BDS: Day 17---- End Overeating
Saturday, March 17, 2018
As a person who used to routinely consume 10,000 calories at a sitting this was probably the most difficult aspect of turning the corner with my emotional eating. I found restricted calorie diets nearly impossible to stick to because I was so ravenously hungry. I would turn to other more seasoned dieters for their advice and usually they would say, "Well, give it a week or two." Sadly, it never worked.
Since I had such difficulty in consuming less calories I then turned to exercise to burn up even more calories. I did this for quite a few years but what I discovered was that exercise alone will not help you lose the weight. At least, it didn't for me. I tried that effort for years so I can speak from some experience. I did get a lot of other benefits from being active but losing weight was not one of them.
So, I did what I see and hear many people do: I tried calorie cycling (it doesn't work for me), volumetrics (eating a lot of super low calorie foods in huge amounts) which was boring ( a whole head of lettuce? how long can you sustain that?) and sort of made me feel sick to my stomach. Drinking copious amounts of water actually made my kidneys hurt to the point where I had to scale back. There were other efforts but they all ended up with the same disappointing result for me. I was hungry all the time and it is not fun to be a hungry person nor to be around one. I was cross, irritable and a generally unpleasant person. I didn't even like being with me.
So, I limped along for years going back and forth. On occasion having a good day where I stayed within my calorie range and able to sustain that for a couple of weeks. Then, I was watching one of my favorite programs, "My 600 Lb. Life" and the featured surgeon said on more than one occasion that extremely obese people's stomachs are usually the size of a football (the average stomach size is more like a grapefruit) and that is one reason why they fail to lose weight on their own. They have managed to stretch their stomach organ beyond recognition.
I feel a little sheepish admitting this but it really didn't take until I got very physically ill last year for my overstretched stomach to finally 'shrink'. [ I'm not even sure it has but I say that because I get fuller faster] One year later and I simply can not eat large amounts of food any more. In fact, the majority of the time I am barely able to eat what is considered a smaller portion-sized meal. For example, I was really wanting fast food last week and I love Big Macs. All I could eat was 2 French fries and the sloppily made sandwich. I now typically throw away half of a meal I order just because to continue would make me violently ill.
I'm going to come down hard on myself but after decades of abuse to my digestive system it has 'battle fatigue'. It just simply 'shuts down' and refuses to allow me to abuse it any more. It truly has its own best interests at heart. However, as much as it is quite unique now to have a significantly smaller appetite and satiety level I am still left with making poor food choices at times. So, although it is much easier to eat less and therefore lose some weight I still need to relearn what healthy eating is and then practice it.
So, although my ability (or lack of depending on how you want to look at it) to end overeating really has happened and it is 'working'. However, I still haven't 'fixed' my poor eating habits from the past. I have been diagnosed severely anemic (again poor food choices over years of poor eating) the past two years I now find the problem compounded by having difficulty absorbing the nutrients in foods.
If I am going to reach my weight loss goals now then I need (and I want) to retrain my decision making to eat much healthier than I have in my recent past. Like most overeaters I developed an appetite and taste selection based on foods that were higher in fat or sugar. No, I still don't think an apple is superior (in taste or satisfaction) as a piece of apple pie but I do recognize that it is a superior choice. Now, to accept that premise emotionally so I can not only feed myself but give myself the best fuel possible.
So, in my situation, ending overeating was just one side of the coin for me. I now need to make better food choices so I can build and strengthen my weakened body. Just like you, I can and need to do it and I will change with time, effort and commitment. Until then I have licked part of my eating past and now I have to lick the rest of it.