Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 2: Raw

Yesterday was pretty rough. I joked (sort of) with my husband that I had removed my only coping skill but eliminating sweets from my diet. In some ways, this is very true. I had a rough night with a fussy baby and had a much harder time than usual dealing with it. My dear husband actually sent me to take a nap at one point (such a good idea!). Later in the evening, I told him I just felt "raw". My emotions felt much more at the front, like my nerves were exposed. I don't think this is a bad thing, just different for me. Hopefully the passing days will force me to adjust and take care of myself in better ways.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Emotional Eating: A 31-Day Challenge

(It would have been 30 but I technically started yesterday!)

Emotional Eating.

I have talked about it before. It is a big problem for me. I eat when I'm hungry, tired, sad, happy, bored, excited. I eat because I want a treat, I went to run an errand, or something good or bad happened. My go-to emotional foods are sweets. Candy and pastries of any kind, primarily. On Friday, I ate a king-size bag of peanut butter M&Ms. I wasn't hungry; my rationale was that I had my period and, therefore, should eat them.

Makes sense, right? Ha.

This is obviously very far from eating intuitively and has caused me to gain even more weight. I know this is not my natural state because I know I have been overeating and emotionally eating to an unhealthy degree. I eat regularly when I am not hungry and just to "numb out". This is especially difficult at work when I can get bored and snacks are very on-hand.


A challenge. 31 days worth. No sweets at all. While I don't feel like I will really be depriving myself (I've gotten more than my fair share of sweets lately!), I am a little nervous about what will happen when I get tired or bored, particularly at work. I am going to try and discover some replacement habits, such as having a cup of tea or walking away from my desk for a few minutes. I am going to Target to stock up on other snacks today to make sure I don't get hungry. I hope to keep up a similar habit of what I ate yesterday:

half bagel with butter and cup of tea
leftover chicken mole
Dr. Pepper (tapering back off to avoid headache!)
apple with melted cheese
hot dogs, beans, cabbage and potatoes

As I mentioned before, I had a pretty easy time since I was at home. I was never overly hungry and didn't really have any bad moments. After dinner was the hardest but I tried to get creative and really make sure I was hungry.

1 day down, 30 to go!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


(trigger alert)

I hate this word.

I understand it can mean a lot of different things. Like, "Your daughter's checkup was fantastic; she is very healthy!" But you know what I am talking about.

Specifically, the phrase "healthy eating".

It just makes me angry. The H word is imposed onto so many things and banned from so many others. For example, lettuce is "healthy". However, cookies are "not healthy". It can even get nitpicky. Chocolate is one of those on-the-fence foods and dark chocolate is considered "healthier". Really??

It is also insidious when it comes to diet talk. How many times have you heard, "Oh, I'm not on a diet. I am just trying to eat healthier." My mom says this ALL the time. It drives me batty because all she is really doing is restricting. She never eats dessert and barely snacks and eats pretty much the same exact thing every day.

I think people don't realize how dangerous this can be. Last night, I was watching one of my favorite shows, Top Chef. The contestants were charged with making some picnic-type foods "healthier". One contestant was criticized for making a homemade roll and a judge said, "Bread is just empty calories". I was so angry I had to turn off the show.

What is your opinion on this word? Will you be more vigilant about how you use it or how you hear it used in daily life?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Normal Eating"

"Normal eating is being able to eat when you are hungry and continue eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it... not just stopping eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to use some moderate constraint on your food selection, to get the right food, but NOT being so restrictive that you miss out on pleasurable foods. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored or just because it feels good. Normal eating is three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along with way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful.

       Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. It is also under eating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings."~Ellyn Satter (source)

I love this quote. I need to come back and read it regularly. If you haven't noticed, I have been a tad obsessive about my eating habits lately. Overanalyzing what/when/how much and nitpicking my body's responses. In relation to my recent low-sugar crusade, that was a crash and burn and, guess what? I feel fine. I have eliminated soda from my diet but only because I didn't want it anymore; I just no longer found it appealing. It is a huge struggle not to feel self-righteous about it and think I'm doing something "good".

Dieting always drove me batty (imagine that!) because I became so obsessive about the dieting. I would be really "successful" but, as expected, would put weight back on as soon as I stopped dieting. I think I am abusing IE in this way; focusing way too closely on everything I eat and spending too much time in my head. In the last few days, my eating habits have been all over the place but I have felt physically fine and not guilty about what I ate. So, at least for a bit, you may see less actual journal entries as I take a break for my own wellness.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Journal Entry: lower sugar/simple carbs

Here's my first day of eating less processed sugar and simple carbs.

