Tag Archives: binge eating

My Biggest Triggers – The Truth About Bullies

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Random picture of my cat for no particular reason.

I am going to begin today’s post with ad admission. Over the last two years, I regained 58 pounds. This is not something I’m very proud of or happy about. My binge eating returned and I went through a very busy and stressful two years. Bottom line, I was not paying attention to my health and weight the way I should.

The good news is, I have taken corrective action. I am seeing a doctor to help me get my weight loss back on track, and I am seeing a therapist to help me develop the necessary skills to deal with the crazy, eating disordered part of my brain. As a result, as of two weeks ago, I am down 10 pounds.  I see the doctor again this week where I will be weighed. I think I lost some more. I noticed my leggings felt looser this week. Not just one pair, but all of them. I am not weighing myself at home, though. I have a tendency to weigh myself every day, and every teeny movement of the scale makes me crazy. I am either delighted that I’m down a pound or two, or depressed because there was no discernible movement or a slight one pound regain. It helps me more to look at the bigger picture and get weighed less often.

This brings me to today’s topic. Triggers.

For me, my triggers are the events, emotions, etc. that cause me to lose control and find solace in food. In my case, that food is usually salty, crunch, and starchy. Sometimes, but not often, sugary foods will do. Cheetos are my standby. If I’m eating Cheetos, chances are there is something in my life that is causing me undo stress and causing me to feel out of control.

My two biggest triggers are yelling, and when people are saying negative, untrue things about me behind my back to the people I love and respect.

How Gossip Affects Me:

When people talk about me behind my back, that really cuts me to the quick. It hurts because someone thinks badly enough about me to gossip. And it hurts because I fear their words will affect how others see me.

In my head, I know that any true friend, and anyone who really knows me wouldn’t allow someone else’s thoughtless or mean words change their opinion of me. And anyone who does allow gossip to color how they see me, is not really a friend.

Maybe that is what truly hurts because in the past, I have had people I thought were my friends turn on me solely due to the untrue, or misrepresented words of another person. I start to think that someone I trusted and thought of as a friend really thought badly of me all along. I question my judgment. I question my own internal sense of self. And I begin to question if there really is something wrong with me. In short, it breaks my heart.

How Yelling Affects Me:

I cannot stand yelling. I never could. It is one thing to have a disagreement with someone, even if that sometimes gets loud. That’s different from what I mean.

Yelling, or screaming is irrational. Usually the screamer is using that tactic as a way to silence the person they are yelling at and to establish dominance. There is no talking to a screamer. There is no way to rationally discuss anything with a screamer. And there is no way to resolve a problem with a screamer. They are right, you are wrong, and they will use their physical and psychic power to shut you down.

I push back hard on screamers.

I recently had a guy I know vaguely scream at me about something. He screamed at me at the top of his lungs in a crowded room.

I did not even what he was screaming about. I just looked at him and calmly said, “I do not have a husband, and my father is dead. No man screams at me. You are no one to me. What gives you the right to think you can talk to me that way?”

I stood up for myself. I did not let him bully me. I walked away. Sounds strong right?

The truth is, I fretted about this incident for a very long time. I was shaking and very angry. I was emotionally distraught. How dare he? Who does he think he is? Why would he think it is OK to do that to me? This event happened nearly a year ago and I still bring it up. That is how much of an impact it made.

Recently, I became aware of a situation where someone has been bullying a person I love using these two tactics. Screaming irrationally, and gossiping about me. Why I was brought into the situation, I’ll never know, but there you have it. This situation has really made me kind of crazy. I did not even hear the yelling, but just knowing that it was going on started the wheels in the crazy, food addicted part of my brain cycling out of control.

It has taken every ounce of self-control inside me to stay focused. I have waffled between anger, sadness, frustration, rage, and feelings of worthlessness, and powerlessness.

It is true that I have no power over what this person says or does. I also have no control over the impact their words have not he people I love. But that does not make their words true, their behavior right, or me powerless.

Realizing that truth has taken me a long time. Too long.

