage to persist with this. I hope others who have taken the road of moderation and giving up some of the control will chime in. It's hard not to get scared and begin calorie counting again. I am really hoping that won't happen like it has so many times before.
I know what you mean about calorie counting making you a nervous wreck. I remember for a long time living by the scale and counting calories, if you're one of those obsessive personalities like I am it starts to impair your life and even your relationships. Essentially you're replacing one crazy behavior with another. After calorie counting for that long you should have certain skills though. You know what a healthy portion of nuts/fruit/protein/carbs looks like so you really don't need the scale to measure out food. It's like learning how to add/subtract. You learn how to do these in grade school, practice for a few years and now you can just do it... you don't have to keep doing drills. Think of calorie counting as a skill, you don't have to think about it too much, just do it when you need it.
I wish we could all be like your sister, happy on the inside and not have to think about food. There is a book called "Brain Over Binge" that deals with changing how your brain responds to binge triggers. I found it very helpful and it made me realize a lot about how I get triggered to binge and how I respond automatically to those triggers when really I don't have to.
"If you pay attention to when you are hungry, what your body wants, what you are eating, when you've had enough, you end the obsession because obsession and awareness cannot coexist." - Geneen Roth
veggiedaze - I started practicing intuitive eating at the beginning of March. Like you, I'd had enough of the counting, measuring, and recording. IE seemed the most logical way for me to proceed.
I have about 20 lbs that I'd like to lose, but I may or may not get there. I've accepted that. Since I'm 61 and dieted on and off for a good part of my adult life (except for ages 28-48 where I was a normal weight without trying) I'd just gotten to the point that I decided the yo-yo dieting and driving myself crazy was far worse for me psychologically than being overweight (but not obese).
It's quite liberating, IF you can embrace it.
You are correct when you say that binging is part of the obsessive dieting/restricted eating mentality. They go hand in hand. I believe that once you break free of the need to diet and/or restrict, you will discover that your binging will occur less and less frequently (and be less severe as well).
I wish you luck. Will check back on this thread to see how you are progressing.
After inadvertently losing 5lbs when I first went veggie without any exercise, I became obsessed with losing weight. I starved myself to lose 40lbs, and along with it, lost my period for a year and a half and lost all energy.
As I fought to recover my disordered eating, the tables turned, and I became a binger.
Today, though just beginning, is Day 10 binge free for me.
I'm sick of the loss of control that binging gives me. It's made me gain all the weight I lost plus 10 more pounds (though I did need to gain 15-20 lbs anyway, as I was too skinny).
I'm trying hard to fight it, and as I do, I can sense some of my old ways coming back, like: I have to workout to deserve dinner, the less the better, weighing in more than once a day, etc..
That's not a path I want to walk again. I want to become intuitive and learn how to eat right. I want to be into small portions, and find them satisfying and satiating.
I want to do this, and through it, will lose weight.
Last edited by PaintedPonies : 03-30-2013 at 08:20 AM.
Intuitive eating is certainly a challenge if you have never practiced "maintenance" portion control/calorie counting or have had disordered eating in the past - but I think almost anyone can learn it, while it will be more difficult for some than for others.
"Leangains" is a pretty detailed program that I don't totally follow, but the eating schedule is a good guideline for people who can go a while between meals/sleeping. I usually eat at 1-2 PM and then again whenever "dinnertime" happens (between 6:30-8 PM most days) and shoot for "healthy and filling but not uncomfortably stuffed" for both meals.
I quit restricting food intake altogether back in early Feb. I had been working towards it since Nov of last year, but I finally decided to take the plunge, weight be damned. My mental health was suffering. The bingeing/reactive eating from the restriction was not worth it.
I started to eat bigger meals so my body was well-nourished. A starving body will always be asking for a binge (I probably eat around 2200 calories/day at 5'3" and ~115, and do minimal activity to give my body a rest and chance to heal). I'm not sure of the actual calories because I don't count calories, think it's an awful thing to do, but I still have the knowledge of calories in my head (which is something I desperately wish I could erase and never knew in the first place!).
