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Scale Anxiety
Category: Happy Eating
Tags: scale weight

 

I have become very obsessed with my weight. It's to the point where I avoid some social interactions around food. Vacations make me anxious and nutty.

Two years ago I leaned down to 135lbs at 5'10" and hold myself to that standard daily even though I'm a much healthier weight of 148-150lbs now. It was a weight I probably shouldn't have been. Now It freaks me out that nothing fits. I refuse to buy larger sizes because I'm hoping to get back into the smaller clothes....AHHHHH insanity.

Can you recommend a book that helps address some of these issues? I'm at my wits end and would very much like my life back.

If you find a book that addresses such issues, I could probably use a copy too! :-) Things started getting weird when my weight dropped into the 120s (at 5'8"). Once I saw those low numbers, I didn't want to see them go up again. "I weigh 128," I said. "I weigh 128."

Well, realistically, I weighed 128 for like a week and a half and it wasn't exactly comfortable to keep it that low day in day out. But when I started seeing 131, 132 instead of being all like "Weeee! I'm still tiny and fit!!" I went, MUST. NOT. GAIN. I started doing weird things like not drinking water at night, or running a few miles before I got on the scale. I know! Flashing red lights! Aarr! Aarr! Aarr! Danger! Danger!

The number fixation reminds me of that time I made it to work in seven minutes. Since then I tell myself, "I live seven minutes from work." Never mind that I'm always late when I cut it that close. Once my little brain latches onto a number it's like a parrot, "I live seven minutes from work. I weigh 128. Braaawk!!" Neither is totally true. And trying to live by those numbers will only result in scale anxiety and speeding tickets.

I don't remember who but somebody smart said to focus on behaviors, not outcomes. That way you're dealing with things you can control, not fairies and unicorns and scale numbers.

 

Am I:

Enjoying my workouts?

Getting enough sleep?

Eating mostly healthy whole foods?

Drinking plenty of water?

Watching my portions?

Having fun?

 

If I'm doing those things then that's all I need to do. Put the behaviors first. If you put the numbers first, then your behaviors will suck. They'll be a panicked reaction to the scale instead of a truly healthy lifestyle.

I've learned (and evidently needed a reminder!) that when I'm happy and balanced, my weight takes care of itself effortlessly. When I'm living for the numbers and trying to force a specific outcome, it creates all kinds of anxiety. The bad thing about an anxious food kook is the urge to medicate the feeling with MORE FOOD, creating even more anxiety, guilt and pressure to get it together.

Focus on who you want to be and how you want to feel. Your weight will land in an appropriate happy place.

Trust, Hunger and Chocolate
Category: Happy Eating
Tags: dieting hunger

 

It seems my big struggles are 1) not trusting myself around food and 2) feeling like I'm hungry all the time (totally in my head, I know).  How did you get past those things?  I look in awe at your Cadbury drawer and anticipate the day when I might be able to have that much chocolate at my disposal and not eat it all in one sitting...

Dieters binge. Dieters are also hungry all the time. The years of restraint make them crazy. If you're always entering your food into software, using measuring cups, sticking to a food list, agonizing over meal decisions, and feeling deprived, when faced with a drawer of chocolate, you'll lose your mind. Someone who eats whatever they want at every meal, including chocolate, will see a drawer of Cadbury Eggs and go, "Meh... maybe later."

I was totally out of touch with my hunger when I did the six meals a day thing. I might eat a two or three hundred calorie "meal" and be hungry enough to eat office furniture an hour later. Or maybe after several of those "meals" I wouldn't feel anything. No hunger, no fullness, no connection at all to my real appetite. I was eating entirely by the clock and rules, which again is a recipe for being mentally ravenous around drawers of chocolate.

When I started listening to my hunger and food preferences instead of battling or denying them, the mental starvation thing went away. I lean toward three meals a day now. I eat what I like, which is mostly healthy and mostly plants but with a dash of cheeseburger or Ben & Jerry's. I don't feel good when I binge on junk food so I don't do that. I'm not happy when I deny myself treats so I don't do that either.

Now, as to how to eat what you want and LOSE weight, there is some portion control involved, some balancing. If I have a carb-heavy breakfast maybe I'll have a lighter mostly plants lunch, and maybe I'll have a steak and vegetable dinner (with dessert, of course). So, over the course of the day it kind of balances out and I'm not eating all bread, all dessert, or all chicken and protein shakes.

It helps to be a picky eater. If I don't love something, I don't finish it. If I find something crazy delicious, I save some for later. I try to make decisions like a naturally thin person instead of like a struggling dieter. Dieters binge, feel guilty, start over, binge, feel guilty, start over. They set up a bunch of rules and then rebel against them. I try to avoid doing anything a struggling dieter would do, like restricting carbs, counting calories, skipping dessert, or consuming anything light or low-fat. 

Welcome to Happy Eaters
Category: News

Happy Eaters is a gathering place for health and fitness enthusiasts who happily eat whatever they want. It's a haven for former diet ninnies, recovering nutrition software addicts, and escaped chicken weighers. Call it non-dieting, intuitive eating, or naturally thin thinking. Eat well, eat what you like, control portions, move your ass. Easy peasy.

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