215.2 lbs! How the hell did I let that happen? I promised myself to never go above 200 lbs again, yet here I am. So many excuses cloud the reality of it all. I just didn’t stick to my plan and I wasn’t honest with myself about what I was doing.
Reality is I gave up. I gave up on cooking, on exercise, and taking care of myself. I ignored my better judgement when making food choices and chose the foods that would comfort me. Over and over and over again. The results have been negative on my physical and mental health. My Fibromyalgia is out of control and the pain is near intolerable. Brain fog is a freaking joke! I actually went back on Wellbutrin, after a short stint with Prozac…ugh. Psoriasis is a great indicator to my family and friends when I have had some form of gluten as a treat. They catch me scratching my hands and call me out. Lame.
How many times do I need to start over? I have the tools. Time to use them.
I strayed too long. I was avoiding what was happening. In real life, I was spiraling backwards on my road to a happy, healthy destiny. I was letting my addictive behavior rear it’s ugly head with food.
Food was my release. I was throwing myself, both feet first, into my recovery from drugs and alcohol, but I wasn’t including food as a part of that recovery. Now that I am actually doing my part and working the steps, my eyes are opening. The same feeling of escape I received from drugs and alcohol were being achieved via food. Some food addicts have specific trigger foods. Sugar, pasta, baked goods. My trigger is all food. Do you chew it and swallow it? I will eat it. And I will eat all of it until I snap out of my mindless food binge and realize how sick I am making myself. Then the guilt and frustration cycles through and sends me on another sad pity party.
Positive thoughts and affirmations coming my way. Besides, my sponsor encourages me to journal. I am bad at journaling. I lose my journals and start new ones. This will be the perfect spot to journal. If it’s just too personal, I can make my entry private. Although, for the most part, I am an open book.
Let’s see how this pans out. Time to have a healthy embrace once more. No Maureen, not that kind of embrace…
Make it Happen March. I have seen this everywhere on blogs and Facebook today. I decided to embrace that myself. So I am going to make things happen in March. The first thing I am going to tackle is my emotional eating. Not just talk about it, but talk about it and do something about it at the same time. So I pulled out my book from the binge eating group I attended a few years back called The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed.
I reached page 23 in the book in the last three years. I did the first few exercises and the “Food & Feelings Pre-Assesment”. In the Pre-Assesment I circled a 10 (scale 1 to 10) on questions that note I acknowledge that these changes won’t happen overnight and I may need help from a support group and/or a therapist. I do understand those things clearly, but I think I am afraid. Whenever I sat in a therapists office and anything regarding emotions I wasn’t ready to discuss came up, I no longer made time to see that therapist. Or suddenly money was an issue. With the support group, I was always using the excuse that it was too far and at a bad time of day (both were true: 30 min drive and at 10am on a Monday). But if it was that inconvenient how was I able to make it to the groups until it was time to share a project I had not even attempted because it dove too far into emotions I wasn’t willing to face.
It’s time for me to stop running. Time to sit down and sort through all these different feelings and emotions I am afraid to look at. Right now, I recognize that I need to get back to a therapist, however I don’t have the time each week available to dedicate to seeing one, which is truly necessary in getting everything I need from a therapist. I will make that a goal for the future. For now, this blog will be my therapist. Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings here as well. But keep it positive and/or constructive. Negativity is what got me and many of us to the places we are at in our lives. Negativity isn’t about to help one bit. But I do recognize that sometimes others could see something in what I have written differently than I have seen it. I don’t mind hearing different opinions, I rather encourage them.
Here we go.
What is the purpose of MY feelings?
Yup, those feelings that bubble up now and then actually serve a purpose. I have rarely taken the time in my life to think about what is causing different feelings I have shoved back down into my emotional cave. The feelings well up, quite quickly at times, and I immediately try to ignore what’s happening and move onto something else so I don’t have to endure whatever it is that I may feel. But there is a reason I was feeling something in that moment.
According to The Food and Feelings Workbook, “if we all have the capacity to feel, then feelings are neither accidental nor incidental and must have an evolutionary purpose.” Our feeling are what help us make good decisions, and let us know what will make us happy and alarm us to what may harm us.