Unsurprisingly, after I did that, the binges stopped. I don't even have the urges anymore because I eat enough; I eat to hunger and fullness and that's about my caloric average from my body dictating it. I may or may not have gained weight. I don't know because I don't weigh and my clothes fit the same - maybe a tad bit tighter during PMS week from water, but that's always been the case and not terribly so.
I am staunchly anti-dieting/anti-lifestyle changes - to me they are the same thing. I only come here to help people when I see people like you reach out for it. Dieting sucks. Our culture's mentality towards weight sucks. Starvation diets are a staple and encouraged. It enrages me because of the **** I have been through mentally during what should be the best years of my life all because I wanted to lose 5lbs.
wow, I am really overwhelmed by all the responses and so greatful. I have read through them and there is alot of information to take in. Definitely alot of great things to think about and I will have to read them a few times over (and have already done so) for courage and inspiration.
WannabeSkinny - Yes, I hear you about being the obsessive type and how it impairs my life and relationships. Im not sure though if I am misunderstanding you about learning skills of portion control etc. I should clarify that through my years of calorie counting, most of it has been through "eyeballing" and "portion control". The actual measuring with measureing cups and the food scale is less typical of how I count calories and seems to occur after a bad phase where I am doing alot of binging, where the number of days I binge become almost equal to the ones I don't. I think by actally measureing, I'm doing it as almost as a ritual to "show" myself and "prove" to myself how in control I am. Then after a week or so of doing this and managing not to binge, I then slowly ease up and revert back to eyeballing. The problem isn't that I feel I don't know what a serving size is, the problem is more the caloric numbers I assign to everything where I am adding up everything in my head, wondering what my total is, wondering how many I have left until I am at the number I have chosen for myself. I would like to eat an apple and think "I am eating an apple" and not think "this apple is approximately 80-100 calories", therefore I have blank number of calories left in my day. I would like to dish out my yogurt and say "how much yogurt do I feel like and would satisfy me" instead of thinking "this amount of yogurt appears to be 150 calories which fits nicely into my calorie controlled day". Am I making any sense here. Maybe I have misunderstood. Also, thank you for reminding me of "Brain over Binge". I have not read the book just the summaries on the website and I found it too to be quite helpful. I tried putting it into practice and I believe it did save me from a couple binges, but I think maybe I could not fully put her ideas into practice because she advises not being in diet mentality, or being restrictive or calorie counting, and I wasn't ready to give that up at that time. Maybe now if I get away from the counting/restricting, it will be even more helpful
Southernmaven - Please tell me more about intuitive eating and how you went about transitioning into practicing it. I have heard the term and done a very small amount of reading on it and until now haven't really given it much consideration because quite frankly the lack of external rules like counting calories/portions had been too scary for me to even consider for a great length of time.Just a couple days ago though, I googled binge/restrict cycle and watched a couple youtube videos labeled intuitive eating just quickly by a Josie someone I think, and It really made so much sense to me and was such a refreshing take on things. I am in mid work week now and don't have the time to look too much into it now, but as soon as I get to my days off I will further research this. I think it is in line with the direction I would like to go in. From what I know so far it is what my sister does. Please keep me posted on how it goes for you. I am also thankful for your confirmation that you also believe binging is part of the obsessive dieting/restrictive behaviour.
Paintedponies - congrats on 10 days not binging. The fact that binging was preceded by you losing alot of weight helps to answer the chicken and egg question on what comes first. For me too I didn't have my first binge until I became restrictive and obsessed. Sure I overate at times, but I didn't binge. Falling back into your old ways sounds all to familiar to me too. I also find whether or not I have exercised aka burned off calories, to be a deciding factor of how much I allow myself to have for dinner. Looks like we are both struggling with wanting to be "intuitive". When you say you want to be into smaller portions and find them satisfying, I find that as long as a meal is associated with a calorie limit, wether it's 300, 600, or whatever, I am never satisfied. Honestly I could "allow" myself 3000 calories per day (and have) and just by there being a limit, I am never satisfied. It doesn't matter how big of a cage I am in, it still feels like a cage, and I want to get out.
