Archive for the 'Sugar!' Category

Reminder: Why I Love IE!

Well, here I am again… The day after the third “gimme all the sugar” incident.

Back in the day, I would have thought I’d “blown it” and could just give up losing weight forever on account of not being perfect. Today, I woke still depressed, had a packet of Kettle Chips and a coffee with sugar for breakfast, then a few hours later…

The depression “broke”. The storm dissipated. You may think I’m weird, getting such short depressions, but it is how it is. The fog in my brain started to disperse. There’s no feeling quite like it. I’m hungrier than usual today, and have a bit of heartburn (on account of yesterday’s food). Now I have a donut left in the fridge and I can take it or leave it. And I know donuts taste best when I really, REALLY want them (like yesterday), so I’ll leave it. All I could think about eating was some wholewheat pasta with garlic, chilli & olive oil (above). So, I did! That was about 3 hours ago and I’m hungry again. I have my eye on some sweet potatoes with egg mayo, so I’m making that now.

I weighed in at 200 again today. It’s coming back down. I have a suspicious feeling that excess cortisol due to stress was a culprit here, so I’m going to try and relax, sort out my insomnia and chill out.

And THIS is why I love IE. I know when I “need” sugar, I eat it, and I know when I don’t want any more. I don’t have to use willpower, or expend my concentration on “combatting cravings”. I just eat, stop, and develop a craving for something healthy, then eat that. I have the eating part DOWN. I’m confident.

One thing I did notice in this depressed (sorry: reflective) period is that I’ve been trying to do too much, too soon. I want to be happy in my body NOW. I want to be doing 50 pull-ups and dead lifting my body weight NOW. I want to be wearing the size 10 skinny jeans NOW.

But I can’t. I haven’t consolidated my previous lifestyle changes yet. Cutting down on sugar I can do FOREVER because it makes me feel good. Intuitive Eating I can do FOREVER because it makes me feel good. My plan was to add walking most days, and learning tasty clean eating recipes so I’d have more food to choose from. But, I got lazy with the walking. It was cold. It was dark. I wasn’t sleeping. I had no money to buy more food. I started obsessing over strength training thinking I’d found a short cut.

Well, put it this way: if I can’t commit to a 2 mile walk every day, and I’m still trying to break 200lbs, I’m not in any place to be whipping P90X in the a** yet. One day, but not yet.

Back to basics. I’m getting down to 182 (13 stone) or thereabouts doing THIS, then I’ll tackle the hormonal craziness that is going back on the pill, and THEN I’ll readdress where I’m at.

While I appreciate my own enthusiasm, I’m not trying to build a house of cards. I’m trying to build solid, permanent, unshakeable habits. That way, when I do get to my goal of small & strong? I STAY THERE.

Gimme All The Sugar! Part 3

Yeah, I went there. Woke up snapping at everyone, haven’t got out of bed all day because I am just such a FAILURE, and perhaps it would be better for everyone if I just ceased to exist.

No, wait… a… minute……..

Bam! Depression! My f***ing favourite. AGAIN.

I want to show you what I’m eating RIGHT NOW. Seriously, I’m eating this as I’m writing this post. On my phone. In bed.

Donut 1 of 4. Cake 1 of 1. That’s an empty family-sized bar of galaxy. And a coffee. With a sugar in it.

I had to post this, because somewhere, someone is eating similarly unhealthy foods (I just can’t call something as benign as food “bad”, sorry – food, as with most things, is value neutral).

Maybe one day someone will see this when they’re bingeing. When they’re depressed. When they’ve had enough of their lack of willpower. When they’re hiding what they’re eating from everyone. When they feel ashamed.

I hope so, because if that’s you… I wanted to show you you’re not the only one who does this. I want to tell you not to be ashamed. Food affects your hormones, and your mood. Sometimes a “binge” is the best way you can find to get some happy hormones circulating. It’s physiologically logical. It is, inversely enough, a way to love and provide for yourself. You have officially been absolved. You are not guilty. I am a former binge eater, and this was not a binge. This is what my body and my mind wants right now. I trust myself to stop – not through willpower, but because this, too, shall pass. I’ve been studying my eating long enough to know. Study your eating too. Study your hormones. Read up on what different foods do to your body, and your hormonal reactions. We are hormonally-driven animals, we are not willpower-driven. Let go of your need for CONTROL AT ANY COST. Let yourself go. For a day. Or two days. Or however long you need. But do it mindfully. Arm yourself with knowledge and compassion. Understand that it’s ok… YOU are ok. Let it pass. Then get right back up and keep going. To err is to be human. I fell. I was defeated. You will fall too. And everyone who has lost weight? They all fell too at some point. They did, I did, you did, we all did. And we all will again. Do not feel guilty – you are just as human as everyone else. Guilt will keep you down. Let it go.

When you’re ready – you will get back up and face the challenge again. As will I. As did everyone who has lost weight.

But for now? You rest. Safe in the knowledge that the time will soon come when you can fight again.

What a difference 5 months makes…

Binge eating, dieting, takeaways

Look what I found hiding under the bed… The Domino’s Pizza monster from a previous life. See the “hiding the evidence” routine I talked about, from my binges back in the day? THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE.

All I could do was laugh. This box is dated 9th September 2012. I remember being pretty depressed about work, but I distinctly do NOT remember ordering a 4,000 calorie feast and hiding the evidence under the bed! Isn’t denial a wonderful thing?

If I can give you any advice based on this picture… If you wouldn’t eat it in public, don’t eat it in private. I can’t believe I used to feel such shame about feeding myself that I had to do it in excess when nobody else was looking.

On another note, I know I’ve been slow posting as of late. Stressful times. And don’t fret, I have not been buried alive by a mountain of takeaway boxes, I am taking my frustration out on some weights! What a positive (if sonewhat painful) development. In fact, that may just be the topic of my next post. By then I’ll be back to drafting in a book first, so should be more coherent.

I just had to share this photo. If there’s a place for something I’ve been so ashamed of I hid it and forgot about it, it’s out there on the Internet for the world to see! 😉

While I’m here, I may as well state for brevity that this is the first time I had the privilege of being able to post in the 3FC mini-goal forum! Now I’ve hit onederland, and lost 16lbs, I know it’s time to work out how to use the photobucket iPhone app and get some progress pics up! The thread can be found here.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Domino’s Pizza!

Rethinking The Binge

Binge eating. A close acquaintance of many a dieter, including followers of IE.

You may recall, a week or so ago, I reported a binge incident. It was depression-related. I had all the signs of depression, the black dog that has been my faithful companion for over 2 decades.

Apathy. Numbness. Loss of pleasure in usual activities. Low motivation. Suicidal thoughts. Desire to self-harm. Lethargy. Brain fog. Low concentration. Laboured movement. Desire but inability to cry. Hopelessness.

Check. All of the above. So, I chose my mental health over my physical health. I ate 2 mars bars and 3 donuts. But do you know what else? That’s all I ate. I didn’t want anything else. I just wanted the SUGAR.

I figured this was a binge. I’d got so used to eating healthy. I was becoming accustomed to wanting, and eating, protein & vegetables, most of the time. For my old eating habits to appear out of nowhere? How could it be anything else?! My old, destructive habits were back. There could be only one answer:


Fast forward to today. Something made me question my assumption. WAS it a binge?

The NHS website defines binge eating as:

“an eating disorder where a person feels compelled to overeat on a regular basis. People who binge eat consume very large quantities of food over a short period of time and they often eat even when they are not hungry. Binges are often planned and can involve the person buying ‘special binge foods’. Binge eating usually takes place in private with the person feeling that they have no control over their eating. They will often have feelings of guilt and disgust after binge eating.”

From there, let me compare the depression-related “binge” of a week ago with the food I consumed today, namely:

A chocolate orange, a galaxy coffee, 2 donuts, half a mars bar, and vast quantities of coffee.

Depression-related binge & today: almost identical food choices. Increased caffiene today. Still under 1200 calories (I’m not counting, but for the purposes of this analysis, this information is useful). So far, so identical. Now, about the binge eating description above: been there, bought the t-shirt, couldn’t fit into it afterwards. I’d eat “normally” all day. Maybe add a cake at lunchtime. And one on the way home. Find something good on tv. Ritualise it. Order a 4,000 calorie Domino’s Pizza meal deal. Eat in secret. Throw away the boxes immediately. Wash up, clean the house, destroy the evidence. Feel awful. Hate my disgusting self for days. Go on diet. Rinse and repeat until 212lbs.

