I already shared my story in another post, but I am here after a long hiatus. I lost 93 pounds while posting on this website in 2009/2010, and gained every last pound back before realizing I had a problem. I believe you can find that post on the Depression board if you're interested.
Now, I'm frustrated. And I need a little more advice (although I want to say I appreciate all of the advice given to me in that post. It was very insightful and helpful).
I definitely have a binge eating and emotional eating problem. It's bad, guys. For the past several months I have woken up every single day with the goal of making it through without a binge. I have not yet succeeded.
I want to be the girl I was last time I lost weight. I started from scratch. I started without having any clue how to exercise or restrict calories or anything, and I lost 93 pounds. I want to do that again. But for some reason, I can't.
I am currently living at home. I'm enrolled in my last semester of college (I'm 23, for reference) and I do not work right now. I told my grandma I want to focus on school and jump starting my weight loss again. She said that was fine, because she knows I struggle. She actually had an intervention with me about my emotional eating last week - she even suggested weight loss surgery, which I don't want for me.
Anyway, for some reason, even though I have all of the time in the world to focus solely on weight loss, I can't.
I'm anxious. Every day. I feel like I'm not doing anything with my life, and I'm wasting time. I feel like, when I exercise or do well for a few hours, it will never be good enough. I freak out when I think about how far I have to go. I can't seem to dedicate my days to losing weight, even though I only have less than 3 months left until graduation. I keep thinking about how angry I am I gained weight back and how frustrated I am that it has been months and I have done nothing to help myself. I have only gained weight.
I just feel ridden with anxiety and guilt, and I need some advice. What is wrong with me? Why can't I just focus and dedicate myself to this? I don't understand myself right now. Every day I feel like nothing is happening, I am alone, and there is no point. I have no friends right now, so I spend a lot of time at home. I start out my days being healthy and even working out, then I go out and binge on fast food, every day. I know it's terrible, but I feel I can't stop.
I just need to figure myself out, and if anyone understands what is wrong with me, that would help me so much. I want to lose this weight once and for all - why do I insist on being my own worst enemy in this?
I really feel your pain. I'm 25 and living at home and your last line resonates with me, as binge eating is the only thing keeping me from losing weight right now. The only thing.
I don't have any useful suggestions as I'm not really in a better place than you but just my 'food for thought' (sorry) on what you wrote. First of all, have you been to a doctor or any kind of counsellor? Finding the root of the problem might help and I've realised this will be my next step as I think my issues may extend beyond lack of will power and poor impulse control. Secondly, maybe you are focusing too much on weight loss and getting bogged down? I can only relate this to my own experience; people keep asking me what I do outside of work and I just realised that all I do is binge eat ( I don't mention this!), go to the gym or running, plan meals, cook healthy food, read about exercise. ... my entire life consists of work + losing weight. No wonder I think about food all the time and I put so much pressure on myself that I can't possibly live up to. It's too much! I think maybe you might be in the same boat. Possibly just taking a step back might help, or finding a non-weight loss related hobby like learning a language or painting might help to redistribute your focus. That way, when it's painting time you can give it your all and then when it's weight loss time you can give it your all.
I'm not sure if any of that helps. In any case I just wanted to post to say you're not alone, and we'll do anything to help! I'll be reading the wise responses to this thread with interest.
@EskaDee I think your advice was great! Thank you for taking the time to respond and offering your support. I appreciate that so much, and please feel free to MSG me if you need someone to talk to. The support shared on this forum is overwhelmingly positive and I love making new friends on here!
I have considered talking to a therapist, but I have kind of a bad history with them. When I was in high-school I struggled with depression and anxiety, and every counselor I talked to was pretty bad. I get kind of nervous at the idea of speaking to a therapist for that reason. I'm thinking about contacting one a bit further away, maybe 45 min or so.
The hobby suggestion is a great idea. I think since I have little to fill my days with I've become even more anxious. I think focusing on my piano/guitar would be a great way to help pass the time. I'm also thinking about joining a Curves gym, so that could help. I believe you're probably right - I try to make every day all about losing weight but my days need more than that or I'll go insane! I'll try to fill my days with more things.
