Cemetery Blues

I enjoy my job at the cemetery. No, really! When I get up in the morning and say, “UGH BLERGH WORK,” it is just my horribly whiny knee-jerk reaction to the idea that I have to do something besides sit on my ass that day. And, when I get a phone call saying, “Nope, there hasn’t been any rain so the grass isn’t growing so there isn’t any work,” I’m reminded of the fact that I really need to shut my mouth, get rid of the negativity and just be grateful for the fact that I do have work. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I’m waxing reflective because I did get such a phone call this morning.

Yep … in light of this, I do realize that I really need to stop talking myself out of things/being so negative about work, social happenings,* things I have to do, etc. Honestly, I think I would enjoy my life a lot more if I just put a stop to mentally building everything up into a huge chore, because 90% I get to work/go to an event I was dreading and find myself saying, “Oh! This isn’t so bad.”

Anyway, with my surprise week off from work (which hopefully won’t turn into a two-weeks off from work) I’ve decided to catch up on my summer reading. Here’s what my “reading log” for the near future looks like:

1. Day After Night, Anita Diamant (I’m currently working on this, and I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet; when I went to a speaking-event featuring Diamant, she described the novel as being an introduction to the history of Israel and that it was for people who didn’t know very much about the nation’s origins. And yet, I feel that you kind of need some background in WWII/Palestine’s history to have a full understanding of the book.)

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (Everyone and their brother is talking about it, so I guess I’ll read it. Stop judging me.)

3. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I love Marquez’s style of writing and his inclusion of magical elements in a realistic setting, so I think it’s about time I read what is probably his best known work.)

4. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (I’ve actually had this book lying around for months, but since I bought it while I was still up at school and thus tied up with required reading, I never got around to reading it. Mmm, historical fiction focusing on the Tudors. I love them, don’t you? I don’t know why, but I’ve always been vaguely obsessed with Henry VIII and his unfortunate wives.)

I don’t know why, but I really enjoy planning out what I’m going to read next; it’s like, “Haha! Look at how intellectual my future is going to be! Suck it, stupidity!”

In other news, I went to the gym twice today, but I only made the second venture because I desperately needed to get out of the house (I enjoy my days off, but I hate being idle for extended periods of time; I feel like if I haven’t earned my time off, I can’t enjoy it) and also because I needed to burn off some PMS-anxiety (For some reason, I always get super anxious around my lady times. Right now, I’m obsessing about the prospect of not having work once my season cemetery job ends in September). Also, if I didn’t get out the house, I was definitely going to eat 100% of everything.

Do you have any bad “mental habits?” What are you reading at the moment?

* Yeah, most people probably find these enjoyable, but I’ve developed some kind of social anxiety, as I’ve mentioned before. Honestly, I worry a bit about myself; I can’t seem to get out of my own way to get out and do social things. Part of me says, “Well, what’s there really to do, anyway? Most people your age go to bars for social interaction, and you don’t drink!” But, on the other hand, I feel like I’m just making excuses for my anti-social behavior. WHAT’S A TEETOTALING LADY TO DO?!?

Weigh-In Day: Week of June 25th/Body Snark

Ugh, dude’s my eating habits! They are hell of terrible. I weighed in at 127.2 today (Good!), but I fear that a great evil is returning to the land … the evil of …

Binge eating. (HOLY GOD, BAD)

But, I’m not sure if I should be legitimately concerned; I splurged three days this week to celebrate my birthday (which is today, actually, but for some reason I thought I should celebrate this weekend since I was working today, and then today rolled around and my mom and were like, “BOO ANTI-CLIMATIC BIRTHDAY LET’S CELEBRATE AGAIN!”), but I’m not sure if any of those days on which I splurged were actually a “binge,” or if I would have even splurged (binged?) today had I not weighed-in within my maintenance range this morning. But, on the days I splurged (BINGED?!?1?), I never ran out to buy extra stuff because I just thought, “SCREW IT! I’M OUT OF CALORIES!” but I did eat past the point of being full, and if I were in a store, I would impulse-buy a candy bar and chomp it without really thinking. Though, at the beginning of the week I was also only 124.6 pounds, and I’m not sure if I would have overdid-it had this not been the case/had I not been celebrating my birthday. Blergh. On the other hand, I know I am entirely in control of what I stuff in my face and I know I don’t want to go back to dieting and I KNOW that even though I splurged I am still within my maintenance range (and that’s part of the glory of maintenance, some weeks you eat more and some weeks you eat less but it is OK to eat more some weeks), so what am I really concerned about? Still, I kind of feel like normal people don’t gain 2.6 pounds while celebrating special events. Hm. Baby steps, I reckon.

