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Posts Tagged ‘Weight loss’

Howdy.

I’ve discovered that it’s ridiculously easy to slip back to the good ol’ compulsive overeating habits.

I’ve lost almost a stone, gained a few pounds and lost them again, but I’m still finding my feet. I think my eating is probably the healthiest it’s been since … I don’t think I’ve ever eaten as healthily without being obsessed with weight loss and cutting out certain foods altogether.

But with all the salads I’ve prepared and carbs I’ve cut down on, there’s usually the urge to gorge on chocolate peeking around the corner.

Sometimes I overeat. Scratch that, most days I overeat, but the times when I’ve compulsively jammed food into my mouth as if it’s going out of fashion have been few and far between.

I’m amazed by how easily it is to have a good day with eating and exercise and then wake up the next morning and pick out sugar-coated cereal or the chocolate in the fridge without even comprehending what I’m doing. It’s as if I’m in a food trance in these moments, I don’t think about my actions because I don’t want to, and I’m pretty sure I’ve mastered this skill over the years. If there was a University degree in bingeing and ignoring what you’ve eaten, I’d be the head lecturer.

Actually snapping myself out of the trance and forcing myself to rationalise about food is still very difficult. It helps now that I’ve lost some weight, because for a long time I genuinely thought I couldn’t do it. I’m not talking losing a stone or two, realistically I’m talking eight stone. At least. It depends what my body looks and feels like. So for a while I thought I just could not lose that amount of weight, I just wasn’t strong enough.

Now I realise I can eat a healthy, balanced diet and lose weight. Whenever I go for the sugar-coated cereal I reason with myself that I can have the cereal, but I have to accept the consequences that come with it.

Such as:

  1. The guilt.
  2. Sugar cravings
  3. Possible weight gain. Not just from cereals obviously, but if the guilt and the sugar cravings then lead to overeating or bingeing.

I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out which group I’m in as well. Am I now in the category of weight loss, or can I still fit in with the Eating Disordered? I’ve felt like my blog can’t be both because some posts I’ve written I now disagree with (I’ll get to that another time though). For now I’m just going to blog less frequently than before and see where it leads me. I look forward to catching up with what other bloggers are up to as well.

How are you guys doing?!

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Well… it’s been a little while.

I’m not going to apologise for not posting, and I’m also not going to say things will go back to normal. I’ve enjoyed not blogging, but I’ve also missed it. The truth it, I’m not so sure I want to blog about my Eating Disorder anymore.

I’m not cured, but I’m not in the place that I used to be. I’m currently trying (and succeeding) to lose weight, exercise and become altogether healthier. I came to a point where I realised that if I really wanted to ‘get better’ then I’d have to separate myself from my Eating problems, and not let them define me. I had an opportunity to do another documentary to raise awareness for binge eating and EDNOS but it didn’t feel right. Whatever I do, it has to be for me, and I’m not so sure if blogging about bingeing – which I technically don’t do anymore – is really for me anymore.

I’d love to blog about weight loss from a disordered perspective, but I think I have to get comfortable with the idea before. I feel like I’m walking a very thin line, and I’ve gone back into the world of calorie counting and ideal waist measurements with more of a level head. However, I’ve gone into these things with a level head before and come out a binge-eating, heavier mess.

So I’d like to keep this blog going, because I know there will be people out there who relate to eating struggles, but I don’t want to force it. I thought I’d write this post to let you know where I am at the moment, and if you wouldn’t mind checking in occasionally, that would be great.

I hope you’re all still battling on.

Hayley Emma

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In January 2010 I knew I had an Eating Disorder. I’d lost 3 stone on the second round of LighterLife, binged on several bowls of cereal and gone to the University counsellor, where I learned I might have a problem with binge-eating. I stopped doing LighterLife, hoping beyond hope I wouldn’t put weight on whilst I was sorting out therapy options. I went home for Christmas and binged for 2 weeks on anything and everything I could find. Despite this, I was still a lot slimmer, and the glimmer of hope LighterLife gave me – that I would lose weight – was still alight. I didn’t know how severe my bingeing was, or would get, but I thought I’d probably lose weight each week in therapy.

