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Old 05-08-2005, 05:28 PM   #1
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Default Help! Why is this so hard?

Right now I feel so low. I was on my way to work and I sat on the train looking at my reflection and it only made me want to cry. I am now up from 220lbs last September to 265. I just can't seem to stop eating. I try to, I exercise for a few days then it pans out. I want to eat everything and I don't know why, or how to make myself stop. I feel like my life is out of control. I can't control my finances, I don't do the things I'm supposed to and I ruin my diet every few days after I start it. Is this what depression feels like? Am I depressed? I have no idea, and I don't want to discuss it with anyone I know, because I don't want pity or a drill sargeant, I just want to find a way to stay motivated and interested in doing the things I know are good for me.

Help.
Kayemu.
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Old 05-08-2005, 06:04 PM   #2
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Default Understand completely

Hi, I know exactly how you feel. I've been feeling the same for quite a while now. I know that my feelings are brought on by the disappointment that I feel toward myself. About a year ago, I decided that I would have a breast reduction this summer. I knew that I wanted to lose as much weight as I could before the surgery to even out my body. And now here I am, less than one month until the surgery date and I haven't lost any weight at all. I'm very upset with myself. I've heard that women who stay skinny eat for sustenance and that is it, but I eat because I love the pleasure of the wonderful tastes. I'm completely addicted to food...it's like alcoholism. But the hardest part is that alcoholics can completely give up their vice. What are we to do?
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Old 05-09-2005, 09:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by becgris
What are we to do?
If I may suggest...
often, people (esp. me!) eat out of stress or other negative emotion. (along with other reasons, of course!). So, its important to keep a good perspective on yourself.

So, truthfully answer these questions!
Am I an unredeemably evil person who is actively recruiting members for my cult of terror? Bet the answer is no.
Do I torture children and small animals for fun? Bet the answer is no.
Do I sit up nights thinking of ways to make my neighbours lives a nightmare? Bet the answer is no.

Did I do anything today that made someone smile? If no, can I do something tomorrow? Bet the answer is yes. (suggestions - hold a door open, pick up something someone drops, say "after you" while waiting in line, thank someone for doing something, even if it is part of their job...)
Have I ever done anything that took time & effort - graduated from high school, learned a skill, raised a child who is not a horrific terrorist dictator, etc? Bet the answer is yes.
So am I really a useless person who can't do anything, has no will power and doesn't contribute to society? No.
Do I deserve to be beating myself up like this because I have not yet achieved every one of my goals? No!

You don't have to be a superhero. You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to reach each and every one of your goals by some arbitrary deadline; as long as you are still breathing, there's still time.

Hope this helps!
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Old 05-09-2005, 12:16 PM   #4
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I lived a lot of my life where you are now. My overeating was not the cause of my problems, but one of many things that was simply out of control. Finances, keeping house, etc. I did nothing that I didn't "feel like" doing. I still have periods where I start to let things go, but it's all 1000% better than it used to be.

Is it depression? In my case I don't think so, but that doesn't mean it isn't for you. It is certainly an idea worth exploring.

How did I pull out of it? Well it's been a long process. I think it actually has two main roots: First, I finally gave up the idea of being thin and just resigned myself to the fact that I was going to be obese forever. At that point I decided, "Well, if I'm not going to be thin, I can at least start taking care of myself better." I still ate terribly and didn't exercise at all, but I started paying more attention to clothes and grooming. (Not that I was a slob before, but I decided to put more effort into looking better.) I subscribed to a plus-size fashion magazine, which gave me some positive role models and a "community." This made me feel a little better about myself.

Second, I started making a little more money and resolved to get my finances in order. I had let things slide mostly due to the pain of having to face how bad things were, which only made them worse. So I decided to bite the bullet and pay down my debt and start a retirement account, etc. I started reading about personal finance and used MS Money to manage everything. I balanced my checking acct every month, I had a chart that showed me how my debt was going down, etc. While it was TOUGH to develop the discipline to do this when it was so distasteful, once I felt in control and I could see the results of my efforts, I started enjoying it. Yes, I enjoyed entering my expendatures at the end of the day, calculating how much money I had 'til the end of the month, paying bills on time. It was amazing.

So, this really boosted my self-esteem and showed me that I COULD accomplish something difficult and thorny and contrary to the way I had been living. I also felt better about myself physically because I dressed better, wore make-up, etc., even though I was well over 300 pounds. I decided that the next step had to be getting control of my health, my eating, being more active, losing some weight. I didn't have some pie-in-the-sky fantasy about being thin -- I just wanted to lose SOME weight. Honestly, if I could have gotten down to a size 26 or 28 from the 32 I was at the time, I could have been content with that. In my secret heart of hearts I was hoping I could get down to 220, which was my lowest adult weight. Well, here it is nearly 4 years later and I'm down to 174 and still going.