I followed along with the “Stop and Feel” exercise in the book. I sat quietly and was relaxed and asked myself this question, “Are there any emotions I am trying to push away right now?” Then I wrote down this sentence that best described what I was feeling:
I am feeling frustrated with myself and disappointed in where I am at in my journey and my life. There is also this undercurrent of hate. But I don’t know where that hate is directed.
Dude. My heart was racing. It started up again just from retyping this sentence. There is something in that. I don’t know why I can’t recognize where that anger is coming from. It scares me. I need to let that anger go, but I need to find out why I am so angry. There is a reason. My anger isn’t pointless. After revisiting those feelings I am deciding to ask the same question, but focus on the positive. I want to think about those things I am grateful for in my life. I asked myself the same question and this is what I came up with:
I am feeling grateful for the love in my heart for my beautiful and healthy daughters. I love and appreciate my husband, who loves me unconditionally. I feel satisfied that I am able to provide for my family financially. I am grateful for my friends and family who are supportive of me in all that I do. I feel thankful and loved.
That exercise put a smile on my face. But during that exercise two things came up. Two things that I am right now fighting back tears on. Dammit. The whole point of this is to let these feelings out so I can see what they are. Understand what they mean.
Why did his face pop up when I was writing about being thankful for family and friends? I don’t want to waste my time or my freakin’ emotions thinking about him. He’s doesn’t even deserve these sentences on my blog, but I am going to have to face the anger and resentment I have against my father one day.
I know why my grandmother came up. I miss her with every ounce of my heart. I wish she was here right now. I wish she could have met my husband and Zoe. I wish she could have seen Riley grow up into the amazing young lady she is today. But she’s not here. Fucking cancer. She was honestly the bestest friend, grandmother, mom anyone could have in their lives. My friends all embraced her as their own grandma. She was one of a kind. Gah. It hurts, and it’s been almost 12 years.
Well, the “Stop and Feel” exercise certainly did as advertised. I felt something. I let the emotions out. A lot of them, and I am still here. Nothing catastrophic came from feeling. The next step for tonight is to keep those feelings in mind when I inevitably find myself in the kitchen. I am not hungry. My senses want to be dulled, and since alcohol and drugs are out, my brain wants food. Not tonight brain! We are growing stronger, and tonight we will just embrace these feelings, however painful they may be.
I have found the foods that will heal me. I have found the exercise I enjoy. I am looking forward to my future, being healthy and happy.
Addiction is holding me back.
There are things I need to address regarding how I approach food on a daily basis. I have been reading other blogs of people who are struggling with the same issues. Everyone seems to have a different approach. I need to find the right one for me. The disappointment I constantly put myself through is something I can no longer tolerate. I do this to myself, but why?
That is the big question. Why?
To start, I am going to revisit a practice I learned several years ago when I was attending an eating disorder group. I need to recognize why I am hungry/eating when I am eating. It’s not an easy practice. There are times I am completely lost in a binge and don’t really know what I am doing. But see, I DO know what I am doing, I just choose not to recognize it at the time. It’s like some sort of protective wall so I don’t disrupt the binge. Very similar to when I was drinking. There was always a good reason why I was drinking and if I didn’t have one I just didn’t acknowledge that I was drinking.
Do you have similar personal battles? How do you address your issues and addictions? Do you still struggle? Whatever it is, know you are not alone. If you want to talk to someone and feel like you have no one to turn to, don’t hesitate to send me a message on my Facebook page here. All the messages are private and I am the only administrator, so I will be the only one who reads your message. But also, feel free to comment on this blog. There are readers here who are going through this or have been through it already. Share your story and support others.
Today sucked. I was happy for part of the day, and then the rest of the day was a total waste of time. I resorted to my norm, feeding my flippin’ emotions. I can’t say I went all out and tossed my entire good week out the door but the fact is, I caved to the little voice in my head.
I decided today I wouldn’t let this shit own me and take me out, so I am owning my slip up here, addressing the emotions that were attached to the binge.