I do have to give myself kudos, though, for taking some steps to not overeat:

a) When eating out and sharing an appetizer, I took what I deemed to be an appropriate portion off the group plate and then didn’t go back any more.

b) If I could eat healthfully, I did; I tried not make the days on which I splurged (BINGED?!?2?!?!@!? OH MY GOD I DON’T KNOW) into an all-day eating fest, and would start with something healthy like oat bran.

c) I tried to think about what I really wanted. Whereas before if I were having a “splurge” day I would just get everything and anything, I legitimately tried to keep my snacking to a minimum while out celebrating/shopping so I would have room for dinner at ze restaurant we were going to.

And, so on. OH, MAN, LOOK AT THAT LIST, SO IMPRESSIVE.

Regardless of whether I binged or splurged, though, I’m going to go back to counting calories and do a sugar detox (ie.e, no “dessert products), just for the next two weeks. I know I don’t really need to, and I’d like to get to a point where I don’t have to follow a celebratory event with calorie counting, but I just want to play it safe and make sure I don’t continue overeating. Also, every once and a while when I overdo it on the sugar, I kind of like to put a little distance between myself and the desserts and have a nice stint of clean eating to get my system back in order, you know?

In other news, a funny thing happened on my way to the forum.

Wait, no. A funny thing happened while I was out shopping (at the mall, no less, even though I detest crowds of people.) Long story short, my mother and I stopped by Eddie Bauer while we were out and decided to pick up some summer clothes. I happened to try on a dress and attract the attention of a salesperson, who began engaging my mother in the following conversation:

Salesperson: “Oh, my goodness! She looks so good in that dress!” (Aw, that’s nice.)

Mum: “Yeah, it looks really cute on her!”

Salesperson: “Ugh, she’s so thin! Look at her.” ( … OK.)

Mum: “Ha, yes, I used to be that thin at her age, too, though.”

Salesperson: “Ugh, yes, me too. Ugh, I hate her, she’s so thin! Let’s stop looking at her.” ( … WTF?)

It was just … odd. And, in this vein, I’m tired of “thin” being used as a compliment. In fact, I’m tired of size-related adjectives in general being used as compliments or insults. In my opinion, body preference is kind of like someone’s taste in movies or books or art; to each their own, ja? So, why OK to hate on or compliment someone for being overweight or underweight? For all that salesperson knew, I could have been a recovering anorexic, and her comments could have triggered a re-emergence of my eating disorder. And, not to be corny, but bodies can be beautiful at any size: Why has one shape become the standard for attractiveness? Can’t beauty come in a variety of sizes? And, why do we assume that all women want to be twigs? Likewise, why do “real women have curves?” Are chemotherapy patients who can’t keep weight on not “real women”? And, maybe some women pride themselves on being overweight or voluptuous or muscular.

/end rant

Gah, I wish I were better at organizing my thoughts. But, you get the jist, right?

Have you ever been the victim of “body snark?”

Positive Reinforcement

PHEW. OK, I finally have a few moments.

Post-graduate life has been hell of busy. Shortly after starting my job at the cemetery, I began my journalism job and immediately picked up a few extra shifts. The result was working 12 days in a row, and even now I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed, having not quite gotten into the groove, yet. Anyway, I’m not really sure how I feel about my radio position, still, but that’s a post for another time.

Anyway, here’s today’s weigh-in results:

Last Week’s Weight (which I didn’t post about—oops): 126.3 (Weight Watchers Scale)/125.7 (Tanita)

Today’s Weight: 126.6 (WW)/125.8 (T)

Average Daily Caloric Intake: 1,830

Funny, when I don’t eat all my calories and am very active, I actually gain a bit. Though, according to the Tanita scale, my body fat percentage went from 22.6 to 21.3, though who knows how accurate that measurement is. But, maybe the gain is from over-exercising? In addition to my regular exercise routine, I’ve been doing approximate two hours of weed-whacking a day three times a week. Hm. Not only that, but I’ve been lifting/running and I really don’t feel like I’m getting any more fit.

