I've been overweight pretty much my entire life, and I've finally decided to take control of my life and lose 30lbs (I am currently around 170lbs and am 5'4) which would place me at a normal BMI for the first time in years.
The problem is, I can't seem to stop eating TONS of junk food. I'm not just talking about a small bag of chips, but more like three slices of greasy pizza. This always happens whenever I attempt to diet: I start out doing great and then I suddenly lose all self control and eat everything in sight!
I don't understand why this keeps happening or what I can do to get it under control. It's not that I'm not motivated, because I want to lose the weight more than anything. I just seems to lose self control around food. Does anyone else have this problem? What did you do to get through it?
Starting a diet / healthy lifestyle change is always the hardest part I think. It's about forming new habits, and can take a little while to get used to. I've always had a hard time starting a new attempt at a diet. I have been yo-yoing for 10 years now and am definitely a food addict, or a recovering food addict, if you will.
However, the ONE thing that works SO well I have found is adding lots of cardio. A diet never seems complete to me unless I do exercise. I start by just jogging 10 mins a day, then 15, etc. I am now a little over 8 weeks in, and do 1 hour of jogging in place per day and 30 mins of walking. I think the exercise portion is so helpful, because you start to 1) see results faster and 2) you realize how long it takes to burn off all of that stuff you are eating. Times where I only tried to change my diet and didn't exercise, I immediately failed/went on huge binges.
Also, it's ok to allow yourself a small portion of the "junk" you enjoy. Deprivation will not work long-term. To stop myself from over eating everyday, I literally have to tell myself, "There will be food tomorrow. I actually feel full now."
Also, I used to keep some of my favorite junk foods right next to my bed. Ummm bad idea! Anytime it is next to me, I eat it. However, when it is far away, in the kitchen, I just take 1 portion and go elsewhere to eat it. And finally, when I stared seeing food as fuel and energy to help keep my body healthy and functioning well, I started to pick better options. My current goal is to increase protein and lower simple carbs and bad fats.
Rib cage – 32.5
Bust – 38
Hips – 39
Upper Right arm – 12
Upper Left arm – 12
Waist – 31
Over butt – 42
Right calf – 16
Left calf – 15.5
Right thigh –26
Left thigh – 25
Starting size: US 10/12 - Current size: 6
I've always been able to ween myself off junk foods with high fat, low carb diet. Actually that stops me from craving anything. Doesn't necessarily work with everyone though.
In any case, I'd probably myself try to first switch to proper foods without caloric restriction and perhaps add exercise if I felt like it. Only after the cravings stop would I start the caloric restriction.
I personally notice three big hurdles when it comes to staying away from particular foods: the habitual (it's easy to eat it, you're used to eating it or used to using it as an emotional crutch), the body's response to caloric restriction (a big deficit will lead to hunger and cravings) and the possible physical addiction to some of the flavor enhancers in the junk food. Try tackling all at once and it gets tougher. Not impossible, but tougher.
EDIT: I would add though that going low carb and adding exercise in the same time wouldn't be a great combination either once the glycogen stores start to become depleted. That can yet again lead to huge carb cravings.
Last edited by SparklyBunny : 12-04-2013 at 04:56 AM.
I don't know if you live alone or with a family but what is working for me thus far is to cook and if ordering in much smaller amounts than before. So where I would have ordered a large specialty pizza, a large veggie and a small pepperoni for the 5 of us before I will now just order a half veggies, half specialty and the small pepperoni. That gives us 12 slices between the 5 of us (2 parents, 2 boys 21/19 and a 16 year old daughter) The rest of my family is thin and fit so I eat 1 slice of the veggie and they eat the rest and I make a big salad to go with it. We save money and there is no need to gorge.
I don't know if I will ever be able to have self control if there is a lot of food around me (this will be tested at Christmas) but I am trying hard to control what I can and that is how much I cook.
I am a very good cook and baker so I have had to stop buying baking supplies because I would decide I absolutely had to make doughnuts at 2 in the afternoon. Now there is no flour in the house so I can't even if I want to.
I have a carb sensitivity. Insulin problems run in my family (Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia) and quick-burning carbs are troublesome for people with insulin problems. When you have a carb sensitivity, if your blood sugar is low, which causes you to be hungry, and you eat quick-burning carbs like breads/grains, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugary fruits and sweets, your blood sugar spikes which causes a flood of insulin as your body attempts to bring it back down. But it's too much insulin and your blood sugar doesn't level off. It drops dramatically again and you're hungry all over again. Then what happens? Usually you reach for quick-burning carbs again because that's what is going to raise your blood sugar quickly. It's a vicious cycle for a person with a carb sensitivity. The only way to break it is to reduce those type of carbs. If you have a carb sensitivity, it's not a matter of being hungry and needing will power not to eat. That hunger is a symptom of low blood sugar. To see if you have a carb sensitivity, you might try to stay away from quick-burning carbs for a few days and see if your cycle of hunger subsides. Eat protein and good fats to fill yourself up, along with slow-burning carbs like non-starchy veggies. Even fruit can be quick-burning, so if you try this little experiment, you'll want to avoid it too until you get things under control. Then you can start slowing adding back some high-fiber fruits and berries and some whole grains in moderation.
I'm a librarian, so I have a book to recommend: The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler. It talks about how junk foods are engineered to be irresistible to us and ubiquitously marketed so that we're always thinking about them. It is very hard to eat in a controlled way in our current environment. You pretty much have to check out of the Modern American Diet (MAD) in some significant way.
