Friday, January 30, 2015

Hello, my name is Leah and I am a binge eater.

I try to not be one, but I totally am.

I think that I have tried to accept this about myself in the past, but was never successful.

This is a part of my EDNOS now, and I need to treat it as such.  Because honestly, though I am super proud of myself for not giving into most disordered eating thoughts, there is still one that I actually do give into regularly.

Why do I not want to group binge eating with the other disordered behaviors?

Is there still a part of me that is more ashamed of overeating than of undereating, because one implies that I'm fat?

I am ashamed to admit that the answer to that question is YES. 

Binge eating disorder is just not as acceptable to me as anorexia or bulimia, or even just saying EDNOS.

But let's look at that last one, my diagnosis, more closely:

EDNOS.  E.D.N.O.S.  Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

This is the umbrella term used for those of us who don't fit neatly into one of the more specific eating disorders.  No two cases of EDNOS are the same.

And my own EDNOS has evolved over time. 

Originally, I was diagnosed in 2005 as having EDNOS because I behaved like an anorexic but was not underweight by BMI's standards (though you could see my hip bones and count all of my ribs, I wore a size 10-12 jeans and weighed 130 pounds - thus disproving BMI all by myself with my wide set hip bones, tiny wrists, and heavy muscles).

From 2007-2011, I was "recovered" from that part of my EDNOS, and moved on to a cycle of yo-yo dieting, trying to hold onto what I thought was my happy weight of 135, and failing miserably, but never returning to the starvation and over exercising techniques of my early EDNOS days.

In 2012, I had had enough, and decided that my happy weight was actually higher, more like 165, and that I needed to learn how to be an intuitive eater FOR REAL THIS TIME and move on with my life.

Then, of course, Mom died and I was suddenly trying desperately to stay at my new happy weight of 165, and once again failing miserably.  From 2012-2014, I gained and lost over 150 pounds (mostly gained though).  I couldn't really see a pattern of my EDNOS during these years, until now.

My EDNOS has taken a new deadly turn: binge eating disorder.

Yes, since Mom's death, I have had issues with binge eating.  First, it was emotional eating.  True emotional eating, which I actually think helped to save my life a little that first year, so I was not mad at myself for it.

After I gained, oh, about 80 pounds of grief weight, and at about the 2 year post-death mark, I started to actually rebuild my life.  I am a different person now, my life has changed dramatically, and I will never have the life that I used to have or be the person that I used to be again.  But though life stopped for Mom, I chose to remain living (yes, life is a choice, and suicide is an option).  I still choose life.  And I plan to continue choosing life for myself every day.

But just because my life was starting to normalize didn't mean that my binge eating stopped.  It wasn't emotional eating anymore, and it's more than just a bad habit for me because of my EDNOS.  It's full blown binge eating disorder. 

Now that I've realized that my EDNOS has crossed over into BED for the most part, with some slight differences, I can tackle this problem like I tackled the problem a decade ago:  Get professional help.

I have health insurance now, so I'm working on getting back on my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications.  I will also begin to seriously research for a therapist that specializes in disordered eating, specifically EDNOS and/or BED, and possibly a nutritionist. 

I considered OA meetings, but after just a quick look at their site I found that it was way too religious.  What's an atheist overeater to do?  Go with science, I guess.  Therapy and nutrition it is.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

I still have disordered eating thoughts.

**TRIGGER warning, for those of you struggling with an ED.**

I am more determined than ever before to not let any weight loss obsession enter my mind. 

I don't want to go back to my ED days. 

But the truth is, sometimes I still have very disordered thoughts about food, exercise, my weight, my body, etc.  Some of those thoughts include:
Maybe I should just do what I did a decade ago.  It didn't kill me, and I lost 80 pounds in a year.  Maybe this time, I wouldn't need to be treated for anorexic behavior, because I will be able to
control it better.
Maybe I should just throw up that bag of chips I just ate.  One time wouldn't kill me, and I would feel better about myself than I do now, post chip-binge.
Maybe I should start doing 2 hours of cardio a day, like I did back then.  One hour at the beginning and one hour at the end of each day.  
Maybe I should join My Fitness Pal again, and edit the calorie number so that I will definitely lose 3 pounds every week.