Tea with cream and a touch of sugar. I have recently discovered this vs. my straight black tea. I love it and it feels so indulgent!
2 hard boiled eggs with salsa and salt. This was an odd one for me. I enjoyed it but am really used to a carb-heavy breakfast. I felt pretty good after eating it though and it kept me full for about 2 hours (my average)

Morning snack
Cheese stick and apple. This is an average snack for me any day. Very enjoyable!

Lunch was sad. I had some leftover cubesteak and corn planned but for some reason it tasted funny (like the container maybe?) I had about 3 bites and threw it out.

Another cup of tea for an afternoon perk
Obviously, I am still pretty hungry. I had a pack of wheat crackers with cheese which weren't great. I also had a Cutie orange which was awesome. I am still a little hungry but want to wait a little while to see how I feel.

Later snack
I work later in the evening so get fairly hungry around 4-5. Decide on some trail mix (my last snack left anyway!).

Chicken and potatoes. Fairly basic as usual!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

When Food Makes You Feel Bad

While I was pregnant, I developed Gestational Diabetes. It wasn't a serious case and was easily managed by my diet. I am typically hypoglycemic and they think this may have had an effect.

Before I was diagnosed officially, I was definitely symptomatic. In the morning especially, if I had something too sugary (soda) or too carb-heavy (oatmeal), my heart would race. After the dietary adjustments, these symptoms went away.

7 months postpartum, they have returned.

I have always been a heavy carb eater because that was always the easiest way to control my blood sugar. I also love sweets (as you well know). But now it seems to be affecting me negatively.

My food is making me feel bad. Physically.


My plan is to go back to somewhat of the GD diet. Less simple carbs, more protein. I think this is a really important part of IE. It can be easy to eat what is comforting or just "sounds good". But listening to your body more closely can tell you some interesting things.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Self Care

Golda did a great post on what she called Intuitive Living.

It talks about really focusing on taking care of yourself and nourishing your whole self. I think this can be something easy to forget; while it's important to eat in a way that nourishes your body and mind, there are other activities that should be remembered as well that can help you take care of yourself. I am notoriously bad at putting myself last and trying to caretake others. Ironically, I sometimes make things harder because I spread myself too thin and then can't really help anyone.

Over the weekend was a perfect example. I went to run errands with unstyled hair, no makeup, half in my pajamas. Mildly embarrassing, really. While it's not necessary to always be dressed to the nines, I felt like I had given up on my appearance for the day which made me feel worse.

While this example is a very small scale example of Intuitive Living, we need to be more purposeful about our lives, as best we can. One of my favorite lines is, "You can't take care of anyone else if you aren't taking care of yourself." Put yourself first more often and notice how you feel. Do you feel guilty? Excited? Relieved?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Did you eat too much?

"I ate too much!"

How often do you say that to yourself?

I say it more often than I should. Here is an internal dialogue I recently had with myself.

Ugh, I ate too much today?
No, you didn't.
I ate all that cake and those cookies.
Are you uncomfortably full?
Then you didn't eat too much.
(end scene)

With food morality comes this idea that you should only eat certain amounts of certain foods. I.e., lots of vegetables and minimal to no candy. There are lots of caveats to this of course. If you have a medical condition, for example, you may in fact have to limit certain kinds of foods. When I was pregnant, I developed gestational diabetes and had to limit my carbohydrate intake. However, as an IBS sufferer, I also have to watch my vegetable intake (otherwise, tummyache here we come).

Beyond that, we shouldn't judge what kinds of foods we eat. Eat what you enjoy, what makes you happy and feel good. If some days, that's 3 pieces of cake, that's fine.  And if on other days it's spaghetti bolognese, well then that's okay too.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Journal Entry and Sweet Challenge Update

First, the update!

As much as the disordered part of my mind wants to continue, I am putting a stop to the Sweets Challenge. It is an exercise in restriction for me and I have found myself going down a bad path. I admitted to myself that I really was doing the "challenge" in an effort to cut out "bad" foods and hopefully lose some weight.