Regardless, I am bidding adieu to the Weight Watcher’s scale, as I am convinced that it steadily weighs you heavier than you actually are in order to convince you that you still need the help of Weight Watchers. Yes, it is a conspiracy. BUT, when I first bought the WW scale, it weighed me a pound lighter than the Tanita scale! So, how do you explain that it now weighs me 8/10 of a pound heavier AND says I gained 3/10 of a pound this week, while the Tanita says I gained only 1/10 of a pound? Eh? EH?! IT’S A RACKET, I TELL YOU.

Anyway, in the last few stressful weeks, I’ve realized that good habits kind of need to be reinforced when you relocate. It sounds odd, but it’s like I had learned not deal with school-related stress through food, but I need to reinforce that good habit after moving back home and encountering a new kind of stress. For example: After being through into the radio realm, going without a day of rest and not exactly loving my new job, I was ready to eat the shingles off the house. One morning I got up with a raging appetite, and I basically gave myself permission to binge. By 8 a.m., I already had in mind what noms I was going to chomp/make myself sick on. Keep in mind that at this point, I had last binged about nine weeks ago—I thought I was golden, having made it through the (even-more) stressful time that was the final exam/paper period. But, here I was back home, ready to binge. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, as my binge eating originated at home during high school. Still, I am now less than pleased that I gave myself permission to self-treat with food, even though I ultimately ended up not doing so; fortunately, it seems some intuitive eating instincts have developed and kicked in that day, as when I went and got a sundae for lunch, I consumed it and said, “Oof, I’m full/satisfied.” And the rest of the day was healthy.

Moral of the Story: Bad habits never seem to be entirely banished. I feel like I did myself a really big favor, though, by not going back to binge eating as a way to deal with stress, even the one time, because that one time is never just one time.

Blergh, work tomorrow—what do you dudes have planned for your weekend? Sunday, I’m hoping to just sit on my ass and play video games. I hope it’s not sunny that day; whenever I stay inside on the weekend, I always feel guilty if the sun is out.

Restaurant Reluctance

Alright, now that I have all my grades in my possession, I can officially say that I have graduated. Thanks, professors, for not secretly hating me and failing me as a way by which to express your hidden distaste for my person.*

Of course, graduating means celebrating, and in light of the fact that my mum wanted to take me out to lunch to do so, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve developed a major aversion to restaurants. The reason for this is twofold:

1) The first reason—which is actually much more minor than the second—is my “fear of the unknown,” I reckon. It’s like I’d rather sit down with a pint of ice cream than a healthy grilled chicken entree at a restaurant because at least I know how many calories the ice cream has, whereas CALORIES COULD BE LURKING ANYWHERE IN THAT CHICKEN OMG I BET IT IS SECRETLY STUFFED WITH BUTTER. But, like I said, this is a minor concern, and I also am totally aware that the calories in everything can be reasonably estimated, and what do I care if I’m off by a few hundred calories? And, I (hopefully) won’t be counting calories forever, anyway. Bottom line: If someone said to me, “ELIZABETH WE ARE GOING TO A RESTAURANT RIGHT NOW AND YOU WILL LIKE IT,” I wouldn’t totally lose my shit.

2) The major reason I no longer like restaurants is that the better care I take of myself, the less I want to feel gross. And, restaurant food makes me feel gross 90% of the time. When I think of food, now, I think of it like fuel/what kind of affect it’ll have on my physical capabilities, and the last thing I want to dump in my tummy the day before a 7-mile stint is a bunch of fat and grease that’s going to make me slog along like someone who has had a ball of lead take up residence in their intestinal tract (this is along the same reasoning as to why I no longer have the urge to binge, either). Also, I find that restaurant food rarely lives up to my expectations, and I would rather have something that I am able to prepare myself exactly how I want it. ALSO, restaurant food is expensive! Man, you go out for a meal, and you could have bought a t-shirt for the amount of money you dropped on an overcooked steak.**

But, I reckon that going to restaurants is kind of like dating; you tell everyone you’re not into it at the moment, and then a really great Thai place/an attractive firefighter shows up in your town and you’re the first one wantin’ the Pad Thai, if you know what I mean. But, no, seriously though, I’d probably want to go out to eat if there was actually somewhere appealing to dine in my general vicinity, but most of the eateries around here aren’t exactly mad delicious.

