Please critique me! I need to know what I am doing wrong...
I need help to stop my night binges and lose the pounds I have gained from them (I do want to lose the regained weight but for now it is more important to stop my awful binging behavior). So I just had this idea today that I will describe a typical day with its meals, activities and moods, and see if any of you kind friends could critique it, find where I am going out of path or what am I doing that is making me binge. Or have any ideas of what I could do to stop.
I what you to know that I know I have it good, I live with the shame of knowing that even though I have it good I don't do good enough. Here's the deal: I am single and childless and not by choice. I have an almost part time job that pays almost full time. I live with my parents and don't have the expense of a household, or family. I know a LOT of people that do so much better than me and have families, households, debt, etc.
...I still struggle!
Anyway this is a typical day like yesterday...
5:30am Alarms starts pounding away…
Snooze, snooze, snooze and more snooze. Still can't believe the pain of waking up. 5:29 is the best minute of my day, I am fully asleep and completely relaxed. Hate waking up, takes too much of my energy!
6:15 to 6:30 Finally find the courage to step out of bed.
6:30 - 7:00 Make coffee, breakfast and lunch (to take with me to work)
7:00 - 7:15 Drink coffee and TMI ALERT try try try to go to the bathroom :(
7:15 - 7:30 Shower
7:30 - 8:15 Get dressed, do my hair… get dressed again because I didn't like the first one… do this up to 3 times… get my stuff ready.
8:15 Out the door.
8:15 - 8:30 Yes my commute is only 15 minutes.
8:30-ish Arrive at work. Have I mentioned I am late? Yes, I have to be here at 8:00, I am late every single day.
8:30 - 11:00 Work at 10%, the other 90% is dealing with noise, people, gossip, interruptions.
11:00 - 11:30 Have breakfast at my desk while trying to work.
BREAKFAST: Big turkey sandwich and fruit.
DISCLAIMER: My work hours are 8am to 3pm STRAIGHT, no breaks whatsoever. I can do whatever I want as long as I am working. I don't live in the US so there are no rules, regulations, HR department, etc. No way around this. 2nd DISCLAIMER is that I have absolutely tried to have breakfast earlier, like as soon as I wake up, I have tried up to a month at a time because all the literature says we need to. This experiments have been absolute FAILURES! I end up not only eating a LOT more during the day but being even more hungry.
***Note that until this point I have not felt hunger or anything like it.
11:30 - 2:30pm Keep working, which again is 10% work and 90% is dealing with noise, people, gossip, interruptions.
2:30 - 3:00 Have lunch at my desk while trying to work.
LUNCH: Tuna salad and crackers, salad, avocado.
3:00 Work is over! The reason that I eat at work instead of home is because I never made it home without stopping at a fast food place on the way… This way I just ate and I can make it.
3:20 - 5:20 Arrive at home and/or do my to-do list. Laundry, cleaning, phone calls, and if God is really good to me I can take a 15 minute nap.
5:20 - 5:30 Have a snack. Yummy!!!!! Love this snack!!!!
SNACK: 1/2 a banana with half a cup 2% cottage cheese and almonds.
5:30 - 5:45 Dress for gym. Change 4 or 5 times because I hate my fat.
5:45 - 6:30 Arrive at gym. Go pee 3 or 4 times because of anxiety. Talk to my friends. Love this part!
6:30 - 8:30 Work out, best part of the day!!!
8:30 - 8:40 Talk to my friends some more.
8:40 - 8:50 Drive home.
8:50 Take anti-anxiety medication. This is prescribed and a very low dose. 0.25 of a Xanax and half a Victan (this one is not available in the US)
8:50 - 9:00 Make dinner.
9:00 - 9:15 Hold the dinner, shower first. But dinner is ready and waiting!!!
9:15 - 10:00 Have dinner in bed watching tv… absolutely love and adore this part.
DINNER: Chicken salad with lettuce, spinach, tomato, avocado, apple and farmers cheese with crackers.
Up to here my calorie count is around 1500-1600. This is normal for my size, my nutritionist actually wants me to go to 1200… I just can't do that.
