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Old 04-15-2010, 06:03 PM   #1
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Default Having your mental break through

After watching The Biggest Loser this week and listening to the importance of having the mental break through as to why you gained weight being one of the importance stepping stones to having long term success got me thinking... Have I had my own mental break through and what does this mean exactly? I tend to be pretty honest with myself about most of my flaws, insecurities and hang ups, and I know I am (or was) an emotional eater, but I don't feel like I really know why I gained all the weight. I know that I started gaining when I met my now husband and then it got out of control once I moved to the city and started college. I had a part time job was persuing a very demanding major and was broke as a joke. Once we moved back home and got married I started my weight loss journey about a year and a half later, but at that point I had already gained 130 lbs. I know why I gained I guess, I had horrible eating habits, I didn't work out, I binged frequently and drank (it was college ). I started losing when I learned about what to eat, portions and exercise. I know I have mommy and daddy issues and some others as well, but I don't really know what this break through is that I'm supposed to have to make my success long term. Can anyone give me a little perspective on this? Or maybe give me a little info on what your break through was. I know it's probably personal, but if you wouldn't mind sharing I'd appreciate it. Thanks.
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Old 04-15-2010, 06:44 PM   #2
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Ah-ha moments are different for everybody. It sounds like you have had quite a few when you look at situations in your life (parent issues, college, drinking, marriage) so now maybe kick it up a notch and journal out what emotions came with those situations. Is there a link with all of them? and food?

I am in therapy right now to process being sexually abused as a child. Abuse sent ripples to every single part of my life. Soooo I have control issues, clean issues, love issues, trust issues, etc... and oh yeaaa FOOD issues. I have learned to use the mantras: I am clean. I am forgivable. I am beautiful.

My break through moment with me was very personal and I don't know if I will go into the specifics here, but when I learned the mantra "I am forgivable" THAT WAS HUGE. I have always been known to make mistakes, beat myself up over mistakes, and then make more mistakes out of guilt and shame... leading to yet more mistakes...

Now I am learning to: catch myself. stop. breathe. evaluate. let go & go on. This healps in so many areas, especially FOOD.

Does this help? I hope so. I wish for you the very best!
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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I had what you would call a mental break through I guess, but it wasn't as deep or "skeletons in the closetish" as all that. I have TERRIBLE fat genes (now at 178, I am the smallest woman in my family including cousins in their teens) I always ate how every other young person ate...as a teenager, I was with my friends all the time, and ate what they ate (it was crap of course, but why should I be punished for eating it, and they should not?) During high school I was more than double the size of my female friends eating the SAME THING (I SWEAR). So my break through was that my genes robbed me of my metabolic youth, and although it was unfair that my friends could eat crap everyday and be thin...it was more unfair to let myself be 130lbs over weight. Add to that along the way I realized that as a child, and through high school...I was left alone a lot, with no food in the house...and I NEVER ate more than twice a day simply because my parents didn't prepare meals for me. I have also had to learn how to eat B, L, D, and snacks!
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:52 AM   #4
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This is likely just me, but I get pretty ticked off at the idea of there being anything psychological about my weight gain (I practically took my beau's head off when he asked basically the same question).

For me, it was entirely situational. I took a travel job which required me to eat every weekday meal in restaurants (often fast food in the airports) with very long hours and I gained @90 lbs the first 18 months. The "good" news is, that job broke my binge eating as I was now getting so many calories, never got hungry enough to trigger a binge. The irony of course is I didn't gain weight as a binger...

So wierdly, the weight gain coincided with a healthier way of eating, it was just too many calories and not enough exercise.
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Old 04-16-2010, 08:59 AM   #5
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I don't think I have any deeper issues regarding weight gain. I certainly have issues, but they were there when I was "normal" weight and they are there now. Perhpas I delat/deal with them using other "tools" than food.

In my case, i quit smoking, I ate a LOT, I didn't exercise and I got fat. A lot simpler to gain than to lose.

FWIW...life is not a game/realty show. If you are losing weight, then you are doing fine and may not need to over analyze the situation. If you think you are using food as a coping mechanism, then you might want to see a therapist to find different skills, but not everyone needs a therapist to lose weight.

