So, after the umpteenth weekend of eating off plan, I finally decided to step on the scale and see the damage. The scale was 4 lbs heavier this Sunday morning than it was on Friday morning. I eat off plan every weekend (usually Saturday) and I know I put on weight, but I close my eyes and plug my ears and pretend it isn’t affecting my overall weight loss. I don’t weigh myself over the weekend. I go full throttle the rest of the week in my weight loss efforts, and by the time I weigh myself later in the week, I am pretty much back to where I started the previous Friday morning. I can convince myself that no real harm was done. However, had I hung on to the previous week’s low weight and built upon it, I could have actually gotten down to a lower weight instead of spending the entire week undoing the weekend’s damage.
Anyway, I am trying to figure out why I go hog wild with my eating every weekend. I have analyzed it before. I have justified having an “off-plan” day as good for my emotional well-being. I have said that I need to have treats in order to not feel deprived and go off the wagon completely. I have said that I am negatively influenced by social eating with others. I hit upon another reason this weekend that I think is also at play. It has to do with wanting to eat like I am not weight conscious in front of others. I am standing on the threshold of people thinking that I have lost enough weight and it is time to stop. I got my first comment last week about me “starving” in order to lose weight, because I look like I have lost so much. I think that when I am eating around other people, I want to look as if I am carefree about what I eat – that I don’t deprive or limit myself in order to lose weight. Of course, that isn’t true at all for the rest of the week. I enjoy the foods I eat, but I certainly limit the kinds of foods I eat. However, when I am eating around other people, and I am always eating with other people on the weekend, I “pretend” that I eat just like they do. I eat whatever I want and as much as I want.
In the beginning when I first started losing, I did this because I was ashamed to admit I was on a diet. I thought by admitting I was dieting, I was admitting I was fat. I also didn’t want the food police involved in my dieting efforts. Now I do it because I don’t want people to think I have some kind of eating disorder or am obsessed with dieting. I also know that I have an audience when I eat – an audience of people who would like to lose some weight and are curious to see how I eat. I just want to appear normal. I feel like if I eat any other way than how everyone else is eating, people will have something to say - “You have so much will power! I could never resist those french fries!” Then the next time they see me eating french fries, they will feel smug that I have fallen off the wagon. Or, “How much longer can you go on just eating salad? I think you are taking this dieting thing too far!” So, now I’ll have people speculating that I have an eating disorder.
Anyway, of course this is only part of the equation. Part of me eats more than I should and foods I shouldn’t because I do restrict them during the week and want to get in all the "good stuff" before the weekend is over the free-for-all window is closed. However, I do notice my eating is worse in front of other people. Anyone else know what I mean?
-I AM MY OWN CHEERLEADER!
Last edited by guacamole : 07-15-2012 at 01:06 PM.
Sounds like you put A LOT of energy into worrying about what others think! That sounds exhausting!
I have had people question what I eat, mostly family as I don't go out with friends so much anymore, but I try to let it roll off. They will get used to the new me and end up leaving me alone about it.
If I could muster any advice it would be to not be so restrictive during the week, stay in your calories, but eat foods you enjoy so you don't feel deprived. Do what you have to do to stop "treating" yourself with food (I struggle with this too, so this is advice to myself as well).
I think the key, in general, to not feeling like your on a diet, is to not BE on a diet. It can be difficult, but to look at is as the way you will always eat, is the only way I can see to be successful in losing followed by being able to keep it off. JMHO though!
I agree w lock it up- it would be better if you weren't so restrictive during the week. And let go of the on/off mentality. When I can't stay OP, I focus on healthy eating and satiety. I keep a mental list of why I am losing weight, such as a long happy life w my husband, the discomfort that comes w being overweight, etc.
As for what others think, I have found that when people judge others' bodies and eating behaviors, it usually reflects THEIR issues around weight and food.
Good luck- this is some tough stuff and you are smart to address it.
