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.