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Food IS pleasure!

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Old 03-31-2014, 03:18 PM   #1
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Default Food IS pleasure!

My weightloss journey has brought me some radical changes lately and I'm having a "shout it from the rooftops" moment.

***Disclaimer: I feel it's important that when we give advice on the forums that we do so only from our own perspective so I want to openly share that I do have a diagnosed eating disorder, and that I am treating it by using Intuitive Eating techniques under the supervision of a nutritional therapist.***

I've been a compulsive overeater/binger for at least 2 decades in my life and I always knew in the back of my mind that eating disorders are not cured by diets or "lifestyle changes." So now that I'm finally addressing some of my food issues I have come to realize that food has sucked for a long time. I have my old standby binge foods and although I've gotten so bored with them I still reach for them for safety. But they don't bring me pleasure, they really don't. I wasn't enjoying food anymore. I was feeling guilty over every little decision, calling myself all kinds of bad names and ridiculing myself over "bad foods."

Since I've released myself from all that I've really been enjoying food. And not just the foods I've missed while dieting (I love you carbs!), but a whole slew of other things too. Eating is an event every time! I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, just as long as I do it mindfully and eat only when hungry and stop when I'm full.

Anyway, I've been so sad around here lately, everyone is so hard on themselves, restricting the bejeezus out of their food choices and then feeling virtuous for eating below calories or avoiding an evil food. I want everyone to remember that food can be pleasurable, that we don't have to avoid it or to banish it from our lives. Enjoying food does not mean we are bad or weak willed or destined to be fat. We don't have to punish ourselves in order to lose weight, we've done nothing wrong, and if we gained some weight over the years it's nothing we can't fix.

Health first! We must prioritize our emotional health first, and then our physical health will follow suit.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:14 PM   #2
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The trick to sustaining weightloss for me has been to find and enjoy foods that are healthy for me. That has been my journey. One in which I started by cutting all foods, including the ones I really used to like, and then slowly introducing new ones that I had never tried before, find delicious and can eat a lot of without piling on the pounds.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:24 PM   #3
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I haven't been able to reach a midpoint or balance yet. I either diet or binge... but as far as I can recall, I have been doing this for over 20 years. Every time I start believing that food is pleasure... I slip into the "just one" lie.... which leads to just one day, then just one week, then all the freaking time.

I just have NO control whatsoever. Food cannot be pleasure for me. I have to get my pleasure elsewhere.
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:44 PM   #4
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It doesn't have to be pleasure, but it doesn't have to be torture either. There are many things that bring us pleasure and food is just one of them.

The problem with not seeing food as potential pleasure is that all the people in our lives will do anyway. I don't want to be the girl who brings her own lunch to a picnic. I don't want to eat before I go to a party. I don't want to watch other people enjoy food while I can't. I don't want to feel like I'm powerless in front of food, like I can't meet my friends out for drinks and dinner. I'm a social creature and social functions serve food. I have to learn to live in peace with that.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
We must prioritize our emotional health first, and then our physical health will follow suit.
For me, this has always been switched, prioritize physical health, and then emotional health follows suit But I definitely see what you're saying!

I'm one of those people who restricts myself and becomes really happy when I get in a day below my cals and zero junk food (see I'm already profiling my food choices lol) But I also think that it's because that's the only way I've lost weight. I wish I could stay within my limits and have a little bit of everything, but for me, it's a little too much freedom and I don't trust myself yet. I know sometime down the line (if I ever reach maintenance) it's something I will have to learn how to do.

