Friday, February 28, 2014

The Joy of Eating (also: I'm fat.)

I had a very cool epiphany recently.

Picture found Googling.
Makes me giggle.
A google giggle, if you will.

It started when I suddenly realized that I was almost 100 pounds overweight (by BMI standards).  

100.  Pounds.  Overweight.

That's a lot.  That's definitely fat.  (and if "the F word" offends you, please read no further, because it comes up a lot in this post).

That's like...  not "covering it up with a hoodie" fat.  Not "take a picture at the right angle and I won't look fat in it" fat.  Not "If I lose 20 pounds, I'll be almost not fat" fat.  It's fat fat.

And I say all of the above things not in a negative or self-degrading way.  Not meaning to insult the fat, or to insult myself, but just in a matter-of-fact way.  It's just the truth.  I am fat.

And that's when I realized that I'm not even enjoying eating.  I think that there is a myth out there that to get fat, you must really enjoy food.  If I'm fat, then I must REALLY.  LOVE.  FOOD.

And the truth is that I don't love food.  I don't love eating, and I don't love food.

I don't enjoy anything about it.  I'm not enjoying my eating one iota.

So I'm fat, and I don't even enjoy eating?  That sucks.  What's the benefit of my being fat, if not getting to enjoy all the food?

I can't think of one.  Some people may be more aesthetically pleasing when fat, but I don't think that I'm one of them.  I'm not ugly when fat, but I don't think that I'm my most attractive when fat, either.  

I really do think that beauty comes from within, and that to be truly beautiful, I need to feel my best.  I don't feel my best when I'm fat.  

(Let me take a moment to interrupt myself here to explain to you what I mean when I call myself fat:  Fat probably means different things to different people, and I would never call anyone other than myself fat, because to me it's a personal thing, this fat thing.  I feel that I am "fat" whenever I weigh above about 220 pounds.  I'm "kind of fat" when I am between 185 and 220, "not that fat" when 166-185, "not fat" when 150-165, and "thin" at anything below that.  But that's me.)

Anyway, I'm determined to change my ways.

Not only do I hate that I am fat and don't even enjoy eating, I think that the idea that to be fat is to enjoy eating is completely false.

I believe that the opposite is probably true.

I highly suspect that if I were to truly enjoy eating, I would not be fat anymore.

I'm ready to get the joy back.  I am always looking for ways to enjoy life more, so it's strange that I haven't thought about enjoying eating until now.  It seems like a simple solution to my ED issues, too.

Simple, but not easy.

So I am going to find the joy in my food.

I need to figure out what foods I truly enjoy eating, and in what setting I truly enjoy eating them.  I need to figure out what part of eating I enjoy, and what parts of food in general I can begin to enjoy.

What parts of food and eating do I already find joy in?  I'm sure there are some....

I enjoy grocery shopping.  I enjoy cooking.  I enjoy eating pop tarts in the car on the way to school in the morning.  I enjoy eating popcorn while watching movies.  I find joy in these things.

I find joy in eating with Stacey at the table, or at a restaurant.  I find joy in washing and chopping vegetables.  

Do I actually find joy in my trigger foods (food that I'm likely to binge on)?  NO.

I find comfort in them, but not joy.  Those two don't go hand in  hand for me.

I'm going to focus on truly enjoying myself whenever I shop for, prepare, and eat food.  Eating isn't a reward or a punishment; nor is it just fuel.  It's something that all of us have to do to survive, and it's something that maps out most days (breakfast time, lunch time, dinner time, etc.).  It's something to be cherished (not everyone has easy access to food), and something to savor.  

It's something that I have taken for granted, hated, been addicted to, and have tried to manipulate for my entire adult life.  

I have never truly enjoyed eating.  And that's about to change.

And even if my enjoying eating does not result in weight loss, at least I'll be enjoying eating and fat.       And that's way better than not enjoying eating and fat (IMHO).

Monday, February 17, 2014

The balance of caring...