For a couple of years I was making the mistake of indulging on Wednesday nights (immediately after my weekly weigh-in), and sort of letting the indulgence coast on through Thursday, Friday, and sometimes the entire weekend! Then Monday would arrive and I'd know I wouldn't be able to make up for it by the next Wednesday.
The realization I had to enforce upon myself was to eat reasonably 100% of the time, not hardcore healthy for only half the time and shrugging off the rest! I was getting absolutely nowhere and my weight fluctuated between 5-10 pounds. But at least I wasn't gaining, which is what I let happen last year when I got stressed over issues beyond my control and stopped caring altogether! But that's a different story.
Regardless, it's taken me ages to convince myself to eat reasonably 100% of the time. And when I say 100%, what I really mean is being sticking with healthy choices 90% of the time and allowing myself reasonable treats with proper portions the other 10%. Writing down what I eat in a journal has helped me immensely, since it gives me a chance to review not just every meal, but how I'm doing in the overall week and if I need to change things up. This allows me to have that occasional yet reasonable treat, like a slice of cake at a family function, or going out for pizza with friends.
As for trying to justify my food choices to others, at this point I say screw it. Eating better is all about my health, and I'm not about to let anyone else spin it into something it's not just because they're uncomfortable with the changes they see in me.
For most of my life, I would spend three weeks religiously on plan, and one week (PMS/TOM week) shoveling food in my mouth as if the world would end if I stopped.
And if I slacked off during the three on-plan weeks I would gain, and if I didn't I'd maintain or maybe lose a pound or so.
If it weren't for PMS/TOM, I probably would have "naturally" been 200 lbs thinner. However, I can't think about would've, could've, should've.
I have learned ways to minimize but not eliminate the hunger-frenzy of PMS/TOM, and I still do have "treat-days," but what I really don't do any more is the unlimited binge-a-thons while avoiding the scale.
I weigh DAILY, even on the weekends. I celebrate every "not gain" (rather than just the losses, which would make weighing daily miserable), and when I see a gain, I don't PANIC as I would have in the past (thinking that the gain was "proof" that I was doomed to be fat forever, and if that was true, I might as well at least get to eat what I want... at least until I decided to "start over" which if it was past Tuesday was the following Monday."
Now, I tell myself "there is no starting over, just moving on," although a small part of me considers getting on the scale the "starting fresh" moment. That means when I eat off-plan (yes, even if it's a weekend) I get right on the scale to access the possible damage (now this is a "worst case" scenario - because it's impossible to gain more weight than a food weighs. So if I eat a pound of extra food, I'm going to see an extra pound, and know I want to get that extra pound off ASAP...)
I also try very hard to not look at calories as something I'm entitled to. Great food yes, but calories I have to "earn and burn" so if I'm going to reward myself with food, I try to choose the healthiest options that I LOVE. It isn't hard to replace unhealthy tastey food with healthy food that's just as much of a treat.
Broccoli is not a "treat food" for me, but watermelon and Ranier cherries are (so much so that I have to exert portion control even on them).
We're really taught to "free-for-all" on the weekend. It's just HOW the majority of dieters "do" weight loss (and how many non-dieters live as well - the weekend is for doing what we want to do, instead of what we have to do, or even should do....)
Pat yourself on the back for successfully maintaining your weight. It is an accomplishment not a failure - even with the weekend food fests.
However, since you want more weight loss, decide on one change you're comfortable with that will get you closer to your ultimate goal. Whether thats cutting your free-day to just one day or part of a day, or one meal, or whether that's only weighing daily on the weekends.
I think the choosing to eat off plan, isn't as damaging as the decision to hide the damage from yourself until Monday morning. Weighing daily, or twice a day (or even more) during the weekend even if you change nothing else may keep the bingeing under better control.
