So I know this is a little dangerous to have such a heavy post right away (since I haven’t been posting daily and since there may be new readers due to the giveaway). I have dozens of food photos to share with you but I’m going to go ahead and do a post on something that’s been on my mind lately (unfortunately experienced first hand). I was thinking recently about how I started this blog and what’s amazing (to me) is how it developed into something I never intended it to be (and I guess that’s okay!). I started blogging because I was new to cooking and truly was excited about healthy food tasting that good. I felt like someone let me in on a little secret that I didn’t want to hide from the world. I wanted to share it with everyone who’d care to follow my journey of trying to lose weight, the right way. It was pretty early on that I realized that it just wasn’t as simple as that. Since I was sharing my daily eats and happenings with my readers, it became pretty clear that there were other “issues” that were preventing me from reaching my goal weight. I seemed to be doing everything by the book, yet I turned my one “day off” into full on (scheduled) binges and anything deviating from the plan (like an impromptu dinner with friends or a work lunch) followed the same suit. Basically I was either “on” my diet (even if it consisted of whole foods and exercise and didn’t necessarily “look like a diet”) or “off” it. And I mean OFF. And like I said, there was no hiding it. My struggles with binge eating and “food issues” have become apparent on Healthy and Sane and I chose to fight these battles right here, with you in the side lines, supporting me at times.
It is nearly a year ago that I stopped counting calories and pretty much stopped trying to lose weight. This may be a topic for another post (although I’m sure it’s all been covered time and time again) and the bingeing subsided with it. I should be clear right here that it was not calorie counting that was causing me to binge (I don’t think it was at least) but rather my desire to let go of all this nonsense when I decided to stop. You could say I had an “ahha” moment. That’s definitely a topic for another post.
So what is the topic for today’s post, you ask? Overeating in secret. You see, letting go of a diet mentality meant that I truly allow myself to eat whatever I want… in moderation. Moderation is actually an incredibly loaded word and I am pretty sure that many people would argue that a daily treat is more than “moderation.” But that’s what I determined works for me. That means that when there are cookies in the office, I unapologetically grab one (or two!). In the past I used to think that people judged me. No wonder you’re fat! Lay off the cookies, lady. Nope, I don’t worry about those demons anymore (and maybe that’s because I know I’m NOT fat because I worked hard to get there – physically and mentally). People often comment on how healthy I am, sometimes they’re surprised that I’m going for a cookie (actually they got used to it by now – but at the beginning they did) because I seem to be so healthy – a cookie doesn’t fit in their box of “healthy.” But yeah, this was a big step for me to overcome and resulted in an overall much healthier attitude towards food and a much happier Elina. 😀
Here is the kicker, when I exceed my own definition of “moderation” that’s when my old brain switches on again. When I go back to being ashamed of my choices, like going back for a 3rd or 4th cookie… after a large dinner (gasp), that’s when I start hiding it. My old bingeing behaviors get triggered and I have to work very hard on not giving in… and often I lose that battle. I plop myself on the couch, in front of the tv, and I keep eating. Believe it or not, Adam is usually in the same house with me – just in a different room. This makes for an even more shameful behavior (in my book); it makes me feel worse but it doesn’t make me stop it. I still eat until I’m sick… or until I cry… or until I get the courage to just stop because enough is enough.
This happened yesterday and kind of ended in a combination of all three. Today I’m picking up the broken pieces and am arming myself with a plan of attack for next time!
1) We’ve heard it all before – it’s not about the food. I was full after a very satisfying dinner with friends. The idea of dessert at a restaurant made me sick (I was full after all!) but the second we got home I started reaching for more. Why? Was something bothering me and I needed to be confronted by food? I really don’t think so (although that’s usually the answer) – I’m going to track my steps and figure it out. Next time this happens – I’m going to ask myself the same question.
2) I am putting a note on my refrigerator with 3 (simple?) questions – Are you hungry? Is this what you really want? Are you going to regret this later? It’s a little silly for a grown woman to need such a note so prominently displayed but whatever – I’m going with it. All is fair in love and war, right?
3) I have a journal in which for some reason I mostly write “after the fact.” Beating myself up for what happened already. I write little motivational notes to my “future self” that I never read. I’m going to start using my journal more wisely… some things to consider…
– Only positive thoughts and messages can help you get out of the funk. Reminding myself of how crappy I’ll feel afterwords does not help. I already feel crappy and in that moment I want to hurt myself (with food) for being such a horrible person (geez, I realize how stupid that sounds just writing and re-reading it now, but it’s so real in that moment!).
– You can be inspired or you can be transformed to a happy place. Love is the answer. This came in a timely email from my mom this morning (I’m on the left… with my dad and my sister).
This picture makes me happy. How can this child allow herself to lead a less than optimal life by… bingeing? Not acceptable. Stop now.
A word on inspiration… In the past I thought that pictures of (or notes to remember) people I think are beautiful in their own way (like dancers, athletes, hot people I know) are inspiring but I realized that that just reminds me that I’m not there yet and somehow I turn it into a negative thing. You’ll never be this fit, this beautiful, so don’t bother. Inspiration that works? Printouts of my email advise to others dealing with the same issues, printouts of positive blog posts. I usually try to be inspiring. Maybe reading my own advise when I write it to others will help. There are no underlying “you suck” messages in those.
– Ask for help! Adam is freaking right there!!!! He’s right there in a different room and you are slowly destroying yourself, in secret. Stop, go tell him something is taken over you and you need him. He’ll be there. If he’s not around, call a friend!!!
I’m going to make sure to be kind to myself today. Yesterday can’t be changed but today I can do better. I’m off to dig up inspirational messages for the future Elina… Have you ever experienced eating in secret? What would you say/write to your future self to prevent this?