Krampus - If leangains is a pretty detailed program, does it fall in line with intuitive eating. I still have not had the chance to read about it but will. I just have 2 more days of work and then I will read all about it. I think though I am unwilling at this point to try any kind of structured eating plan, but I am thinking by your advocacy on not being restrictive that it must not be in line with that way of thinking. It is definitely sparking my curiosity since you have done so well with not binging, having struggled with that in the past.
Carol3639 - thanks so much for providing that link. Have not read yet but definitely will.
Bingefree2013 - Your post is literally leaving me speechless. The words you say are so very helpful. When you say you were working towards not restricting food since last november, what do you mean by this. I am wondering for myself how the transition will be and if there will be many setbacks. The last thing I want is for a setback to keep me from pushing forward with this. I am feeling like now is the time for me to take the plunge. I hear you so much on the "starvation diets are a staple and encouraged". It's tough to reason oneself out of calorie counting and restricting when it is so heavily advocated. It's so true when you say that you still have the knowledge of calories in your head and wish you could erase and never learned about it in the first place. That is exactly how I feel. I wish I wasn't so educated about calories and know the number of calories in virtually every food. it is what I am trying to erase.
And lastly, about how I've been doing the last few days. I haven't binged. and i haven't had even the slightest urge. Relief I haven't felt in a good long time. I was really afraid, since I am so experienced with calorie counting, that I would automatically asign caloric values to everything I ate and start adding things up in my head. A couple times a number did pop into my head, like today for example I grabbed an orange from my lunch bag and automatically said to myself "60 calories", but I have not to my delight totalled anything up. I have been careful when I am serving myself something to ask myself "does this amount seem like what would satisfy me at the moment" instead of deciding if I am taking a "proper serving size". And I have definitey not said anything like "does this look like blank number of calories". I thought it would be really tough to not add stuff up but I am really surprised that the not tallying has not been so hard. It is really encouraging. I really have not a clue how many calories in total I have been eating. It's scary, but liberating. Also, the minute I consider that maybe i should just retreat into my confort zone and start counting calories again the next day, I begin to get anxious, and I'm pretty certain if I made that decision I would probably binge. Another thing is that there have been donuts and lemon squares every day and I did not even give them a second look since I have been bringing so much extra food with me to work to ensure I will have food if need be. Before I would only eat the alotted amount and obsessively eat every last crumb feeling so restricted. But I think one day I probably ate even less than before. I simpley had had enough. Not too many times I have been able to say lately. So I guess I will just see where this takes me and how it goes. Only time will tell. Also I have not weighed myself and don't intend to at least for a while. I am a bit conflicted on that and was wondering what all your guys' opinion on that is. I am tackling the food part of things which is enough for me to think about right now.
I thought of this thread when I bought Girl Scout cookies at the mall and had 2 Samoas for dessert. I had 2 and decided that was enough for now and I'll have more tomorrow. There are 7 boxes of Girl Scout cookies in the house and a bag of Hint of Lime Tostitos and a bunch of peanut butter and all kinds of carbs and they are not screaming at me, they're just...there.