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Old 04-16-2010, 09:04 AM   #6
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"The Biggest Loser" is admirable in many ways, though not all, and one of the problems I have with it is how it portrays the contestants when they have an epiphany about the psychological & emotional aspects behind their weight gain.

In the show, it's often a moment when they're sobbing to their confessor/guru/spiritual guide Jillian. It's cleary pinpointed by the producers & editors. There may even be inspirational instrumental music in the background. (Pianos work better for that stuff than violins.)

Mine didn't come that way. It came as a series of "hmmm" and "oh, yeah" and "oh my God, I'm like that, too" moments & was pieced together gradually over time. And the puzzle remains incomplete.

This happened while talking with friends. It happened while reading posts here. It happened while reading memoirs & articles & yes, self-help books. It happened in therapy. It happened in the car sometimes, driving home from therapy. Or stuck in a traffic jam, days later.

The only help I have to offer is that in the places where you really, really resist going mentally, you will probably find something helpful, if you do have the courage to just go there.

This is one of those things that is so very individual, though.

I mean, basically, you are talking about everyone's journey through life toward some kind of self-knowledge & enlightenment -- of which the weight issue is only a small part & a little metaphor for finding out why you're here and what your purpose is, aside from going through the motions every day.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:12 AM   #7
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I think I've always known why I gained weight. Understanding it and accepting it didn't really kick me in the pants to start losing it, but it has helped me understand my habits now that I am losing.

My mother is a severe alcoholic. When I was young, she was able to keep herself together with a job and a car, and we would move around to various low cost housing or live with different men. I was always very aware of her addiction though, I'd find the bottles and it caused my parents' divorce. I was alone for most of my childhood, I'm an only child, and she would work late so after school I was home by myself. I never really had the opportunity to practice eating healthy or exercising. I was a smart kid, I knew which foods were good for me and which ones were not, but nobody ever helped me practice healthy habits. There was one entire summer vacation where I sat at home inside alone every single day. A 9 year old kid, at home during summer, watching daytime TV by herself. That's pretty pitiful. I fed myself the only way I knew how, I knew how to make macaroni and cheese, we could afford it, so I ate a lot of it. Over time, I found comfort and entertainment in food. I was bored and unstimulated and probably depressed, food provided an outlet. I was happy and comfortable when I was eating.

As I got older, and went off to boarding school at 15 (like I said, I was a smart kid), I was yet again on my own having to make my own decisions. I could go out to restaurants, eat any food in the dining hall, buy my own candy, it was great. About this time, since she no longer had to be responsible for me, my mom fell apart. Lost her car, lost her job, and floated around to various men.

During college, I drank like a normal college kid does, and everyone warned me that I had the alcoholic gene and I should be careful. I understood this, but alcohol never really did it for me. Sure, I've gotten drunk and had fun a few times, and I don't mind a beer in the right situation, but I have never felt a desire to turn to alcohol for comfort. Because food was my comfort. If I was sad, I would eat. If I was stressed, anxious, happy, bored, relaxed...I would eat. Food is my addiction. I do have an addictive personality, but food was my drug of choice where my mother chose alcohol.

The last I have heard about my mother was she was in jail for awhile and is now living at a homeless shelter. She just couldn't kick her addiction, and it will most certainly kill her. I am proud that I have gotten control of my addiction. I know I'll always struggle with it, and I'll always have to understand that food is a balancing act for me. Healthy and nutritious food that I can enjoy versus food that I'm devouring to find some comfort.

Whew, sorry for the autobiography, haha.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caryesings View Post
This is likely just me, but I get pretty ticked off at the idea of there being anything psychological about my weight gain (I practically took my beau's head off when he asked basically the same question).

For me, it was entirely situational. I took a travel job which required me to eat every weekday meal in restaurants (often fast food in the airports) with very long hours and I gained @90 lbs the first 18 months. The "good" news is, that job broke my binge eating as I was now getting so many calories, never got hungry enough to trigger a binge. The irony of course is I didn't gain weight as a binger...

