Where is my mind

The last few days since my last post have been funny kinds of days.

I’ve been pretty busy, and had lots to occupy my mind.

In my last post, 4 days ago, I talked about a binge. I haven’t binged since, but I have been overeating. A bit too much snacking, including getting into the lolly jar at work. Usually I avoid it because it brings back bad habits; I easily slip into the mid-afternoon sugar-craving urge. If I give in and have chocolate or lollies, I will usually crave the same a few hours later. That happened today. It wasn’t a typical binge, but I bought chocolate and ate it all, and it was too much for one sitting.

So I’ve been thinking about what’s been happening over the last few days to cause my motivation to dip. I feel like I’m kind of distracted from my health goals, which is eating healthy and not bingeing.

I haven’t been weighing myself. Previously, I’ve said that I shouldn’t weigh myself but since I’ve stopped I’ve binged and haven’t been eating my usual healthy foods. Not sure if there is a correlation there. On the one hand, maybe weighing myself keeps me accountable and is a daily reminder of my weight loss goals. But on the other hand it wasn’t great for my confidence.

Also, feeling so distracted has resulted in me eating mindlessly. I just eat without thinking, and before I know it I’m going back for seconds. The same with when I go food shopping, I just throw things in the basket. Today, I just wanted chocolate and just threw it in, it wasn’t a conscious thought. I didn’t give myself the time to process if that’s what I really wanted, and if there was a healthier alternative that I would be happy with.

Well, today’s lesson is clear, slow down and be mindful. Reflect and think about what I’m doing before I actually do it.

Here’s a very fitting song for how I’m feeling by the wonderful Pixies.

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Major stuff up today

The day started off okay. I went out for lunch with friends, had a couple of glasses of wine. Then I stopped at the shops on my way home. I should have just gone straight home, there was nothing I needed to get that couldn’t wait.

I don’t know what came over me. I kept on putting item after item in my shopping basket. Food that I didn’t need: chips, popcorn, chocolate and biscuits.

When I got home I picked at everything, but I didn’t finish anything.

Initially I had this weird excitement, and then when I started eating I just didn’t want it and felt awful. But I kept on picking at it.

It didn’t go as long as some binges. I started with one item. Then would stop. Then I’d start again with the next item.

Even after the first couple of bites I realised I didn’t want it. But I didn’t stop straight away.

I still have the food sitting on my kitchen table. I’ve put it into a plastic bag. I know if I keep it in the house I risk eating it later tonight or tomorrow. I’m going to throw it in the rubbish bin outside.

I feel sick and awful.

Motivation!

Motivation is an interesting thing. My motivation is cyclical. It doesn’t matter what I am motivated about, it comes in waves: starting strong, keeping steady, and then eventually dropping off. When it’s work related I get through the slumps and make up for them when my motivation starts to peak. Sometimes I wish I could be more consistent, but usually there are external factors that spark up my motivation such as deadlines or events.

My motivation in relation to my health and struggle against binge eating is the same.

I just did some reading about the cyclical nature of motivation.

Motivation = driving state > behaviour aroused > behaviour directed towards goal.

This is an interesting theory: homeostasis, which explains the “stability of inner environment”. So when our “internal state” is not right, it motivates us to do something to fix it, once it is fixed we return to homeostasis.

I guess if I were to apply this thinking to how I have approached dieting or trying to lose weight in the past it would be:

Driving state:

I am not happy with my weight  (internal environment unstable)

Behaviour:

Dieting and exercise  (internal environment becoming stable)

Behaviour towards goal:

Dieting and exercise to lose weight (internal environment becoming even more stable)

So, even if I haven’t reached my weight loss goal my internal environment becomes more stable because I feel like I am doing something to reach my goal. Therefore I lose motivation because I am in “homeostasis”.

What is the solution?  Is there one?

Maybe the goal is too far away and my efforts need to be so long term that I eventually lose sight of the goal.

So, lesson here, make the goal:

  1. Not about weight loss because like I’ve shared previously that’s tough for me
  2. More about health and wellness and something I can control

This is easier said than done because even though when I write this blog I always say my current focus is on being healthy and getting past binge eating (which I am, I’ve been doing pretty well with it) I still weigh myself everyday and am disappointed!

I totally need to stop weighing myself, at least on a daily basis!

In my motivation research, here are some good tips for staying motivated:

1. Shift your vibe

Get rid of the negative self-talk by recognising it and squashing it! Replace it with something positive.

2. Stick with it

Recongise that motivation is cyclical and come back to it. Don’t give up!