As far as weighing goes, what if you weigh yourself on a day that you're a bit oversalted, haven't had a good poop, or are just retaining water for no logical reason? Will that undo the sense of relief? I weigh daily but it's just a number and as long as I'm not putting on like, 3+ pounds overnight I don't know that it needs to mean anything. I suppose that is the last bastion of my weird need for control - but since the rest of my lifestyle is pretty healthy and my actual behaviors line up with that. I exercise a normal amount, feed myself when I need it, try not to overindulge in things that will result in physical discomfort or guilt, and rarely say "no" to invitations to do fun things.
bingefree2013 - I agree with you on diets vs lifestyle changes for people who are healthy and somewhat knowledgeable about nutrition, but what about folks who are carrying around 100+ extra pounds and simply don't know how to eat? I would argue that some re-education about nutrition and the introduction of, say, regular physical activity and a "how-to" on the merits of meat and vegetables over piles of frozen mac and cheese offers an opportunity to improve quality of life that they can choose to ignore or choose to consider incorporating into their daily routines. A "lifestyle change" where people simply change what they eat and move in a way that is healthier doesn't necessarily have to result in obsession and restriction/binge problems, though it very often does as evidenced on 3FC.
veggie- When I say I was working towards not restricting since last Nov., I mean mentally more than anything. I knew that I could never diet again though a part of me still wanted to, and sometimes still does now. Then I remind myself of all the horrible things that dieting causes: constipation, slowed metabolic rate, decreased body temperature, cold hands and feet, hair loss or slowed hair growth rate, mood swings, digestive issues, weight GAIN in the long-term, BINGEING, food obsession, body hatred, and general neuroticism.
Yeah, no, I think I'll just EAT. Eat, and let the chips fall where they may. At least I won't have to live in fear of every day events anymore, schedule my life around food and exercise, or decline invitations with friends. Dark days.
Sounds like I'm bashing diets and exercise pretty hard? You're damn right I am, and won't apologize for it. Not when the epidemic of eating disorders is on the rise and women especially are wasting years of their lives putting an astronomical amount of energy into re-shaping their bodies instead of their minds.
krampus - Those folks carrying 100+ extra pounds, probably, most likely, got that way from dieting for years, and years, and years. I have seen it time and time again on this very board.
Example: Original weight before first diet, 150lbs. Diet: Lose 30lbs. Body's survival mechanisms kick in and binge eating ensues + lowered metabolic rate = 40lb regain. Subject now weighs, 160lbs. Instead of stopping there, returning to normal eating and letting the body adjust back down to 150lbs over time, subject goes on another diet. Starts at 160lbs, loses 20lbs this time - hmmm, body doesn't seem to want to give up as much weight this go around. Now they weigh 140lbs. Bingeing + lowered metabolic rate = 30lbs weight regain putting them at 170lbs...and so on and so on for 30 years.
See what I mean? Dieting yourself FAT. Heck, it happened to my own mother and now she is obese and in metabolic ruin.
The overweight and obese would be better off ignoring calories, and all other inane "experts" and as you said, focusing on eating more whole foods and moving just to feel better in general, but being overweight does not automatically make them unhealthy or unworthy (I know you didn't say that, but that's how society treats them, and that's why most people are here, isn't it?). You're right, in that most people seem to use "lifestyle change" as code for "diet." If it was really just a lifestyle change, they wouldn't care so much about hitting a goal or slashing calories or fitting into a certain size. I don't buy it.
Yeah, throw the tomatoes at me, but I feel like I have finally come out of a mental fog. Maybe it's because I eat more now, and my brain isn't starving.
Last edited by bingefree2013 : 03-31-2013 at 01:10 PM.
veggie - I've been serious about following IE since the first of March, so I'm right at one month. I was introduced to it several months ago but it took awhile for me to give it a serious try. If you get a chance, read through that thread that carolr provided. We do talk a lot about various resources for information, but I'll be more than glad to pm you and try to give you a consolidated list. Lots of free information online.
I feel like I'm getting better at it every day. I no longer weigh, but today I put on my clothes for church and I could definitely tell a difference since the last time I wore them. They fit much looser. My daughter and SIL spent the night and went to Mass with me, and when we got home I changed into something else. I came down to the kitchen and my daughter looked at me and said "Mom, you HAVE lost weight!" She thought I was still dieting (I'd been low-carbing it in February) and I told her that I stopped that the first of March & was just being careful about what I ate. She said there was a noticeable difference.