Wannabe- I know you follow IE, when you crave something, do you eat it and then that's it, the craving is gone? Just to give you an example of how my mind works, if I'm craving cake, I will eat one cake (sara lee snacks for example), but having introduced that taste makes me crave more sugar, it makes me irritable too if I can't have it. Does that ever happen to you? This is part of the reason why I have to have restrictions with myself.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:03 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Wannabeskinny View Post
I don't want to be the girl who brings her own lunch to a picnic. I don't want to eat before I go to a party. I don't want to watch other people enjoy food while I can't. I don't want to feel like I'm powerless in front of food, like I can't meet my friends out for drinks and dinner. I'm a social creature and social functions serve food. I have to learn to live in peace with that.
This. I had a good friend who finally had the honesty to bring to my attention how illogical my relationship with food was. Our group of friends was talking about food and he mentioned how I should add bacon to something. "I don't eat bacon." was my response. He sort of looked at me incredulously. He said, "Locke, you don't eat bacon, you don't eat sandwiches, you don't eat french fries, you don't eat ice cream... what the **** is wrong with you? Those are delicious foods that you should enjoy the h*** out of. Don't eat them for every meal, just eat them in moderation and don't feel guilty."

His insistence that I enjoy what I am eating and don't look at them as "trigger" foods is what pushed me into IE. Pleasure is my goal at eat meal and this has been the key to bringing sanity towards food back into my life. I'm willing to admit now that I'm a foodie- I LOVE food. I eat junk food. I eat healthy food. I just eat food and I eat it so that I enjoy it- slowly and savoring each bite.

The idea that certain foods have the power to make you fat is everywhere in our society. Every time I pull up a news website I see at least one article that says something like "THE TEN FOODS YOU SHOULD NEVER EAT AGAIN." or "STOP EATING THIS IF YOU WANT TO LOSE WEIGHT." In my experience foods don't have the power to make you fat. You can overeat on fat free cottage cheese and celery. I know I have.
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Last edited by Locke : 03-31-2014 at 05:03 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:12 PM   #7
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Wannabe- I know you follow IE, when you crave something, do you eat it and then that's it, the craving is gone? Just to give you an example of how my mind works, if I'm craving cake, I will eat one cake (sara lee snacks for example), but having introduced that taste makes me crave more sugar, it makes me irritable too if I can't have it. Does that ever happen to you? This is part of the reason why I have to have restrictions with myself.
I know this is addressed to Wannabe but I thought I'd respond, too. When I eat something like candy I find that I will crave it more regularly but that the cravings don't have the same power over me like they used to. Right now I am craving chocolate covered marshmallow candy. I haven't eaten anything like that in years- maybe it's Easter that's evoking the feeling, it doesn't really matter. Anyway I just ate lunch about an hour ago and I still feel like I don't need any food- my hunger has been satisfied. So I acknowledge that the craving is present and I tell myself that when I'm hungry if I'd still like to have some of that candy then I can have some (or something similar, I've got a few different kinds of chocolate at home). When I get hungry again I'll imagine myself eating the chocolate candy- how do I feel? Most of the time even if I'm craving chocolate I will feel like I'd rather eat something else, like some chicken and salad. Sometimes my body really does want the candy so I eat it. It's amazing how little power cravings have when you know you can satisfy them at the next time when you are truly hungry. It doesn't make me go crazy from deprivation because I know I can have just enough to satisfy my craving without making me feel ill.
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Last edited by Locke : 03-31-2014 at 05:14 PM.
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by hhm6 View Post
For me, this has always been switched, prioritize physical health, and then emotional health follows suit But I definitely see what you're saying!

Wannabe- I know you follow IE, when you crave something, do you eat it and then that's it, the craving is gone? Just to give you an example of how my mind works, if I'm craving cake, I will eat one cake (sara lee snacks for example), but having introduced that taste makes me crave more sugar, it makes me irritable too if I can't have it. Does that ever happen to you? This is part of the reason why I have to have restrictions with myself.
Totally legit question! Again I must reitirate what my personal goals are:

1. STOP BINGING
2. Alleviate guilt over my food choices
3. Lose weight

In that order. Stopping the binges is crucial because life sucks trying to hide my binge eating. Guilt makes my life suck even more. Deep down inside I know that if I can accomplish Steps 1 and 2 that step 3 will kind of resolve itself.