10:00… Can't relax…
10:00 - 12:00 Binge, binge and binge. Can't stop. I just want to relax and feel good. And I am certain I look like a zombie downing down food to achieve relaxation and numbness. At least I have so far 2 weeks binging on pseudo-healthy foods: fresh fruits, dried fruits, nuts. But it had been 3 months straight were my binges were chocolate covered binges.
12:00 Finally fall asleep…
5:30am THAT STUPID ALARM IS BLARING AGAIN!!!
So… any thoughts? What is going on here? Any idea how to stop? How can I relax without food?
I would be very tempted to reach for something if I had that kind of day every day too. I'm not going to talk about what you're eating or your gym because I don't think that's the biggest problem.
You need to breathe. Stop the negative thoughts. Stop hating yourself. Live in each moment and stop worrying about whether or not your life is living up to your expectations. Others here will recommend therapy. Many people have found it useful, but not me. I just needed to reinvent my outlook on life.
I work full time and I am a full time grad student in thesis. I spend four hours commuting each day. I get up at 4:45am every morning, leave the house at 5:30 and don't return until about 6pm. I work toward happiness. I ignore the things that give me the impression that I need to change myself. I stop and smell flowers (literally!) while walking to the bus station. I take each moment as an opportunity to experience the world, even though it's never 100% pleasant (it's never 100% bad, either).
You are worthy of happiness. You are capable of happiness (right here! right now!). You just need to claim it.
There are lots of things that you could try changing, but it seems like you would be better off with more sleep. It seems like if you could fall asleep earlier, you might be able to avoid your binge. Lack of sleep can contribute to hunger (I know it does in my case, but I don't have any problem falling asleep; I have trouble staying asleep). But even setting that aside for the moment, it sounds like your lack of sleep is also affecting your work.
Is there any way you can work with your doctor to tweak your meds or the time you take it so you can fall asleep sooner? You might ask your doctor if you could take something like valerian before your meal if it wouldn't interact with your medicine. Aside from medical/herbal interventions, you might want to explore other methods to help you get to sleep earlier (meditation, self hypnosis, aromatherapy, whatever might work for you).
You may find that if you get more sleep, dealing with your other issues becomes easier. It sounds like this has been tough on you. I hope you find a way to get more rest! :hug:
One of the side effects of Xanax is insomnia. Is it possible for you to switch around and maybe take it in the morning? You are also going to the gym late and eating very late at night. When I used to work out it gave me a lot of energy and that along with eating so late seems like it would be natural to have trouble winding down. Maybe dinner at the table and more of a night time routine to relax instead of trying to immediately go to sleep. Don't know if this will help at all, but that's my two cents worth.
First, what is the point of the alarm going off at 530 if you are just going to lie there and hate life and hit snooze for an hour? Why not just sleep til 630 and actually GET another hour of real sleep?
Why can't you take your meds earlier in the day? Taking them at night like that may be keeping you awake.
Never eat in bed.
Save time and sanity and stop getting dressed over and over. Just wear whatever it is you're going to wear. No one cares, no one is judging you by your outfit.
Crackers at dinner...just how many? Crackers are usually empty carbs and highly caloric. Also, the cheese at bedtime might have a little something to do with the "try try try" business in the morning.
Some more ideas for you ggbsy:
First - Hugs to you, hang in there, you are doing well and just need a bit of support from us here. :hug:
The best idea I have used because I am NOT a morning person is to prepare everything the evening before.
Lay out the clothes you will wear, make your lunch & put it in the fridge ready to grab & go.
Eat breakfast earlier - this is a must (I used to puke if I ate breakfast before 10:30 - yes actual nausea) - you can slowly retrain yourself. Either have a protein based smoothie for breakfast as you commute or just start eating your regular breakfast 1/2 hr. earlier, moving it up every 3 or 4 days until you are eating on your commute, or better for you, eating at home before you leave. Change the lunchtime in accord with new breakfast times and same for dinner. Yes, have the healthy snacks - they are important to keep your blood sugars level during the day & help reduce ravenous hunger.
DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT eat dinner in bed - set yourself up a lovely placemat at the table with proper cutlery, stemware etc and concentrate on your dinner. Really taste it, do not do anything else like read or watch TV. Set your fork down between bites and close your eyes once in a while and breathe. Right now you are telling your body that going to bed means TV & food and etc, etc 'activity, not sleep.' Keep your phone out of your bedroom - its light WILL affect your sleep patterns.
I used to eat late at night too, while reading or watching TV, but found changing up my mealtimes told my body that my day started earlier and ended earlier. I have a bedtime ritual now... no TV, computer or phone for 1 hour before bed - blue light keeps our mind active. I usually read something and listen to music - not on Kindle, etc lol. Paper based. I have a cup of herbal tea - I like Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime and Tension Tamer, but you could have whatever as long as it doesn't have caffeine. If I feel like it will be a tough night, I take 3-5 mg of melatonin under my tongue 1 hour before bed - you should check first with your doc/pharmacist to see if it would be OK with your meds. Talk to them about the insomnia and if you can change timing... as others have posted.
Sounds corny, but I try to think of something that I am grateful for or happy about during my pre-bed quiet time, that happened to me or that I witnessed today. It helps me feel less stressed before bed.
Hang on, you are in the midst of big changes, start with a little and concentrate on everything you are doing for your health. Sending positive vibes your way!
First of all, I wish you the best of luck.
You might want to look into meditation to help you relax, I agree with Locke totally, you deserve to be happy, enjoy the moment you're in. Stop telling yourself "you can't"
You probably should adjust your schedule, and as much as you like it, you shouldn't eat in bed. You can still make your meal a big deal so that you enjoy it.
I've read suggestions to eat your last meal a bit earlier each night if you want to eat breakfast earlier.
Again, I wish you well, you might want to check out a book called "simplify your life" there are some good suggestions, like coming up with a sort of uniform for work,, like khakis and a tailored shirt, that takes away some of the stress of what to wear .
GGBSY, You are so close to the answer to your binge dilemma. You know exactly when it will occur and you plan for it by having binge worthy foods in the house.
I was like you too. I NEEDED to binge on foods at night until my tummy hurt. I ate until I was stuffed and in pain and then I would go to bed.
I broke this unhealthy behavior by admitting to myself that I am an addict. My drug of choice is food. I fed the addiction by starting with high quality whole wheat grains but I descended into straight sugar/chocolate and booze.
I have eliminated all sugar and all carbs from my life. I also avoid trigger foods like hummus, beans, bananas and all pasta, potatoes and wheat based foods.
I am an addict. I can not control myself. I must now avoid the wrong foods or else my health, my mental well being and my relationships suffer.
Everyone is different, so I can't speak for you. I can only say that if I were leading your current life I would be dissatisfied and restless, not because it's too rushed but because it doesn't seem to involve any long-term plan. That's just me, though: I need to be moving toward a destination (whether a relationship goal, a career objective, a creative project, or anything else). If this resonates with you, it could explain some of your anxiety and resultant compulsion to binge. Your food choices look pretty healthy to me.
Absolutely agree with everything Locke said. I, too, had to change my entire philosophy on myself and my life in order for it all to work. And that started with loving and accepting myself no matter what. Even obese, failures, stress, whatever, I still had to WANT to be me.
In terms of the bingeing, I had to treat my bingeing habits like an addiction. What foods do you binge on? If it is something specific, just don't bring it home. AT ALL. NO EXPOSURE!
For me, sugar binging is a total chemical craving not related to stress or anxiety. I'm still not entirely sure what pulls me out of it. I hate to say this but I think it's pure willpower in my case.
Do you think you binge out of boredom? If so, try to remember that "boredom is a perception and nothing more. Boredom is really just the inability to or discomfort with being yourself and your thoughts. Inability to just BE. Yet when time feels endless, boredom results from the fear of having too much of it."
I read that in a book and it struck a chord with me.