Regardless of my reasons, though, I felt kind of abnormal saying I’d rather stay home and have a home cooked meal than go out to eat. But, my eating habits have been the focus of other people over the years (My ex’s friends, for example, always used to make fun of me for choosing skim milk at breakfast. Why do people feel the need to draw everyone’s attention to things like your food choices? Peh), so I guess it has just made me paranoid that other people may perceive my choices as being motivated by restrictive tendencies and consequently think of me differently.

A side note: I totally made/reviewed that Parmesan risotto, dudes, but I forgot to take a picture for the entry! I’m going to make it again this week, though, so I’ll post the review once you can … see what the food looks like, too, I guess?

Do you prefer home cooked food or restaurant cuisine? Have your food choices ever challenged, discussed or made fun of by others?

* By the way, professors, if you had done this I would have just re-enrolled in your class next semester and been horribly disruptive every class. Just so you know.

** I measure all purchases in terms of how many articles of clothing I could have bought for the same amount of money. So, if someone buys something ridiculous/hell of expensive, I will have to exclaim that they could have purchased FIVE PAIRS OF PANTS or something WHAT WERE THEY THINKING.

I Can Has Food?

Lately, I’ve been trying really hard to do the “only-eating-when-I’m-hungry” thing in an effort to move from calorie counting to intuitive eating. And, it’s a nice thing to get back to; I loved just listening to my body when I had my first whack at maintenance, and I can totally relate to a point Quix recently made in a blog post regarding how she’s “tasted freedom” and having difficulty going back to calorie counting and not just eating the food she wants/feels is necessary to nourish her body. When I gained back the weight after my last maintenance stint, it felt totally unnatural to be eating according to my “diet style.” And, my body wasn’t too keen on the practice either and essentially turned into a screaming toddler for the first few weeks of the next dieting attempt.

Body: “HAI AN EGG SAMMICH IS WHAT WOULD FEEL GOOD IN MY TUM LET’S EAT IT.”

Me: “No, sorry, we have 280 calories scheduled for breakfast and that means cereal.”

Body: ” … But I want an egg sammich. RIGHT NOW.”

Me: “Sorry, dude.”

Body: “SAMMMMICCCCCCCCCCCCH.”

And, so on.

Anyway, while I know all the intuitive eating guides say “ZOMG ONLY EAT WHEN YOU HAVE A HUNGRY,” I’ve been having difficulty shaking a few non-hunger-oriented eating habits. But, I have to wonder; is it OK to eat when you’re not hungry, sometimes?

At this point, I’ve gotten to be pretty good about lunch and my snacks (I eat breakfast right after exercising regardless of whether I’m hungry, because I know I need the fuel), in that I wait until I’m hungry to eat lunch and I don’t snack even if I feel I “can” have one but I’m not hungry (yesterday, for instance, I waited until 1:30 p.m. for lunch and when I became hungry at 5 p.m. I just had an apple to tide me over until dinner). But, I still eat dinner at a scheduled time regardless of whether I have a hunger, which according to intuitive eating’s principles is TEH BAD. But, 6 p.m. is just dinner time for me, and I don’t like to eat a heavy meal too close to bed. Likewise, I don’t like to eat dinner before 6 p.m., even if I am hungry, because I don’t like to eat that early (Does anyone else feel that way about meal times? I postpone lunch sometimes, too, because I just don’t like to eat a lunch before noon). That, and I have always an evening snack at 8:30 p.m., again, regardless of whether I’m hungry, because I don’t want to wake up mad famished.

Am I doin’ it wrong? Do I always need to be hungry when I decide to eat, or are these practices OK? It’s not like if I’m not super hungry I chow down on a gabillion calorie snack at the end of the day; most of the time, I nom something like yogurt. And, even when I am hungry but wait to eat until a scheduled meal time, I don’t usually wait for more than a half an hour. Also, should always eat a certain amount of calories a day (e.g., my BMR) so I don’t get my fainting on?

I should probably invest in some kind of nutrition book, but I’m cheap. Regardless, I’m trying to get away from eating a certain food because I have a certain amount of calories, but this is the diet habit I’ve had the most trouble kicking.

In other news, don’t you hate it when you have a day to sleep in, and your body decides it just doesn’t want to do so that morning? I definitely didn’t have to get up until 7 a.m. today, but at around 5:45 a.m. my mind just went “I’MUPUPUPLET’SWORKONESSAYS!” and then when I actually tried to work on my essays this early in the morning my mind was all, “Oh no my bad I’m not actually conscious enough to do this right now lol.”

