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