I went cold turkey on junk food by making rules that kept me out of the situations where I most ate them (No eating in the car. No eating anything purchased from a drug store or gas stations). My cravings disappeared in a couple of weeks. Over time, I got a bit more nuanced. Most candy triggers cravings, for example, but not dark chocolate or crystallized ginger so I can have those when I put them in my plan. I eat pizza, occasionally, but I buy only 1 slice from Whole Foods. I would have a much harder time with a whole pizza sitting in front of me.
Just my four ha'pennies: Eating processed, carby food makes me much more hungry. There is some science to back this...I'm not a scientist so I won't say I'm covering all the bases here, but here's the gist: processed carbs (or an overabundance of any carbs) *create hunger*. It's all about the insulin/glucose cycle.
For me, I can't *start* with the junk food...or I'll keep going. When I eat mostly whole, non-refined foods, my appetite stays much more in control.
Hello Everyone, For me I usually don't keep junk in the house if I am feeling I can't controll myself. I also make sure I am eating healthy food I really enjoy. I am counting calories and use myfitnesspal and most evenings I have a cup of sugar free low fat icecream. I just think it takes constant work and adjustments.
The first thing you need to do is understand why you go off plan. It may be that your plan is too strict, but it also may be that it isn't strict enough. Ask yourself if you are hungrier for pizza before you eat any of it, or after you've have a few bites. If you get hungrier for pizza the more you eat, then your body cannot handle it, at all. If you are hungrier before hand, and can stop after eating a normal amount, than lucky you, you can eat highly caloric foods in moderation. If not, I have bad news for you.
Some of us do have to quit junk food completely in order to diet. It's not fair, but I for one have terrible cravings if anything especially sweet, salty, or fatty crosses my lips. I am trying to learn moderation, but for the most part, I can't eat anything of plan.
Gardenerjoy is right about The End of Overeating by David A. Kessler. It's not a diet book, but it explains in great detail why some of us can eat one cookie and stop and others of us lose control. It's really entertaining, and while I read it originally, I then went and bough the audiobook to listen to when I need a willpower boost.
I am really hoping that I can reset my body's cravings so that I can have a bite of something yummy and then push the rest away. I'm not there yet, and unfortunately, I don't know if I ever will be.
I try not to recommend anything specific to people - some people do well with incorporating limited amounts of all foods in their lives and others do not. Personally, I am cold-turkey and I never feel...deprived or the need to eat a ton afterwards because sadness due to nonfood related situations is what triggers me to go after trigger foods. Maybe I will try and see if moderation will work for me in the future, but since I'm happy with what I'm choosing to do now, I'm in no rush/its not really a priority for me.
I am naturally inclined to keep devouring carbs - no matter WHAT the taste, so it is beyond taste for me - when I was homeless and then later on, jobless, I consciously went for carbs that I knew would allow me to over eat and eat because I wanted the mindless pleasure from the act of eating. Being a routine person like that means that I feel really happy intermittent fasting and enjoying a big meal of boring on-plan food because I love...the act of eating!
I don't know exactly what will work for you, but I do think that experimentation will help. It took a lot of trial and error to figure out what seems to be currently working for me, but in the long run it is worth it because I feel more normal actually - not back on any track or bandwagon - just ME and what I do whether I lose the weight or not. So maybe seeing how cold-turkey vs moderation make you feel will help.
I listened to my gut and it said "You could do with less of me."
Great posts. I totally agree that carbs (and for me it was even whole grain bread and pasta) put me up into a bad cycle. Eat carbs, hungry too soon, reach for more carbs. They also made me really lethargic so I used to barely exercise. They were the crux of my problem.
So I have really gotten a handle on them. There was a transition period. And I know mileage will vary but they aren't trigger foods anymore. I can eat fries occasionally, although not recommended they are super bad. Or pizza here and there. And I don't get the cravings anymore. Either right after, a few hours after, or the next day.
All I can contribute this to is I got my metabolism working better or more 'normally'. So whereas before I think with the flood of carbs I subjected my body to constantly, my blood sugar metabolism was all messed up. Now my body can handle it MUCH better when I do have carbs.
Again mileage may vary on that. But it is a most welcome nice thing about all the changes. Mark's Daily Apple is a very good site about carbs.
Last edited by diamondgeog : 12-10-2013 at 03:23 PM.
I live in a household where no one else but myself follows any kind of eating plan. I am the sole grocery shopper, meal maker, etc. etc. It is extremely difficult at times to be surrounded by tons of temptations, however I find it harder to deal with the opportunity, the chance to give into temptation
without being seen.
I suffer from type two diabetes. I had been "cured" of it, several years ago after dropping almost 100 lbs. Now, as the pounds have come back on, so has the type two returned. It is much more difficult to control myself around foods that I shouldn't have, sweet, salty, fatty. I used to have no trouble at all sticking to an eating plan, not a diet.
Atkins is the only plan that has worked for me in the past, or I should say the only plan I was able to work with. I am also a food addict, a binge eater. Atkins has helped in the past to give me the ability to control these binge eating episodes. I'm not just talking about extra helpings at dinner, or a slice of cake afterwards, but eating the entire cake, a bag of chips, then a container of ice cream, all before or after a normal meal.
This board is a wonderful support system. I find I do better the more times a day I visit, and post. I have joined challenges in the past and it helps keep the motivation because I do not feel like I am doing this alone even if all the people around me in my "real life" aren't follow the same eating plan or diet that I am.
There will be someone here that understands. I have battled the motivation problems my entire life, I'm forty now. i wished I had addressed it years ago and learned that you don't have to change everything over night..the all or nothing attitude I've had with dieting has done more harm than good, and continues to. I limit every thing and then fall off the wagon and eat everything.
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