For those of you who have/are making the transition to intuitive eating, do you have any tips? Did you have difficulty kicking certain “diet habits”?

A Letter, Part Three: THIS TIME IT IS A LITTLE DESPERATE AND WILL MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, PROBABLY

Dear Body,

I totally don’t need you to have lost weight over the last two weeks. Isn’t that convenient and nice of me? All I am asking is that you stayed exactly the same. Isn’t that easy?! It is the easiest thing in the world! Didn’t you enjoy eating 1,900 calories a day? I know, it was dreamy, right? Wouldn’t you hate to have to cut back? I know, that would totally suck. But, if you gain weight … well … I can’t guarantee anything.

But, that’s not even going to be an issue, right, ’cause you’re totally going to weigh exactly the same as you were two weeks ago, right? I have faith in you, body! Seriously, though, I just want some peace of mind and to be able to go into the summer knowing how much I need to eat to maintain my weight AND NOT HAVING TO TINKER WITH NUMBERS I HATE MATH AND GAINING WEIGHT AND OBSESSING ABOUT THINGS SO MAINTAIN, OR ELSE, A’IGHT?!

Love,

Elizabeth

Obsession, by Scale-vin Klein

OK, I know I said there was going to be a minor hiatus, here, but I am going crazy and I need to vent.

I started over-analyzing myself this morning.

“Hm, that ridge in my stomach wasn’t there before. Is that a good ridge or a bad ridge? Is this fat coming back or going away and revealing new … ridges?”

“I look bloated. Or am I just gaining weight? Oh, my God, I must maintain my weight 1,700 calories per day and now I’m overeating AHMYGAWD.”

Now, every time I see a mirror, I am compulsively checking out how much my stomach is protruding and I am also compulsively feeling myself up every five minutes. I am glad I am graduating soon, because after today everyone on campus is going to think I am a pervert.

Regardless, what’s the worse case scenario, here? Say I do maintain my weight at 1,700 calories per day. That would mean by having consumed an average of 1,850 calories last week and 1,900 calories this week, I would gain about seven-tenths of a pound. And, even if I did, I’d still be in my maintenance range, and come Friday I’ll just cut back my calories. And, how likely is it that I really only need 1,700 calories per day? I work out, I’m 5’6″, and I’m 21 years old. I must need more than that, right?

Regardless, CALM DOWN, SELF. Just because you’re eating more doesn’t mean you’re going to gain an absurd amount of weight in two weeks.

Should I just weigh myself tomorrow, though, and know for sure whether or not I should be worried? Or, should I just hold on until Friday because I could just be retaining water at the moment?

Also, DOES ANYONE ELSE ACT LIKE A CRAZY PERSON or is it just me BECAUSE IT FEELS LIKE IT’S JUST ME.

Exiting into a Beginning

Dear Reader(s?),

You have my apologies for the recent lack of posts; unfortunately, I am in the midst of my final ten days at university (!), and this entails writing papers, writing more papers and taking exams. Also, packing. Also, boiling all my water, because the town in which I currently reside as well as bunch of other communities in the surrounding area are currently working with a broken water pipe that is apparently giving us water unsafe for drinking. Fun, yes?

Anyway, I am hoping that once I am gradumacated and living my exciting post-education journalist life, I will have both a) more things to write about and b) more motivation to write. At the moment, though, the last thing I feel like doing after sitting in front of a laptop all day putting together essays is writing blog posts. Alas. Bear with me, though, and hopefully things will pick up again here at AWI. I’ll still try to post product reviews if I try anything new/have the time, and I’ll put up my weigh-ins.

By the way, I am currently DREADING this Friday’s check-in; I haven’t weighed in since April 23rd, which is good, but this also means I have no idea whether I’m maintaining or gaining or losing. I’ve been following my plan to a T (i.e. eating 50 more calories per day each week), but even when I did that upon starting maintenance last time, I still gained a bit the first week. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind a wee gain at all, I just hope I don’t get on the scale come Friday and find that 1,700 calories per day was actually how much I needed to maintain and that I’ve spent the last two weeks putting poundage back on. Blergh.

Intuitive Eating: A Pain in the Ass

The title of this blog is “A Woman’s Intuition,” and part of the reason I initially started it was to work through—once I was done losing weight—my food anxieties so that I could ultimately start eating intuitively. Well, I’m trying to do that now; I’m still counting calories, but I’m really trying to eat only when I’m hungry and to eat when I’m hungry even if I don’t have the calories. So far, I’ve been succeeding on the former point, but it’s proved to be moderately inconvenient.