The truth is, screaming and gossiping are forms of control and intimidation used by bullies. And that’s all people who use these tactic are…bullies.

Maybe the reason screamers and gossipers affect me so badly is because I was bullied as a child. That bullying had a lasting impact on how I see myself. It was only well into my adulthood that I accepted the truth…that when someone bullies you, there is something wrong with them. Not you.

Knowing that intellectually is one thing. Really accepting it in your heart and soul is another.

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Way Too Easy…Effortless Even

I started the weekend off great.  I hit the gym early on Saturday.  Well, early as in noonish.  I walked the 1.7 miles to the gym and worked out for an hour and a half.  I then I walked to my friend’s art studio, which is ten minutes from the gym.  Another friend of ours showed up there, and the three of us walked the 1.4 miles back to my neighborhood.  We sat outside of Caribou Coffee for hours drinking fruffy coffee drinks and talked.  It was great.  Then I walked back up the monster hill to my place.

Yesterday started off great too.  I woke up and had a light breakfast and met my brother and niece in DC to do the Saturday am museum tour.  We walked around for about 2.5 hours.  I had my water and a protein snack, 1/3 cup of pistachios, while they ate at McDonald’s.

I went home and packed up some food to take to my sister’s house for a picnic.  She called me in a panic at one point asking me to give her instructions for making a particular chicken dish that I’ve made for her in the past.  She loves it and wanted to make it for the picnic.  I told her to hold off and I would make it when I arrived.

Cooking is easy for me, effortless in fact.  It almost seems to come naturally to me.  I walked into my sister’s kitchen and just took over.  I cleaned and dried the chicken breasts and began chopping them up while I gave my sister orders.  Before I knew it, the chicken was in the oven and I was reaching into my bag to begin prepping my next project.  I sliced and marinated zucchini while chatting it up with one of my sister’s friends without even thinking about it.  I handed the plate to my sister and ordered her to take it down to whichever male family member was manning the grill with specific cooking instructions.

I continued talking to a couple of people and reached into my bag and pulled out a couple of avocados and some spicy salsa.  As I cut the avocados in half, her friend said, “Now what are you making??”

“Guacamole,” I replied as I continued to cook without stopping.  I mixed the salsa and avocado together with a touch of olive oil and ordered someone take it down to the chip table.  Then I reached in my bag again and pulled out a can of Trader Joe’s Chili, grabbed a pot and began heating it up.  “For chili dogs,” I announced before another question could be asked.

That’s where my good behavior ended.

You know what else I can do effortlessly without even thinking about it?  Eat.

I chowed down as if I hadn’t eaten in months.  I ate a handful of corn chips with my yummy guacamole.  I ate random vegetables, potato salad, coleslaw, a little bit of the chicken dish, random other foods I cannot even remember.  Then I topped it off with a bunless hotdog with chili, relish, ketchup, and mustard.  Oh and let’s not for get the handfuls of M&Ms I tried hiding in my pockets thinking no one could see me eat them if I put them there.

WTF?

Obviously, I cannot be trusted at a food party.  I seriously thought I was going to throw up.  Granted, I didn’t eat it all at once, but I did go back to the food table over and over throughout the day.

After I got home last night, I took a walk through my neighborhood trying to walk some of the binge off.  I stopped at Caribou and drank some decaf tea hoping to push some of that food through my system with a warm drink.

Obviously, going to the gym is on the agenda today, as well as feeling horribly guilty about what I did to myself yesterday.  Yeah, I know there is no reason to really feel guilty.  Everyone falls off of the wagon sometimes.  What I should concentrate on is how I recover from this episode and move on.  I don’t know why I’m continually surprised every time I fall, but I am.  I am also very disappointed in myself.

I clearly need to watch my behavior more closely.  I had a somewhat prophetic conversation with my friend Sush on Saturday.  We were talking about yoga.  I kind of don’t like the yoga classes at the gym because of all of the movement.  The last time I took yoga classes, we concentrated on sitting in the positions and gently stretching, connecting mind and body.  The classes at the gym are more like yoga-exercise than a meditative stretching practice.