...and so on.

I am fortunate that these thoughts are extremely fleeting, and that they are also extremely rare.  But they do pop up sometimes.  And I hate that they do.

I wonder how many years it will take for these thoughts to stop completely, or if, like some people say, once you have an ED, you will always have an ED.

I don't believe that though.  I know that it's been a decade since my "recovery" and I still have these thoughts, but I also know that they happen less often with each passing month. 

Time heals most wounds, and I believe that some take longer than others, but that doesn't mean that the healing isn't happening.

My ED will one day be truly a thing of the past. 

But for now, I still (very) occasionally have to deal with these thoughts.  And so long as I don't act on them, or give them any attention whatsoever, I believe that they will continue to happen less and less often until one day, maybe next year, maybe by the time I'm 40, they will vanish completely.

Today, I am focusing on loving myself and my body.  True, I am still working on losing weight, but I'm choosing to not make that a central focus in my life.  It's just a small part of it, and doesn't have anything to do with who I am as a person.


Wednesday, January 21, 2015



When you give up something that is bad for you, it's not quitting.

This was one of my mantras back when I was first recovering from my anorexic symptoms during my EDNOS treatment.  (In that scenario, quitting = failing.  Technically, when you quit, it is quitting, obviously, but it's not FAILING.  Anyway.)

It helped me to eat, even when I felt like I was a failure for doing so.  It helped me to not do any cardio workouts, even when I felt like a quitter for not sticking to my routine.  It helped me to survive.

These days, I don't need to learn to eat more and exercise less.  My EDNOS has changed, along with my needs and goals.

But there are things that I still need to quit. 

This morning, I cancelled my Weight Watchers account for the 5,000,000th time (slight exaggeration). 

I did it for a couple of reasons.  One is that I feel like I've learned all I need to learn about the Simply Filling Technique in order to remain successful.  I don't feel like I need the online tools to continue eating this way.  One month subscription was plenty.  Two is that I don't want to spend $20 a month on this.  That money could go towards the gym membership that I have my eye on for the February budget.

However, it still felt like quitting. 

It feels like I should have stayed a paying member for at least a couple of more months, just so that I'm not "a quitter". 

So I'm proud of myself for recognizing the need to cancel the subscription, and for not caving into the disordered thoughts telling me to keep the membership that I no longer need.

I plan to lose plenty of weight this year, with or without Weight Watchers, and definitely without returning to any EDNOS behaviors. 

I recently ordered a food journal that doesn't require calories or any other macronutrients to be tracked.  It is a place to write down what you eat, and what exercises you do, and also to be a little artistic.  I think that it will be really good for me.  As soon as it arrives, I will post about it in further detail.  It's called the Diet Doodle Diary.

Seems like a good fit for someone with a history of EDNOS who is trying to lose weight without returning to any bad ED habits.  If that's not true, I will admit it, obviously.  But I look forward to seeing what this cute little journal has to offer.  I think that it will help me to become a more mindful eater, while still helping me to lose some weight in 2015.

What have you quit lately?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Why am I not exercising regularly yet?!

As you probably know, I spent the second half of 2014 recovering from a very bad leg break and the leg surgery that followed it. 

I spent months telling myself and anyone who would listen that I couldn't wait to be able to walk again, and that as soon as I could do so, pain free, I would be walking and exercising constantly because it really sucked being forced into stationary lifestyle.  It's one thing to choose it, it's quite another to have no say in it whatsoever.

A couple of weeks ago, I was told that I was now allowed to exercise regularly.  Around that same time, walking stopped hurting (for the most part, I still limp some days - mostly due to my new superpower ankle that predicts the weather with PAIN!).  And yet...  I am still not exercising.

Why did I assume that as soon as I was given the green light from my doctor to exercise, that I would be able to easily get right back into it?

That's a head-scratcher.  I should have probably known from experience that whenever one takes time off from any activity, getting back into it is HARD. 

I have never been in THIS situation before though.  Yeah, walking short distances (say, around the office or house) doesn't hurt.  But walking for longer periods of time (say, around a gigantic shopping mall for hours of holiday shopping) HURTS LIKE HELL.  And not just in my leg.

