Tag Archives: binge

image via harvard school of public health

Your weight does NOT define you!

By: Jill Ouhrabka MS, RD, LDN, CHC

Working with clients, particularly those who are struggle to lose weight there is a common theme…they all are focused on the number on the scale!  Once they let go of weighing themselves they stop focusing on calories and food and end up loosing weight!

Why is this?

When you weigh yourself, you feel good if your weight is where you want it and badly if it is not where you want it. This reaction to the number on the scale can fuel your mood for the day causing negative (or positive) thoughts and emotions particularly related to body image and food choices. You may find yourself restricting calories or food to try to lose weight or making poor food choices because your weight is where you want it. Why does your weight make it okay or not okay to eat certain foods?

By focusing on your weight, you are so focused on changing the number on the scale that you are not actually listening to what your body needs and this can cause many weight issues. You are also not taking into account that your weight can fluctuate a great deal during the day and depending on what is going on with your body.

What is the answer?

If you have to weigh yourself, do it once a week as an objective measure. Don’t let the number define you.  Remember that the number you see on the scale says nothing about your body composition including body fat versus lean muscle. It does not account for height or body frame.

Focus on how you feel in your body. When you are eating well, exercising in moderation, and your clothes fit well, you are going to feel good about your body! When you stop focusing on the number, you can focus on how you feel and what your body needs (as far as food, sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc).

How can you get to a healthy weight?

Focus on balance. Eating foods that are healthy most of the time, and those less healthy foods in moderation- don’t deny yourself, eat less.

Diet: Focus on eating breakfast everyday and then eating every 3 hours.

Exercise: Aim to exercise most days of the week for 30 to 45 minutes/day.

Sleep:  Get enough sleep! If you are tired, your body will think it needs energy and you will end up eating more!

Stress: Manage stress with exercise, meditation, and yoga. Stress can cause weight gain so managing it daily is essential.

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Eat breakfast to keep off extra weight this holiday season!

If you do nothing else this holiday season, eat breakfast. If you can eat breakfast and then eat every 3 hours you can curb hunger, stabilize blood sugar, and decrease your sugar cravings and overeating. You don’t have to eat large meals, just try to have a carbohydrate and a protein source at each meal and snack to help you feel full and satisfied. If you know you will be eating a big lunch, make your breakfast and morning snack smaller but don’t skip them! 

Don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning?

Have something small and light! You can have a glass of 100% orange juice, skim milk, a piece of fruit, left over pizza, a granola bar, a handful of nuts or cereal, or a Greek yogurt. Any of these foods will jumpstart your metabolism.

Get into a routine of eating every 3 hours. Your daily meal times could look like this:

  • 7 am: Breakfast
  • 10 am: Snack
  • 1:00 pm: Lunch
  • 3:00 pm: Snack
  • 6:00 pm: Dinner
  • 8:00 pm Snack

Eat carbs and protein at all meals and snacks. Some ideas can include:

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese (protein) with 1 cup of high fiber cereal (carbs)  *Tip: Mix 1/2 cup high fiber cereal with 1/2 cup cheerios or other cereal to make it tastier
  • 2 slices of whole wheat toast (carbs) with egg whites (protein) and veggie sausage (protein)
  • 2 Tbsp Hummus (protein) with carrot, cucumber, or celery sticks (carbs)
  • 8 oz Greek Yogurt (protein) with berries (carbs) or cereal (carbs) mixed in

 

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Food Addiction Journal Entry

I can see it on the floor as I sit at my desk. One Hershey hug-someone must have dropped it. For a moment I forget that I don’t “do that anymore” I think-are there more? Would I eat that off the floor? Its wrapped…but still.

I have this two second flash of when seeing that candy and denying myself it would have led to me buying $20 worth of hugs and chewing and spitting the whole bag out, never swallowing it. I would probably have picked up that hug and chewed it and spat it out right there.  That one instant may have caused me to spiral out of control with food into the all too familiar negative cycle but not anymore!