So wierdly, the weight gain coincided with a healthier way of eating, it was just too many calories and not enough exercise.
Ah, thank you! Me too! Jillian would have a hard time with me! No tears and there has been no "moment".

There's no reason other than physical that I got to be so heavy. It has simply taken me a very long time to figure out the balance MY body needs, the diet MY body needs, the exercise MY body needs and the determination it's gonna take to get there.

That's it for me. I had to educate myself about insulin resistance, period, the. end.
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Old 04-16-2010, 09:40 AM   #9
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Mkendrick-- that is an amazing story! You are an impressive young lady, and good for you for figuring the whole thing out at such a young age.

One thing that I've learned since coming to 3FC is how many different pathways to obesity there are. Me, I came down the emotionally messed up pathway. I came from a family/personal background in which thinness was highly prized and I was tall, athletic, and basically just not built willowy.

I also participated in a sport in which thinness is prized. All in all, a toxic combination for me. I started on obsessive dieting when I was way too young and then became a secret binge eater....

Then, I spent the next twenty-five odd years thinking about the psychological underpinnings of why I was fat while simultaneously doing nothing to change my behavior.

So, my AHA moment came when I realized that, for professional reasons, I simply could not be morbidly obese any more and still achieve what I wanted. My weight was very clearly standing in my way. And so, I attacked my BEHAVIOR.

For me, all of the introspection in the world about "why" I was a binge eater turned out just to be spinning my wheels.

The greatest insight for me from David Kessler's The End of Overeating, when I realized that I was using food as a reward.... bored, tired, happy, sad, grumpy, stressed? It was like a tiny little hit of cocaine to get me through my day. That gave me the power to say NO. I wasn't eating because my mom put me in Weight Watchers when I was twelve. I was eating because I FELT LIKE IT. And if I was eating because I felt like it, then I had the power to stop.

Voila. Not a single binge, not even a real temptation since June 19th, 2009.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:06 AM   #10
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I actually don't know what my mental break through was. I only remember that sometime in November or early December 2007 I had to go and buy yet another (bigger) pair of jeans because the current ones were just not comfortable any more.
And for me, "having" to buy jeans is worse than casually looking for a new pair because although I am not that tall (I am a smidge less than 5'9") I have fairly long legs and the standard 32" inseam is too short for me. Then, of course, like anybody else, I have my own ideas what a good pair of jeans should look like (I prefer a bit loose in the leg, not tight around the thighs, which is another amost impossible thing to find, and a bootcut). Combined with the fact that I don't live in a metropolis with unlimited malls or boutiques, it makes a hunt for a new jeans a rather difficult one. Also, I was at the point where I was not fat enough for the plus store size but I was too big for regular sizes. Not every brand goes to size 16.

I did luck out that day and I bought a pair of jeans, size 16, that I actually liked and that fit me (although I didn't like that they cost me over $80 - I still believe that no pair of jeans, regardless of the brand, should cost more than $45 MAX). But somehow I realized that this cannot go on indefinitely and if I need to go another (even bigger) pair of jeans it may be even more difficult.
There was probably more to it than what I described above, but this is the only thing I can recall. I still didn't do anything right at that point but I guess the decision to start doing something about my weight was slowly crystallizing in the back of my mind. Not being one for New Year's resolutions, I was still on the fence in January until all of a sudden I made a decision, went out on a whim and purchased a treadmill. The TM, that was hugely instrumental to launching me onto my journey, was delivered on January 31, 2008 and that's when it all began.

Edited to add - I did not know about 3FC yet. I accidently found the forum a couple of months later when I was googling up some issues that resulted from my exercises on the TM.
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:16 AM   #11
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ubergirl: Thanks I hate to toot my own horn, but I consider myself unbelievably lucky that I turned out as normal and well-adjusted as I did, considering. There were so many times when I could have made worse decisions, and I'm proud of myself for staying on the right path.

