Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day Four, Feelin' Blah

I am up WAY too early. My cats woke me up around 5:30 and I couldn't fall asleep. I was motivated to do some organizing, so that was a good start to the day, at least.

Thank you guys for your comments on my post about late night eating. I wish it was as easy as just saying, "I'm not going to eat at night" or saying, "tonight I might indulge, but tomorrow I won't". Example: all day yesterday I listened to my body, which wanted mostly healthy foods, plus a few dark chocolate chips. Even at dinner I listened to my body and stopped when I was full, because I was out with my parents and sweetheart and knew we'd get dessert after. I thoroughly enjoyed my dessert, which was eaten around 7:00 at night, but then later I really, really wanted a piece of the homemade carrot cake we have in the house. And I had one. And I wasn't hungry when I ate it, it was for purely emotional reasons that I indulged. And now, many hours later, my tummy hurts.

The thing is, just reasoning with late-night eating doesn't work for me. I don't just say, "jeez, obviously you're not hungry and you know you're going to feel off if you eat this treat late at night", because it's like some part of me wants to rebel and eat it anyway. It seems like it's become a habit.

I know myself too well to think I can just say, "that's it, no eating past 8:00 pm". In fact, that's exactly what I don't want to do. You know they say when you start to eat healthy you should add in healthier foods, not just remove the stuff you already love? I think I need to add in things to my night time routine. Not food, of course, but other ways of comforting and nurturing myself. Also, the boyfriend and I have both agreed that we've fallen into a pattern of too much late night indulging, and once the cake we have now is gone we're going to ease up on desserty stuff, though of course I'm not going to restrict myself from having treats.

Late night eating for me is comfort and emotionally based. I don't want to remove all sweets from my house. I don't want to set another restriction on myself. I want to eat when I'm hungry. I want to listen to my body. But I think to really do that I need an action plan for dealing with late night eating. I've learned various techniques from the many books I've read, so I'm going to have to sit with this and figure out what I think might work for me, then try it. I also need to find something to replace late night eating with - a non food reward or ritual.

What do you guys do to reward and comfort yourself - something that is cheap and non-food related!

I would like to say, though, that overall since I've decided I'm not putting myself on any diets and trying to be loving towards myself, I've felt better emotionally about my looks and weight. Imagine what we'd all be capable of if we stopped wasting time on worrying about what our butt looked like?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Three - Late Night Eating

Good Morning!

So last night I went out to dinner with my sweetie, ate a pretty comfortable amount, loved what I had, all that good stuff. After dinner we ran a million errands, mostly for him: the mall, a sportswear store, the grocery store, Home Depot. When we were at the grocery store I told him to get me something chocolate while I filled up our water containers. When we found each other again he'd gotten me this thick, chocolaty spelt and walnut brownie from the bakery, something we couldn't give back but that scared me.

Scared of a brownie? Yes! It was so thick and rich looking, and I know there was real butter in there. On the drive home I was actually getting a bit hungry again because it had been hours since the sushi and, well, sushi, especially the veggie kind I eat, never holds me over for long. I planned to have a teeny bite of the brownie and maybe some dry cereal to stop my rumbling tummy. However, that's not what happened! I ended up eating the teeny bite, plus a couple of pretzels and a handful of cereal, but then I went back for more brownie. I ended up eating the whole thing!

This is what happens to me: I overeat and start worrying about gaining weight, beating myself up for eating late, try to come up with a plan so I never overeat at night again, and end up back on a diet. Obviously this is not an option right now. I was eating the brownie and about halfway through my body told me, "Eh, I've really had enough of this. It's rich and delicious, but it's beginning to be overkill" and my brain said, "eat, eat, finish it, don't let it go, it's delicious, you should just keep eating it." And my brain one.

So, I want to stop late night overeating without turning to dieting or restricting or some plan that limits the times I eat. I want to pay attention to my body's hunger and fullness signals all the time, including late at night, when I struggle with it the most. I'm not exactly sure what my plan is, at the moment, but I wanted to write about it.

In other news, happy Friday! I'm not working today and I plan on taking a nice walk, relaxing, maybe doing some very overdue cleaning, and I don't know what else. Tonight I'm going out to dinner again. I swear this isn't normal, but my parents had been planning on taking me and my boyfriend out tonight for the last week or two, so it just ended up that I'm going out a bunch of nights in a row. Should be fun, though!

How do you guys cope with late night eating?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Still Day Two, Still Doing Well

You know what I'm finding hard about not "dieting"? Listening to my body and eating when it wants to. In the past, when I was counting calories or on some other plan, I knew when I could eat and how many calories I should be consuming. Not counting calories and listening to my body's signals is interesting.