Sush agrees with my dislike for those kinds of yoga classes.  She grew up in India and they took yoga classes in school first thing in the morning.  What a fantastic way to start the day.

We talked a bit about “triangle pose” and she was talking about the importance of looking at your hands.  She said that yoga poses concentrate on looking at your hands because you mind should always know what your hands are doing.

I never thought of that before.  That made me think back to the endless number of times in my life where I just ate and ate without thinking.  The number of times I bought a giant bag of chips and ate through the whole thing and barely had any memory of how I ate that much.  If my mind had really been aware of what my hands, (and mouth quite frankly), were doing, would I have mindlessly eaten the whole bag?  Would I have slowed down?

I don’t know.  Maybe not.  All I know is that my mind was not paying attention to my hands yesterday.  Not while I was cooking, and especially not while I was eating.

I did manage to track all of the food.  I went home and made myself remember everything that I ate and logged it in “My Fitness Pal.”  Even with all of the eating I did, I still managed to stay below my allotted calories for the day. Not that I feel any better about what I did, but I guess that’s something.

Moving forward I am going to have to make sure that I stop and think before I eat.  Pay attention to what my hands are doing and be more mindful of what not just what I eat, but how I eat.  Maybe, eventually, I will be able to understand why.

All Or Nothing

I have been thinking today about my problem foods.  There are some foods that I used to eat for which I have little or no control.  I consider them my “all-or-nothing” foods, meaning my only choices were to eat all of it or none of it, there was never any in between.

Now that I have had the gastric by-pass, eating all of something is hardly possible.  I mean, yeah, I could retrain and re-stretch my new smaller stomach to gradually accept larger and larger amounts of food, including sugary starchy foods that make me sick, but that is a ridiculous option.  That will make the money, time, and work that I put into my 112 pound weight loss a wasted venture.  Yes, people have done it and regained much of the weight that they lost.  I have to admit that I live in constant fear that will happen to me.

So, what is different for me now?  What makes me think I will be able to complete my journey successfully and never look back?

To be honest, I do not know that I will be able to.  One thing I do know though is that I never want to go back to being as sick as I was.  I love my life now.  I had lost ability to walk any kind of a distance, do the things I wanted to do, and live my life the way I wanted to live.

Now, I can walk just about anywhere I want.  My back and asthma are not even an issue.  I do not tire as easily.  I am not as worried about my heart and overall health as I was.   Yes, I still love delicious food and I still struggle with cravings and the urge to over eat from time to time.  But I feel as if I mostly have things under control.

The gastric by-pass has given me a tool to help control my desire to overeat.  Also, my new lifestyle has really given me hope for the future, a hope I did not have before.

That said, here are some of the foods which have given me problems in the past.  For me, eating these foods was an all or nothing proposition.  I may not have eaten all of it in one sitting, but I would have kept going back to it all day until there was nothing left.  It didn’t matter that I might not even be hungry, all that mattered was it was there.

  • Pizza
  • Potato chips and dip
  • Corn chips and salsa
  • Nutter Butters and as a subset of the peanut butter cookie categorie
  • peanut butter cookies with chocolate kiss on top
  • ok pretty much any cookie just about
  • rotisserie chicken
  • chicken wings
  • baked chicken drumsticks

These are what I call trigger foods.  Usually something happens that triggers an eating binge and these are usually the first foods that I eat to satisfy that urge to binge.

Do you have any all-or-nothing foods?  What are they?

If I Didn’t Know Any Better…

I’d think I had PMS.  I haven’t had PMS since the last time I bitched on this blog back in March about my periods, or mostly lack thereof.

I had a pretty crummy day today.  I thought that it started out pretty good.  I had an odd dream this am that left me feeling somewhat hopeful about a particular situation.  But as the day wore on and the more I thought about it, the more I accepted that it was just a dream and was more a reflection of my own wishes and not really a predictor of my desired outcome.  That brought me down a bit, but I can live with that.