But, I wanted to add that I do not blame my mother's alcoholism or my less than ideal childhood for my weight problem. I have a weight problem because I put way too much food in my mouth and did not live an active lifestyle. Simple science. There were certain factors of my childhood that led me to form unhealthy habits, but even as a little kid, I could tell you that people get fat from eating too much macaroni and cheese and not exercising. I have always known that I ate too much unhealthy food, and yet I continued to do so. So I by no means place blame on my mother or even my own ignorance for gaining weight. Just wanted to clarify...
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Old 04-16-2010, 10:26 AM   #12
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Weird. Because there isn't just one answer for me. I think everyone is going to be different. For me it's been a long battle against the unknown so for a long time it felt like tilting at windmills or punching fog. I had to do it anyway -- try to eat better and exercise -- for surely I'd be even worse if I didn't. But I didn't know how to move forward with it. For a long time I could only work hard to stay still. Frankly, working so hard to stay still is demoralizing at times.

After a lot of up and down, I finally got the PCOS/IR/Hypothyroid dx.

Then I knew what I was up against.

So if I had to pick a defining moment, I'd pick that one. There were other factors to my weight gain like emotional eating and depression because I didn't know what was happening to me. But that ties to the root problem of PCOS.

So this was the biggest moment. When I knew WHY this was happening to me.

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Old 04-16-2010, 12:25 PM   #13
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Like mkendrick, I come from an alcoholic family background (though a less overtly dysfunctional one). When growing up, partly due to the awareness of alcoholism--my mom and most of her siblings have recovered through AA--I managed not to become an alcoholic. However, I did become addicted to sugar (mostly in the form of chocolate), which at the time was not understood as an addictive substance.

I began to understand how bad sugar was for my body at about the age of 23, when I was attempting to cure myself of recurrent UTIs / yeast infections, and found out there was a link between my sugar intake and those infections. I went off sugar entirely for about 6 months and lost weight effortlessly, and felt worlds better. However, since I still didn't know that I was chemically addicted to sugar, when my life circumstances changed (got a new full-time job which led to afternoon snacking on cookies) I went back on the sugar.

Then I had babies and etc etc etc, life happened. I coped with a lot of bad stuff (job loss, divorce, poverty, the stress of caring for small children) by having my chocolate every night--in exactly the same way my mom coped with the stress of her life by having beer every night, for years.

For years I went on, sort of knowing that the sugar was incredibly bad for me and that I actually could NOT be moderate with it, but not doing anything about it. I felt pretty powerless to change.

Eventually a bad health review and a terrible job review smacked me in the face and I decided I had to take control of stuff. Quitting the sugar was the second thing I changed (after quitting caffeine, which for me is an enabler of the sugar addiction, I think).

So, it all comes down to the fact that I have a physiological addiction to sugar, which I used as a coping mechanism for the stresses of life, for about 15 years. That's the simple truth about how/why I got so fat. When sugar is not in my life, everything else about my eating and activity is a metaphorical piece of cake.

Once in college, a counselor provided by student services tried to delve into my family of origin "issues" in an attempt to help me figure out why I was fat or depressed or stressed or whatever. It was stupid and didn't help. I was stressed in college because I hate being in school, and I coped with sugar because it was the coping mechanism I knew--and it was effective.

I guess I feel like this stuff isn't rocket science, and we put a little too much energy and drama into examining the "why" of it all. I'm an addict. That's all there is to it.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:33 PM   #14
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Megan, I have that alcoholic gene too. My brother, whom I absolutely adore, is a severe alcoholic and I was told I have an addictive personality. I am terrified of alcohol because of it and pretty much just don't drink.

My addictions? They rotate. I'm either addicted to house keeping, finances, religion or weight loss. Guess which one I'm on right now!! LOL! And I'm not kidding....there's only room for one of those categories. I can only focus on one because it consumes me entirely.
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Old 04-16-2010, 12:37 PM   #15
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I guess one of many mental breakthroughs for me, is really understanding that losing weight will not make me a happy, problem-free person and it will not be life changing.

What it will do is make me a smaller size with the pleasure of no longer shopping for plus sizes, and it will give me confidence and satisfaction knowing I mastered something important in my life.

I'll be thinner and smaller, but I'll still never look like an airbrushed model (even the models don't look like airbrushed models in real life!)...and new problems will surface over my life. It's not a cure-all.

But I'll be healthier and look a whole lot better. That in itself is important to me.
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