My classes fall right after meal times, which was convenient during my “scheduled eating” dieting days because I’d eat my lunch at 12 p.m., regardless of hunger level, trot off to class and be back to my dorm by snack time. But, now that I’m trying to eat intuitively, things don’t go as smoothly. Take today, for instance:

“Hm, it’s noon. But, I don’t have a hunger. That’s OK! I’ll just do some work and maybe be hungry in a bit.”

“Hm, 12:30 … still not hungry. Oooh, Kotaku has a picture of the guy they based Mario from Super Mario Brothers on!”

“SHIT IT’S 1 P.M. I HAVE TO GET TO CLASS SHIT I HAVEN’T EATEN I NEED TO PACK A THING TO EAT GODDAMMIT”

Granted, I’m not complaining about not being hungry: It’s pretty cool just listening to your body and learning about how much you really need, but apparently intuitive eating means I need to be more … flexible/prepared when thinking about my meals for the day.

Regardless, like I said, I’ve been doing pretty well only eating when I’m hungry, but I’m not sure if there are days where I should make myself eat. Yesterday, for example, I only ate 1,350 calories (because that was all I was hungry for) and, after having eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner today, I’ve still only had 1,185 calories. Is this just part of intuitive eating and how people don’t gain weight? Or, is there a bare minimum of calories I should eat, regardless? SO MANY QUESTIONS.

Also, I haven’t really come into a situation, yet, where I’ve been hungry and not had enough calories, and I feel like that’s where I’m going to struggle. But, I’ve been counting calories or Points for almost six years now, so I guess I shouldn’t expect to get over all my anxieties/attachments overnight.

P.S. – It is really annoying when, during final exam/essay season, your roommates think the best idea in the world is to play their music really loudly. It is like, this is what headphones are for, and just because you really like your music doesn’t mean I do, too. Personally, I’m one of those people who likes TOTAL SILENCE when working. Regardless, I should really tell her to turn it down or just shut up about it, but no one wants to be the complainer, you know?

The Binge Beat-down Post

First off, I feel the need to make a disclaimer: Although I have been without a binge for quite some time (four weeks, I think, and I’ve only binged twice in the past 13 weeks), I reckon I don’t really think I’ve “beat” binge eating. I don’t think that I’ll go without a binge ever again, but there is a big difference between bingeing every few months when you’re presented with delicious noms at the holidays or you just really want deliciousness and bingeing every week and feeling like you’re an emotional wreck afterwards. Everyone binges sometimes, and that’s OK, but the key word here is “sometimes.”

Anyway, if you don’t recall, before my blogging break I was bingeing about every one to two weeks. Part of this was because of stress, part of it was because of a mish-mash of other reasons, but regardless I know other people struggle with this, and I want to share some of the changes I made that allowed me to shake this, somewhat. I hope it helps, because I know how frustrating being a binge eater can be. Also, you’ve probably seen some of these tips before and are going to be like, “OMG I’VE READ THESE IDEAS ALREADY.” Yes, but have you tried them? Regardless, if I’m reiterating them here, it’s because they worked for me. Also, some of these tips may be more “don’t-binge-while-on-a-diet”-oriented then others, as I was trying to lose weight AND quash bingeing at the same time, so if you’re just trying to maintain your weight some of these may not apply to you.

a) You gotta want it. Or, you have to be ready. Honestly, I think for some time I didn’t really care if I continued binge eating. For me, I was in college, i.e. not the “real world,” and I could always just lose the weight next semester before I started my “new life.” Granted, impending graduation is what finally made me get my act together, but if you really don’t want to stop bingeing, then you’re not going to be able to. And, in this same vein …

b) Find an alternative motivation for wanting to lose weight/stop binge eating besides “being thin.” My primary motivation to stop binge eating was, as I just mentioned, not wanting to graduate and enter a new stage of my life as a binge eater. But, I was really helped through the first few weeks of trying to break the habit by two other motivations: The first was that I was thinking of joining the military at the time (and am actually still pondering this), and I kept telling myself “The lighter I am, the faster I’ll run at the physical exam.” My other motivation actually came from someone else’s blog post: A 50-something year old woman happened to comment on a post about how she had been a yo-yo dieter for the last 30 years. It hit me at that moment that if I didn’t put my foot down and stop binge eating, I could be that woman. I could be that person who avoids social events because they are constantly on a diet and spends their whole life obsessing over food. And I didn’t want to be that person—I wanted to be someone who, you know, actually enjoyed my life and wasn’t constantly worrying about my weight.

c) Make a pro and con list when you feel like bingeing. Alright, the frenzy is on you, IT IS HERE. What do you do? Personally, I trained myself to make a pro and con list relating to binge eating. Usually, my thought process went like this:

“OK, what are the pros to binge eating right now?”