For instance, this morning I ate a breakfast of oats that I mixed with shredded carrots, raisins, and applesauce that I'd let soak overnight. I added a chopped apple this morning. I have no idea how many calories were in this concoction, because I measured nothing and of course don't want to count anything anyways. About two hours later I felt empty again, and was getting ready to go on a run. I kept thinking I'd wait and eat after the run, that I should wait until lunch to eat again, but my body was kind of being insistent with me. I ate a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter, gasp, without measuring it!

Then, at lunch, I put some Vodka sauce on my rice/lentil/veggie combo. Normally I stay away from that kind of sauce because of the cream in it, but I put some on and had to STRONGLY resist the urge to look at the label to see how many calories were in it. Why does it matter? I ate lunch when I was hungry and put a moderate amount of sauce on my food and that was that. In the late afternoon I felt hungry again, and also annoyed. My brain was telling me it was too late to eat a snack because dinner would be relatively soon, but again, my body was like, "hello, feed me!"

I'm glad I ate, because it turns out I'm going out to dinner again tonight, but it will be a little later, so thank goodness I ate when my body wanted me to!

It's amazing to me that so many of us have gotten to a place where we live in fear of food - fear of the fat grams, fear of calories, fear of what it will do to us. I eat a diet very, very heavy on the whole grains, veggies, and fruits. I've been a vegetarian for 13 years. I exercise almost every day. I live a healthy lifestyle, except when it comes to what I put my brain, and sometimes body, through when it comes to the way I deal with food.

Today I thought, "Oh my gosh...a YEAR without dieting??? That's a long time!" I honestly have never, ever gone that long without trying to put myself on some plan to make me "better". Maybe in college before I started going on diets, but I graduated 8 years ago and I think I've been on and off diets ever since! I really, really want to keep this blog up, because it means I'm keeping up my agreement with myself to stop dieting. To step off the roller coaster of restriction, overeating, and negative body talk. I can do this!

If you struggle like I do, please consider trying the "no diet" mind set on for a little while. Believe me, I know how scary it is, but when I picture my future and where I want to be, "Free from food and weight obsession" is what I really long for, not, "perfect body".

Day Two, Dawn

LOL, I just thought I'd give the title today some drama! I just woke up and wanted to post about my experience yesterday and some other stuff, too!

Yesterday I really did get through the entire day without counting calories and eating what I wanted. I went out to dinner with a friend and didn't even finish my meal. My sandwich was so-so and although the sweet potato fries are got were good, I was getting full, plus we were heading for a to die for chocolate place for dessert after, and I wanted to save room. I'd say that's unusual for me to do, to save room. Normally I'm either in diet mode where I'm very "careful" and don't eat too much so won't even go for dessert, or I'm in "FEED ME!" mode, where I'd tell myself to eat the whole sandwich, all the friends AND dessert, because what the hell!

Dessert was delicious and I didn't finish it, either. Huh. We'll see if I can keep this up! As I've mentioned, I've managed to get to this place before. I feel a good balance and I think what happens to me is similar to what happens to someone who is on, say, medication for depression or other mental disorder. (BTW - I am NOT making light of someone with that sort of disorder; my second cousin is schizophrenic, I have an uncle with mental issues, and various other relatives on anti-depressants, PLUS I've been to therapy a number of times and make my living helping people deal with their stuff!) So, I always try not to diet. Then I do well for a while and I feel so good, and often times even lose a few pounds, that I think, "I don't have to practice intuitive eating anymore, I can just cut down on my calories, lose the weight I want to, then I'll get back to eating mindfully." That always backfires, though, which is why I'm here today, writing this blog about not dieting for a year.

I want to be held accountable, and I have to say I'm so thankful for the comments I've received from all of you guys so far! A couple of you mentioned books you've read or recommended books, so I thought I'd give you a history of what I've read and how it helped.

Intuitive Eating - I've read this book. Twice. I read it the first time about three years ago and a second time within the last year. Everything in it is wonderful and makes complete sense. You know how you read something, get it, and think you'll just integrate it into your life and never stop doing it? I think that's what I keep thinking, but then I get off track again.

Breaking Free from Emotional Eating - Geneen Roth, the author of this book, is the very first person to introduce me to the concept of eating whatever the heck I wanted as long as I only ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. When I first read the book a few years ago I thought she was insane and that there was no way I could ever do that. However, I've learned since then that I am capable of doing that, I just need to keep practicing.

When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies - I actually haven't read this since the first summer I bought it three years ago, I probably should read it again. I strongly believe that I would never, ever go on a diet if I loved my body the way it is. If you lived on a dessert island and never, ever saw "perfect" women on TV or in magazines, don't you think you'd feel better about your body, too? I do want to love my body. I should get this back off the shelf!