I have realized something recently.  I don't care about my nutrition.  Not at all.  Or at least, not very much.

I used to care too much.  I focused on the wrong things, and became obsessed.  This resulted in weight loss, yes, but also in letting the rest of my life roles slip by the wayside.  

I became a very successful weight loser.  I lost 76 pounds in 2009-2011, and kept most of it off until Mom died in 2012.

Now I'm more than 20 pounds heavier than my original start weight.

And that concerns me.  I don't like weighing this much.  Not because it's a bad weight to be;  I'm sure that many are comfortable and healthy at this size.  But I'm not.

I gained a lot of weight by overeating and eating my emotions.  Like I said in my last post, this emotional overeating was helpful to me at the time, but it's not  helpful to me anymore.  I'm ready to lose the grief weight, for real now.

How do I know that I'm ready?  It's just a feeling that I have deep inside, telling me that it's okay to stop.  There are stages to grief.  No, not the classic cliche ones, but stages that are different for everyone.  Mine so far have been shock, anger/depression combo, numbness (where comfort eating happened), mixtures of all stages all at once (more comfort eating), and creating a new normal (where I'm trying to be right now).  

My comfort eating stage is over.

But the problem is now I am having a problem balancing the amount that I care about food.

I don't ever want to care too much about how much or what I eat.  

I would love to not consciously care at all.  I long to be one of the "normal" folks, who just naturally eats whatever her body needs, and maintains a weight that is healthy for her.

But, I'm just NOT that woman yet. Given my ED and dieting history, I may never be that woman. I have to learn how to consciously care again.  Because right now, as I'm trying to break the overeating habit that I developed during that particular stage of grief, I need to relearn portions, and I need to relearn healthy eating in general.

So I need to care a little bit.  

I don't ever want to go back to caring too much (a la my EDNOS behaviors), but I can't stay here in Camp Overeater forever, either (unless I want to continue gaining weight and becoming more and more uncomfortable in my own skin).  

The balance is hard to find.  But find it I shall.

It  has been suggested to me by friends on My Fitness Pal that a good starting point is to make a list of reasons that I want to lose weight.  So, I am going to begin by coming up with a list of reasons that I want to get back down to my pre-grief weight.  

It will be a judgement free list, some reasons being artificial (my ass looked better in jeans back then) and some will be spiritual (I'd like to be the size that I was when Mom last knew me) and others will be about health and fitness (I'd like to run faster and further, and I'd like to not develop diabetes ever please).  There are no wrong answers here, EXCEPT no self-deprecating ones (like "because I'm so super fat and ugly and don't deserve to eat kit-kat bars"- which by the way is total bullshit- everyone deserves to eat kit-kat bars).

If it doesn't end up being too personal, I will post my list here when I finish it.  

I hope that all of us can find our happy balances soon.  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

When comfort eating stops working...

Very recently, I have realized that overeating no longer serves any need, but rather it is a habit.

For a year and a half, overeating provided comfort for me during a terrible time in my life.  I still need lots of comforting, but food is no longer providing that for me.

That need is no longer being met with food.

Instead, it is doing the opposite:  My overeating is doing nothing but hurting me.

I'm getting bigger and bigger, and more and more out of shape.

I'm not practicing health at every size.  I'm a binge eater.

My binge eating, and my comfort eating in general (eating whenever I'm sad, lonely, bored, anxious, or procrastinating obligations) is a habit now.

It did serve a need.  But it's not serving it anymore.

I need to figure out how to serve that need again.

The need is pretty basic:  comfort.

No one has mastered comfort like Diva and Jacques.

I crave comfort more than anything.  I feel like since Mom died, my world has been extremely uncomfortable.

Eating soothed me, to the tune of my gaining nearly 80 pounds so far (possibly more, planning to weigh in soon for yet another "before" weight to go with my newest "before" picture- blog about why I'm still okay with progress photos possibly coming soon, since I know it's kind of controversial in the ED recovery world).

newest "before"

Overeating no longer soothes me, but like I said, it's a habit now.