“I’ll feel better for a little bit. Also food is tasty.”

“Anything else?”

“… No.”

“OK, what are the cons?”

“I’ll be disappointed with myself. I’ll feel terrible tomorrow. Excessive quantities of food are expensive. I’ll gain weight.”

“Then you shouldn’t do it, should you?”

“No.”

“OK, then.”

And that was that. Once you realize how irrational it is to binge eat, it becomes easier to get through the moment.

d) Distract your mind. OK, that list thing didn’t work. But, guess what? I found that if I could just get my mind off of it for about five minutes, the feeling would usually pass. So, what did I do?

Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video is about five minutes. Turn it on. Rock out.

Buy a coloring book so that when the frenzy strikes, you can color. No, really. I bought (or, my mom bought for me, because she is awesome) a coloring book entitled “Danger from the Deep.” It has pictures of Batman, and I found that when I took a crayon to that sonofabitch, I became so focused/lost in thought it was easy to get through those five minutes. Not in an area where you can color/at work/in a store? Bring your music player to the store/work and when you’re in a munchy-mood, take a “bathroom break” with your mp3 player or crank up the music while you’re cruising the aisles; I found if I was playing tunes that conjured up sexy gyrations, etc., I didn’t really want to overeat.

e) Distract your mouth. OK, you are still in a frenzy. Start drinking—tea, water, whatever. Pop a hard candy. You know Lifesavers? They should also be called Dietsavers; I was in the grocery store one day and was 90% sure I was going to binge when I spotted the sugar-free Lifesavers (One of my few exceptions to the “Minimal artificial sweeteners” tip below, so long as I only eat them when I’m in danger of bingeing). I tore that bitch open and popped a few right there, and the taste kept my mouth busy and lessened the binge-edge. And, if you’re worried about the cashier giving you the evil eye for eating a product in the store, trust me—They could care less. And, if they do care, screw them. In fact, right now, stop giving a shit about what everyone else thinks and just start caring about what you need to do to get over binge eating, because whatever that may be is way more important than the opinion of random check-out girl/guy.

f) Always be prepared. Remember those mints I just talked about? Keep some in your kitchen cabinet/purse/desk drawer for when the binge monster rears its ugly head. Always have a bottle of water on you. Keep a protein bar with you, unless you’re like me and can’t wait to eat it when you actually need it. Keep your music with you. Have distracting YouTube videos bookmarked so you can fire up something amusing right away. Be ready.

g) Take a look at your diet. As I mentioned in this post, integrating more healthy fats into my diet made a HUGE difference in my appetite. And, according to science, if you’re constantly craving food/always feel as though you could binge eat, you’re probably missing something important in your diet. It may be fat, it may not be, but regardless it might be a good idea to tally up the protein, iron, fat, fiber, etc. that you get on a normal eating day; you may be surprised to find you’re lacking an element in your diet that could easily be integrated into it.

h) Minimal artificial sweeteners. For a while, I’ve wondered if artificial sweeteners were wrecking havoc on my appetite. So, this time around, I pretty much cut them out altogether. Granted, I still pick up a Diet Snapple every once and awhile (because it is a tasty beverage), but I probably have a product that contains artificial sweeteners at most once a week.

i) Take a multivitamin every day. This is in line with the “take a look at your diet” idea. You may be missing out on some essential nutrients by dieting, so try and a pop a multivitamin so you are at least covering some of your bases.

j) Pretend you’re someone else. OK, this is the most ridiculous of the bunch, but just hang with me for a second. When I wanted to binge, I would sometimes think, “This is not behavior befitting a Naval Officer!” (’cause, you know, the military thing). And, the thing is, binge eating isn’t behavior becoming of anyone. So, the next time you’re thinking about bingeing, think about what future you/your trainer/someone else you think is rad or healthy would do.