The Four Day Win - This book is an excellent guide to the way our brains affect our attempts at dieting. I've read it twice within the last year, and whenever I'm actually doing the exercises from the book I feel great. It starts off by concentrating on taking care of our minds before it ever delves into ways in which to move more and eat less. Good stuff.

If I'm So Smart Why Can't I Lose Weight?
- Another book about feeling your feelings instead of eating through them. Short and to the point.

Runaway Eating - Dealing with very mild disordered eating.

I've read SO many books. I know what I have to do, I just have to do it now. Thanks for listening and all your help!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

More on Day One

It's 1:00 pm on this first day without dieting. I wish I could say it was fun and easy, but when portioning out my food I had to remind myself, "don't measure, don't count calories". And when I was eating I had to believe that I could listen to my body and stop when I was full. It's amazing how many times a really unpleasant thought goes through my head, and how scared I am to gain weight.

It's a little embarrassing to even talk about this. I can't believe I spend so much time and energy worrying about food and my weight, and thinking I'm not good enough where I am. I need to rewire my brain to remind me of my good qualities, and change my story to "I'm perfect the way I am" instead of, "until I lose weight/build muscle/get a great haircut there's something wrong with me".

I really don't think I was always like this. When I was in college and gained 20 pounds over the course of the four years, I barely even noticed it, it was weird. Finally when college let out I realized I was over a healthy weight and needed to get my act together. Even back then when I dieted it was healthy and I never felt obsessed or crazed about it. I lost weight slowly and steadily. The weird thing is, back then I just got myself back to my high school weight, which was not terribly thin. But I was happy and confident. Since then I've lost, then regained, weight. I actually weigh less now than I did then yet I'm still not confident.

Ugh, enough complaining! So far today is going well, I just want to start changing the voices in my head to positive ones. I actually left some of my breakfast because I was full, and made a delicious snack, then lunch, and I didn't measure anything. Which I think eventually will be freeing, assuming I continue to tell myself I'm wonderful. And I am.

Oh, today I also have been eating with my non dominant hand. One of the things I want to do is become more aware of the actual eating process. Often I sit down and suddenly my food is gone...bam! Where did it go? I want to be mindful in my eating. Eating with my left hand is certainly slowing me down.

How do you make sure you eat mindfully?

Day One, Can I Do It?

I am SO. SICK. OF. DIETING. I don't just mean the dieting where I'm on a certain program or counting every calorie, I mean the way I obsess about losing weight, my body, whether or not I should eat peanut butter, if I should allow myself to eat chocolate, if I can eat after 8 pm, if I should be able to have a glass of wine with dinner, what my jean size is, why I don't look like that girl on TV, it's all too damn much!

So I've decided to give up dieting. For a year. I am so exhausted by what I've put myself through over the years, and I'm ready for a break. Unfortunately, I've tried to give up dieting before, and I always fall back into the trap, so I am hoping that blogging about it will keep me in line.

This is not going to be a food blog. Though I may occasionally take pictures of something I ate, or talk about it, I'm not here to track every single thing I put in my mouth. I'm hear to talk about the reasons I diet, and why I think we all are constantly trying to improve our bodies. I hope other women (and men!) can relate and perhaps will look at their own eating and exercising habits, too.

So, more about me. I'm almost 30. I'm within the healthy range of weights for my height, but I'm at the very top end. I've been 20 pounds thinner but also 25 pounds heavier. I exercise almost every day, love to eat a mostly healthy diet, and have struggled with emotional and binge eating for the last 3 or 4 years. I have a good life and a partner who loves me, yet I can't let go of the idea that I need to lose those 20 pounds I gained a few years ago.

Truth be told, I weigh less now than I did in high school, by maybe 5 pounds. I'm not fat. But I'm not thin. I'm not like so many women I see on TV. But I want to let this all go. It's torture to worry about food every single day. I want to go for a year without dieting.

So what does that mean to me? For me, no dieting means:
  • Absolutely no counting calories
  • No restricting food groups (with the exception of meat and fish, I've been a vegetarian for many, many years)
  • No following ANY eating plan (sometimes I go low fat, sometimes I go vegan, sometimes I eat only at certain times...all with the intention of losing weight. No more!)
  • No measuring in attempt to control my food intake
Ideally, I'd like to get to a place where I eat when I'm hungry and stop when I'm full. I want a healthy relationship with food and my body. I can see it, and at times I've felt it, but as long as I keep telling myself, "You're too fat. You have to lose weight", I am going to continue to limit my potential.

I'm ready for a change. I'm ready to love myself as I am and stop trying to force myself to shed pounds. At least for a year, anyways.

Have you given up dieting? Does it ever sneak back up on you?