I do not take the candy. I do not even think about it for more than that mere momentary flash. Instead I recognize the thought, have a yogurt, and get back to work. I do not give it another thought until I am enjoying my daily treat- some m&m candies- when I get home. If you had asked me ten years ago if I could react the way I did today I would have said NO! I had NO self control. I was so unaware of my mind body connection, and unable to listen to what my body actually needs that I would have had no self control and no chance at not having a binge. Now when I start to crave sugary foods, I recognize that I am hungry and then I do something amazing…I eat!

Learning to listen to your body and your hunger cues is essential for overcoming food addiction. Having regular meals and snacks will help keep blood sugar stable so that when you get a craving or an urge for sugar/binge you can stop the cycle. Learning to take care of yourself, including eating well, being mindful, and managing stress will go a long way to you being free of your addiction.

image via harvard school of public health

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Food Addiction Journal Entry

April 23, 2010

           “After my very inspiring entry on April 19th, 2010 I had another “bad” day on April 20th which I took very hard. I was extremely at peace with going to get the candy and didn’t even try to convince myself to stop. I was just like “ I want it” and it was full force. I felt very out of control and like I wasn’t the one in charge, it was scary. I told my boyfriend about it and he said the “maybe you really aren’t ready to get better” which really upset me-of course I want to get better! He is supposed to be supporting me no-matter-what and he says because I have a set back that I don’t want to get better??? Then I started thinking…could he be right? I don’t know. I don’t think he is right. I think that unless you have or are trying to recover from an addiction you really have no idea what its like. I think he thinks that it should be no problem to get over it if I really want to which makes me feel extra awful when I have a “bad” day. I accept that I will have good days and then a bad day and have to get “back on the wagon” and pick myself up until eventually the good days are easier and more numerous than the bad days. I just wish everyone else got that. Maybe I am fooling myself into thinking I am getting better but I am pretty sure I am getting better.

I look at my life at this time last year and I had just begun to be able to have “good” days during the week. The start of my recovery was really in March last year when we were in Hawaii for my sister’s 21st birthday. When we came back I was doing really well and I lost 10 to 15 lbs and looked great all summer. During the end of August, early September into October things were harder again. I found it harder to have a “good” day and easier to just cave in. I think a lot of it was that I was living with my parents and just not very happy. When I moved out in November I sort of restarted the whole recovery aspect and have been in full force ever since.  I honestly find my boyfriend to be a great source of motivation without his even knowing it. I want to get better so that we can do whatever we want whenever we want and I don’t get all weird or feel like I can’t enjoy the time because of my food addiction. I want to be well so I can enjoy life and do what I want when I want. This eating disorder holds me back from social outings, friends, family, and from being a normal well adjusted person.

Today I read a book at home and actually thought “this is what it should be like.” I was doing a normal activity and just at peace with the day/myself. I thought about buying candy, I even went to a store to buy gum and had to go to the candy aisle to do so. I left with gum, soda, and saline solution for my dog’s eye. I was so proud of myself for not caving. I can go into a store and not buy candy!! I think that is another thing that is hard, I am really all on my own for my motivation and praising myself. I have reached out to a lot of people for help and they are all willing to help however they can but ultimately it is up to me.

I have to say I am really happy that I am now able to go through a week and have more good than bad days. I feel like everyone else wants me to be well but truly has no idea how to help me and honestly I don’t know what to say in regards to that. I just need support and the hardest part is that I need the support the most when I can’t ask for it. How do I get that? How do I tell someone to help me when I need it the most but won’t ask for it?