When I eat off-plan I weigh after each off-plan bite. This may seem obsessive, but it helps keep me from deciding that "since I've blown it and am going to gain anyway, I might as well stuff myself, because I won't get the chance to eat like this ever again," because I would tell myself I wouldn't do it again, through really I was lying to myself and would do it again most likely the next weekend or at least the next PMS/TOM week(end).
By weighing myself after each off-plan indulgence I keep a running-tally of the damage I'm doing (overestimating), and every time I remind myself that no matter whatever effects I'm seeing none will be unreverseable, but I have to at least think of the work it's going to take me to "undo" it.
This really helps me prevent an indulgence with minimal weight impact and a binge that I'll have to double my efforts to work off.
I'm not perfect at it, but doing this has allowed me to avoid true binges. I never fall down the eat-until-I'm-uncomfortable rabbit hole any more. I never would have thought that I COULD remove binges from my life, but I have. I still overeat sometimes, but I eat to mild discomfort so rarely I can't remember the last time (last Christmas maybe) and the eating until feeling true pain I haven't done in years (and I used to do it quite often in the past).
There are many ways to make changes, so my suggestions aren't the only possible paths for success. However, to get a different result, you need a different behavior, so you'll have to experiment to find what feels right and accomplishes what you want it to.
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Location: The beautiful Pacific Northwest! Tacoma, Washington
a few ideas...
-don't worry about what others think. from conspiracy theories to current events there are plenty of controversial topics for people to chime in on without having to upset the apple cart of your diet. and I once got some good advice from a lady at church after I had been lamenting about how I perceived what others were thinking about me (my appearance, my choices...) She pointed out that other people probably aren't thinking about me and what I'm wearing, for example, nearly as much as I think they are. We tend to think its all about us, and that we are forefront in the minds of those who surround us. Half the time people at church may not have noticed if I wore the same outfit 2 weeks in a row. Although I felt like they did. Sometimes we project our feelings onto others.
-I totally agree with having an occasional free day for celebration but not as a weekly general rule. Spending a holiday or special occasion with the family and eating what everyone else is eating might be worth a 1 or 2 pound setback, but letting it go on longer or doing it too frequently is only going to derail you. If you get caught up in a neverending cycle of losing during the week and gaining it back on the weekend then you will find yourself months down the road weighing the same as when you started. That's okay if maintaining your weight is your goal. But if your goal is to lose weight you may need to re-think the plan.
Good luck! We all have to find our own stride and do what works for us. I know taking the weekends off from my plan wouldn't work for me but if you can make it work for you, then high five, sista!
Thanks for all the great perspectives and suggestions. I appreciate them all. I am someone who over analyzes things and picks apart situations to discover what I can change and reassemble. This is how I have been handling my weight loss too. I have learned a lot about myself - both my weaknesses and strengths. I really hope that I can learn from this cycle of eating and change my behavior for the better moving forward.
Guacamole, I can sure relate to your post. I also like to go off plan and eat like I'm not on a diet, especially around others. And like you, I feel like I'm being watched by certain individuals who then follow up on what I'm doing by calling me obsessed because my weight loss methods and beliefs don't mesh with theirs. It's true that people probably aren't paying as much attention to us as we think they are, but on the flip side, it seems that certain individuals do tend to pay more attention than they probably should!
Like you, I'm also at that threshold of people thinking I have lost enough weight, even though I'm still considered overweight by medical standards. Again, the comments of being obsessed came along. I must have an eating disorder. I'm trying to get too thin. I'm starving myself.
I've been struggling the past few weeks with getting my weight off. I was doing what you're doing. I'd allow myself the freedom or the cheats or the off plan eating and expect and accept the gain. Not a free-for-all. I don't have the control for that. But I wasn't quite sticking to my plan too often. Maybe I was staying within my target calories for the day, but eating foods that make me retain or just slow my progress. I'd get back on track, work hard, stay focused, only to weigh in on my official weigh day and find I was exactly the same as the last week!