So, going forward, my plan is to put less emphasis on exactly what I am eating and try to be more laid back about my choices. My journal entries will be a little less structured to help relax my obsessive tendencies. Let me know any thoughts on the change in structure.

Overnight oatmeal w/peanut butter

Fruit and nut granola bar
Still drinking my Pepsi. I love to sip on drinks throughout the day.

Leftover breaded chicken thighs with cheese ravioli and spaghetti sauce. Yum!
Oh, and the Pepsi is still in action. :)  I also have been drinking water. I have always been a big drinker. Not like that!

Anniversary party at work. I had a piece of cake and a snack-size bag of chips. Ehh. This is one of those moments where you eat the food that is there but I really wasn't into it. Ironic, since cake is one of my favorite things.*

Second Snack (this reminded me of the Hobbits in LOTR)
Trail mix. Obviously cake and chips are not the most filling snack.

Late afternoon snack
It's about 5pm and I won't eat dinner for at least 2-3 more hours. I try not to snack mindlessly at work but grab a cheese stick to tide over the creeping hunger until I can have dinner.**

Kielbasa, baked beans and seasoned steak fries. Dinner is probably my least favorite meal because it's a chaotic time of day and I'm tired. I have taken to eating fairly small servings and sometimes have an evening snack. This evening, I wasn't hungry and this was my last food of the day!

*I almost wrote, "Cake is one of my weaknesses." But that is an absurd statement. Cake is not part of me. It does not make me weak.
**I feel like I just made a bunch of excuses for my need to eat a CHEESE STICK. Really? Really?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Grief and Loss.

Medicinal Marzipan has a powerful post up about grieving the loss of your "body fantasy". You know, that person you wanted to be, thought you would be, still hope to be. But aren't.

I wanted to be:

have longer, faery-like hair
have a different color hair
be tanner
have a flatter stomach
have larger breasts
be more outgoing


My thoughts now:

I am still my same height. I am pretty okay with that at this point in my life.
Thinner, well, I know that probably isn't going to happen without destructive or obsessive behavior.
Oh my goodness, really? It's hair!
Still hair. Plus, there is this magical thing called hair dye.
I have learned to embrace my paleness.
Yeah, not happening, especially after a child. I am trying to my more loving of my soft belly.
Unless I'm paying for them, they're staying just as they are. Most days I am fine with this.
I am actually working on this one. Shyness and social anxiety are things I can change to a degree but I do appreciate and pay attention to my need for quiet, alone time as well.

Basically, I am an average-height, softly formed, Irish-skinned woman with light brown hair who is fairly introspective.

And that is okay.

In fact, it's beautiful.

There, I said it. :-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Worse things

Last night, I had several desserts. I was doing the typical, oh, this will be the last day I have snacks, none tomorrow. Might as well enjoy! I was thinking also that no one would notice (lovely eating in secret behavior). I was wrong. This is conversation between me and my mother-in-law:

MIL: Oh, having Oreos?
Me: Yep.
MIL: Yum! Okay, going to do the dishes. (doing dishes) Oh, did you have ice cream too?
Me: (cringe)...yep.
MIL: Okay.
Me: Yeah. Worse things have happened.

My MIL couldn't care less that I had two desserts. She knows about my history and is very supportive.

My last statement totally struck me. Wow, there are worse things than eating two desserts. Lots of things. And it's not a big deal to eat one dessert, two, or none. It's just eating and it's just food. Worse things can happen.

Journal Entry: Sweets Challenge Day 3

Arrive at work. Have my premade overnight oatmeal ready to go and my requisite cup of tea. Ahhh. I eat about 3/4 of the oatmeal and am fully, will enjoy my tea throughout the morning.

Hungry again, decide to finish oatmeal!

Hungry for lunch. Have some more leftover pasta from earlier in the week.

Having strong sweets cravings. As an experiment, I have one piece of chocolate to see if that satisfies me. (Normally, one is not enough and the cravings become worse). Also open my diet soda for the day for a little pick-me-up.

Rats. One piece is definitely not enough. Going to try some distraction because I am really not hungry at the moment.

I would just like to point out that I have noticed at least 3 candy jars between me and the bathroom. Not that I was counting.

Getting hungry, know I will be heading to the gym soon. Rats, I just remembered I ate a granola bar recently, don't remember when. Please note that my dear 7 month old got up about every 2-3 hours all night last night. I think fatigue is definitely making my sugar cravings and hunger in general much worse. I have caved and gotten 2 more pieces of chocolate in the hopes of a littl energy boost/increased gym motivation.

