Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page

Dealing with the "Forbidden Fruit"

How can I better frame/label a dessert buffet, whether it is at a gathering at someone’s house or at a function, so that it is not such a big anxiety-ridden deal, that I don’t look at dessert as “forbidden fruit”?

What if at future occasions where there is going to be dessert buffets, before I even get there, gave myself permission to go over my calorie count that day by a few hundred calories?  (Logically, I know that if I go over my calorie count once in a while it will not be the end of the world.  I have proved that to myself in the past when I have had little slips.  Twenty pounds does not magically jump onto my body from eating 200 calories over my count once in a while.)  What if I allowed myself to have bits of desserts that I thought looked good and stopped making it seem like “forbidden fruit.”  Would it take away the yearning and compulsion to eat something  I know I shouldn’t?  If I were kinder to myself that way, would that be liberating and freeing for me? 

What if I stopped working so hard at being so disciplined with my eating at these ‘events’ and allowed myself to be free and human, and not make the desserts into such a taboo thing.  And while I prefer to eat my calories instead of drinking them, what if I had one entire drink with my dinner so I can relax a little bit and let my hair down, instead of having to cut out dessert or part of my meal to make up for the calories.

The million dollar question:  If I did these things, made the dinner drink and desserts acceptable, would it be the greatest, most freeing thing in the world, or would it lead me back to binging?

Is my strict, discipline (read: control) the reason for my success of almost two years  of abstinence and keeping my weight loss for over a year, or perhaps would trying to let go of my strictness going somehow free me and my mind from the angst?

Dealing with the “Forbidden Fruit”

How can I better frame/label a dessert buffet, whether it is at a gathering at someone’s house or at a function, so that it is not such a big anxiety-ridden deal, that I don’t look at dessert as “forbidden fruit”?

What if at future occasions where there is going to be dessert buffets, before I even get there, gave myself permission to go over my calorie count that day by a few hundred calories?  (Logically, I know that if I go over my calorie count once in a while it will not be the end of the world.  I have proved that to myself in the past when I have had little slips.  Twenty pounds does not magically jump onto my body from eating 200 calories over my count once in a while.)  What if I allowed myself to have bits of desserts that I thought looked good and stopped making it seem like “forbidden fruit.”  Would it take away the yearning and compulsion to eat something  I know I shouldn’t?  If I were kinder to myself that way, would that be liberating and freeing for me? 

What if I stopped working so hard at being so disciplined with my eating at these ‘events’ and allowed myself to be free and human, and not make the desserts into such a taboo thing.  And while I prefer to eat my calories instead of drinking them, what if I had one entire drink with my dinner so I can relax a little bit and let my hair down, instead of having to cut out dessert or part of my meal to make up for the calories.

The million dollar question:  If I did these things, made the dinner drink and desserts acceptable, would it be the greatest, most freeing thing in the world, or would it lead me back to binging?

Is my strict, discipline (read: control) the reason for my success of almost two years  of abstinence and keeping my weight loss for over a year, or perhaps would trying to let go of my strictness going somehow free me and my mind from the angst?

Compulsive Eating at Thanksgiving Dinner

*Sigh*  I knew going into the holiday that it was going to be rough.  I always have a tough time when  there is a buffet of some sort.  I’m pretty good with “meal” foods, but it’s the buffet of desserts that gets me.

The first step of OA is to admit that you are powerless over food. Well, once again I have proven that this is certainly the case with me.  I am weak.  It’s as if I can’t be trusted around certain foods.  It makes me feel disappointed in myself, that I don’ have the self-control to stay away.  I should never take the first bite.  I won’t bore you with the details of what desserts I ate, but suffice to say that I took the proverbial first bite, thought the bites were really good, and had some more bites.  This happened with four different desserts.  At home , on a regular day, I can take the first bite, but when I’m not in my home and it is some occasion where there is a lot of desserts, this sickness clouds my rational thoughts.

Now, the fact of the matter is that I only went over my calorie count by about 250 calories.  I could have done tons more damage, and in the past I would have in a heartbeat.  I consider myself as having kept my abstinence because even though I compulsively ate more dessert than I planned on,  because thankfully I was able to put on the brakes before it got worse, I didn’t continue the eating at home and today I’m right back on track.  But ugh, I still felt a little full after we got back home last night.  I never eat until I’m full.  For SO many years I used to eat until I was physically ill, but for close to two years I have not done that.  I did not like feeling that fullness I felt last night.