First off, I didn’t eat too poorly. I have done far worse in the past, but this ain’t no competition and I don’t want to fall as far as I once did. I had a normal breakfast and then, while at lunch, I ate a little more than I should have at the Mongolian BBQ. Mongolian BBQ is safe in regards to the veggies and meats. I didn’t choose the noodles, which would be off my Anti-Inflammatory Diet plan. The sugar and sodium in the sauce are the big killers. After work, I went to Trader Joe’s to pick up a few items. I did very well, getting berries and such for shakes and salad fixins. Then I circled the cakes and muffins and walked away. Then I circled in closer. And then I picked something up, ran to the checker, got to my car and tore through the top of one of these:
There were two in the package, what you see above is all that remains. Although, the second muffin did find it’s way to my house, it just didn’t survive the hour I was alone in my house with it. Riley (my oldest daughter) said “MOM! You ate the top! The top is bad for you!” I explained the whole muffin is bad for me, and if I was going down, I was taking the good shit with me. (The top had a delightful glaze that was perfect and delicious…no lies)
It is now 9:31pm and I have yet to have a healthy meal. I am not hungry because I am distracted by my guilt and I don’t really know if I should shovel a salad and some protein in my pie hole after eating more than half my days calories in muffin tops. It’s a conundrum.
In the end I need to address why I went to the dark place of binge eating today. I was stressed out from work, but nothing more than my usual job stressors. Maybe I was a little more frustrated than my norm? Though while me and the other two managers headed to the Mongolian BBQ we were acknowledging the possibility that “THAT time of the month” may be among the three of us in the very near future. So, maybe that had something to do with it. I definitely need to learn who to take control of my eating during those days of the month, because they are UGLY food days. But I am not totally sold on either of these being a big part of the blame.
Success. I think my success is to blame here. I just posted yesterday all of my successes. Every time I have celebrated any sort of win I have stumbled. Why is that? I have been to so many counselors/therapists in my life that I know one of the first things they would ask me would be “Do you feel you deserve your success?”. HELL YES! Well then why am I sabotaging myself? I still don’t know that answer. Maybe because I am so comfortable being unhappy that I don’t know what to do with myself being content and happy.
Here I am, no real answer, but at least I know the question. And now, I can check my freakin’ baggage and travel on. But I think I might want to leave this baggage at the airport. I hear they have some nice boutiques where I am going.
My last blog brought up some pretty crazy feelings. Emotions I didn’t want to deal with and would prefer to just shove them aside and bury them. Usually those types of emotions are buried deep with food, and most often they are buried with fast food. The cycle has been nearly impossible to break, until today.
After I posted the blog I went to the grocery store and bought some foods that our family needed and a salad for me to eat when I got home. The entire time I was in the store I was running different scenarios through my head regarding my reunion. What would I say to this person if they asked about…? Oh, if this person says this, I am totally going to say…. I reached the bread aisle and immediately began to reason with myself about why I needed to grab a baguette and some spinach dip to eat on the way home. I could feel the texture of the foods in my head as I made good arguments about how I had been so good for so long. And then I stopped myself. I stood there for a moment and replayed the conversation I had just had with myself.
You have lost two pounds this week, and you didn’t really have a good lunch, so the baguette and spinach dip will be fine.
But my psoriasis has been pretty bad since I stopped have my regular shakes and started eating more sugars and breads.
One time in a week is not going to kill you.
The last line is what got me. These foods are killing me. The more breads and sugars I eat the more my psoriasis flares up and the depression starts to settle back in. I lose interest in exercise and being active in general. I start to beat myself up, and thus beginning a horrible cycle of food addiction. I wasn’t going to allow myself to fall back into these patterns again. I quickly finished my shopping and walked to my car.
Walking to the car I realized I was a little bit thirsty, but I hadn’t purchased myself any beverages at the store, but there was a McDonald’s in this same parking lot. Again, I started to reason with myself.
Just go through the drive thru and get just an iced tea, you can do that. Oh, well, while you’re there just grab a wrap too. That’s not too many calories.
No, I don’t need a wrap, but the iced tea might be nice. Just the iced tea.
They have chicken sandwiches for $1! You just get that and maybe a fry and your iced tea. Dinner is done, and you save your salad for tomorrow.
It is such a deal, $3 and I get all that food…wait, that food is what got me here…NO! I WILL NOT GO THROUGH THE DRIVE THRU!
I backed out of my space and drove straight out of the parking lot. I looked as I drove past and saw a lady sitting in the parking lot eating in her car. I saw her quickly putting the burger and fries in her mouth as she looked around at the other cars. I recognized her shame as a shame I have felt myself many, many times as I sat in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant, eating my food so no one knew. It’s a shame I didn’t put myself through tonight, and I promise myself I won’t do it again. I have too much to live for, I don’t need to hide in shame.