Yeah, throw the tomatoes at me, but I feel like I have finally come out of a mental fog. Maybe it's because I eat more now, and my brain isn't starving.
bingefree - no tomato-throwing from this side of the room, believe me!
Your example was SPOT ON.
Ever take the time to look around this forum and see how many people have been here for YEARS and still haven't been successful at taking AND keeping the weight off? There are some wonderful success stories, but they are the minority. Those who have managed to maintain for a significant amount of time have really changed the way they approach their WOE. I think krampus is a great example. There are others as well.
I don't know why, but somehow I found myself one day checking the posts of some of the long-time members who are still struggling with weight. I wanted to see if they'd ever been able to take any weight off.
It runs the gamut. Appears that most of them have taken SOME weight off at some point in time, only to put it back on...and more. Some have never been able to get any significant weight off at all. And if you just kind of go through the posts you'll see that they've tried any number of diets. It's actually very disheartening to me.
I was really afraid, since I am so experienced with calorie counting, that I would automatically asign caloric values to everything I ate and start adding things up in my head. A couple times a number did pop into my head, like today for example I grabbed an orange from my lunch bag and automatically said to myself "60 calories", but I have not to my delight totalled anything up. I have been careful when I am serving myself something to ask myself "does this amount seem like what would satisfy me at the moment" instead of deciding if I am taking a "proper serving size". And I have definitey not said anything like "does this look like blank number of calories". I thought it would be really tough to not add stuff up but I am really surprised that the not tallying has not been so hard. It is really encouraging. I really have not a clue how many calories in total I have been eating. It's scary, but liberating.
veggie - I'm sorry; I kind of missed the last part of your post.
I know what you're saying, as I found myself mentally calculating calories when I first started. I think that's normal. I still have a tendency to do that, and in fact actually used my calorie tracker to figure out the meal (and I do mean BIG meal!) that I had on Friday. It was all I ate that day. It was 1350 calories. And I never got hungry after that. I'm not recommending that way of eating; it just worked out for me that way on that particular day. And I counted the calories purely out of curiosity - and AFTER I ate it, not before!
It's good that you are moving toward serving yourself portion sizes that you feel would fill you up, rather than "how many calories?" I know JUST what you are saying. I wish I could have back the time I've spent "alloting" calories and eating a meal *because it's mealtime* or a snack *because I have calories left.* Rrruugghh! Maddening, now that I think back on it, because I never considered the most important thing - AM I HUNGRY???? Duhh! (slapping head with palm)
Also I have not weighed myself and don't intend to at least for a while. I am a bit conflicted on that and was wondering what all your guys' opinion on that is.
I had missed this question but somewhat addressed it in my previous post. Giving up the scale was a lot more difficult for me than giving up tracking calories. I wanted to give up THAT!
But once I made the decision to do it, it was very freeing. Am I tempted to jump on it? Of course, but I know the number - regardless if it's up or down - is now meaningless to me. I want to feel good; I want my clothes to fit better. I'd like to lose some more weight, but I'm not going to obsess over it. It did feel good to have my daughter notice that I had, however - I can't lie about that!
Next time I see my weight will be at the doctor's office August 1.
Every time I think I can do it without low carbing or without tracking my food, it ends up being a trainwreck. I feel like it's similar to someone with a mental illness stopping their medication because they feel fine. Well, um...yeah...
I'd love to get there. My ideal for the past few years is, mentally, to have a normal relationship with food, and, for health, to get back to paleo/primal. Right now, the goals are just to get this excess fat off, and get my mind back to where it needs to be. If I could do it without rules, I would. But, right now, I can't.
__________________ Start: 210 on Nov 5 Goal: 160 by Feb 24 Final Goal: 135