In the grand scheme of things, I know that going over my count by 250 calories is not the end of the world.  It was the compulsive behavior that was so upsetting to me.  It is just always a hair away from the surface and can easily cross the surface at any given moment. 

I have put Thanksgiving dinner behind me, there is nothing I can do about it now.  All I can do is make today a good one (which I did) and continue to take it one day at a time.   Still, it sucks to feel week, powerless and out of control.  I know all the tricks, made my plans, didn’t frame the desserts in some negative way and yet, I still succumbed to the compulsion.  It’s like I can talk the talk but I can’t walk the walk. 

I hate that I’m probably going to go through this for the rest of my life.  While I would love to avoid family dinners, special occasions, etc. and stay safe in my home cocoon, I know that that is not a reality.  I have to live my life, which includes these dinners and events.  I need to either find a better way of dealing with the compulsion, or just assume I’m going to go a little overboard, let it happen within reason, be kind to myself about it, then just get back on the horse the following day. 

This sucks.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey all, Just wanted to wish you a happy, smart-eating Thanksgiving.  There is a way to not overindulge this holiday.  Try to stop and think before you start eating something that is going to get you into trouble.  We can all do this, although it certainly won’t be easy.  Good luck to us all!

Dream Dinner Out as Non-Compulsive Overeater

Man, what I would give to be able to have a normal relationship with food, instead of being a compulsive overeater, even just for one night out to eat. 

 Here is how this dream dinner at a restaurant would look…  (cue the dream sequence music…)  I would read over the entire menu and see what I was in the mood for, regardless of whether or not the food had a cream sauce, if it was breaded and/or fried, if it was healthy, or what the starch being served along with it was.  Of course I would be perusing this menu as I enjoyed an exotic alcoholic beverage.

I would order whatever I felt like, maybe even opt for a creamy soup instead of a salad, or oh my goodness, maybe I would even order an appetizer that was fried.  I would have a piece or two of the bread and spread some butter on it.  I would be served all of these foods and be able to stop eating them when I felt like I’d had enough.  I would leave the remainder sitting in front of me, no problem, feeling completely happy and satiated with whatever portion I just ate.

To finish the meal, I would choose any dessert that looked good to me.  I would eat some of it until I was satisfied, then simply be able to just move the plate away or sit with it right in front of me  and not give it another thought, have no longing for it whatsoever.

In this dream, if I perhaps felt I ate too much on this night out, I would quite simply eat a bit less the next day and it wouldn’t phase me a bit.  No hunger pains or obsession for the same decadent foods.  Ho-hum, just another day.

How I wish that this wasn’t a dream.  How I wish I could eat in a restaurant just as I described,  just like anyone who has a normal relationship with food, and that the above situation would just be a regular night of eating out for me.

What would your dream dinner out as a person who has a normal relationship with food  look like?

The Pediatrician Confirmed our Fears

My husband and I thought that our newly-minted 10-yr-old daughter has been looking pretty thin over the last six to nine months.  She had always been a picky eater (like her mom), but her zen for desserts/junk food seemed to be changing.  Whereas prior to that time, on any given day you could count on her to be into having junk food when it was offered, she started to decline such foods on a random basis. 

My first thoughts were of happiness – my daughter had a normal relationship with food and didn’t eat just to eat, and could listen to her body’s signals that she was full or just plain not hungry – woohoo!!!!  What I would give to be  be that way!

Quickly though, those thoughts changed.  As someone who started becoming a compulsive overeater at right around her age, my radar of course went up.  So my thoughts turned to – what effect me and my eating habits and/or the peer pressure at school were having on her.

Because of my issues and being acutely aware of all the body image issues out there for kids these days, my husband and I never used the word “fat” in our house.  You would never hear the words “do these jeans make my butt look big” or the like, because we didn’t want our kids to hear that kind of stuff.  Well, as much as we’d like to keep our kids in a bubble of our protected world, they of course heard those terms and phrases at school and on disney shows (!!), so those terms came into our home.