When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in everydirection, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be. ~ Patanjali – the author of Yoga Sutra
For the last few weeks I have been in a mental limbo. I started this journey with one of my closest friends, and when she went into isolation from me, Heather, EA, and the rest of the Project Muffin Top team I started questioning my own reasons for being here. I kept forging ahead by working out, eating right, and keeping in contact with my support group, but in the back of my mind I was disappointed and frustrated and was struggling to keep myself from resorting to bingeing.
Binge eating isn’t something I want to think about or use as an excuse. When my brain stops all logical thought I resort to “stuffing” my emotions. It takes every ounce of self control I have to keep myself from resorting to a binge. There were so many times these last few weeks that I have wanted nothing more than to just eat. I craved the feeling of being numb, which is exactly how I feel when I am bingeing. I am not here, I leave my body for a moment and just eat. I wanted that feeling of not being here, but I fought it. I would circle the grocery store trying to find something I could just sit and eat in the car, and every time I was about to pick up a bag of bagels and tub of cream cheese I caught myself. I told myself the escape would be short lived and I would feel horrible after. Not just sick, but sad, depressed, guilty, etc. Today, I actually gave in to the temptations and purchased french fries. Not really what I wanted, but they were there and I thought it would ‘help’. A large handful of french fries went into my mouth, and instantly I was aware of the choice I was making. Most of all, I was fu&*ing pissed off because they didn’t taste as good as I wanted them too and were not satisfying. I gave them away and sent Heather a text. She was right there with words of encouragement. I am not letting that slip get me down.
I need to make every effort I can to keep myself focused. I am doing this for ME! While I come first, I also love that I am inspiring others as I stumble along trying to reach my goals. Thank you Rachael L. for reminding me of this today. Meeting you this evening helped me realize I have a team of silent cheerleaders who are going through similar struggles. That reminds me, I need to get in touch with a few ladies who have offered to be walking/workout buddies. Aimee and Critter, expect emails soon! I am so taking you up on the offer.
It’s WAYYYYY past my bedtime and I have a date with Heather at the buttcrack of dawn tomorrow to walk (rather I will jog while trying to keep up with Heather the power walker). I am still learning to get a full eight hours of sleep a night. Soon, very soon it will happen. Before I go I want to share 10 Strategies to Overcoming Binge Eating. Many are helpful and some I need to remember to do (HELLO FOOD DIARY!! I was sooo good for a hot minute) maybe they could help you too?
Manage stress. One of the most important aspects of controlling binge eating is to find alternate ways to handle stress and other overwhelming feelings without using food. These may include exercising, meditating, using sensory relaxation strategies, and practicing simple breathing exercises.
Eat 3 meals a day plus healthy snacks. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism in the morning. Follow breakfast with a balanced lunch and dinner, and healthy snacks in between. Stick to scheduled mealtimes, as skipping meals often leads to binge eating later in the day.
Avoid temptation. You’re much more likely to overeat if you have junk food, desserts, and unhealthy snacks in the house. Remove the temptation by clearing your fridge and cupboards of your favorite binge foods.
Stop dieting. The deprivation and hunger of strict dieting can trigger food cravings and the urge to overeat. Instead of dieting, focus on eating in moderation. Find nutritious foods that you enjoy and eat only until you feel content, not uncomfortably stuffed. Avoid banning certain foods as this can make you crave them even more.
Exercise. Not only will exercise help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it also lifts depression, improves overall health, and reduces stress. The natural mood-boosting effects of exercise can help put a stop to emotional eating.
Fight boredom.Instead of snacking when you’re bored, distract yourself. Take a walk, call a friend, read, or take up a hobby such as painting or gardening.
Get enough sleep. If you’re tired, you may want to keep eating in order to boost your energy. Take a nap or go to bed earlier instead.
Listen to your body.Learn to distinguish between physical and emotional hunger. If you ate recently and don’t have a rumbling stomach, you’re probably not really hungry. Give the craving time to pass.
Keep a food diary.Write down what you eat, when, how much, and how you’re feeling when you eat. You may see patterns emerge that reveal the connection between your moods and binge eating.
Get support. You’re more likely to succumb to binge eating triggers if you lack a solid support network. Talking helps, even if it’s not with a professional. Lean on family and friends, join a support group, and if possible consult a therapist.