My entire body is not used to being upright without support.

My leg hurts and is swollen by the end of a heavy-walking day, but that's just the tip of the painful iceberg.  My back KILLS.  My neck ACHES.  My shoulders WANT TO DIE.  It's all very bad.

So I realize that I cannot just pick up where I left off. 

I actually am going to have to start completely, 100% over.  From the beginning.  I have to start with a ten minute walk around the block, and build myself back up over time.  And I have to learn to be okay with that.

My all-or-nothing brain is pretty pissed off right now.  But I need to stop choosing "nothing", and get on with my exercise routine.  It may not look like the awesome training schedule I had in mind for this year, but it will be something. 

I am going to start by writing a different kind of training schedule, one not meant to train me for a race or event, but to train me to get back into a regular exercise routine filled with the longer cardio sessions that I miss.

The next step will be joining a gym, which I have scheduled for February in my budget.  :-) 

For the next couple of weeks, here is my training schedule:

16-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 10 minutes eliptical, walk home.
17-Jan Rest.
18-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 10 minutes treadmill, walk home.
19-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 10 minutes eliptical, walk home.
20-Jan Rest.
21-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 10 minutes treadmill, walk home.
22-Jan Rest.
23-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 10 minutes eliptical, walk home.
24-Jan Rest.
25-Jan 20 minutes stationary bike at home.
26-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 15 minutes treadmill, walk home.
27-Jan Rest.
28-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 15 minutes elipitcal, walk home.
29-Jan Rest.
30-Jan Walk to apartment gym, 15 minutes treadmill, walk home.
31-Jan Rest.
1-Feb 20 minutes stationary bike at home.

Maybe by writing down a plan and calling it a training schedule, I will begin to exercise regularly again.  I sure hope so!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

3 Food truths that I didn't realize before...

Damn my ED brain.  Sometimes I discover little things that I do and little thoughts that I think are not "normal".  A decade since my recovery, and this stuff still comes up.

Here is the latest bunch of things that I honestly did not know were true until recently, when my brain had some moments of lucid ED-freeness.  I will post more about these thoughts as they come, but for now here are three:

1) I can put chocolate chips in my oatmeal.

Not only can I do this sometimes, I can do this EVERY time if I want to.  And it in no way cancels out the nutrition of the oats.  Instead, I get to enjoy chocolate-y goodness AND reap the benefits of whole grains.

For years, I have literally thought that I had to have either chocolate-y goodness or something  healthy for breakfast.  It NEVER occurred to me to have both.  It was either Pop Tarts or plain jane oatmeal (I would sometimes put peanut butter or fruit in it, but it wasn't really what I wanted for breakfast).  I have been obsessed with chocolate for breakfast for years, and now I can have it whenever I want it, and it's actually filling.

2) If I'm not hungry, I don't have to eat.

Say what?!  In theory, I have learned this many times.  But it only recently really clicked for me.  A couple of days ago, I was hungry for popcorn right after work, so I ate some popcorn right after work.  Meanwhile, I started a crock pot meal, figuring that I would be hungry for it before bed and enjoy a late dinner. 

Instead, I was tired at 9, and not hungry at all, so I put the crock pot meal in to-go contianers for lunches and went to bed. 

I actually had to think about it for a few minutes though, wondering if I should go ahead and eat, since that was the plan, and since it was all Power Foods.  Then I had the brain click moment.  It's okay to just go to bed and accept that this was a light hunger day.  Maybe tomorrow will be a heavier hunger day.  My body is usually worth listening to.

3) I can mix beans with meat.

Again, literally never occurred to me.  Since I started to eat meat again, my old staple of beans has become less popular.  For whatever reason, I had it in my head that my meals had to be either vegan or completely bean-free.  Yeah, that's just not true.

A couple of days ago, I was looking for more stuff to throw in the crockpot for dinner.  I had put in some frozen fish, some frozen vegetables, and a can of tomatoes.  Then I saw it:  a can of black beans.  So I threw it in.  And I'll be darned if that wasn't the best fish meal I've ever made.  I look forward to experimenting more with this!

