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Thread: Food addiction or just my body crying for protein/calories? page

  1. #1
    ShannonPA-S's Avatar
    ShannonPA-S is offline Senior Member
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    Food addiction or just my body crying for protein/calories?

    Primal Blueprint Expert Certification
    Let me preface this by saying: I am not stupid. I am in grad school studying to become a physician assistant (PA-C). I can be disciplined with so many things. Yet I have been unable to overcome food addiction. I don't know what else to do. It's not a weak mind. Although I wouldn't be surprised if someone said it was. I just want some advice and maybe some hope.

    I currently weigh 255 at 5'4." My highest weight was 365 a few years ago. I have been heavy since I was a very young child. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's hypothyroidism at 16, but by that time, I was 260+. Meds didn't lower my weight at all, not that I expected them to. I managed to get up to 365 about 5 years ago. I finally decided enough was enough. I started eating "intuitively" and lost down to 300. I actually had a satiety signal then. I got pregnant 2.5 years ago and had a baby. After she was born (21 months ago), I had absolutely no satiety signal. All the hard work I had done to lose weight didn't matter. All I wanted to do was eat. I could eat and eat. Stress of a colicky baby didn't help. Post-partum depression didn't either. Anyway, about 14 months ago, I decided enough was enough and had weight loss surgery (vertical gastric sleeve). So my intestines aren't rerouted, but I can't eat much food. I lost 70 pounds within 7-8 months and haven't lost a thing since. I drink 2-3 coffee drinks a day and get tons of calories. Not good. I am exhausted with full-time school, hours upon hours of studying, and a toddler (and husband). And I have really bad reflux. I know coffee is the last thing I should be drinking, but I keep doing it. The surgery makes reflux more likely and since I'm prone to it, it's bad.

    The point is: I have tried to just stop. I have always tried to stop eating grains. I get so angry with myself that I can't find the willpower. If I could just give up the coffee drinks and grains, I know I would feel so much better. And honestly, the coffee drinks are harder than the grains. I know all about the Primal Blueprint. I have read it and enjoyed it. I think it makes tons of sense. I have also read other primal and low carb books (Gedgaudas, Eades, Bowden, Atkins, Taubes...the list really does go on and on). So it's clearly not a lack of knowledge.

    I don't know what I am trying to say. I'm just wondering if there's anyone out there that can offer advice. I really am not stupid or weak. I eat compulsively like I cannot control it. I am not sure what to do. I don't know if it's my body saying EAT BECAUSE YOU NEED NUTRITION or just being out of whack.

    A question in regard to nutrition: I really can maybe eat 1000 calories a day (of lower carb foods) at most. Should I be adding protein shakes so that I get my calories higher? I am thinking that part of the reason I want to drink so many coffee drinks (other than the caffeine) is that my body is craving protein and calories. Not sure, just a guess.

    Thanks in advance,
    Shannon

  2. #2
    say_rahhh's Avatar
    say_rahhh is offline Senior Member
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    Protein shakes to up your calories? Just eat some meat or eggs. Go for real food that is a meal. For me (not in your same situation, true) I crave or graze all day when I don't JUST EAT.

    Coffee drinks? Like factory concoctions? If so, I'd say you're craving sugar, and it's been your habit so it's hard to kick. Drink coffee with HWC cream and a spoonful of coconut oil. I drink 3 large cups in the morning. No problems here.

    I hope others with similar backgrounds can provide you more info.

    (Don't be so hard on yourself!)
    Because if you didn't know, of that is life made: only of moments; Don't lose the now.
    ~Borges

  3. #3
    animalcule's Avatar
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    Have you ever tried counseling or therapy? Cognitive behavior therapy in particular. It sounds like you honestly do have some food addiction/impulse control problems. Maybe you could benefit from some outside help to help you overcome this issue. Particularly with your kind of workload and stress, it's almost impossible sometimes to discipline yourself to care for your body.

    What do you eat/drink, besides the 'coffee drinks' (which I assume are very sweet)?

  4. #4
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    I've been fat my whole life and until I cut out grains, I was > 70lbs overweight.

    I understand the difficulty of finding the discipline to follow through. You can plan to eat or not eat something all you want, but when push comes to shove, you keep giving yourself an excuse and it becomes "I'll start tomorrow".

    I had to reach a place where I thought enough is enough. That hit me when my doc told me if I don't control my weight, I will probably die by 50 and have a very poor quality of life. I had diabetes, high blood pressure, impaired liver/kidney function, high triglycerides, low HDL, high LDL.... You name it, I had it.

    At the end of the day, you just have to hunker down and just do it.

    But here are some practical tips that helped me tremendously to start off:

    1) Eat enough FAT. Once you attack the fat first, you will not have any appetite left. For example, when you sit down to eat a pice of ribeye, eat the fat first with butter before eating the meat. Eat slowly. Just see for yourself how much less you will eat overall in a meal. The percentage of fat calories in my diet is easily >70%.

    2) Results give motivation. When you cut grains and eat lots of fat and moderate amounts of protein, you WILL see your pants literally drop. When that happens, going to the next step will be much easier. I first started out by cutting half the portion of carbs in my meals. Within a month, I lost 2 inches off my waist. That got me thinking "what would happen if I cut out all and fill up with more good stuff?". Within a year, I lost 10 inches off my waist and no one who hasn't seen me for a while could recognize me.

    3) It takes a while to turn your body into a fat burner instead of a sugar burner. This stage is the hardest. It requires will power. Expect it and face it. Once you make the transition, things will look up.

    4) When you fall, don't throw it all away. Just get up and continue. One slice of birthday cake won't derail your efforts. But letting yourself go mentally, by allowing ice cream and cookies the next meal since you already failed with cake, will.

    5) Don't obsess over calories. I eat 3-4000 calories per day and have lost my weight that way. Most of my calories come from fat. Just eat until you're satisfied but eat the right foods and you will lose weight.

    6) Forget about artificial foods like protein shakes and concentrate on real whole foods. If you eat real whole foods, you will never be able to overeat.

    ** Coffee is totally fine as long as you don't put sugar or sugar replacements in it. Use whole milk (no low fat crap) or cream if you have to.

  5. #5
    TigerLily's Avatar
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    Shannon:
    Mark Sisson did a long, detailed blog entry very recently about compulsive overeating (run a blog search for those keywords). It -- as well as the many comments -- will be very helpful. There is a solution, and you're definitely on the right track by being at MDA.

    ::: hugs :::

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    ommmmaggie's Avatar
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    I think this is the one TigerLily is referring to:

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/compulsive-overeating/

    I second everything said here. Focus on getting your protein and fat intake first, and everything else will fall in line. You will probably have a major sugar flu, and your body will tell you with great vehemence that you just need one more sweet thing and then you'll be okay. You don't need it - it's the addiction talking. If you can get 7-10 days without giving in to that craving, you'll find that it just falls away. But in that 7-10 days, prepare to fight a battle. You'll win, but it might be hard. When I go through those periods, I can stand in front of the fridge or cupboard for hours on end, trying to find something that will satisfy me. I'll get irritable and grouchy. I might even feel weak or sick. If you feel these things, don't give in. Remind yourself that the sugar is JUST THAT POWERFUL and that you don't want it to have that power over you anymore.

    You're in the right place. MDA is the solution, I'm convinced.

    Stats as of 3/1/12:
    5'10" female, 38 y/o
    Currently 140 lbs., approx 25% body fat
    WEIGHT GOAL: lose a bit more body fat and tighten up the rear end...basically, I want to look great naked. Everywhere else is looking great, but my ass/hips/thighs are being a bit stubborn. TMI?
    DAILY MACRO TARGETS: Cal: 1,857. Protein: 100g (400cal). Carb: 75g (300cal). Fat: 128g (1156cal).
    EXERCISE GOAL: incorporate 2-3 strength training sessions and 1 sprint session per week.

  7. #7
    NorthernMonkeyGirl's Avatar
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    I just want to add that you sound tired - physically, mentally, emotionally. Is there any way to incorporate "time out" to just....be?
    If it helps, it's taken me a year to get to the point where a bad food choice (I refuse to say "cheat", as "cheat" implies some benefit!) doesn't derail me for a week or more.
    At the minute, a bad choice will knock me off track for one day, maybe two. The valuable lesson being to get up and carry on.
    It's also taken this year to go from wanting and craving sweets and carbs to being able to look at a bar of chocolate (for example), and hesitate long enough to make a conscious decision about it. And usually, putting it back on the shelf!
    Just to let you know that it can be a sloooow process, but progress does happen

    As for the coffee drnks - do you mean coffee, or do you mean the pre-mixed / powdered "cappucino / latte" types?

    Also, for cravings, look into L-glutamine powder. It's an amino acid, and you dissolve half a teaspoon or so just under your tongue. I've only used it a couple of times, but I went from "OMG SUGARRRRR" to "hmm, I'm a bit hungry actually".

    HTH

  8. #8
    ShannonPA-S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by say_rahhh View Post
    Protein shakes to up your calories? Just eat some meat or eggs. Go for real food that is a meal. For me (not in your same situation, true) I crave or graze all day when I don't JUST EAT.