3. Immerse yourself

Eat, sleep and breathe your goal.

4. Start small

Keep goals small and achievable.

PS – if you are reading this because your motivation is lacking, stick with it! You’ll get there!

References:

http://www.preservearticles.com/201104195558/facts-about-motivation.html

http://www.vibeshifting.com/surviving-the-slump-how-to-stay-motivated/

Sometimes I really hate my ‘irrational self’

I’ve been thinking about rational versus irrational. It’s interesting how I can feel totally positive, in control and rational in one moment; and then a few seconds later I can do a 180 and feel the total opposite.

Is it that I’m over sensitive and when something is out of my control I have a big reaction? Maybe. I can be controlling about some elements of my life, but not all. Obviously not all because I have experienced that total loss of control when binge eating.

This post kind of links with a previous one on positivity and negativity.

I thought I’d try to break it down and identify what goes through my head when I’m feeling irrational, maybe then if I can identify it, I can tell myself that I’m being irrational and talk myself into a more positive place.

It’s my irrational self that:

  • tells me to weigh myself every morning
  • makes me feel down on myself when I’m not happy with that figure on the scales or it inexplicably goes up for no reason at all
  • makes me think that food will be a comfort

When I feel strong and positive my ‘rational self’ is in control and:

  • tells me not to worry about what’s on the scales, because right now I am focussing on being healthy and getting my binge eating under control
  • takes joy in the fact that my bingeing is getting under control
  • tells me that my mildly underactive thyroid makes it harder for me to lose weight, it’s not impossible but progress will be slower
  • tells me that being healthy is better than being thin
  • reminds me that I have an injury that needs a couple more weeks to heal so exercise is on the back burner for a little while

Yes

Yesterday was an incredibly stressful day at work. It was demanding and by the end of the day I was totally drained and exhausted. I just wanted to go home and veg on the couch.

Days like that are usually big triggers for bingeing.

But last night not only did I not binge, but bingeing never even popped into my mind.

There was no conscious effort to avoid bingeing….at all.

It was only this morning when I was reflecting on the stress the day before that I realised.

It feels like a win. A big win actually.

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When is a binge a binge?

Last night I got home from working absolutely hanging for a big, delicious green smoothie. So I made a big batch and it was delish. It was also quite filling. Although I had my dinner planned I found that the smoothie filled me up so much, I wasn’t hungry for my dinner. So, trying to listen to my hunger signals better, I didn’t have what I planned for dinner, I just ate something lighter a bit later in the evening.

After that, I was still a bit peckish so I started munching on some dates. I had a small bag with maybe about a dozen in there. I had planned to only have a few of them. But I polished off the whole bag.

The first thing I thought was ‘oh man, I’ve just binged on those dates’.

I’ve done that recently too where I had more of a snack than I planned, or went back for some seconds after dinner.

I always think ‘I’ve binged again’. And with that comes the usual guilt, shame, negativity, etc.

But, wait a second. I think I’m turning into my own worst enemy.

If this was three months ago an actual binge would be a huge bag of potato chips (crisps) and chocolate, biscuits or some junk like that. It would be a real binge, all eaten in the one sitting.

I remember reading somewhere that a binge is defined as “uncontrolled, impulsive, continuous eating, well past the period of feeling full, eating quickly and losing control”.

So, was me eating 12 dates a binge? I think not.

Does anyone else do this? Blur the line between slightly over eating or snacking and bingeing?

Maybe in some ways it’s a good thing that I define this as a binge because I’ll be more aware of it in the future and maybe put a handful of dates in a separate bowl rather than eat out of the bag.

If too many snacks or dinner seconds become “acceptable” (using the term loosely here) then am I at risk of doing more compulsive snacking or overeating and in my mind justifying that it’s okay because I’m not bingeing?

I don’t think there is a right answer. Or if there is I don’t know what it is.

Although the last couple of weeks have not been perfect, they’ve been a lot better than the weeks or months before them. What has made a difference is that I have said to myself that I will not count calories, I will not diet or restrict, I will eat healthy food, I will not binge, if I want chocolate and I really actually want it not just crave the sweetness then I will buy a small amount. I will eat for health and wellness.

 

Overcoming negative thoughts

Today was an okay day. Work was okay. My food intake was pretty good. But I felt down and that led me to feel a bit negative. I don’t know what I felt like that today, but it got me thinking about negative thoughts.

I guess partially this has been put in my head by the Quit Binge Eating podcasts I’ve been listening to. I think it resonates with me a little bit. Maybe it’s because I binge eat? Maybe it’s just human nature to have negative thoughts once in a while? I don’t know.