Decide I am just too tired to make it to the gym so I decide on a walk outside since the weather is nice. I think this was a good effort in what I like to call "intuitive exercising". It appears I made the right choice because I returned feeling invigorated and refreshed.

Back from my walk and very hungry. Wanting something carby as usual for an afternoon snack. Because I'm an idiot, I don't have any of these snacks available to myself.* Off to the vending machines I go. I initially decide on a cinnamon danish thing but then notice the premade sandwiches. These scare me a little but I've never heard any incidents at work so decide on a chicken salad sandwich. I feel totally satisfied after I eat it!

*As I have mentioned before, I tend towards restriction. I am starting to think this whole "sweets challenge" was really a masked attempt at restriction/diet behavior. I keep my snacks at work to a minimum, almost in an attempt not to eat too much, and then end up hungry. It's a weird cycle. The struggle is still my huge fear of weight gain/lack of weight loss and how to make peace with food, body image, and probably irrational fear.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Journal Entry: Sweets Challenge Day 2

Night before
I have no idea what I want for breakfast. Nothing is striking my fancy and I am feeling too lazy to make my overnight oatmeal. I'll decide in the morning.

Getting ready to leave. Still no thoughts on breakfast. Grab a packet of plain instant oatmeal and a banana.

Arrive at work. Breakfast time! Make a cup of tea. Decide on the oatmeal with a sprinkle of sugar (it's plain oatmeal, remember?) and throw in a few peanuts for protein.
Bleh. I forget how nasty instant oatmeal like this is. I eat it all but am not satisfied. I grab my daily granola bar and eat about 2/3 of it and then feel satisfied.

Feeling a tad hungry, finish my granola bar.

Took brisk outdoor walk! Brrr!

Lunchtime! I am discovering that being more descriptive about my food makes it more interesting and appealing. For example, "a turkey sandwich" sounds blah and reminds me of diet food. A "smoked turkey sandwich on thick honey wheat with a touch of Miracle Whip" sounds much more appetizing. I enjoyed my sandwich along with a Pink Lady apple. My caffeine need started to kick in so off I went to my diet soda!

Feeling extra hungry today for some reason. May be the additional activity. I also think I still need to work on making heartier lunches. These moments are tough because I don't want any of my snacks left for the day and would tend to veer towards candy.

After hemming and hawing for quite a while, I have the overwhelming desire for a salad. Random, I know. The closest place near work is Wendy's so I hopped in my car and grabbed one of their half-size salads, perfect!

Emotional family conversation. My immediate thought was that I wanted a snack, especially candy. Trying to be aware of the emotions and my reaction. Will try and sit with them as long as I can. Back to reading my book and getting some work done.

Realize I am actually hungry again. Decide to grab a bag of chips from the vending machine, as I am wanting something carby but only have fruit, trail mix, or cheese left! Again, a reminder to pack less meager lunches.

Unfortunately, emotions won out today. I ended up getting a few pieces of chocolate available in our community stash. I feel like I would have continued to eat other snacks had I not chosen to do this and decided that enough time had passed that I hadn't immediately reacted. I still feel like this was a bit of a failure in my sweets challenge but I hope to pick myself back up and continue forward.
On a side note, chips are not a filling snack! May munch on some trail mix until the end of the day.

Dinner. Chicken thighs with BBQ sauce and mashed potatoes. Not terribly exciting but I ate it.

Throughout the evening I have been wanting something sweet but was so busy the opportunity never arose. I also ended up with terrible reflux from dinner so it was Tums for dessert.

The afternoon emotions really wore me out. I think it would have been so easy to grab some candy or sweets and numb out my anxiety and upset but I sat with my feelings and let them ride. I also think it was crucial for me to recognize what was happening instead of mindlessly reacting. Emotions can be really uncomfortable but it can be important to feel them and give them your attention. I did end up "giving in" and felt pretty guilty about it but I was able to acknowledge what I was doing and not go overboard. Day 3, here we come!

Apples and Oranges.

Hmm, now I want some fruit salad!
Just kidding. This post is actually about comparing yourself to other people.

I went to the company gym this afternoon. There were, of course, lots of extra people since it's the new year. Two women in particular stuck out to me. They were walking on the treadmill when I arrived and finished about the same time I did. We were cooling down near each other and I overheard bit of their conversation which was primarily about sports and exercise. They were both of a very athletic build.