This is definitely not an easy road to recovery and I find myself frustrated a lot but also am really trying to cut myself a lot of slack. I have my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and I truly believe I will be well. If I can improve each month and each year then I can eventually be free of this horrible disease.

still contemplate entering rehab and perhaps it would be for the best because I would truly have to surrender my control and would be forced to face myself when I am in addict mode and will do anything for a “fix.” Unfortunately I am not in a financial position to get that sort of help and since I currently have no health insurance there is really no way for me to seek help. I could take out a loan or ask for money from my parents but I really think I can do this on my own with the support of professionals and those closest to me. My brother still asks me weekly (though its supposed to be daily) how I am doing and he keeps a weekly tally of good vs. bad days.  My boyfriend asks me daily for 3 reasons why I want to get better and he is so supportive of me though he often doesn’t know how to help he keeps trying. I have never had someone care so much about me and genuinely want me to be better. I am actually very afraid that I will lose him over this eating disorder. I am afraid he will just pack up and leave one day because he can’t handle “it” anymore or he will get sick of my failing. I would hope he would stick by my side thru thick and thin but I couldn’t blame him if he couldn’t deal with it. It’s a lot to deal with. I wish I could be “easy” and eat whatever I want. I wish I could indulge and enjoy it. I have never been and never foresee myself being the sort of person who enjoys unbuttoning their pants because they are so full. I would rather keep my pants buttoned and eat less. I don’t think that’s about control but more that I find a person should eat for energy and not for enjoyment. I know that so many people would disagree and that is okay…

I would love to see nutrition taught in the schools so kids learn how to eat right. Its ridiculous that there is no nutrition education and it makes me crazy because I really think if someone had pulled me aside or showed me how to eat for energy not for feelings of emptiness or sadness that I would not be the product of an eating disorder…”

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Food Addiction Journal Entry

Note: “This is a journal entry when I was at a pivotal point in changing my eating habits and behaviors. Journaling has really helped me learn why I binged, and struggled with food. I encourage you to start journaling and trying to understand why you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight or struggle with food. My hope is that by sharing these types of entries, you will realize you are not alone with your food addiction or weight struggles. I struggled for 16 years. You can get better, there is hope. Do not give up!!” ~Jill

April 19, 2010

To most people a cookie represents happiness. It is something sweet that they crave and eating it fulfills the craving which then passes. To me, a cookie represents fat, calories, and “being bad.” If I ate a cookie I would be “misbehaving.” This does not apply simply to cookies but also to pancakes, cake, pastry, candy, butter, lard, oil, essentially anything with fat and sugar. I realize as I write this how most people will roll their eyes and say “get over it” or “just eat it!” but I also realize that these people would have no comprehension of what it is like to be physically afraid of food.

More and more I am really getting the whole idea that food is what we need for energy.  This simple statement seems like a no brainer but if it was so simple to just eat for energy there would not be such an epidemic of obesity or a rising number of eating disorders and food addiction. I am continually trying to train myself to eat and think more in terms of refueling my body. I am thinking of my body as a car, it won’t work if it doesn’t have fuel. For instance, if I go for a run I will think of the energy I just used and realize that I need to “refuel” in order to continue to operate. I am thinking of my body in much nicer terms. I would not be able to live if it did not support me. I must support it with healthy foods and give it enough food. I am trying to appreciate myself much more.

In many ways I really love and admire my body. I find it amazing that my body can operate on its own and it will keep me alive as long as I provide it with the tools it needs.  While high fat/ high sugar foods are what taste great, they are not the best choice for providing the body with the energy and nutrition it needs to survive. The best choices are low fat, nutrient dense foods like brown rice, vegetables, lean meats/fish/protein, and dairy products.

My whole life I have looked at my body as a means of acceptance to others.  It was like a competition, everyone needed to be the same small pant size or something was wrong with you. I have thought that if my body could look a certain way then I will be more loved by my family and more accepted by strangers and the general population. I remember when I lost weight in high school and college- I loved when people would compliment me on my figure-it made me feel “better than the rest.” Now I realize that this method of thinking is absurd. The reality is that being a certain size is not what is important but rather what you are physically putting into your body (or not putting into it) that is important.

My goal going forward is to eat for health, not happiness/comfort/guilt/etc. I want to become one of those people who changes their whole life simply by eating better and exercising. My biggest challenge is eating right. I keep eating two and three hundred calorie meals and then snacking a lot because I am still so hungry. While I almost never go over my calorie allotment, I also never really feel full. This is something I would like to work on as well.

I really wish this was not such a struggle for me. I wish I could just eat whatever I want and not care but I can’t…not yet.