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So in the January sales I purchased a size 12 (UK) pair of jeans. My size 14 jeans were getting looser, and on LighterLife you learn to buy clothes quickly because your body changes quickly. I’d never bought a pair of size 12 jeans before, nor had I ever been able to fit into them. My top half was already a size 8 – I told you my bum was big – as I lost my weight quickly from my waist, so size 12 jeans meant I my thighs were finally catching up and I was well on my way to the body I’d always wanted.

Life didn’t really go to plan, as it rarely does, and I gained weight after stopping LighterLife . I continued to gain weight during therapy, as I started to realise how skewed my view of food and weight really was. I was never going to be happy unless I was an all over size 8. It didn’t matter what my body wanted, it only mattered that I get there and stay there, because then everything would be fine.

I’ve still got the size 12 pair of jeans. They don’t mean so much to me anymore. I was devastated when I gained weight, the dream of being able to pull the jeans over my thighs and do up the buttons slowly ebbing away. I don’t want to let the pair of jeans go, size 12 is an achievable size for my thighs, but instead of believing that size 8 was the only size for me, I’m going to let my body choose what size it wants to be when I’ve sorted my mind out. It’ll be a long, long time before I can get into those jeans, but having opened the wardrobe and seen them sitting there, I can safely say my attitude to my body isn’t perfect, but has changed drastically.

Hayley Emma

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This formerly bigger girl completely gets how ‘fat chicks’ are portrayed and, subsequently, feel. Katie is brilliant and funny, and this post gets a big fat thumbs up from me. (See what I did there?! Wit is my middle name. Sort of.)
Hayley Emma

Sass & Balderdash

I’ve been everywhere on the overweight spectrum; I’ve ranged from being chubby to being obese for most of my life. It’s only within the past year that I’ve lost weight and fought, scratched, and clawed my way into smaller proportions. I’m all too familiar with the fruitless pursuit of reasonably cute XL-sized shirts, the rummaging for jeans that fit well everywhere, and the struggle to feel confident in the paltry amount of clothes I found that actually fit. Such is the plight of a fat chick.

Apparently, I’m not fat anymore. The number on the scale is telling me this. My friends, family, and co-workers have likewise made me aware of this, too. I know they’re all right. Rationally, I’m cognizant of the fact that for the first time in my life, I’m at a healthy, average weight, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly stop being a fat…

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I had a difficult session yesterday, it was the first time I contemplated walking out of the therapist’s office.

I’m not that great with anger. It takes me a lot to get riled up properly, mostly because of the ultimate pet hate, which is:

1)      When someone talks in the 3rd person.

Hayley gets very annoyed by this. Hayley feels that people should stop talk do you know what? I can’t even do it. I can’t even write in the 3rd person because it pisses me off so much. It just screams delusions of grandeur.

This irritates me so much that my none of my family members would ever talk in the 3rd person because my rage would overflow and I would have to leave the room.

I’m exaggerating (I’m not) but this is how the majority of my anger is dealt with. It’s jokey anger, I’ll laugh as I cringe and go to my room to be alone if I’m frustrated. But I’ve realised that people not understanding me is a real source of anger for me. I find shouting and slamming doors futile: why shout at people who don’t understand? It’s not usually their fault.

I thought that my therapist understood me – I think she does now, now that I cried for almost all of the last session with frustration because it makes perfect sense to me that taking part in a documentary is easier than going for a walk for 30 minutes everyday.

I know some people don’t understand Eating Disorders. When I studied PTSD for my dissertation I didn’t understand how someone could be transported back to when the trauma happened and relive it as if they were there. I can read about it and empathise, but I’ll never understand it like someone who has experienced it.

And still, some people with Eating Disorders hold down full time jobs and wear shorts in summer and can go to the beach without too much distress – this isn’t my experience, I can’t fully understand that.

Going for a half hour walk everyday is… indescribably difficult. I think I finally put the joking aside and was able to show my therapist just how excruciating it is for me to leave the house. I have to pick what to wear, what I’ll feel comfortable in, regarding weather – I don’t want to be too hot but I also don’t want to show any skin. Do I take my mp3 player? It could help block out the outside world but what if I get out of breath and I’m breathing really loudly and I can’t hear myself but others can and they know I’m unfit and overweight and they’ll think I just overeat because I like food? And where do I go? If I go to the shops will I be able to not buy chocolate, and if I do how much do I buy, and will there be popcorn? And what will the sales assistants think of me? What if they say anything? And if I don’t go to the shop where do I go? And what if I get tired or panic or what if I don’t walk anywhere?

The thoughts that remind me of anxiety cat just go on and on, so that I don’t go for a walk and then I’ve failed. And then I feel terrible. Misunderstood and a failure.

And I have failed at walking for 30 minutes everyday, because my therapist suggested we make it 15 minutes everyday, and now I feel like a head case, and so so far from being able to cope with food, and losing weight, and being happy.

I like to have a bit of clarity and a meaning behind my posts but on this one I’m kind of stumped. My therapist said it might be my behaviours are so ingrained (I’m been hiding my body and hiding away inside at every opportunity throughout the last decade) that it’s going to take a lot of time and hard work to finally change.

I’m sick of waiting though, of dealing with these problems. What if I can’t get better? What if I’m doomed to yo-yo in weight until I give up altogether and collect cats for every year of spinsterhood? I’ve succeeded in weight loss before and it was euphoric… but the gain was so horrible that I don’t want to go back there again.

Eurgh. There. I’ve had an unedited moan. Any words of wisdom would be very helpful right about now.

Hayley Emma

P.s. Does anyone know what happened to Eating Disorder Memes?

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What I’ve already done is yo-yo dieting.

I was 13 when I first stopped bingeing and cut out all snacks. 3 meals a day, nothing else. I wasn’t hungry, I didn’t want anything else, and I did a very old and hilarious workout video, the mother of all workout videos… Jane Fonda. I can remember the songs, the frequent “woo”s and “yeah!”s, and the men who were very into skin-tight workout wear.

(Update – I’ve looked for this on YouTube for years since we lost the video, and I finally found it! Uploaded 2 months ago, this little gem. Me and my mum are going to do this tonight!)

That was a good time. I lost 1 ½ stone, people complimented me and it was the first time I noticed a difference in how people treat you when you’re bigger compared to when you’re smaller.

I remember getting home from school in the days before and after this period – because it didn’t last – and eat small 5,7,10 chocolate bars in one go, hurriedly stuffing them into my mouth and hiding the wrappers down the back of the sofa or in different bins in the house. Hardly a vomit-inducing binge but I felt a sense of compulsion, a loss of control. (People with Binge-eating Disorder will know that stages of not bingeing would be temporary. (Dr Fairburn explains this in Overcoming Binge Eating))

The feeling of being free from your Eating Disorder, although I didn’t know I was disordered at the time, is incredible. I knew I was controlling what I was eating, I was exercising and enjoying it rather than using it as a punishment, and saying no to food I’d usually binge on was empowering. I felt slightly superior. I was taking control of my life (As much as you can at 13).

This is how I felt during every diet that resulted in weight loss, especially LighterLife. But this feeling was short-lived. Something would click back into place.

After all, a disorder does not come and go, the symptoms can fade or evolve.

The periods of control would worsen the bingeing, and I’d gain the weight I’d lost as well as some more for good measure. If anything proves that restrictive dieting doesn’t work, it’s yo-yo dieting. If you have lost weight and you have every reason to be happier with your body, and then as soon as you finish the diet you put the weight back on? I’m pretty sure that’s a major hint that the method of weight loss didn’t work. It could be an emotional attachment to food or being overly restrictive and therefore the results are unsustainable.

Right now, I’m learning how to eat ‘normally’. Regular meals which minimise the risk of bingeing and healthier meals that don’t upset my blood sugar levels. Exercise is less punishing and more enjoyable, laughing when I make a mistake is an important part of realising that it’s my health and well-being I’m trying to improve, rather than aesthetics.

I know this is the right way forward, but the urge to diet and go back to my old ways are creeping back in. I have to keep reminding myself that I’ve done that before, it didn’t lead me to permanent weight loss, and it’s my attitude that needs to change, rather than the diet.

I’m gritting my teeth and sticking with baby steps to success. When I think of re-learning how to eat properly I think I should be moving faster, but since planning 3 meals a day is overwhelming, let alone incorporating regular healthy snacks, it’s necessary.