So cravings, yea I get cravings. Always have, always will. For a long time I approached cravings like evil doers floating around my brain that I had to STOP, keep away! Distract! or I'd try to fool them with something else "no no you can't have chocolate, here have this calorie-free fat-free stupid grape instead" lol we've all been there right?

If I want that brownie, I eat it. I sit down, eat it slowly, make yummy noises to myself, tell people this is the best brownie I've ever had and then I go on about my day. I've done this many times and you know what? Once I've managed to eat it without guilt then it's gone, the craving is satisfied. Honestly I can't promise anyone that I will lose weight this way and I'm not claiming to! All I'm saying is that I'm enjoying eating right now without fear of being punished by myself.

I wish I could be more helpful but I'm not far enough into my journey to prove weight loss yet. I can tell you though that eating food without guilt and without reprocussions has been life changing to me. Since I've started eating this way my binges have reduced by 90%, there are bags of cheetos in my pantry that I haven't touched in days, I can eat with my family and not feel ashamed of the food I ate, and I am starting to really enjoy the feeling of HUNGER in my body because I know I can solve it quickly and easily and with much less food than I once thought I could eat.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:50 PM   #9
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I find, for me, that once I get the simple sugars out of my system, I enjoy food and eating very much so and don't feel like I'm missing anything. I take a great deal of pleasure out of making very tasty foods. But, I've been at this a long time and have had successes and relapses and every. single. relapse has to do with eating too much simple sugar foods. Which yes, give me a LOT of pleasure too - for awhile. And then they make me feel lethargic.

When I ditch those simple carbs, I feel good and sprightly and energetic. So, I do have to eliminate things from my diet. I've tried over and over to try to have some in moderation. It simply doesn't work for me. There is no moderately eating oreos for me. it's the whole box if I buy them.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:31 PM   #10
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I'm with you girlfriend, if I've decided one thing it's that I am am going to enjoy eating and any weight I gain I will have enjoyed my way to gaining. No more secret eating or binging without satisfaction.

I'm in a wonderful place at the moment, eating rationally, exercising comfortably.

One day at a time.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:43 PM   #11
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For me to succeed, especially in the face of lots of potential regains every time I loosen my habits or have another baby, I have made peace with doing this for life and doing it in a way most people aren't willing to do. I agree food can be delicious and enjoyable, but it isn't a hug or a friend. It isn't a security blanket. And is no barometer of my personal value or moral good.

I enjoy the things I eat, they're delicious and satisfying to my body and soul. But I can't eat everything I enjoy and remain slender. I've lost too much weigh and am down too far to stay here without daily work. Some foods just have to remain birthday treats or planned-for, scheduled indulgences. Some things I will probably never eat again, because they aren't worth the price they exact on my body and mind. But daily food isn't misery or drudgery and I'm not ever going to be able to make food just about fuel - I ENJOY EATING! So for me, it's been finding that balance of what nourishes my body best and then working that in a way that satisfies my taste buds, remains flexible for my lifestyle, and doesn't cause me grief by beginning a cycle of cravings.

So yeah. I eat whole foods 90% of the time (processed means flavored sunflower seeds, the occasional pork rind, and some sausage), very low carb, and will do this come rain or shine for the rest of my life. It's awesome, because I run well and am free of most of my food demons so long as I stick with my plan and restrict off plan treats to intentional days, infrequently, and keep an ironclad promise to myself to get back on plan the very next day with no ifs, ands, or buts.

I don't have an eating disorder, my issues are hormonal and physiological first, with some exacerbating factors like stress that can worsen things. We all have our own battles to fight but I'm so happy I've found the solution to mine. And I learned a hard lesson just last week that trying to take what other people think should work for me, even when my own experience has been to the contrary, and hope it magically works for me this time? Nope, no magic, just epic fail. And now that I'm back to my safe, happy food spot, it's amazing how much better I feel both physically and spiritually. Their suggestions were good for many and meant to be freeing, but I can't ever eat like that and maintain my weight and sanity.