So I'm going to work on two things.

One: Breaking the habit, and
Two: Filling the needs to be comforted, and to be comfortable. (I think that these are separate needs, both of which I have, and both of which used to be fixed with overeating).

I've started to track my food again, which will  hopefully help me to not binge.  To realize that I need to start eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins again.  To realize that I need to start eating meals again, instead of just constant snacking...  To remember that exercise is important.  To remember what regular portions look, taste, and feel like.  That kind of stuff.

So that's a step in the right direction.  But breaking the habit is going to be tough.  Good habits are hard to form, and bad habits are hard to get over.  But neither goals are impossible.

I think that the way to break the overeating habit is to focus on starting good habits;  that way, the focus is positive.
I'm not giving up overeating;  
I'm gaining health!

I'm not giving up junk food;  I'm adding in more healthy foods!

I'm not giving up TV time;  I'm watching TV while I bike!

Baby steps, as per usual, will work best for me.

What are some habits that you would like to add into your life?

Friday, February 7, 2014

tracking again

I'm back on My Fitness Pal full time for a bit.  Not sure how long I will last this time, but it's become clear to me that my binges have gotten out of control.

I'm going to start by doing something that I've never truly done before.  Not change anything about how I'm eating except tracking.

In other words, for the first few days back on My Fitness Pal, I am going to track my food, but not really change how I'm eating currently.  Just to see how I've been treating myself, to help explain to my head exactly how I've gained so much weight lately.  Not to beat myself up over it or anything, but to just get a grasp on the situation.

I started yesterday, and I will go until Sunday night.  On Sunday night, I'm going to evaluate four days of my eating and see where I can make the easiest changes first, and start with those.

Then I will make a new change every week or so until I'm eating a "normal" amount of food, and better overall quality of food.  Right now, I'm way above average.

Here are yesterday's results:

And here are today's so far (I have not yet consumed dinner or any nighttime snacks):

I binged yesterday, and I ate a lot of fast food today (though no actual binge yet, hoping to not binge tonight).

So these are the honest numbers of how I've been eating the past few weeks.  Very little fiber because I'm not eating many fruits or vegetables.  Lots of carbs, fat, and sodium because I'm eating a lot of processed snack foods.  Lots of calories in general because of overeating.

I wasn't exactly in denial about this, because I knew that my pants were getting smaller and that my binges were getting more frequent.  I just want to start tracking again, judgement-free and honestly.

Hopefully My Fitness Pal will be a good tool to re-learn healthy portions and foods.  Baby steps, though.  One small change weekly (-ish) will get me to where I want to be.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Out. Of. Control.

I feel like I have gotten out of control with my eating lately.  Binge eating junk food regularly and constant promises to start over tomorrow.

Start over?  Hmmm.

Why does that blank slate still seem so appealing, even after all of these years of failed diets and disordered eating?

I think that my eating disorder has returned with a vengeance.  I'm trying to focus on other aspects of my life, more important things, like my education, and my dogs, and my relationship with Stacey, and my future as a [insert political science degree career here].  However, at the end of the day, I am a binge eater.  That's the current form that my disordered eating has taken.

Why do I binge?  To soothe myself.  To distract myself.  To take the focus away from the real problems in my life.

If I'm focused on how fat I've "allowed myself" to become again, my motherless future seems so far away.  If I'm worried about the number on the scale, I am not worried about the number of days until my dad gets married.  If I'm scolding myself for eating a box of snack cakes, I'm not scolding myself for not doing something on my to-do list.  And if I'm busy being physically uncomfortable, I'm not busy being emotionally uncomfortable.

So I know the reasons.  I just don't know how to stop it.  I can consult my anti-binge list.  But will I?  Why is it so hard to stop the bingeing?  

It sucks.  It really sucks.

I want to quit.  I want to lose this weight, instead of gaining more.  I don't want to diet, but I don't want to binge, either.  I want the cycle to end.  I need emotional healing.