Thanks again for your suggestions, they were very helpful! You're more insightful than you realize!
You posted in the OverEaters Anonymous subforum. OA is a 12 step program. It asks us to admit we are powerless over food - that our lives had become unmanageable (Step 1). Then that we came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity (Step 2). And that we make "a decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understand him (Step 3). Just like AA it tells us we must put our abstinence (sobriety in AA) before everything. It is not a behavior modification type of program w/ tips and the like. You may want to read about it online or try a meeting as an option.
Reading all over these boards is a great way to see not only that so many of us struggle, but that there is no one path. Take a look at the Maintainers forum as well. Generally we don't diet, lose "the weight" and then go on as "normal" people seem to. The binging I know feels like an out of control act and yet often in our deepest part we are afraid to give it up because it comforts - calms that restlessness and anxiety we can feel when we are "dieting".
I can promise you that there is hope. That someone like me who used to obsess about food constantly to the point of really not living fully is free.
I didn't actually realize I posted in the OA subforum, but thank you for letting me know. I spent some time last night on their website, looking at the 12 steps. I think that this is something that could really work for me. I live in a really small area so I haven't had luck finding any meetings nearby. I heard there were telephone meetings, but I'm not sure how to find any. I'm going to keep looking into this because, last night, I did find that I had practiced some, but not all, of these steps. And I'm curious about trying the rest of them, because I am starting to think that this is a serious threat to my health and addictive behavior on my part.
I have definitely been reading all over the boards and even responding when I feel like I have something to add. I remember now why I loved this place so much - the people are all very supportive, informative, and just, happy. I don't know, this place just improves my mood more than any other forum I've ever visited. I think you made a great point about everyone having their own path in this journey. I think binging has become a form of medicine for my anxiety, and I am ready to find a better cure for it. Great thoughts and wisdom, thank you.
I am so glad you are free, and the very thought of me being just as free is overwhelming, but I'm going to fight to get there.
I think you ask the billion-dollar question :-). Clearly, it's not just about focusing on losing weight and exercising (external things) and the weight comes off, no problem. There are a lot more complex issues involved - internal issues, emotional baggage, not to mention other external cues, such as enticing food commercials, junk food upon junk food in the supermarket isles, the scents of McDonald's when you walk by it...
Try not to beat yourself up for not being able to "just focus" on losing weight. I am in a very similar boat as you are. I lost 35 pounds in 2007, felt wonderful, very much in control, etc. Then life happened and I am back up the 35 plus another 45 that decided to come along for the ride.
Though I have been doing pretty well with an eating plan that suits me since May, I have also had periods of binging. I am trying not to beat myself up for "falling off the wagon". I look at how far I have come. I went from binging on junk food 3 out of 7 days to binging on junk food 4 times in the last 5 months. That's progress.
One thing I discovered is that the root of my binge eating has nothing to do with external things (what I'm eating daily, how much I'm exercising) but everything to do with emotional baggage I have been carrying around for 30 years. I recently came to realize that I come from an abusive family (emotional abuse and emotional incest) and I am trying to work through those issues because they are closely connected to why I binge. I have also recently taken up exercising first thing in the morning and doing breathing meditation exercises in the evening to reduce stress. I know that I binge when I'm stressed, so that will hopefully show me healthier ways to deal with the stress than binging.
I'm sorry I can't be of more help. I agree with others here that perhaps there are some emotional issues that you want to focus on first and start to deal with rather than the external stuff like diet and exercise.
Holistic healthy living is not just about food and exercise - it's about the whole person, body, mind, and spirit
If you google oa 90 day weebly you can find a site that has a phone meeting list. Right now I try to do 4-5 a week. Being in OA has been the only thing that has kept me sane. Right now I am having a hard time too and I guess you could say that I am in relapse. I have not had a significant gain but since July I have been between in the low 170's. Lowest being 170.4 and the highest being 175.4. I dont really call it maintaining because thats not what I am doing. I will eat "on plan" for a couple days and then have a bad day. The plan I had the most success with eliminated a lot of crap. I can give it to you if you want it or if you want more information on how to get into contact with someone. You can email me at abbyhartman311 at gmail.