I immediately became very self-conscious. I imagined the thoughts they were having about the mildly overweight, out-of-shape girl acting like she knows how to exercise. Keep in mind, they didn't look at me once and continued their conversation like I wasn't there. I couldn't help comparing my body to theirs, very muscular with flat, muscular stomachs and no apparent cellulite. Those typical naturally pretty athletic girls. I had a hard time not disliking them, which is ridiculous since I don't even know them! They are probably perfectly nice.

I will never look like them. I have a naturally soft figure, curvy hips and a feminine behind. I like my figure but I still get insecure when I see very fit women, especially since I think I need to lose some weight. I think, really, this is unfair to both of us. I am comparing myself to an unrealistic image and am judging and assuming negative things about someone else.

What would be a good strategy to combat this? I certainly could have struck up a friendly conversation or I could have ignored them and focused on enjoying my own workout. Either would have saved me a good deal of emotional distress!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Journal Entry: Sweets Challenge

Arrive at work. Decide on a caffeinated orange spiced tea (yum!). I have some overnight oatmeal* packed. I eat about half the oatmeal over the next hour and decide I'm full, so put it away for later. I also sip on water throughout the morning.

Write previous blog post. Realize I have packed 3 mini candy bars in my lunch. I go put them in the community candy jar for others to enjoy.

Hungry for lunch. Have some leftover pasta with meat sauce packed. Eat all of it and feel full. This is the first time of day I am usually having sugar cravings; ate something savory, now wanting something sweet. To counter this, I am going to try a cup of peppermint chamomile tea. Mmm.

Getting sleeeepy and very hungry. Tried to wait since it hasn't been long since lunch. Perhaps I need larger lunches? Hmm. Open a diet soda and granola bar. It's technically a peanut butter/dark chocolate one but I don't really count granola bars in the "sweets" category.

Still a little hungry although a bit perkier! Decide to have some mixed nuts as I'm feeling the need for some protein. Definitely need to work on higher protein lunches as I always feel much fuller. Discover I do not like Brazil nuts. Bleh.

Back from short gym workout. Decide to finish my oatmeal from breakfast!

The dreaded boredom. 2 hours left in my work day. Getting the munchies. Not hungry so will try and sip my soda or leftover tea and distract myself.

Actually hungry. Rats. This time of day, I usually crave sweet, carby foods (sweets, perhaps?!) I decide on trail mix (non-candy kind), a good mix of sweet, salty, and protein!

Dinner time. Stew with a flaky buttered biscuit. Dinner isn't usually a big deal for me; usually not terribly hungry and a really busy time of day.

Hungry. Got baby down. Typically a sweet snack time of day. I struggled trying to find something that sounded good but wasn't a "dessert" item. Tried to tune into my cravings. Glass of milk, check. Biscuit, check. Slice of salami, check. Sounds random but hit the spot and I wasn't hungry anymore!

Overall, today seemed fairly easy. I will continue this challenge day by day and put some more journal entries up. I find they help me really stop and think about my choices since I'll be documenting them.

*Overnight oatmeal is a recipe I have found online in various incarnations. Basically, you take oatmeal, some kind of milk, and any kind of fixings (I use banana and a nut butter). You mix them together and put it in the fridge overnight. In the morning, the oatmeal has absorbed the milk and is ready to eat.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What IE is not, and a challenge.

Read this great post by Christie Inge for a good explanation on what Intuitive Eating isn't.

I definitely struggle with the line between just eating whatever and being more intuitive. I think, after years of dieting, you develop this all-or-nothing mentality; either you are dieting or you are eating whatever, whenever. This obviously is not intuitive. As I have mentioned previously, this is especially difficult for me when it comes to sweet treats. I have a strong emotional attachment to them and don't always eat them in an intuitive manner.

Example: last night after dinner, I sat down to have some Oreos and milk. I had eaten probably 6-8 before I realized it and barely even tasted them. NOT intuitive.


I am issuing myself a challenge. I am going to keep it modest so as to not overwhelm myself.

24 hours with no sweets. I am hoping to go longer than this but I know discomfort will set in by this afternoon. I will do a journal entry to keep track of my day and really see where my feelings are, how much I am masking them with food, and really dig into the stress reactions I get when I choose not to eat sweets.

Here goes nothing...