May 9, 2008

Getting better (?)

Posted in managing food addiction tagged , at 9:55 am by foodaddict

I think I have this new not-eating thing down. I eat whenever I’m around people, whenever we have a meal together, I eat normally, and when I’m by myself, I can just forget about food, or just eat minimally.

The best part is, when I do eat, I can eat the foods I really enjoy, like cheese, or bread, and I don’t feel guilty about them. I even have dessert.

Most importantly, I haven’t binged at all in the past several weeks — mainly because I don’t keep my “trigger” foods in the house, not because of any newfound willpower. Also, I’m starting to master the art of only eating until I’m not hungry, rather than stuffing myself until I’m overfull.

Also, food is just less of a concern overall. I feel like not-eating has freed up my mind to concentrate on other things. I’m not always thinking about my next meal.

On top of all this, my doctor suggested a new treatment for my allergies, which is working wonders. I wake up in the morning not feeling like my head is full of cement, and I actually feel like doing things I’ve been putting off for months. Wow! I think the spring weather and sunshine may be helping my mood, too.

My only concern is that I don’t want to take this too far. I’ve reached a weight I’m comfortable with, and I’m happy with how I look. I don’t want to let this slide into anorexia….mainly because I don’t want people to start giving me a hard time with my weight loss. My mother has already made a comment that I’m almost “too” skinny. Then again, there’s no pleasing one’s mother, is there? 😉

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April 24, 2008

Stomach vs. brain

Posted in binge triggers tagged , at 11:33 pm by foodaddict

I was completely out of touch with my body’s hunger cues today. I stayed home today, working on a grad school project. A frustrating, anxiety-inducing project (which I did eventually finish), but at each little hurdle, each pitfall, my head was screaming to me, “Eat something! Eat something!”

And I gave in — every time I heard that voice. Definitely not eating out of hunger.

Something about being alone with myself, without distraction, triggers my addiction. I know there has to be a better way to manage anxiety (namely, exercise), but when I’m working toward a deadline, the temptation is just to focus on that project to the exclusion of all else. This is a learned behavior that is just not working for me any more. I need to somehow get out of my own head, and force myself to run around the block or go to the gym.

Good news is, I was able to stop around 9pm. I’m allowing myself 3 pieces of chocolate and tea at night (that was one tidbit I agreed with from Jane Brody’s NY Times article last year — allowing yourself a few hundred calories from foods that you do like). Somehow, that combination does manage to signal to me to me that snack time is over for the day.

April 16, 2008

Worry + Hopelessness + Tiredness = Binge

Posted in binge triggers tagged , , , at 10:57 am by foodaddict

Even though I don’t think I would make a very good 12-stepper, since I have a problem with the idea of God, I do like their idea of “HALT” — i.e., don’t let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. Most of my binges do happen when I’m in one of those states — like last night.

Came home late, had dinner even though I wasn’t very hungry, and then started foraging for dessert. Fortunately, the only available drug in the house was gummy bears. Mass quantities of corn syrup, however, are never a good thing to ingest at midnight. So, I was already tired and worrying because of an exam coming up the following day, and then on top of that I gave myself a sugar high.

These binges seem to spring from several states of mind:

  1. Feeling powerless and hopeless (“I’m never going to be able to study enough and prepare for my exam tomorrow, so I’m going to give up, stay up too late, binge and watch YouTube”)
  2. Trying to subvert my bodily rhythms (“Even though I’m exhausted, I’m going to force myself to stay up and worry that I should be studying, because society tells me I have to be perfect and drive myself really hard, because we’re all supposed to be super-successful”)
  3. Bizarre mealtimes (breakfast at 12pm, lunch at 4pm, dinner at 9pm — all consumed alone, of course)

There is something really irrational about #2. When I get too tired, I just can’t think clearly, and I can’t make a proper decision. Am I going to stay up and study, or am I going to go to bed so at least I’ll be well-rested tomorrow, if not well-prepared? Here is where I fail. I cannot make that decision, so I do neither of those. I stay up and not study, so when the exam day comes, I am neither well-rested nor well-prepared. This, I have been doing my entire life.

Moreover, I am guessing that “super-successful” people don’t think like this. They are more focused, so they’re either (1) staying up late because they’re actually working, or (2) staying up late because they’re socializing with people, or (3) going to bed because they know how to take care of themselves.

The only bright spot today is this: whereas in the past, I would have headed straight for the donut cart this morning, in my new frame of mind, today I am going to wait until my body tells me I’m hungry before I eat something. Small victories!