I finally decided that I just had to get serious. This was 1 week ago! No more going off plan! For a little while, I will be a strict dieter. I will make lower calorie, and healthier choices, even I if could choose a less healthy choice and still stay within my calorie target. That means that I will say no to dessert with my coworkers in the cafeteria, or I'll bring my lunch instead of having what's being served there. Maybe I miss out on a couple of things, but it's a small sacrifice I need to make to get myself moving again. And it's not forever. I'll give myself a couple of weeks and start reintroducing those naughty foods again, just not as often. I don't feel like I should deprive myself just because I'm on a diet, but I also shouldn't deprive myself of my ultimate goal. I need to find that balance.
I also looked at my calories and my BMR, realizing that the last time I set my goals I was 15 pounds heavier and my caloric needs may have changed. I have resolved myself to the idea that I may be hungry for awhile as I adjust to my new calorie target, but I have to do this!
The other thing I've done is I've stopped talking about my diet. When people ask me how it's going, I say "fine." If they want more details, I keep it simple. I have more opportunities to talk about my diet now that my coworkers have started dieting again, but I keep my participation in the conversation to a minimum. They seem to pay less attention to what I'm doing when I'm not talking about it. It's helped.
__________________ "Nothing tastes as good as thin feels!"
"Losing weight is hard. Being fat is hard. Pick your hard."
Total Goal Weight:
I weigh myself every day. It keeps me accountable.
Last edited by twinieten : 07-15-2012 at 10:33 PM.
Guac, you count calories, right? I found that, once I told people that's what I was doing, it was a lot easier to say things like: "Today I've banked enough calories to have french fries. Next weekend, maybe not." So I never get any flak about what I eat or don't eat. I've skipped a lot of cake and cookies at my office, but I've also partaken of many treats, so it's no big deal whether I do or don't. Then again, maybe I'm lucky to have friends and co-workers who don't care, who are just happy for me. It sounds like you have some people in your life who are, perhaps, more judge-y.
As for eating like a "normal" person, I think those of us who have weight problems think thin people find it easy to eat right, or that regulating their weight is somehow automatic for them. We want to believe that, in the hopes we can someday join that club. But that's probably a pretty small club, and I'm quite sure I'll never be a member. I'm just hoping to find a new normal for me, a reasonable weight that takes a reasonable amount of effort to maintain. Staying on plan all week so you can do some social eating on the weekend sounds reasonable to me, but even social eating should have some limits. Maybe you can establish the new normal for the people you eat with on the weekends. Good luck!
I want to free myself from the burden of inaction. I want to raise myself to any plane I can imagine. ---Crowded House
I find that now that I have refused the evil foods long enough and people have seen my progress, they changed their way of thinking about what I'm doing. Before they would be pushy and practically shoving food in my mouth. Now they have stopped commenting on my lack of participation in the hog trough of available work food. In fact, the other day I decided to eat an ice cream sandwich. Of course, my coworkers didn't know that I would make up for those calories in extra gym time and less food later. But oh God how I enjoyed it. And they were shocked I was eating it, and trying to get me not to eat it. It's like instead of mocking me, now they have switched to rooting for me. And I no longer get the "obsessed" and "eating disorder" comments I used to get. I think people believe in me more now that I have stuck to it for so long. I get called slim and skinny girl now instead of getting berated for not eating enough. Just get back on track and don't worry about what other people will say. You have to do what is going to get you to your goal and what is going to bring you to your own personal happiness. Don't sabotage all of your hard work for two days of food you don't really need. You can do this!
Thanks, ladies! Who knows, maybe I am trying to convince myself that I am not "on a diet" and can eat what I want to and still maintain my weight or lose? Maybe it's myself that I am trying to fool into thinking I can eat whatever I want and not have any negative consequences. Maybe I haven't fully accepted that I can never go back to my former habits if I want to stay trim and healthy. As always, I am a work in progress.
-I AM MY OWN CHEERLEADER!
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