I received so much positive feedback from yesterdays post. THANK YOU! I did receive a few private messages with questions that I would like to answer publicly. I shortened some of the questions that were a little wordy, but still the same question.
1. Is Binge Eating really an Eating Disorder? Yes it is an eating disorder. I was diagnosed by my psychiatrist a few years ago with BED (Binge Eating Disorder). I was taking two medications that had a side effect of being appetite suppresants, but those did NOTHING. That was when my doctor started looking deeper into my eating behaviors and patterns. For further information on Eating Disorders visit The National Eating Disorders Association‘s website.
2. Are you sure you’re getting enough calories in a day? (They suggested I was not eating enough and thus my binge eating episode) I am working closely with my nutritionist as well as my doctor and I am getting more than enough calories in a day to sustain me and my work outs. I am actually eating a little more than I should be since I am focused on clean eating vs. calories. My binge was purely emotional and unrelated to my daily caloric intake.
3. Where did you go for your group counseling sessions? I received this specific question from three different people. To me, that means people need help and they don’t know where to find it. Sadly, as you will see from the National Eating Disorders Association website, research is under-funded and insurance coverage is inadequate. Also, BED tends not to be recognized as an eating disorder, which is unfortunate and causes people (ME!) to not seek the help that is required.
I was lucky and attened a group through Kaiser. If you are a memeber of Kaiser, I highly recommend talking to a specialist about your concerns. Had I not mentioned my weight gain concerns I don’t know if it ever would have been addressed aside from being told I need to lose weight. There are other groups out there, and if you can’t find anything, you can at least try Overeaters Anonymous. OA is not for everyone, but if you feel you need help, that is someone you can turn to and it’s FREE!
That was it, but I felt it was necessary to respond just in case there was other people with similar questions.
I had planned on saving this post until the 17th of this month, which will be my 3rd Birthday clean and sober. Last night I faced my addiction again, however it wasn’t alcohol, drugs, or World of Warcraft. I binged on food last night, and I was going to hide it until I remembered that would be a huge lie to everyone following me on this journey. I would also be lying to myself, pretending that everything is OK to those who love and support me would just help me pretend I don’t have a problem that is bigger than diet and exercise.
A few hours after I ate as much food as I could possibly stomach (which I am happy to say is far less than I used to be able to mindlessly shove in my mouth), I emailed Heather and gave her the list of food I ate. Some of it I had planned and hidden in the back of the refridgerator. I had told myself I would just give it to the kids or husband later if they were hungry, but I knew I was saving it for me. Why would i have put it in the drawer at the bottom of the fridge that no one ever looks into? I ate healthy food too, not just the taco and bean burrito from Taco Bell, but I ate it quickly, mindlessly, and in large quantities. In addition to the taco and bean burrito I also ate a pint of strawberries, two slices of white bread spread with hummus, a banana and almond butter, a large handful of Cheez-It’s, and the leftover steak from the previous evenings meal. I have no idea how long it took me to eat those things, but it wasn’t long. And I didn’t think about anything when I ate the food. I can’t really say I chewed, because I don’t think there was much chewing involved.
I ate to fill something missing in me, or to hurt myself for my success. I don’t know exactly why I did it, but I did. I feel like I am starting over with a new 12 Step Program. AA/OA’s first step is:
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol/food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
That’s it. That is where I am, and by admitting to myself and to all of you that I have a problem will help me beat this addiction. I know I can do it and I know I am worth the effort I am putting into this life change. I am worth it and so is my family.
Binge Eating is something that I have been dealing with for several years. I was in group counseling with a group of men and women who were also Binge Eaters and Compulsive Over Eaters. The group met on Monday mornings in a town about 45 min away, so I couldn’t continue with the group, but I did get a lot out of those sessions. I am making a promise to revisit the materials and suggestions that I took from the group, and on those days I am feeling weak I will share some tips and info with you. I will start tonight:
Success in overcoming eating problems depends on learning to effectively and appropriately handle emotions, specifically: guilt, shame, helplessness, anxiety, disappointment, confusion, and loneliness. People with eating disorders need to learn that success in overcoming eating problems is directly related to experiencing a full range of emotions. The ups AND the downs.
From the book The Food and Feelings Workbook: A Full Course Meanlon Emotional Health by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed