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a kid keeping it simple

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  • #16
    Just wanted to chime in that you're not alone with the all-or-nothing thinking. I'm the same - it's so easy to just chuck everything out the window because you've already screwed up anyway. Not sure how I ended up thinking like this, but I'm right there with you. And the wet dreams about cake.


    • #17
      I think it's okay to be a little neurotic. Overcoming our own personal neuroses is a battle, but we get to know ourselves so well by figuring out how to push past them.

      School and work are rendering me unable to be super verbose here, but some quick thoughts:

      Thinking one day at a time makes everything easier. Trying to look any further ahead into the future, or dwelling on the past, just makes me crazy. In all aspects of life, too; not just with food.

      Shaking the "all-or-nothing" mindset feels impossible... but I refuse to believe that we can't mold our own thought processes. Unfortunately, thinking in extremes makes it difficult to take small steps towards improvement, especially when the end goal is to quit thinking in extremes! It's hard to make gradual changes, but I'm trying. I'm taking a meditative approach. Fucking up a little, and then just sitting with it instead of letting it affect me.

      New ritual: small amounts of wine and DC before bed. That's what the pros do, right?

      Also, thanks to Richard and Lexie for the love <3


      • #18
        Another entry, because it just occurred to me, and I think it's important.

        When I first realized I had a real problem with binge eating, likely to the level of an eating disorder considering the magnitude of how it was derailing my life, the solution I came up with was to work on "willpower." I could eat 900 calories a day in cereal bars if I would just try hard enough, I thought. If I would just try hard enough, I would no longer binge.

        Eventually I realized how wrong I was about that, and admitted that there were physiological factors at play as well, making the "willpower" argument basically moot, given dysfunctional enough conditions. I then decided to focus on preventative measures. If I can't stand up to a situation where it's tempting to eat like crap, then I just need to keep myself out of those situations. Easier said than done, and I was still binge eating.

        I've known all along that black-and-white thinking with nothing in the middle was part of my problem, if not the entirety of it. But at some level, after so many years, I think the binge cycle simply became comforting.

        The initial dopamine rush, the permission I give myself to fuck everything for the rest of the day, the heightened resolve to change my ways on the morning after, the renewed drive to be strict, the deceptively real-feeling hope when I tell myself I can avoid any and all mistakes and be perfect if I just stick to this next new strategy... this stuff is habitual for me. It makes me nuts and keeps me from reaching any sort of peace, but it's also unfailingly predictable at this point.

        So maybe that's why I've tried every diet in the books, and learned everything there is to know about nutrition and exercise, but haven't once tried to tackle the most basic underlying mental process: thinking in extremes.

        Lexie, when you said you weren't sure how you ended up with all-or-nothing thoughts, it really struck a chord with me... because I do know how I got here. I remember every step of the way, and the one consistent pattern I see in retrospect when I think about my binge eating is an inability (or simply a refusal) to confront this bipolarity. Hell, it didn't even require retrospect; I've always known it was there.

        Maybe I'm delusional in thinking that if I can figure things out from a cognitive perspective, I'll be able to improve everything from the brain on down. At least I'm on the right track here. I'm not trying to eat 900 meticulously-measured cereal bar calories a day anymore. These days I'm eating mostly primal food, I've learned to forgive myself for bad days, and I've accepted that there truly is no quick path to health or happiness. I'm better than I was, mentally speaking.

        Still, the fact remains that I've never actively tried to get rid of my all-or-nothing thinking, and while it's one of the scariest things ever, I think I'm ready to work on it. Lately I've been trying to cast aside other aspects of my dysfunction (like spending too much time on the internet reading about nutrition ), but maybe those would be easier to deal with if I dealt with the root of my problem first.

        What do you all think? Is all-or-nothing thinking the foundation making my house shaky? Has anyone out there been able to ditch (or even partially ditch) those thought patterns? Did it help?

        As for concrete goals... I can't remember the last time I ate something I deemed "bad" and didn't immediately feel like I might as well keep eating badly and binge it up. It sounds ridiculous, but it's true. Therefore, my goal is to eat something I "shouldn't"-- a few pieces of bread, a cookie, whatever-- and to let it go.

        What makes me think I can do this, after five years of not doing it even once? (Not once!? Nope, not even once!)

        Well, I did it today. Boyfriend had three beautiful meals planned out for me: eggs, sausage, veggie stir fry, almonds, good stuff everywhere. Guess what I did anyway? I discovered an old box of sugary cereal, poured myself a few cups, and ate it with cream on top. Huh. Normally, my automatic response would be to acquire a bunch of horrible food and make myself sick eating it all, because hell, my blood sugar is going to plummet soon, and god knows I've already ruined everything. But this time I didn't. I walked, I drank a bunch of tea, and I kept myself distracted with other things. I fantasized about eating more, and I sure as hell wanted to, make no mistake. But I didn't.

        Why not? I dunno. But I'm pleased with it. I don't expect every day to be a success, but admitting to myself that I'm ready to tackle the real issue at hand got me through this day. That bowl of cereal could have sunk my ship, and instead I'm still afloat.

        I'm going to bed now. Maybe I'll sail through tomorrow too.


        • #19
          I'm slowly starting to be able to partially ditch those thought patterns, or at least, exert more control over the "I EAT BAD, MUST EAT MOAR BAD" by trying to not label food as good or bad. But it's definitely a slow process and was exacerbated by switching to primal (EVEN MOAR BAD FOODS). Heck, I've been able to keep ice cream in the house and not eat it in one sitting. Good job on walking away!


          • #20
            So comforting to read your story, seriously. We are about the same age and I struggle with not only binge eating but drinking as well... I will read on and follow your progress as I work through this too. I continue to feel guilty for things that I should let go of and that's exactly what keeps the vicious cycle going.


            • #21
              The initial dopamine rush, the permission I give myself to fuck everything for the rest of the day, the heightened resolve to change my ways on the morning after, the renewed drive to be strict, the deceptively real-feeling hope when I tell myself I can avoid any and all mistakes and be perfect if I just stick to this next new strategy... this stuff is habitual for me. It makes me nuts and keeps me from reaching any sort of peace, but it's also unfailingly predictable at this point.

              You describe the vicious circle very impressively. Again, I neither have an eating disorder nor am I a psychologist. But maybe one thought: You say "unfailingly predictable". This sounds to me like a keyword. Is it possible at all that this binging circle unconciously gives you a sort of comfort and security?

              Congratulations on walking away from the binging yesterday!


              • #22
                Sup & Adrigg... keep on keeping on, ladies. We're all fighters here. I dunno if it's a good fight we're fighting, but at least we're all fighting it together. Girl power and stuff.

                Today I noticed, explicitly, that while it's incredibly appealing to eat some small sugary item when I know I'll give myself permission to eat THE REST OF THE HOUSE afterwards, it causes me more than a little frustration to tell myself that I'm going to eat just that one thing and then NOT give myself permission to binge. Make sense?

                Like... okay, say I end up eating two or three or four sugary things, instead of just one. Still no permission. I've just stopped allowing it. If I'm going to eat something I probably shouldn't eat, or several somethings, then I'm just going to have to live with that moderately "bad," moderately WANT-MORE-inducing amount. Man, sitting in the middle zone like that is frustrating when you live in extremes...

                But I have a feeling that by allowing myself to have an oversized, indulgent sugarfest every time I slip up just a little bit, I've been enforcing a pretty potent reward system for slip-ups. Like Bess reiterated, it's a comforting cycle in its predictable rewards.

                Of course, it's not as easy as just saying "nope, can't binge, just can't do it, sorry." The desire is still there, and it tugs at me pretty strongly. I really just have to give myself a moment-by-moment pep talk, and remind myself that my goal right now--my biggest goal--is to quit thinking in extremes and just allow gray areas to exist.

                I think that writing all of this stuff out the past couple of days has really helped me to get a more coherent idea of what I need to do, which is nice. The boyfriend is still preparing my meals for me, since he's a stand-up guy like that. Obviously I was able to overcome my cereal snack yesterday, and today I was resolved to do the same. Lo and behold, I stood strong in the face of a few bites of cheesy scalloped potatoes (UUHHHHHH <- my happy food noise) and some clandestine coleslaw. The binge narrative was definitely running through my head, particularly since I had to buy groceries this evening. "Just get some of that candy, some ice cream too, who cares? Oh my god, Mounds. Oh my god, GUMMI LIFESAVERS? Wow, I didn't even know Ben and Jerry's MADE that flavor..."

                But I didn't, and I'm okay. And now I'm going to bed.


                • #23
                  Not that I entirely advocate it, but if you are stuggling with the reward type system just now (notthing wrong with struggling with that), have you considered cheat meals/days? Guilt free times when you can indulge without feeling like you are derailing your new healthier eating habits.

                  You BF sounds awesome for cooking for you. You dont always get such kind caring guys. We are a rare breed.

                  It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out....Its the grain of sand in your shoe.


                  • #24
                    I had a friend who did really well with a cheat meal/day system. I think it really varies by individual though. I think I would struggle with it myself.


                    • #25
                      Well, the title of this blog ended up having nothing to do with its contents. I've done almost nothing here but dive into the complexities of everything.

                      In the spirit of trying to get away from incessantly thinking about food, and just eating it like a normal person instead, I think I'm going to give this journal a break.

                      Thanks for all the input and kind wishes. I'll take them with me on my journey.


                      • #26
                        Roden all the very best. I went zero sugar, processed food, dairy and grains from day 1 (althou I do have butter), and had some serious flu going on, but preparation, preparation, preparation. Especially in those early weeks, and during the times of cravings, I prepare plenty of primal snacks first thing in the morning. I promise myself that I will eat all the primal prepared food first before I reach for anything else. This worked for me and you will find something that will work for you

                        good luck and keep us posted
                        "never let the truth get in the way of a good story "

                        ...small steps....


                        • #27
                          Good luck!


                          • #28
                            Good luck!