We all have to find what works for us. There's some basic suggestions that might apply across the board (ie: if you find it unsustainable then don't start it at all, begin as you mean to go on!) but there is truly a spectrum of ideal human nutrition, depending on the individual body, and when you add our brains, lifestyles, and habits to the mix it becomes plain that while we're in this together as fat chicks, we're all unique in our solutions
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:47 PM   #12
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I'm with you girlfriend, if I've decided one thing it's that I am am going to enjoy eating and any weight I gain I will have enjoyed my way to gaining. No more secret eating or binging without satisfaction.

I'm in a wonderful place at the moment, eating rationally, exercising comfortably.

One day at a time.
Amen, and again it's important to understand what one needs to get out of life. Fortunately I'm not plagued with alarming health issues such as diabetes, blood pressure, or have genetic health issues on the horizon. YET! My weight has provided me with plenty of chronic pain and mobility issues and so it's not possible to do extreme exercise anymore, ever probably. But like I said before, my whole purpose is to have a pleasant relationship with food and I'm ok being overweight as long as I don't binge, or harass myself with negative thoughts about any kind of food.

I've spent too long thinking about "trigger foods." Well, everything is a trigger food lol. I can't worry about what one food will lead me to do, or how one taste of something will cause havoc or whatnot. I see too many people fall into that cycle of restricing-losing-failing-weightgain to follow suit.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:52 PM   #13
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I drink at least 8 cups of water a day. Don't eat any junk food, candy or fast food, and don't drink any soda. Try to eat mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, fish and lean chicken (without skin).
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:13 PM   #14
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I don't have to give up chicken skin. That's the best part.
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"Binging is a descent into a world where every restriction... is cut loose. At its core is a feeling of deprivation.. a feeling you can never get enough. Binges do not signify a lack of willpower or inability to care for yourself. On the contrary, binges are a urgent attempt to care for yourself when you feel uncared for. They are the voice of survival. Binges are the mark of the self that says, 'I am tired of feeling deprived, of being told I am wrong, that I am bad." - Geneen Roth
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Old 03-31-2014, 10:27 PM   #15
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Just referring back to what Locke said about "my body wants candy". It may be but i don't think it means your body needs candy. I've come to the conclusion that that feeling of "my body wants candy" when i'm craving it, means that my seratonin levels are low or that there is some other hormonal disturbance e.g. leptin, reason for it.

I came to this conclusion firstly by observation of my own experience, though at that point i wasn't saying "my seratonin levels are low", I was aware that it was connected to something to do with my mood or if it was at the end of a diet and i'd lost a lot of weight, that this may be a trigger.

It was only on reading the articles on nutrition wonderland that i began to see how it could indeed been seratonin and my intuition about my mood was correct. and also the other thing about my weight and leptin.

Either way, a craving is some sort of body out of whack message but it does not mean the body needs sugar. So if you give in, there's no reason to think you are doing your body a service. But i'm not saying you must not give in. There is nothing wrong with a little sugar. But for me, it tends to lead to a binge so its best to avoid it if i can.

The leptin craving is the hardest one to resist i have found. Of course i didn't know it was leptin at the time but now that i've read about leptin on nutrition wonderland, i can see that it was leptin and i understand why the craving persisted for so long. I mean days and days but coming and going. At that time, luckily i was fairly unable to go and buy some junk but i was making dumplings boiled in milk with sultanas in order to satisfy that craving. At least it wasn't' causing me to put on a lot of weight right away. I could go back back to controlling my food and eating well but eventually on returning home and stopping my journey which was cycle trip, i certainly did gradually start eating more and more.

None of this is about wannabe's post. It is just addressed to what locke said. I was going to reply to OP but i've taken up my energy on this now and need to go do something else.
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