(Ha! Ha! I'M SO PUNNY)
You may have noticed that my weight posts stopped running oh, three or so months ago. (I'm so punctual with updates!) They disappeared for a myriad of poor-me reasons. But first, for any nannyblog newbies out there, the backstory.
I've struggled with eating since I was 12 or 13 years old. I've *always* had a problem controlling myself around food. I've struggled with binge eating, compulsive overeating, restrictive eating, etc. You name the diet, I've probably done it. I yo-yo diet, and rebound with a gain. I stress eat. I overeat. It's bad.
I've also struggled with sneaking food, and with cravings that literally take over my mind until they are satisfied. Sometimes when I get a craving I cannot think, talk, distract myself, or do anything else until I've given in. And I go through waves — some days, weeks, months, are better than others.
When I was 15 and 16, I went to an eating disorder facility (on an outpatient basis) here in Dallas. It's an excellent facility, and they gave me excellent resources, but at the time, I just didn't have the strength or motivation to get my eating disorder under control.
I struggled for years after that. This past year, it just got worse. Especially toward the end of this past semester. Food became my enemy; I hated it with a passion, because I just couldn't control myself around it. I binged daily, sometimes multiple times a day. I ate terribly. I put things that were NOT good (high fructose corn syrup, I'm talking to you) into my body just because I couldn't stop.
When I came home this past May, I was at an all-time low. Every second of every day was a struggle with food. Every second of every day was a battle, and I was miserable. I was spiraling into a depression because of it.
So I went back to the eating disorder facility in mid-May (again, on an outpatient basis). I attended individual and group therapy. And I started to feel hope again.
It is an incredibly humbling experience to sit in on our weekly group therapy, surrounded by girls suffering from anything from overuse of laxatives, to anorexia, to bulemia, to restrictive eating, to binge eating...we run the gamut. But we learn week after week that we are all so similar. And it is a breath of fresh air.
I'm eating much healthier now. I'm a vegetarian (have been for 9 years now), but my diet has mostly been carb-heavy until now. But now I'm really concentrating on bringing in healthy proteins with good fats — LOVE avocados! — and only eating whole wheat grains. I eat as many fruits and veggies as I can each day. I love yogurt, and have it with fruit for breakfast every morning.
I also check ingredients on everything. If it has ingredients that I can't pronounce, I don't eat it. It's that simple. Or, if it has a LOT of ingredients, I don't eat it. I'm all about the simplicity now. And I eat mostly fresh, and raw, which I love.
I'm learning tools to help curb my binges. I can't tell you how helpful they've been to me, and I know a some of you have problems with binge eating as well, so I thought I'd share those tips.
1) track your food. I know, I know. I HATE doing this, but I can't tell you how much it helped. My food therapist made a chart for me where I could write date/time, feeling before eating, food eaten and amount, and feeling after eating. That really helped me figure out the best times for me to eat, and what to eat that would keep me full.
Sometimes it's hard for me to track knowing I don't have anyone to be accountable to with my food logs. So I started taking the food logs to my eating disorder facility. Just knowing someone would be looking at what I'd eaten made me want to eat better. Oh, and if any of you want to start tracking, I'm happy to be your "accountable" person — just email me or comment!
2) eat THREE SQUARE MEALS A DAY. That means breakfast, too. I absolutely cannot stand eating breakfast!!! But I do now. Every single day. Even if I get a day to sleep in, I wake up around 8 to eat breakfast and then go back to sleep. I've really noticed that I binge less if I eat breakfast.
3) just don't keep temptation food around. Don't buy it. If it's in the house and I like it, I'm going to eat it. Luckily, my family has been amazing at helping me with this.
4) really stop and think before you eat. I struggle with this one, because I tend to compulsively eat. But if you stop, force yourself to really think about what the best thing to put in your body would be, it helps. Do you feel good about this meal? Is it worth having temporary satisfaction to feel lousy and guilty later?
5) if you get a craving for something, challenge yourself to wait 5 minutes before you satisfy it. MAKE yourself wait 5 minutes. And after those 5 minutes, if you still want it, challenge yourself to wait 5 more. Sometimes I have to set my timer in 5-minute increments 10 or 15 times before I realize that giving into the craving is just. not. worth. it. (Plus I'm so proud that I've made it that long without giving in that I don't want to give in at that point!)
6) keep healthy food as your ONLY options. Fresh fruits/veggies, whole grains, good lean proteins, low- or non-fat dairy. Honestly, if you have a great streak of eating well, it's easier to resist a binge because you don't want to ruin what you're doing!*
*this isn't to say you can't ever have sweets or 'bad' foods ever again. Rather, I tell myself, "At this point in time, I know that if I open this bag of chips, I won't be able to control myself and I'll eat the whole thing. At this point in my recovery process, I am not ready for this bag of chips yet. There will come a day when I can control myself around food again, and THEN I can have some chips."
7) do whatever you can to distract yourself when you're fighting cravings, or resisting having a second helping. Take the dog for a walk. Throw away the temptation food. Watch a movie and knit. Suck on ice. I'm not even kidding you, several times I have literally sat down and written out, "I will not binge. I will not give in. I will not binge. I will not give in." hundreds of times to keep myself from binging.
8) if you exercise, if at all possible, do it in the morning. I do that for two reasons. First, if I don't exercise first thing in the morning (even if it means waking up early), I won't exercise that day. I just won't have the motivation to do it at night. Second, if I exercise in the morning, I know I've done something good for my body and it's easier to resist binging because I've already been so good that day :)
I know this post is wayyyyy long, so I'll wrap it up. I'm a few months into the process of fighting my eating disorder, and while I still struggle, I'm lightyears better than I was in May (and I've dropped a few pounds!). I really hope these tips I've gotten will help those of you who struggle. You are NOT alone in fighting eating. I'm right there with you!!! And it DOES get easier!