Also don't compare yourself or your life to any one else's. We are in this thing called Life to learn different things and its different for everyone. People who look like they have it all together, they're struggling with learning things too. Each is on their own journey.
And I don't believe you have to limit your calories to 1200. 1500-1600 should be sufficient to put you in a deficit depending on what excercises you do, you'll just have to be patient before seeing the scale drop.
First, you have to take care of your sleep. I agree with other posters who say move your medication time to earlier in the day if it's causing insomnia. And what's with the hour long torture dance with the alarm clock? What a waste of necessary sleep time! That reminds me of a funny story, I used to do that my first year of college and I had a roommate. She HATED my alarm clock because I would snooze for over an hour and then eventually turn off the alarm clock and skip class lol I can't believe I was such a schmuck. Anyway my dorm-mate one day lost her mind and started screaming at me in her pjs. It was something like "HOW CAN YOU KEEP US JOLTING AWAKE EVERY SIX MINUTES FOR OVER AN HOUR (and was pretending to convulse to the rhythm of every word) AND THEN SKIP CLASS ON THE ONE DAY A WEEK WHEN I GET TO SLEEP IN FOR A CHANGE????? ARGGHGGHGHG!"
So my point is, an hour of snoozing like that really messes up with your sleep pattern and there's lots of studies linking poor quality sleep with obesity. Your first priority should be to sort that out and get a good 7-8hrs a night.
5:29 is the best minute of my day
5:30 Have a snack. Yummy!!!!! Love this snack!!!!
6:30 Arrive at gym. Go pee 3 or 4 times because of anxiety. Talk to my friends. Love this part!
8:30 Work out, best part of the day!!!
10:00 Have dinner in bed watching tv… absolutely love and adore this part.
It's quite unclear which is your actual favorite part of the day. It's great that you can enjoy your work outs and eating and your snacks and sleeping and being social. That's what life is all about. But I'm having a really hard time imagining pure joy out of sitting in your bed watching television and eating. Can you take the tv out of your room? I don't know how old you are but my parents would never allow that no matter my age. Bedrooms are for relaxing and sleeping. They're not for eating, they're not for television and they are just about the worst place for a binge. Change your surroundings and you'll get yourself out of your rut. Things aren't so bad. Having breakfast later is fine, you don't need to force yourself to eat earlier, but your daily plan is setting you up for these binges, sequestering yourself in your bedroom might be the #1 reason you're doing this to yourself. I don't want to overeact to it if it doesn't bother you but being a secret binger for a longer time the thought of someone laying in bed eating fills me with my own terror. My binges ignite a fury of self-loathing so it's hard to relate to you when you say you "adore" this part.
Have you considered having your medication altered? Obviously you still have anxiety causing you to binge. You are using food as medication. I agree with another poster that you have all the "supplies" ready for you to binge. If you want to try cold turkey then you are going to have to dump all the food you binge on in the garbage. I know this sounds cold, but I had to do the same for myself.
Wow... Thank you all!!! I had no real expectation of any good answers when I posted, it was a "what the heck! I have nothing to lose" moment. Some of your answers hurt and made me teary and I believe that is good, it means something moved inside me and there's work to be done. Other answers are major ideas that I want to start doing ASAP.
I have some major thinking to do... Let me process this and I will come back.
Xanax is poison, I've never known someone to be mentally stable while on Xanax. It's habit forming, causes insomnia and anxiety which handily for the manufacturer makes you want to take more.
You obviously have something going on with your brain chemistry, you mention that your workout is the best part of your day and this makes sense as the hormones released will block anxiety.
Anyway I suggest talking to/ switching doctors (if your doctor isn't willing to seriously evaluate your medication then he doesn't give a ****) and looking into relaxation exercises. There are many physical things you to do to change anything from your heart rate to the way your brain processes stress before resorting to powerful mind altering medication.
Good luck and take care!
I agree with the others, why are you setting the alarm so early when you leave the house at 8:15? I have my alarm set for 6:30 to leave at 7:30 and that gives me plenty of time! If I were you I would definitely up the amount of sleep.
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