So, my old behaviour fits the description. I had an eating disorder. Only, you couldn’t tell – you expect someone with an eating disorder to be thin, not fat. Let’s compare both today & the other recent “binge” with the same criteria:

Consuming “very large quantities” of food? Not especially – given that I remained under the weight-loss benchmark of 1,200 calories. And I didn’t design it this way, it’s just the way it happened. Eating when not hungry? Nope. I was hungry. I didn’t starve myself to become hungry either – it was just normal, everyday hunger. Planned? No. Both times, completely spontaneous. “special binge foods”? No, just what I liked the look of. My special binge food is a large Texas BBQ Domino’s Pizza with 5 garlic & herb dips (1 per 2 slices), chicken kickers with 2 garlic & herb dips, chicken strippers with 2 BBQ dips, about 4 cans of Pepsi, and a cheesecake. In private? Nope. I casually munched on my donuts & chocolate in front of my partner & friends. I didn’t do the “hide the boxes” routine. No control? I wouldn’t say so. My cravings are strong, but so are those I usually get for steak, salmon, cucumber & peppers. I tend to eat what I crave, but I’m confident I could do otherwise. It’s only food, and I don’t care THAT much. Guilt? I can’t remember the last time I felt that, though I’m sure I’d recognise it. Disgust? None of that either. I went for a longer walk than usual today and did a tiny bit of strength & stability training. I love my body, it’s starting to feel smaller & stronger, just the way I want it. I didn’t exercise while depressed, but I didn’t feel disgusted either. I pretty much didn’t feel anything.

So there you have it. I ate nothing but crap all day, but it wasn’t a binge. What it WAS, I have no idea. Yet. Herein lies the nugget of IE advice to myself:


On, then, to the next part of the analysis: the common denominator. When this “gimme nothing but sugar” thing happens again (and it will), I’ll see if the conclusion I’m about to draw still fits.

Last “gimme all the sugar” day – depression

This “gimme all the sugar” day – hypomania

Now, I’m not about to sit here and call myself bipolar without a medical diagnosis, but it’s something I’ve suspected for years, and have become very comfortable with, even fond of. Let’s compare how I’m feeling today with the hypomania symptoms list from the site:

Increased energy & activity? Yes. Feeling full of ideas, with racing thoughts? Yes. Increased confidence and self-esteem? Yes. Decreased need for sleep? No. Talkativeness? A bit. Easily distracted? No, but impatient. Increased sociability? Yes. Increased sexual desire & reduced inhibitions? Yes. Increased involvement in pleasurable activities? Yes. Lack of insight? No. Increased awareness of senses? Yes. And I’ll throw feelings of grandiosity onto the bonfire for good measure.

In conclusion: I have a new hypothesis. If I’m not bingeing, then why the “gimme all the sugar” thing?

My theory is that at either end of the mood spectrum, I have increased need or desire for sugar.

Why this is, I have no idea, but I will let you know upon my return from my research expedition.

So, What Exactly IS Intuitive Eating?

Intuitive Eating. Or, Instinctive Eating. What is it?

A diet? A lifestyle change disguised as a diet? A diet disguised as a lifestyle change? A form of self-help for disordered eating? A revalation? An all-you-can-eat bingefest? A waste of time?

I’d love to tell you the answer, but I don’t actually know. It’s different for everyone. I’ve heard it’s good for maintenance. I’ve heard it doesn’t work for weight loss. I’ve heard it takes a long time. For me – it IS taking a long time.

Intuitive Eating is a bit like The Loch Ness Monster, The Abominable Snowman, The Bermuda Triangle. People are aware of it. However: if you try to find proof that it exists, nobody has a picture to show you. And like all good urban myths, if you DO find proof of its existence, you’re tempted to call Photoshop on it.

Stories abound from people who’ve lost weight on whatever low calorie, low carb, low fat, low salt, low anything diet. You want motivational photos of someone who’s lost X lbs on Y diet? You got ’em! You want motivational photos of someone who’s lost X lbs by eating whatever they want, whenever they want? That, my friends, is a challenge.

About time I got to the point. Intuitive Eating is about understanding your own body’s hunger signals and reacting appropriately most of the time. Hungry? Eat. Not hungry? Stop. Guilt? Counterproductive. Cheesecake? Sure, just follow the “eat when hungry / stop when no longer hungry” thing. It’s the closest you’ll get to rules. Being dismissive toward food you don’t really, REALLY want? Encouraged! Counting food stats? **** off. Weigh yourself? Whenever, if you like.

It’s a rebel’s diet. Take away my donuts and I will demand to eat nothing BUT donuts for a year, out of pure defiance, if nothing else. Give me all the donuts I want, guilt free, and I will sneer at your suggestion that I eat something so… common. Donuts are below me. I will take my chicken salad and turn my back on you with my nose in the air, taking my air of superiority with me.