During my years of vegan eating, I developed a real taste for beans, and I still love them.  I still eat a lot of vegan, bean/veggie/grain bowl meals like I used to eat.  But now I know that I can throw beans into meat dishes, too.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Simply Filling Technique - how I am following it

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have started to follow Weight Watcher's Simply Filling Technique, which is basically  healthy intuitive eating, with minimal tracking for foods that are not on WW's list of "Power Foods".

I also mentioned that I was going to be following it kind of loosely, and that I would be making it fit into my lifestyle, not the other way around.  So I thought that I could write a post further explaining that, and how the first couple of weeks have gone.

First of all, I am following it mostly as written.  Here's how it works, as written:

There is a list of Power Foods provided by Weight Watchers.  Most of these foods everyone would agree are pretty healthy, but some of them would be questionable to the "true" clean-eaters of the interweb.

Here's a simplified version of the list (please don't let me be breaking any copyright laws by posting it...):

  • Fruits (except dried and juice)
  • Vegetables (except avocadoes, olives, plaintains)
  • Whole Grains - including hot cereals, brown and wild rice, pasta, ready-to-eat cereal wish less than 1 gm sugar & more than 3gm fiber/serving, etc.
  • Fat free dairy and dairy substitutes
  • Lean proteins - including: beans, meat with skin removed, eggs, lentils, reduced-sodium luncheon meats, meat substitutes w/ 2g fat or less, fish, organ meats
  • Breads - including light English muffins, light hamburger/hot dog rolls, light breads in general
  • Soups - including reduced/low sodium broth, tomato, and vegetables based
  • Desserts - sugar-free gelatin
  • most condiments - If fat-free or is an option, always choose fat free.  With soy and teriyaki sauce, choose low-sodium
I'm actually glad that I just wrote that out, because I didn't realize about the soup options, and I LOVE ME SOME TOMATO SOUP.

So to follow the Simply Filling Technique, one does not have to track or count points for any of the Power Foods.  How do you figure out how  much to eat?  Listening to hunger signals!  Of course, you are allowed to track these foods if you desire to, but it is not required, and either way they are 0 PointsPlus.

Also, much like with the non-SFT route, you have 49 PointsPlus weekly to use on whatever you want (probably best to keep listening to the hunger, but I guess with these ones it's not as important?  Couldn't really find information about that in the plan as written...).  You also earn PointsPlus every time you exercise, and again, get to eat "off list" with those.

I almost forgot about healthy oils!  You can have two teaspoons of a healthy oil every day, 0 points, but after the first 2 tsp, you count points.

In summation, no tracking required for Power Foods, tracking required for non-Power Foods (use your weeklies and activity points), and listen to your hunger signals.  Also no counting points for first 2 tsp of EVOO.  That is the Simply Filling Technique in a nutshell.  There are also all these Good Health Guidelines to follow, but if you eat from the power foods list and eat your oil, you will get them without even trying.

So obviously, because I'm me, and refuse to make my lifestyle fit into a plan or obsess about food anymore, I have to make a few simple changes in order to make this plan fit my lifestyle, food preferences, and logic.

Let's start with the Power Foods list.

Fruits (except dried and juice)
Okay.  I'm okay with this.  Mostly because I don't drink a lot of juice or eat a lot of dried fruit, so I'm fine counting points for them when I do.  Oh wait.  One exception.  To me, if the juice is pure fruit juice, not peeled or anything, just an entire fruit put into a blender or juicer, that will not have to be counted.  Again, I don't drink a lot of juice, but I will not count for "pure" juice.

Vegetables (except avocadoes, olives, plantains)
Nope.  I will not count for avocadoes or plantains.  If I can eat a pineapple with all that healthy fruity sugar in it, then I can eat an avocado with all that healthy fruity fat inside.  Avocadoes are Power Foods for me.  Olives too, same reason.  Plantains, also okay, because potatoes and bananas are both Power Foods, so should be plantains. 

