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The Chicken or the Egg?

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Old 11-05-2010, 11:13 PM   #1
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Okay, I'm debating whether specific foods (aka red-light foods) are the problem or if I simply have a problem with discipline and allowing myself to eat too much of a single food.

I've been losing weight since the end of April and have done well until about the last six weeks. During that time I've been stressed (MIL was coming to visit) and not getting enough sleep (insomnia, thank you very much) and I don't lose weight when either of those things happens. So I've been on this plateu - no big deal.

But during this time all these foods that I've had around me all this time have suddenly become "problem foods." Like, I'd eat an entire package of graham crackers (11 rectangle crackers) over the course of an afternoon. (I know that's not a binge like some people talk about, but for me, it's a binge). At one point, brown sugar straight out of the bag was my weakness (those lumps!). This week, with the Halloween candy, I only had a weakness for the Snickers, so I've eaten 6-8 fun size Snickers a day for the past couple days. Now that the Snickers are gone, the Milky Way's have become a problem where they didn't tempt me at all before. When they're gone, I'm sure it will be something else. I made French bread today, and I ate half a loaf (the equivalent of 3 180-calorie servings).

I don't keep cookies around anymore, and I don't make pasta salad and other things I used to overeat like that. But while removing temptation is a good thing, I'm beginning to wonder if perhaps it isn't the FOOD that is the problem but rather that I allow myself to eat so much of it.

My weight problem started when I was in high school (I'm now in my 30's) and I lost weight before my senior year over the summer but quickly gained it back. I then read all sorts of diet books and bought into the theory of eating until one is full and stopping at that. I did that for many years and maintained my weight and even lost ten pounds at times, only to gain them back at other times. But under that "eating plan" I would allow myself to overeat one thing until I was tired of it. So I'd buy a bag of hard rolls and eat as many as I wanted, but that would be all I'd have for lunch, and I'd throw the rest away because I would be tired of them and I only like them when they are fresh anyway. Things like that. I maintained my weight for many years operating like that, but I was 170 lbs, not 135. The last couple years I was doing that with things like chocolate chip cookies or pasta salad, which is far more deadly, and my weight was creeping up instead of going down even though I was doing everything else right.

I'm wondering if all these years of "eat until you are no longer hungry" has done me more damage than good and if that philosophy has allowed me to eat more food than I should rather than practicing moderation and that's why I'm having these (for me) binge attacks where it doesn't matter what food I remove from the house, I find something else to binge on in its place.

In the past couple weeks, I've eaten out a couple times, and I did just fine with the chips and the bread basket. In the past, I couldn't get enough, but both times I was able to delay my indulgence until after my food had come, and then I only had a bite or two rather than totally overdoing it. So I do have self-restraint at times. It's not like I'm not capable.

So, is it the specific food that is the problem or is it the bad habit of eating and eating on something that I've allowed myself to fall into that is the problem? Thoughts?
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Old 11-06-2010, 06:56 AM   #2
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I think both of those play a part.

First of all, I notice that the foods you are overeating are sugary or have refined carbohydrates like white flour. For a lot of people, those carby foods are triggers for overeating. You aren't overeating on, say, baked skinless chicken breasts or water-packed tuna...

Second of all, allowing yourself to keep going on those carby foods isn't a good plan. The idea of "eating until you're full" sort of assumes balanced meals--I don't think eating a bag of rolls for lunch was what the authors had in mind... It's just not a good idea to keep going on Snickers bars until you're "had enough"--that could be hundreds and hundreds of empty sugar calories.

So, two things. One, try to reduce the sugar and refined carbs that you have around. If you feel hungry, have some protein instead. Two, you have to set limits.

My last thought is that if "eating until full" really worked for any of us, we wouldn't be posting on a weight loss site...

Good luck! Step away from the cupboard!

Jay
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Old 11-06-2010, 07:31 AM   #3
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Hey I just wanted to say that the same thing has dawned on me recently too. Initially with my weight loss I banned myself from foods I had thought were triggers such as bread biscuits etc but I am now finding that I have simply passed this trigger quality on to other foods previously safe, healthy foods!
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Old 11-06-2010, 11:17 AM   #4
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I find what works for me is to put everything on a plate. If I eat chips out of a bag I will eat a lot more than giving myself a defined amount on a plate. Once I finish the plate, wait about 5-10 minutes. It takes some time for the signal to travel from your stomach to your brain that you are full. So after eating one plate I wait a bit. If I am still feeling hungry after that time, go ahead and get a little more.
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Old 11-06-2010, 12:46 PM   #5
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pageta, I don't have any answers for your dilemma because I have the very same problem. I find that it is just as easy to overeat on healthy foods as unhealthy. I agree with Courtney Daisey, that waiting 10-20 minutes after eating is good. Sometimes I just have to distract myself to stop thinking about food.
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