How do I get that?

For now, I will post this rant of a blog post.  That totally counts as a step in solving the problem, right?  Admitting that I have one.  Well, I have one.

Friday, January 10, 2014

my Health Quest

As I have alluded to in my last few posts, I am going to start losing this grief weight.  I'm ready to get back to the comfortable size that I was before the world lost my wonderful mother.

pre-grief weight: 165

where I'm at now: 230-ish

I don't like the term "weight loss journey" anymore.  And one thing that I know for sure about the many successful weight losses I've accomplished in the past is that I have never been able to keep the weight off.  I'm an expert in weight loss.  Seriously, I could devise a plan to fit pretty much any need anyone has to ensure a regular weight loss for them.  

I know how to lose weight in healthy ways.  I also know how to lose weight in very unhealthy ways.  I know how to count calories, points, fat grams, etc., in just such a way to lose a pound a week, or how to not count calories but instead to eat only foods from a special list of healthy foods.  I also know how to lose weight while eating anything but only eating when hungry and stopping when satisfied.  I know how to starve myself and over-exercise. 

However, I know nothing about anything sustainable.  I have done all of the above methods and more, and yet I am currently very overweight.

I have even tried the opposite of dieting: being okay with my body as it is and just eating what I want to eat.  Saying goodbye to weight loss forever and just enjoying life without any more obsessive thoughts about what I eat or how much I exercise.

Unfortunately I am no good at maintaining my weight, no matter where it lies.  My being okay with my 200 pound body resulted in me becoming a 238 pound woman.  I have ceased to be able to listen to my hunger signals entirely, and have ceased eating healthy foods in general.

I was not practicing health at every size at all.  I was definitely embracing self love, body love, and body acceptance, but I was not being good to my body.  Emotional binges happened.  A diet full of pizza, chips, and snack cakes, and mostly devoid of nutrition, happened.

When it comes to keeping the weight off, I really struggle.  I know that I'm not alone in that struggle, so I hope that my blogging about this stuff is helpful to you guys!  

I need to figure out why I struggle so badly with it, in order to really make this the last time that I need to lose 50+ pounds.  

One reason is that I never fully resolved  my eating disorder.  I still eat for reasons other than hunger, and I struggle with binges, and all-or-nothing thinking.

I think that a good place to start this time is to come up with a few basic guidelines for myself.  Ones that I can stick to forever, since that seems to be my biggest problem: stopping whatever I did to lose the weight and going back to my old disordered eating habits.

Since this is not a short-term plan, it is not a weight loss journey.  I'm going to learn healthy eating and exercise habits that I can commit to for the foreseeable future, hopefully forever.  There will be a learning curve, and it may feel like dieting in the beginning, but my goal for this health quest is exactly that: health.

Weight loss will be happening, too.  I think that phase one of my health quest will be the weight loss portion.  It will look very similar to the weight maintenance portion, but with only a couple of more guidelines.  I think that this makes sense because I need to be a little stricter in order to lose the weight, but since I'm not going to plan to lose it quickly, I don't need to be super-strict.  In other words, what I do to lose the weight will be almost exactly what I will do to keep it off.  

So I have to figure out a way to lose the weight that I can stick with for a very long time, if not forever.

I have come up with a couple of lists to help myself to get started on this health quest:

What I’m willing to do forever:

  1. Take semi-regular progress pictures of my body.
  2. Track calories/nutrients one day a week.
  3. Exercise regularly, for fun, in ways that feel good to me, and in convenient quantities for my life.
  4. Train for racing events regularly, one big event annually.
  5. Cook healthy and delicious meals at least once a week.

What I’m not willing to do forever:

  1. Track my food every day, or even most days.
  2. Weigh myself at regularly scheduled times or dates.
  3. Stick to a strict exercise schedule (outside of training schedules)
  4. Keep certain foods in our out of my diet, outside of personal preferences or any future medical reasons that may come up
  5. Obsess about food, exercise, weight loss, or my appearance.