Whole Grains - including hot cereals, brown and wild rice, pasta, ready-to-eat cereal with less than 1 gm sugar & more than 3gm fiber/serving, etc.
My main change here is that I will also  not be counting points for rice, pasta, or cous-cous that is not brown.  My reasoning here is that I simply never overeat these things, and find them to be a good part of a healthy meal.  If I eat cous-cous that is not whole grain and have to track it, it may discourage me from eating it or make me overeat it.  Because that's how my brain works.  I will still opt for whole grains most of the time.  The cereal one I will also not be quite so picky on.  If it says "super healthy whole grain fibery goodness" on it, I will call it a Power Food, even if it does not meet the sugar/fiber requirements (unless it is so tasty that it makes me want to binge - fine line sometimes).

Fat free dairy and dairy substitutes
Get ready to have your world rocked, because I am going to be considering low-fat dairy to be a Power Food!!!  I will choose the fat free options when it's something that I like (milk, yogurt) but with cheese, it's gotta be reduced fat.  And I don't want to count for it, same reasons as white rice.

Lean proteins - including: beans, meat with skin removed, eggs, lentils, reduced-sodium luncheon meats, meat substitutes w/ 2g fat or less, fish, organ meats
This is mostly fine.  I will probably still eat the skin on a baked chicken sometimes, and not count it, and I will probably consider ALL veggie burgers/meat subs to be Power Foods despite fat content, but otherwise, yep.

Breads - including light English muffins, light hamburger/hot dog rolls, light breads in general
Here's one that may surprise you:  I am cool with the muffins and buns, but light bread is REMOVED from the Power Foods list for me, because it is a trigger food.  If I allow myself to not count light bread, I will eat the entire loaf within a day, defeating the purpose of the not counting.  Light bread is NOT filling to me, and is a trigger food, so no thanks.  But the light English muffins are fab, and the hamburger buns are great with my veggie burgers.

Soups, deserts, and condiments are fine as written.  But just because I can eat unlimited (within hunger!) sugar-free gelatin does not mean that I have to.  So I won't.  That stuff is pretty gross.  If I want a sweet, I will count points or eat fruit or yogurt.

I would love to mess with the healthy oil requirement, but I won't... just yet.  Don't worry, that change will come, because it's a great idea.  Just don't feel like tweaking that at the moment.

Another way that I am only following this loosely, is that I am not super strict about the counting.  I don't have the WW app on my phone, so if I'm out and about and eating point-y foods, I just guesstimate and try to remember to track them later.  I try to ALWAYS listen to my hunger signals, even when I eat non-Power Foods, which I think is why even when I go over my weekly points, I lose weight.

I am not concerned unless I go 20 points or more over my weeklies.  I may even raise that number in my online tracker to 68 instead of 49.  Here's why:

I'm trying to ALWAYS listen to my hunger signals.  Therefore, if I eat a non-SFT dinner one day and all of my points were already gone for the week, it really is okay because I didn't overeat.  It's not like I had a big Power Foods dinner, then ate a second non-PF dinner.  It's still just one dinner, and the calories may be higher, but probably not twice as high.

Anyway, that's how I'm following the Simply Filling Technique.  It's not how Weight Watchers wrote it.  It's how I am making the plan fit into my life, and not the other way around.  It's how I'm on WW but I'm not.  It's how I have some structure, but not too much.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Simply Filling Confession...

So, since I've given into my desire to lose weight this year, hopefully a substantial amount by November 1 (in time for a dress fitting for my December 4th wedding), I figured that I needed a plan.

Not a temporary plan, but one that I can potentially stick to for life.

As in, I need to be able to lose weight, while learning how to eat forever; instead of my usual "eat like this to lose weight, then figure out how to maintain the weight loss later!!!" way.

I hesitated to go down this route again, because I really want to be an intuitive eater and to never diet again, since dieting DOES NOT WORK long term (which basically means that it doesn't work at all, because who wants to lose weight only short term?).

Because of my EDNOS history, and because of my self-diagnosed "diet addiction", I really was reluctant to follow any sort of plan.



But I really want some structure from an outside force, to help me along the way this year.

And I needed it to be something that can easily transition into intuitive eating one day, while also allowing me to lose weight without making weight loss THE central focus point of my life.


I am going to try out Weight Watchers again, this time only ever using the Simply Filling Technique.