She had always been an average weight for most of her life, but now she was looking decidedly thin.  So at her 10-yr check up last week, our fears were confirmed.  Apprarently, at this age, kids are supposed to gain about 5 pounds a year.  Well, my daughter grew only 1-1/4 inches and LOST 2 lbs over the course of the past year!  So compared to last year, her height went from being the 45th percentile to the 30th and her weight went from the 50th percentile to the 20th percentile. 

So the doctor wants to see her back again in six weeks to see if there has been any change in her weight.  At that time, the doctor may or may not send our daughter for blood work to make sure it is not a medical issue.

Assuming there is no medical problem, as she is otherwise healthy, I can’t help but wonder what part of this weight issue is from what she mimics of me and what part is peer related. After the nurse weighed and measured her, and we were waiting for the doctor to come in, I was looking at my little record book of her heights and weights and noticed the drop.  I casually mentioned it to my daughter and she made a comment about not wanting to get fat.  I know that is not something ever said in this house, however, I am her mother, her main care-giver, and I’m sure some of my sickness is evident to her in some fasion.  *sigh*  I have not told her (or my younger son) about my eating disorder because I think she is too young to really comprehend it.  But I will definitely have a talk with her about it when my husband and I feel the time is right.

So my husband and I are supposed to, in a relaxed fashion,  encourage her to eat more, such as having a snack before bed, which we haven’t done in the past.  We are hoping that by her hearing from the doctor that she needs to eat more, and our gentle prodding, that she will put some weight back on.

Thanksgiving Dinner on My Mind

Thanksgiving is approaching and I’m already trying to wrap my brain around how I’m going to try to deal with the dinner.  Typically, we host so it’s easy for me to sort of control the menu and I can easily sneak into the kitchen and weigh/measure my food so I know exactly how much I’m having.   As you probably know by now, I’m a calorie counter and there is a certain amount of calories that I shoot for each day.  I count my calories not only so that I don’t go over my calorie count, but also so I don’t go too far under.  If I end up to be under, I am thrilled to be able to eat some more to get up to my allotted amount.

So eating at someone’s home is stressful for me on a couple of levels.  First is because I cannot use my scale and I have to eyeball the quantities of most things that I eat.  After all these years of measuring and weighing, I’d like to think I have a pretty good grip on roughly what things weigh by eyeballing them, but it still bothers me not knowing exactly how much things weigh and subsequently how many calories I’m having.  I’m well aware that this control thing is part of my compulsive eating sickness. 

Why don’t  I just bring my scale, you ask?  Because I do not feel comfortable weighing my portions in front of everyone, especially my children.  And I don’t want to draw attention to myself by getting up from the table with my plate, pulling out my scale, weighing everything and writing it down.  Also, as I’m still a closeted compulsive eater, I do not want people watching me or whispering about me.  Perhaps at some point I will come out and I will bring my scale, but until that day…

The second level of eating at someone’s home that stresses me is that it is really difficult for me to be done eating my dinner (because I (stupidly) eat too fast and I don’t eat a lot), is that I end up sitting there with all these serving dishes of foods in front of me.  And while the food itself may not be calling to me, I find it very difficult to just there and do nothing.  I feel compelled to eat.  If there was a bottomless bowl of salad with light dressing for dipping that I could keep shoveling in, I’d be happy as a clam.  However, that is rarely the case. 

If I were in my own house entertaining, I could easily get up and start cleaning up, doing dishes, etc.  I can certainly help out in someone else’s home, but it’s just not the same as being in your own home.

I need to frame this properly and not make it into a big deal.  I need to come up with a game plan of what I’m going to eat.  Those are things I can try to do.  But I’m not sure how to deal with what to do when I get done eating and everyone is still enjoying their dinner.  This happens to me all the time in the almost two years I have remained abstinent.  I have confidence in myself that I will get by again with this meal as well, but boy I wish I could figure out a way to make it easier.  It’s not a pleasant feeling to have some level of dread when going to someone’s house to have a family/holiday dinner.

Suggestions, anyone, on how I can deal with this in a socially acceptable way?