Looking at these lists, I realize that there is definitely weight loss sustainability potential in me.  I just need to design a good health quest plan that keeps both lists in mind.

The first thing that I plan to do is to start eating healthier foods MOST of the time.  It will be a struggle at first, since my palette has become very unsophisticated lately.  Healthy stuff just doesn't taste good to me anymore.  I need to retrain myself to like good, healthy, foods. 

Basic guidelines to help myself along for the first couple of weeks:
  • Track food on My Fitness Pal a few days a week.
  • Start exercising in the morning again, that way it's OVER and done with, and I remember how great it feels to move first thing...
  • Eat this basic healthy diet: oats for breakfast, salad for lunch, delicious cooked meal for dinner, and snacks of fruit, veggies, yogurt, pretzel sticks, popcorn, nuts, and dried fruit; one junk food option a day.
  • Don't focus on this stuff too much.  Just keep it in mind when it's time to eat or exercise.  Otherwise, think about more important things, such as school (final semester begins next week!), Stacey, chihuahuas, etc.
The first few weeks of getting back into healthy behaviors will be rough.  But I'm hoping that within a couple of weeks, I will adjust and enjoy the health benefits. 

And I plan to mix it up.  I won't be eating the same oats and salads and cooked meals every day.  I plan to get into cooking more, and to experiment with new varieties of oats and salad recipes, as well as new recipes for dinner.  The daily junk food snack will help me to remember to stay out of all-or-nothing thinking.

P.S.  I have a Twitter account for this blog now! Please follow me: @Leah_NOS 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Thoughts, Plans, and Life Changes

Please see my 2013 recap post to see how I've done this year!

Now it's time for me to let you guys in on the many life changes coming my way in 2014, as well as describe more about my overall plans in regard to food, exercise, EDNOS recovery, and weight loss.

First of all, the life changing events!!!

For the first time in a very long while, the life altering events are positive.  :-)

I'm about to begin my final semester at The University of Memphis.  That's right, the first change is that I'm going to have a college degree finally.  I even am going to make that "before 30" cut off date that I strived for when I went back to school at the beginning of 2011.  YAY!!!

On May 10, 2014, I will have a bachelor's degree in political science.

After that?  Originally, many of you may remember that I planned to immediately go to law school.  That has changed.  I have decided to take some time off from school.  I am not 100% sure that law school is the right decision for me right now, so I figured that the best way to decide would to be to work as a paralegal for awhile.  So that is my plan, to secure a paralegal job in New York City.

The next big step after graduation is securing a job post-graduation.  The job hunt will begin in February, when I begin sending out my resumes.  Hopefully I will be able to secure a job before we move to the city, but if not I can work at a paralegal temp agency for awhile.  But I'm pretty confident that a good job is out there for me.  :-)

So next, Stacey and I are going to be moving to NYC, something that we've been planning to do for years.  Some time between graduation and our lease ending (end of July) we will be New Yorkers.  I'm very excited about that.

And those are just a few of the many changes coming to my life in 2014.  It has the potential to be a very good year.  A very stressful year full of changes, but very good.

Weight/Diet/Exercise plans for 2014?  I do plan to lose the grief weight.  I'm in the process of figuring out the "how" without going back to dieting or reverting back to any EDNOS behaviors.  The fact remains that I really want to get back to a healthier size for me.  And another factoid is that I'm currently not engaging in many healthy behaviors.

A post about my health quest (the "official" title of whatever I end up doing to lose the weight and get healthy) will be coming soon.  :-)

For now, I just want to say thanks to all of you who have been reading the blog for awhile, supporting me through this often difficult time.  And also say a quick "hello" to anyone here for the first time!  HI!!!
You are all appreciated and loved by me.  Thanks for being here.  If anyone needs to talk to me, please feel free to message me on my Facebook page or to email me at  I will answer you (so long as you aren't trying to sell me something).