k) Think about what you really want to chomp. Whenever I had a ravenous appetite, I would think, “OK, self, you can have one thing—what do you want?” If I couldn’t pinpoint one thing that I reallyyyyy wanted, I knew I was just looking to eat copious amounts of food. If I could name something, though, and I legitimately, seriously craved it, then I chomped it. Chances are, if you give yourself a break every once and a while, you’ll be less likely to binge in the future. BUT, I always made sure I only chomped that one thing, because Naval Officer-me would practice restraint like a dignified lady who eats normally.

l) White knuckle it—you’re forming a good habit. OK, you’re in the store, and you see all the treats you want to buy, but you can avoid a binge by just making ONE GOOD DECISION to not buy the chomps. The same goes when you’re at home and want to plow through cupboards. And, here’s the thing: Every time you make that one good decision, or every time you start to binge but put the breaks on, you’re forming a good habit. Basically, you’re building a “Good Choice Muscle,” as I like to call it. Every time you make a good decision, making good decisions in the future will come more easily to you, and the more good decisions you make and the longer you go without bingeing, the less you’ll want to go back to square one. Is it hard sometimes to make a good decision and outlast the frenzy? Yes, but just grit your teeth and bear it—If not eating is the worst experience you’ll ever have in your life, consider yourself lucky.

m) Integrate some yoga-time into your schedule. Yoga practitioners are more likely to practice mindful eating, too. Neat, no? And, it’s certainly proved true for me.

n) Know thyself, and stop keeping that junk food in your house. My hairdresser is stick thin, and it’s not because she doesn’t love sweets or hates food; in fact, she told me that she can’t keep packs of Hershey bars in her home, because she’ll eat them all. Bottom line: Non-binge eaters have portion control problems, too, but they just don’t keep certain trigger foods in their house.  Is that “value size” pack of candy on sale, and you know this time you won’t eat it all? YES, YES YOU WILL, STOP FOOLING YOURSELF. SERIOUSLY. I know if I buy a bag of Dove chocolate, I’ll eat the whole goddamn thing, so, guess what? I buy a single serving bar, instead. And, 90% of the time you can buy your favorite foods in single-serve portions. And, just because you can’t exercise portion control doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you human. Recognize that, learn from it, and put down the gallons of ice cream that are buy one, get one free, because if ice cream is your trigger food, you’re just putting yourself unnecessarily in a lair of temptation.

o) Don’t be afraid of hunger. One of the big things I see when I look at dieting tips is “Don’t let yourself get too hungry!”, which is, in fact, a good idea. But, I also think it has made people afraid of hunger when they don’t need to be. “HOLY GOD,” they think, “WHAT IF I GET HUNGRY AND I CAN’T EAT/DON’T HAVE ENOUGH CALORIES?! AHHH ANXIETY/AHHH FEAR OF FAILURE BINGE BINGE BINGE.” Whoah. Chillax. Think about the worst case scenario: OK, you get hungry. So what? The human body can go quite a while without food before it gives out. If you get hungry, you’re not going to starve to death. Hunger is not an emergency (unless you’ve been hungry for a week and you really are going to starve to death); it is uncomfortable, but you can tolerate a headache/being tired, right? Then you’re going to be OK if you become hungry. And if you’re out of calories for the day and you’re hungry, then have an apple/carrot—those 50 calories are only going to amount to 1/70 of a pound at the end of the day. Not hungry enough for an apple? Then chances are you just have an appetite and need to discract yourself.

p) Stay off the scale for a bit. I used to weigh myself every day. And, guess what? It made me bat-shit anxious. But, SCIENCE IS RIGHT: YOUR WEIGHT FLUCTUATES. Sometimes, on a Wednesday, I’ll be three pounds heavier than I will be on Friday. So, if you’re dieting, weigh yourself once a week, at most; otherwise, if you’re anything like me, the number will just make you crazy-anxious and you’ll try to remedy that anxiety through binge eating.

q) Brush your teeth. OK, this one is also pretty ridiculous. But, you know how you finish a meal sometimes, and you feel even “hungrier” after you’ve eaten than you did before having done so? Brush your teeth—it kind of works along the same lines as the mint-popping deal. Regardless, I can’t tell you how many times it kept me from having my meal turn into an afternoon snackfest.

Phew. Wall of text. I think that’s it, though. If you have any questions/want me to elaborate on anything, don’t hesitate to ask, and I hope this is helpful to someone, somewhere.

« Older entries