So, all of this to say:
  • It CAN be done, no matter how low and hopeless you feel right now.
  • Trying to make things better from a place of self-hatred doesn't work. I've seen it over and over. Do it because you LOVE yourself, not because you hate yourself.
  • You sound overwhelmed. I stumbled on my method by accident, but it really started with taking control of a single thing. Pick one thing in your life that you would like to improve. Maybe it's something really simple like paying all your bills on time when you get your next paycheck, or paying a little extra on your debts. You don't have to fix all your finances at once, just start the process, and let that prove that you can make things better. Or, maybe you'll decide that this week you're going to replace regular soft drinks with diet soft drinks, or go for a 10-minute walk every day. I have found that success breeds success. My accomplishments in one area feed and encourage accomplishments in other areas.
  • Understand that ingrained overeating and weight problems this severe are tantamount to a disease. When I finally understood that I could not "go on a diet" to "lose weight," but that I had to manage my disease for the rest of my life, it actually got easier. My focus was in getting my life in order, in living in a healthy way. The weight loss takes care of itself, and I don't obsess over the scale. The scale is secondary, my health -- physical and mental -- is primary.

I would also suggest that you might find Overeaters Anonymous helpful. Most people with our issues are compulsive overeaters. We get there through different routes and it manifests in different ways sometimes, but there is enough commonality that hearing other stories and how people have been successful in combating this disease can be incredibly helpful. You're not alone, even though your particular cure might not be exactly like mine or someone else's. OA can help you understand how to live every day WITHOUT depending on food.

I am not an OA member but I've learned a lot from reading about it, and reading some of their materials. I highly recommend a book called The Thin Books. It is not an official OA publication, but it is written by a long-time OA member. It's a wealth of information and assistance.
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Old 05-09-2005, 02:24 PM   #5
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Funniegrrl

What an AWESOME post!
So inspiring and well put

Thank you

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Old 05-09-2005, 03:10 PM   #6
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Funniegrrl, you are right on about so much. I didn't even think about trying to lose weight until I had been actually taking care of my appearance for a couple years. I used to think "well, I'm just ugly and fat, so that's that." Once I had been paying attention to clothes, hair, makeup, skin, etc., I started to think "hey, I can look okay after all. If I can make myself look good like this, maybe I can lose weight too." I know how much better I feel when I take care of myself, so it was just that much more incentive.

I wonder if other people had the same experience?
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Old 05-09-2005, 03:15 PM   #7
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Something that has helped me to get over bumps in the road is the perspective of my body as a temple of God. I wouldn't throw garbage in a church....why wouldn't I care for the vessel that He's given me? I have been where you're at and I know things may seem hopeless, but there is strength available if we just ask...
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Old 05-09-2005, 04:45 PM   #8
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I record my calories every night on Fitday.com, regardless of how much I eat. If I have a bad day, I just accept it and move on. If I'm having a particularly tough week, I focus on just maintaining my weight. When I'm feeling great, I'll lower my calories by 500 a day and focus on losing.
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Old 05-09-2005, 05:03 PM   #9
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Everything Funniegrrl said was right on the money ESPECIALLY the bit about starting from a point of self hatred. Three times in my life I have tried to lose weight, each time I succeeded for a while then gave up. I felt unnacceptable and ugly because I was fat. About 6 years ago I accepted myself and started feeling happy in my own skin, fat and all. Like paperclippy describes, I started paying attention to my hair, make up and clothes.

It was after my parents were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year that I said to myself, Right, you're fine the way you are physically, on the outside, but how long before you start feeling ill and unable to live the life the way you want???

Every day I look in the mirror and smile as I can see my body changing and adapting to this new way of life.

I've approached it by using as many resources as I can, the ladies (and gents) here, instructors at the gym, books, my workmates, friends, even the landlady of the local pub (who has bought in lemon diet coke just for me!!!!) Use your tools, make little changes, and don't see it as a "diet" or a "temporary thing" to get to where you are going. This is for life, and you will do this, and we will all be here to cheer you on and help you.
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:10 AM   #10
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Default Thank you so much for making me smile.

You've given me some perspective. I think I'm just such a perfectionist that I feel like I must succeed at everything or do nothing at all sometimes. Does that make sense? But, it's interesting how great I feel whenever I make a small step. I made one again today. I really managed to control my eating -perhaps because I feel the onset of the flu - but I hope to keep it up. I'll see what tomorrow brings.