Are you doing things you aren’t comfortable with? Do you have the urge to go back to what you were doing before, in the hopes that it’ll turn out differently this time? Tell me I’m not the only one who’s fallen into this trap!

Emma

P.s. If anyone decides to do the Jane Fonda or Pump It Up workout please let me know which one if your favourite, both are on YouTube (the Pump It Up workout has a few more parts).

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Lately I’ve struggled to go for a walk outside every day due to depression and not pushing myself. I’ve always known exercise makes you feel good, but I came across this article which explored how walking can be beneficial in coping with depression.

Vigorous exercise is brilliant, and by vigorous I mean the getting-your-heart-pumping-and-sweating-a-lot kind of exercise.

Exercise helps ease depression in a number of ways, which may include:

  • Releasing feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters and endorphins)
  • Reducing immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  • Increasing body temperature, which may have calming effects (Information found here)

I’m not quite sure about the increased body temperature having calming effects, I’m not really a fan of feeling hot but I suppose if it’s cold … warmth is good?

Releasing endorphins though is incredibly positive, as Depression causes a chemical imbalance which means a person’s mood is low and harder to lift. For instance, a symptom of depression is no longer feeling enjoyment in situations that the person found enjoyable before Depression.

Coincidentally, chocolate ‘can also lead to enhanced secretion of endorphins… the release of endorphins upon ingestion of chocolate likely explains the comforting feelings that many people associate with this food and the craving for chocolate in times of stress.’ (Information found here)

Ding ding ding! We have a winner. And it’s name is chocolate.

Eating chocolate makes a lot of people, including myself, feel better. Unfortunately, it also makes some people, including myself, gain weight. Bummer. No, it doesn’t cause weight gain, but as I’m person using chocolate to feel normal, then it’s not good for my thighs. Exercise on the other hand helps to improve mood (you’ve achieved something by walking a mile) and also physically would help with weight loss.

For those who have never experienced Depression or don’t fully understand why, if exercise is so beneficial, everyone with Depression isn’t out running a marathon, here are the reasons why:

  • Being restless and agitated
  • Waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more
  • Feeling tired and lacking energy; doing less and less
  • Using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual
  • Not eating properly and losing or putting on weight
  • Crying a lot
  • Difficulty remembering things
  • Physical aches and pains with no physical cause
  • Feeling low-spirited for much of the time, every day
  • Being unusually irritable or impatient
  • Getting no pleasure out of life or what you usually enjoy
  • Losing interest in your sex life
  • Finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
  • Blaming yourself and feeling unnecessarily guilty about things
  • Lacking self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Being preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • Feeling numb, empty and despairing
  • Feeling helpless
  • Distancing yourself from others; not asking for support
  • Taking a bleak, pessimistic view of the future
  • Experiencing a sense of unreality
  • Self-harming (by cutting yourself, for example)
  • Thinking about suicide. (Information found here)

All of these symptoms can be overwhelming, especially when a person doesn’t know that they’re Depressed or even what Depression is. It’s taken a long time, with the help of antidepressants and therapy, to get to the stage where most days I can go out for a walk, and more often I can get on the treadmill.

I think it’s easier to imagine the difficulties in exercising whilst in the throes of Depression like this: its 4am, you’re so tired that you can’t think straight, and someone asks you to come for a run. At that moment, you’re going to be thinking “Why on earth would I get out of bed to run? I’m knackered! The last thing I want to do is move.”

It’s difficult, It really is, but personally I know how much better I feel when I’m fitter, and since walking is very do-able, I’m focusing on walking everyday outside, and also partaking in yogalates and random happy dancing in my living room.

Random happy dancing also improves mood, although there hasn’t been a study in this, because … I made it up. But if you wanted to try it out, all you have to do is think of all the dance moves you would never do it public… and then do them. Seriously, people will congratulate me on finding a cure for Depression when they realise how effective random happy dancing is.

If you suffer from Depression, how does exercise fit into your life? And if you haven’t experienced Depression, what is your opinion on it? And how rich and famous do you think I’ll be when I bring random happy dancing to the masses?!

Emma

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