What I do know is that you are not broken. For years, most of my life, I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I was always out of place, could never do enough, could never be enough.
I have really struggled.
The thing is I am enough. You are enough too. Your story is what it is. You lost a lot and then gained it back. I have too. I have just had to accept it as part of my story. Maybe one day you will be able to really help someone specifically because of your story.
**I want you to know that I give you all of this advice knowing that these are issues that I deal with daily and too have failed miserably, but I know that they are what is best for us!**
First of all, I seen that you haven't made a new post in over a month so I hope that you haven't given up on your journey. I know that it is very hard not to. If I lost five pounds for every time that I have "started" over (and never gained it back) then I would be underweight.
It sounds to me as if you and I are two peas from the same pod. I also suffer from depression/anxiety, binge and emotional eating. Also, I lost extensive weight only to gain it back a couple of years later.
Secondly, you said that you wanted to be the girl that you were the last time that you lost weight. Let me tell you...YOU ARE! When we lose weight, we are still the same person that we were before we lost the weight. But that feeling that we aren't goes back to our anxiety. Some of the symptoms may diminish when we lose weight because we are becoming more confident in ourselves and other see that which reflects back on us. However, that being said...don't let yourself get caught up in the people that want to be around or are friends when you lose weight but aren't willing to be around when you are heavier. If they can't see the type of person that you are before you lose the weight then that shows the ugliness inside of them.
You say that you have all of the time in the world to focus on weight loss, but you can't completely let it rule your life. I know it's one of the oldest clichés but you have to make it a lifestyle change. You want to do this for the rest of your life not a quick fix.
Don't sit and think about it all day. You are a student, are there activities that you could get involved in at school or a local charity that you could volunteer at just to give yourself some away time. Someone recommended a hobby which is another great idea. Are their any physical activities that you enjoy that could be used as exercise?
Don't freak out about how far you have to go. Think about how far you have come. It's not a race. You have the rest of your life to get where you need to go.
I don't know what your circumstances are or where you are geographically, but try not to sit at home as much. Find those activities that I mentioned that will keep you from sitting at home, getting bored, and reaching for food. I know...I do it myself. It is one of the hardest things that I have to try and overcome.
Finding out who we are is a struggle for all of us but you can't feel guilty or beat yourself up over it. You will have bad days but it's how you use those bad days to define yourself.
When you binge, write down and think about why you are doing it.
I have a lifetime of problems that I should have seen a therapist for (I seen someone mention that). Some people aren't comfortable with it. I know that I am not. I don't like trying to explain myself to someone within an hour and then feel like they're judging me. I have deep rooted issues that I know that I have not dealt with (sexual and mental abuse) and I may not be completely successful until I do so, but there are things that I can do.
My number one piece of advice: FAST FOOD IS THE DEVIL!!!!
Anytime that you would like to just talk or vent, please feel free to PM me. I could also give you my personal e-mail which I get almost instantly through my phone.
Best of luck!
"One day at a time is all that I can do!!!"
I just want to send you good vibes and best wishes with your journey. Like so many on the boards, I've been where you are. I think one of the toughest things for each of us is to figure out what works best for us, individually.
I've posted before about what has worked for me this time. I did explore the bariatric surgery option and discovered that the local hospital offers two, free, open support group meetings monthly. I attended several meetings before deciding that surgery isn't for me. It is only a tool to accomplish weight loss. If you don't have the emotional stuff worked out, surgery isn't going to work.
It was through this program, though, that I learned about medically supervised weight loss offered by the bariatric surgery program. I'm nine weeks out from starting the program and have lost 30 pounds. The restrictive diet is starting to wear on me but the structure and accountability it requires is helping me be able to focus on resolving the psychological stuff I need to resolve before I transition back to a "normal" diet.
Another resource that helped me is the book, Brain Over Binge. There's a thread elsewhere on the boards that debates the effectiveness of the book's strategy but for me, breaking my binge urges down to a function of the "lower," instinctive brain has helped me address the drive to eat endlessly. My structured diet program is helping me resolve the issue of "habit" the book also addresses.
Best wishes and best of luck.
__________________ Binge free since October 18, 2014.
One for every 10 pounds lost; one for every 5 pounds lost:
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