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Old 05-10-2005, 02:19 AM   #11
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Default Hi Funniegrrl

Thanks for reading and responding with such detail. It REALLY helps to know that someone else out there knows what I am going through. I was just saying in another post, that when I actually take a positive step it feels sooo good, and yet I find it difficult to sustain. I think I definitely have too much on my plate right now. I feel like I must do everything the right way, or just skip it so then at least, I can pretend I wasn't really trying. That attitude is really starting to hurt me. Right now, I have to take the GRE get back into school in two weeks. But, because I have procrastinated for sooo long, I'm now cramming, because I don't want this to be another thing I mess up because I feel stuck. I'm definitely going to check out OA on the web to see what I can find. I considered joining WW, not so much to do the program, because I think I know what will work for me, when I actually follow it, but more because I feel this sense of isolation that I hope will go once I begin to share how I feel about my weight issues, and how they affect and are affected by the rest of my life.

Hey, thanks again for your insights.
Kayemu
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jman1
I record my calories every night on Fitday.com, regardless of how much I eat. If I have a bad day, I just accept it and move on. If I'm having a particularly tough week, I focus on just maintaining my weight. When I'm feeling great, I'll lower my calories by 500 a day and focus on losing.
Actually, I've been doing that as well, but often, I get busy, or forget, or just decide to do it another day and well... everything just goes down the tube. I do think that is a vital element though. I just have to be more consistent.

Thanks. Kayemu.
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Old 05-10-2005, 02:34 AM   #13
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Thank you for the encouragement Kykaree.
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Old 05-10-2005, 11:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kayemu
I think I'm just such a perfectionist that I feel like I must succeed at everything or do nothing at all sometimes.
and
Quote:
Originally Posted by kayemu
I feel like I must do everything the right way, or just skip it so then at least, I can pretend I wasn't really trying.
That attitude is the DEFINING characteristic of a compulsive mindset. What you are feeling is exactly what all compulsive overeaters and other addicts feel. Overcoming this is the major hurdle to successful food control, weight loss, or taking control of anything else. This is where OA or the book I mentioned can really help. How many times have you had a food slip, then said, "Well, I've blown it, might as well eat what I want the rest of the day" ... or the week ... ? How many times have you said, "Well, I'll restart my diet on Monday"? Or, "I only have 30 minutes to exercise today rather than my usual 45, I might as well not do anything"? Or, "I didn't lose any weight this week and I did everything perfectly. What's the point? I might as well give up?" Or, "I don't have time or energy to get the kitchen completely spotless and show-house clean, so there's no point in doing the dishes from supper?" Etc.

Perfectionism is a plague. You've seen how it causes you to procrastinate on studying ... you look for the perfect circumstances in which to study, and because they don't materialize, you don't study. Or, as you said, something inside of you wants to have an excuse for not performing perfectly, so you can say, "Well, I was only able to study for 2 weeks before the exam."

Trust me, this mentality has dogged me all of my life, and even though I knew it was an issue back in my 20's, it's only been now, in my late 30s and early 40s, that I've started to deal with it. It's a huge key to success in ANYTHING you do. Constantly reminding yourself that doing SOMETHING, no matter how small, counts. Understanding that the more small steps you do, the bigger the result. Learning that lofty goals and high standards are great, but they can be an albatross, a crushing burden that paralyzes you.

You don't have to worry about your final weight loss goal right now, you just have to worry about the next pound, or 1/2 pound even. You don't have to set up a timetable by when you'll lose X pounds, you don't need that kind of pressure. You don't have to wait for what I call the "perfect future golden time" to make progress. Progress starts now, with whatever time and energy and resources you have. Mistakes happen, they don't ruin all your prospects for the future. You recover from them, you learn from them, you figure out how to avoid them in the future. Then you go on.
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Old 05-10-2005, 01:34 PM   #15
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I agree with funniegrrl, I too have compulsiive tendencies, and have many times fallen into the trap of if I can't do it perfect why bother.....in so many aspects of my life. It has taken years, but I am getting better, I finally started working on my weight in February and there have been many times in the last 3 months where I could have reverted back to old habits, but I have found the strength not to give up. Sometimes you just have to wait until something clicks for you.....for me it was concerns for my health and not being around for my family, not mention the fact that there were things that were becoming more and more difficult for me to do. Search your mind and soul....you will find your motivator for everything that you do.
Best of luck to you!
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