What a “normal” diet consists of in rules and counting, IE consists of in mental gymnastics. Doing reverse psychology on yourself the vast majority of the time. Here are 2 things I’ve found you need to get well acquainted with:

1. Your mind

2. Your hormones (that’s for a later post, but google leptin, grehlin and insulin if you want the basics).

I will be perfectly honest with you: when I began IE, giving in to every food my body wanted, I ate nothing but crap. Donuts. Chocolate bars. Large ones. Sugary coffees. Burgers. Chips. Pizza. Twice a day.

I will be honest again: this phase lasted under a week. It might happen to others, or not, depending on body composition, activity levels, hormones etc… But anyway. I could eat ANYTHING I wanted, but… the constant heartburn? The feeling of lethargy? The sense of coming down with a cold from my nose and head being bunged up? My eyes watering for no reason? The insomnia? A big no thankyou to all that!! I could barely get out of bed. This is when I really broke the back of it.

I looked at what I was eating – basically, anything high in sugar. I looked up the effects of excessive sugar, and what I found echoed what I was experiencing. The biggest factor was the constant, unrelenting hunger. I just ate a veggie sausage sandwich! Why am I ravenously hungry after half an hour?! I listened to my hunger for the first time – and it was telling me something was seriously wrong. This is when I started making changes. First, I cut sugar out of my tea, but not my coffee. I just started drinking coffee. The symptoms persisted. I got serious. I cut sugar out of my coffee. (to let you understand, I go through about 10 mugs a day between them. The effect will obviously be different if you don’t drink as much).

About 2 days later… the problems were gone. I didn’t crave sugar. I craved salmon and roasted vegetables. So that’s what I ate. I wasn’t hungry for about 5 hours. And when I was, it was a gentle, quiet hunger that slowly built in intensity over a few hours. I would think of eating, then a while later get a slight rumbling feeling whispering at me to eat. It never became painful. It was a million miles away from the old, familiar hunger that made me want to be sick, that would hit me square in the face like a ton of bricks. My hunger signal had been regulated. It was a revalation.

I ate healthy the first week, and lost 1lb. The next week, 21st December… I remember it well because it was End of the World Day… I had cheesecake for breakfast, walked a few miles to meet a friend, had a large white chocolate mocha with whipped cream, and we shared 6 expensive chocolates, had a cocktail and a beer, then I walked home and wasn’t hungry for hours. I now try to eat sugar (if I want it, not “just because” – some things are worth being saved for special occasions!) on days I’ll be walking a few miles. On 22nd December I was 3lbs down on the previous week. Off I went, skipping through the dasies. This is how it’s supposed to be! This is how thin people eat! I couldn’t return to my old habits if I’d wanted to! Once again, it was all unicorns farting rainbows.

Until last week. Disaster struck! *insert dramatic gesture here* I had a 3-donut, 2-mars bar, depression-related binge. I didn’t feel guilty, and I still don’t. I was getting over the cold. I had “ladies’ issues”. Life started getting difficult, what with an upcoming employment tribunal, and not having enough money to live on. I stalled. I have been re-losing and re-gaining the same lb for over a week. Every day… 202, 201, 202, 201, 201, 202, 202, 201, 201… Why is it a coincidence that my head isn’t in the game? I can hardly hear my long-sought out hunger under the din of life’s stresses.

No way will I be stopping at this weight. Just resting. My mind is in control of my body, but not in control of itself. Perhaps it’s self-sabotage as I can see this is starting to work. I do know one thing though: diets don’t work for me. The restriction. The measuring. The “allowances”. The counting. The tracking. The feeling of it being temporary. The “everything in moderation” advice. The. Whole. Enchilada. I hate them so, SO much. Never again. The only thing that’s keeping me in temporary maintenance is the fact that it feels better to live now. I persevere. Life will always get stressful, but whether or not I lose, 202 is now my “highest weight”. My cutoff point. My glass ceiling. I will go no further. 202, not 212. It’s contrary to most IE advice about finding your healthy weight, but if any day I hit 203, I will exercise like a demon, drink more water (which I hate), do slim fast, anything to get back under my cutoff point. Very, VERY temporarily, to keep myself from going over the slippery slope like I’ve done so many times before.

When I break the back of 201 as well, and make it to onederland and 1 stone lost at 198, and pick up and continue, I’ll post again when I work out what changed everything. It’s only a matter of time.

And as for WHAT Intuitive Eating is? I still don’t know. But this is my personal experience of HOW it is.

Happy Eating, everyone! 🙂