I’m generally a pretty positive and happy person. When I have my negative or ‘feeling down’ moments they are not overwhelming. I am not depressed, but that’s not what I’m talking about anyway.

It’s those little voices in your head. Today my motivation at work was awful – it took me ages to get through tasks that should have only taken a couple of hours. Usually if I can’t get something done or my motivation is lacking, I drop it and go back to it later. But today I wasn’t motivated to do that. I kept working on the same thing really slowly.

With binge eating when those negative thoughts start they would usually lead me to the fridge or the cupboard. When I got back from work that’s the first thing I did. I stared into the fridge looking for something even though I wasn’t particularly hungry. So I took a breath, shut the fridge and went for a walk. My head is a bit clearer and I feel a bit better, but those nagging thoughts are still there.

It’s hard to describe what I mean by my ‘negative thoughts’. It is not an actual voice that is negative. It is non-specific. It’s just this general feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’, ‘what’s the point’ or ‘who cares’. I feel good that I was able to get some clarity and not just dive into the fridge. I’ve had moments where I just get home from work and maybe have a glass of wine and eat (whether I binge or not) and my evening is a write-off.

Writing this blog helps too, even though today I feel like I’m a bit all over the place.

So in this blog and in the Brain over Binge book they talk about neural pathways in our brains that lead us to act or think like we have in the past. These neural pathways have been used so much they have a path beaten into them. It’s not that we’re forced to use the path; it’s just what comes natural. I guess it’s like forming new habits. It takes time and for a while it seems unnatural, but eventually it happens if you keep at it.

I’ve been thinking about my negative thoughts and binge eating thoughts with this mind frame. The thoughts are there, but I don’t need to let them take over or affect me.

I decide what is good for me, what I do, how I feel and what I put in my mouth. Even typing that makes me feel better.

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Vege-licious

Today is my fourth day going wheat-free, except my little accident yesterday but I’m not going to include that.

It’s quite challenging going without the wheat but I think I’m getting into the swing of it. What I’ve noticed is that I’m going through my vegetables way quicker. It’s great. My intake of veg has gone up heaps! Usually I go shopping either Thursday night or the weekend depending how busy I am. I can usually push it to the weekend if I need to because I’ll almost always have leftover veg. But this week, I think I will have eaten it all!

The first couple of days I felt a little light-headed but that seems to have passed. No ill effects at all today.

When I got home from work today I hadn’t taken anything out of the freezer and my usual go-to meal is wholemeal pasta, or a quick healthy pizza with wholemeal pitta bread. I didn’t have many options today!

So for dinner I made a pasta sauce absolutely loaded with vegetables and cooked a small potato in the microwave, and topped it with the veg sauce and some parmesan cheese. Delish!

Yesterday I made this quinoa, cauliflower and broccoli salad and had leftovers for lunch today.

I weighed myself this morning and minimal effect. Down about a kilo from the weekend, but I often fluctuate that much even if I weigh myself first thing in the morning.

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Slip up, but still wheat-free

Bloody supermarkets and their two-for-one offers!

I was really hanging for some chocolate yesterday, and not wanting to restrict or deprive myself in fear of bingeing I went to the supermarket and purchased something. Why do supermarkets have two-for-one offers! I hate it. I would rather pay the regular price for an item, but I can never seem to say no to the deal.

So I had my one chocolate last night, and knowing the second chocolate was in the cupboard I had to eat it shortly after! I’m frustrated in myself, mostly for buying it in the first place. And for not having the control to just let it sit in the cupboard.

I guess having one extra chocolate bar is not really a binge….but I feel a bit guilty. Maybe I’m just analysing the situation a bit too much.

An update on going wheat-free. All is going well. I haven’t had any wheat. Um wait, actually I think I might have had a small amount because I had some crumbed chicken. But it would have been less wheat than if I had a slice of bread or a bowl of pasta so I’m not going to stress about that.

It’s really tough to eat out and find something healthy that doesn’t have wheat in it. I was in a café and wanting a light lunch and all they had was sandwiches, fried food, or sweet slices. No variety or anything healthy. I ended up going without.

I felt a bit lightheaded yesterday. That might have something to do with going gluten-free for a couple of days – I have read that you can have gluten withdrawal. Sounds odd and not a hundred per cent sure that was it, but it went away after an hour or so when I drank heaps of water and had something to eat.

Still feeling very motivated about the wheat-free thing. I feel kind of bloat-free that I think before I used to mistake for feeling full after a meal. Interesting. Keen to see how I feel after a few more days.