I have a friend who is a WW leader in NYC, and she told me a while back how WW worked for her.  Basically, she counted points for everything for awhile, then switched to Core and now she is just an intuitive eater who runs a lot.  She's maintained her happy weight for years now, and leads WW meetings.  Yeah, that sounds pretty nice.

I'd like to do something similar to that.

Here's how I'm going to make WW work for me in 2015:

  1. Follow the Simply Filling Technique exclusively.  No need to ever count points for everything, no need to track any foods on the "Power Foods" list.  Listen to hunger signals 100% of the time.  Only track non-filling foods.  Modify plan as needed to fit my lifestyle.
  2. Don't consider myself to be on Weight Watchers.  I really don't.  I am not telling anyone about it (except you guys, my brother, and Stacey) because I will not really be a "Weight Watcher".  I am using the Simply Filling Technique as a guide for healthier eating for weight loss, but I am not a slave to WW.  I don't have a WW app on my phone.  I will not turn down a mini-muffin at work if I'm hungry because "Weight Watchers".  I will never be a "success story" for their site or magazine, and I will not spend hours browsing their message boards or recipe pages.  Nope. 
  3. Weigh in once a week.  No more, no less.  This will help me to stay on track with my weight loss goals. 
  4. No specific wedding weight loss goal.  I am following SFT relatively loosely, and will consider whatever weight loss "success" that I have by my dress fitting to be just that: successful. 
  5. Use it as a transition into true intuitive eating.  Seriously, listen to my hunger signals, and honor my hunger.  Use power foods and good health guidelines as a roadmap to healthier eating, but also enjoy non-power foods in moderation.  No weekly WPA binge.  Probably will take special days off, but not to binge, just to not worry about tracking anything.

So that's what I'm doing for now.  I will probably post some  helpful SFT tips now and then, for anyone who is also eating this way.  I don't think that I will do weekly weigh-in posts, but I will probably do monthly SFT check-in posts or something. 

I hope that none of you judge me for technically dieting again.  If you do though, you're probably not the type of supporter that I care for anyway.  You probably stopped following this blog when I stopped being vegan, or stopped being vegetarian, or quit and began any number of diets before, so aren't reading it anymore anyway, right?  ;-) 

To my super supportive no-matter-what readers:  KISSES! xoxoxoxo!

Monday, January 5, 2015

my (cliche) Wedding Weight Loss Goal

I have officially found my newest "before" picture.

Yes, unfortunately I have given into the temptation to set a wedding weight loss goal.  It's pretty lofty, but I'm not going to do anything extreme.  Wherever my body is on November 1 (about a month before my wedding, when I plan to get my dress fit) is where it will be.  But I really don't want it to be like the above picture.

But in all fairness, that was taken from a very bad angle.  Two days before that was taken, this was taken:

I think that in the first picture, I actually look 100 pounds overweight, but in the second one, maybe 50 or 70 pounds overweight.  It's all about the angles.  Unfortunately, I actually am 101 pounds overweight.

Of course, that's going by the BMI standards, which I disagree with.  I am 91 pounds overweight by my personal standards, because my happy weight is 165.

Anyway, I'm going to do nothing crazy or too diet-y to lose this weight, but I am going to be actively working towards a weight loss goal again, which I have mixed feelings about.

Is it possible to both improve my relationship with food and my body while actively trying to change both things?  I am going to try.

Healthy eating, reasonable portions, honoring my hunger, listening to my body and mind, getting in some regular activity in fun ways, stopping overeating and binge eating, and regular blogging will all help to get me there.

So what are my specific wedding weight loss goals?  I'm not really sure of any specific numbers.  My main two goals are to lose as much weight as possible while sticking to the following goals and techniques. :

  1. Improve relationship with food
  2. Improve relationship with body
  3. Lose weight
  1. Healthy eating
  2. Reasonable portions
  3. Honor my hunger
  4. Listen to my body and mind
  5. Get regular activity that I enjoy
  6. No more overeating/binge-eating
  7. Regular blogging
No crazy goals.  No crazy techniques.  Just hopeful that by doing these things, I will get closer to my happy weight, and that no matter what my weight does, I will be a lot healthier inside and out by the time I'm married.

Start weight: 255
Goal weight: ???