    Coffee drinks? Like factory concoctions? If so, I'd say you're craving sugar, and it's been your habit so it's hard to kick. Drink coffee with HWC cream and a spoonful of coconut oil. I drink 3 large cups in the morning. No problems here.

    (Don't be so hard on yourself!)
    Coffee drinks like vanilla lattes or plain lattes for the most part. From coffee places or made at home.

    The problem with just eating is that I can eat about 10 bites and be stuffed, but hungry an hour later. When I had weight loss surgery, I had read that people lose their hunger. I had friends who had had it and told me this. I never lost my hunger. That's why I'm wondering if my body is just looking for calories -- mainly fat & protein. I thought protein shakes might be a good way to get this.

  9. #9
    ShannonPA-S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by animalcule View Post
    Have you ever tried counseling or therapy? Cognitive behavior therapy in particular. It sounds like you honestly do have some food addiction/impulse control problems. Maybe you could benefit from some outside help to help you overcome this issue. Particularly with your kind of workload and stress, it's almost impossible sometimes to discipline yourself to care for your body.

    What do you eat/drink, besides the 'coffee drinks' (which I assume are very sweet)?
    I DO have major food issues. The more I look into it, the more I'm wondering if it's just my body "tricking" me...if that makes sense. Like, really, if my body were balanced, maybe I wouldn't have these issues.

    I eat eggs cooked in butter, chicken sausages, vegetables, cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts/seeds, fish, lamb & beef occasionally. Sometimes I eat junk like frozen meals when I'm in a bind and didn't have time to pack a lunch. Unfortunately, I drink regular soda once in a while too. That isn't as big of a deal to me; I do it because it's in the house...my husband refuses to give it up. I think I could stop soda. I love iced tea and make my own and don't sweeten it. A typical school day looks like (cringe):
    B-coffee with half & half, 3 packets sugar -- I have a REALLY hard time eating that early...my tiny stomach feels like it's shriveled up.
    S- Fage greek yogurt w/ the cherry stuff (I know, I know), KIND bar (nut/fruit bar)
    L- chicken sausage, vegetables, maybe cheese
    S- something really unhealthy like a fast food sandwich or panera soup & bread; sometimes a frozen coffee drink.
    S- iced vanilla latte
    D- salmon, vegetables, couple roasted potato pieces (like I said, I can't eat much, so starch is usually last)
    S - Kashi cinnamon harvest shredded wheat with milk (I promised myself I am not buying this anymore)

    That is really, really unhealthy, I know. Some days are better, but honestly not many. I am really big on coffee drinks (generally sweet) and grains. I know this is not good for me, so yes, I know I have food issues.

    I listened to a recorded interview by Nora Gedgaudas where she talked about an alcoholic that "recovered" once he stopped eating grains and dairy. I almost feel like that's me. When I think about it, I don't know that it's even the coffee I'm after -- it might be the dairy. I only drink regular coffee once a day and then drown it in half & half. I eat dairy all day long. I never realized that before.

  10. #10
    healthseekerKate's Avatar
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    >> That's why I'm wondering if my body is just looking for calories -- mainly fat & protein. I thought protein shakes might be a good way to get this.

    To echo the earlier posters, it *does* sound like you need more protein & fat, but fake foods like protein shakes aren't your best choice. The act of chewing takes effort and time, and helps you to feel satiated; drinking, on the other hand, allows you to slurp down a lot of calories very quickly, without necessarily feeling satisfied. Your body wants *real* food -- meat, good fats, non-starchy veggies.

    I strongly urge you to consume more healthy fats. If you're hungry, be sure you're eating protein and fat! Two fats that I would highly recommend are:

    Life Extension Super Omega-3 (fish oil caps) -- I take 4-6 of these with each meal, and find that I can eat very little (*healthy* food), and not be hungry again for 5-7 hours
    http://www.iherb.com/Life-Extension-...els/23722?at=0

    Now Foods, Virgin Coconut Oil caps
    http://www.iherb.com/Now-Foods-Virgi...gels/8220?at=0

    Follow the PB diet, eating plenty of protein and healthy fats (like olive oil), and non-starchy veggies. Take some fish oil caps with each meal. If you *still* feel hungry after all of that, take a few coconut oil caps. I can guarantee that eating whole, real foods and healthy fats is (at least part of) the solution to your problems; forget about quick-fixes like protein shakes. *You* are ultimately in charge of what you put into your mouth. Try cutting out all of the processed food (coffee drinks, etc.) for just one week and see how you feel -- what do you have to lose?

    Good luck to you! I imagine that your situation must be very challenging, but I admire your desire to improve it.

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