Then I was very busy at work and at one point became a little overwhelmed.

I was rained on during both the commute into work and home.

I had to take my work laptop back to the office today.  My back was killing me from carrying it around.

I left my debit card at home and could not pay for my coffee this am.  That was embarrassing.  Fortunately, I took my lunch to work and my fare card for the metro was fully charged, so I was good.

I came home and I was totally deflated and just wanted to cry.

Normally, this kind of day would have been enough to trigger a binge attack for me, and it did.  Fortunately, I did not succumb.  I almost did.  I gathered up change out of my change jar and I went down to the market in my building.  Now, the market in my building is a dangerous place for a food addict, and my apartment is immediately above the store.  They have chips, eggs and bacon, more chips, sodas, beer, wine, frozen foods, frozen pizzas, cookies, crackers, candy bars…all the junk food you could want.  And I used to shop there a lot.

I stood there with my fistful of quarters looking around the store, and I couldn’t do it.  I could not buy the horrible junk food I was craving.  I really wanted chips or pretzels, but I couldn’t make myself buy them.

Instead, I bought a box of saltines and some spaghetti sauce.  I then made 5 saltines mini pizzas for dinner, and yes, that is a bariatric-approved meal.  It was actually recommended to me in the diet plan provided by the surgeon’s office.  The tomato sauce counts as a vegetable and the cheese as protein.  The saltines are really just filler food.  I also had a side of string cheese to make sure I had enough protein.

I’m still feeling kind of blah today, but at least I know I’m not totally helpless against the binge monster.  I fought it off today.  That makes me feel hopeful that I will be able to fight it off again in the future.

Clearing Away Old Ghosts

Part of what I have been doing over the past year, in addition to preparing for my weight loss surgery and dealing with the aftermath of said surgery, has been trying to deal with things that I have ignored for a long time.  I have taken care of a lot of financial problems that I had.  I gave up video gaming.  I started taking care of my overall health, which I have had trouble dealing with for years.  So many things.

Before my surgery, I cleaned out my big walk in closet.  Cleaned out all of the remaining boxes I had not unpacked except for one that I cleaned out after the surgery.  I reorganized the closet, bought more hangers, hung up all of my clothes that I didn’t have room for, threw away or gave away a lot of clothes.

In the same spirit of purging and reorganizing, I cleaned out my hall closet yesterday.  Anytime I would order anything online, or if my mom sent me a box of supplies, or if I bought something that came in a box like my new coffee maker, I threw the box into the hall closet.  I’ve wanted to clean this closet out for a long time and clear out these boxes.  So, I did this yesterday.

Most of the boxes, I flattened and took out to the trash room in my building.  Some of the boxes, I discovered were filled with old bills, books, and other things I just did not know what to do with.  I created a bag of stuff to shred.  I then ordered a new shredder online.  My old one broke, you see.  I put the books on my bookshelves.  The other stuff, I sorted through.  I chucked a bunch of stuff and threw it into the trash.  I did keep a couple of useful items, which I then put away.

I feel so organized.

I have two more cleaning projects on my list.  One, I need to clean out the cabinet in my kitchen that holds all of my plastic containers.  Currently, my cupboard looks like the “before” picture in one of those commercials for better products which has the ancillary benefit of keeping you more organized.  When I put another plastic container in there now, I open it and quickly toss the container in and shut it immediately to keep anything else from pouring out of it and onto the floor.  God forbid I actually have to take one out.  I’m so ashamed.

The second project is cleaning out from under my bathroom sink.  I cannot find anything under there.  I know I have soap, lotions, shampoos, vitamins, etc, but your guess is as good as mine as to how I find these items.

I’ll probably throw a lot of stuff away in both cases.  Although, I am kind of a fanatic when it comes to recycling, so I will probably put most of the plastic stuff into the recycle bin, whether it’s recyclable or not.  In either case, the organization and purging must occur.

Organizing my life is not nearly as much fun as binge eating an entire bag of Cheetos or Doritos or fantasizing about pizza, but I feel so much better afterwards.