Brownies Follow-Up

So after the whole birthday party episode on Sunday night, last night, after giving it entirely way too much thought, I opted to eat an m&m brownie for dessert.  This time, I put it on a plate, and sat down.  I was very conscious about my eating and focused only on enjoying brownie.  I took little bites, actually chewed and swallowed the bites, then took another bite.  In other words, I actually savored it.  I don’t do that enough and I know that. 

It was very good and I enjoyed the brownie very much.  In the end though, it was short-lived enjoyment.  It was just a piece of food.  Gasp!  Did I really just say that!?!??!?

I Got into the Brownies

So last night we hosted a handful of my daughter’s girlfriends and our immediate family to celebrate my daughter’s 10th birthday.  Double digits!  My daughter opted not to have cake, instead she wanted brownies and ice cream.  If this were a few months ago, I would have said that brownies are my kryptonite.  If I have learned anything from my therapist, it is that how I frame things, like using the word kryptonite, has a huge impact on how I look at certain foods.  So I will correctly then say that brownies (especially homemade ones) are one of my favorite things on the planet.  My daughter and I made two batches – one plain, and one using m&m’s to spell out “happy birthday” on the top.

Well, I was doing great serving it to the kids, barely had a taste of the moist, chewy good stuff.  My husband ate a m&m brownie and told me it was really great.  Thanks, honey!  Ten minutes later he tells me the same thing.  All good intentions of course, he was just praising the chef, I get that and appreciate it.  (Although at the end of the night, after mentioning a third time how good the brownies were, he realized, being aware of my sickness, he should not have kept mentioning to me how good they were.  Isn’t hindsight great?!?!?) 

So where was I…. oh, so I was serving kids brownies and ice cream and I’m thinking – deep breath, you can do this, girl, but the need to eat some was starting to really grow.  It soon got to the point where it was practical to combine the plain brownies with the m&m-covered brownies to make more room on the table, so I consolidated and took one pan (the ones that had the plain brownies in it) into the kitchen, to, well, quite frankly, eat the stuff left behind and then wash the pan. 

Though there wasn’t a lot to eat, maybe a brownie’s worth of scrapings, I ate them down so fast.  Instead of slowly enjoying every bite and savoring, I ate them quickly because I did not want someone to walk in and catch me scraping every last crumb of the left behinds from the baking pan *sigh*. 

So when the party was wrapping up and I was bringing everything into the kitchen to clean up, etc, there sat front of me the 1/2 full pan of brownies that had both the plain and m&m’s.  The m&m ones, which my husband raved about, were calling to me.  Unfortunately, my sickness clouded my rational thinking and I answered the call.  My husband was right, they were really good. 

I ended up eating two of them and all told went over in a calories by a little bit, but not too terrible (thank goodness I ate a small dinner knowing that I could get in to trouble with the treats we baked).  Once again though, dammit it, I inhaled them, instead of savoring them.  On a good note, I am pleased to say that after eating the two I was able to put on the brakes and the brownie eating did not go any further.  

There are still about a dozen or so sitting on my counter right now.  They are not calling to me, but that can change at a moments notice.  I will do my best to be strong.

Why I Eat Salad When we go out for Dinner

My husband asked me the other day why I always eat salad as my entrée whenever we go out to dinner.  The answer was a no-brainer for me – I get to stuff my mouth repeatedly with food, which fulfills my desire to feed my face, yet I get the most bang for the buck – I eat tons of food which doesn’t equate to a lot of calories.   Volumetrics I think it’s called.  Seriously!

I usually just get a whole plate of lettuce with either grilled chicken or shrimp on top, with a light dressing on the side for dipping.  I get to eat what appears to be an awful lot of food, I can totally eat every morsel of the food, I will feel full and wallah, I have calories to spare for some dessert!  What could be better than that?!!?!?

On top  of all that, I have been, and still am, a very picky eater (something sadly that my 10-yr old daughter has gotten through the gene pool from me).  Anyway, I really only like a handful of vegetables (and that is pushing it) and a handful of fruit.  So to me, eating a dark leaf /spinach salad is filling the void of the lack of other vegetables which I tend to skip otherwise.  Once again, in my mind, a win-win situation.

So that is the reason, honey, why I always order salad as my entrée when we go out to dinner.  It’s working for me, so why fix it if it ain’t broken?