I’m Liz and I’m an overeater.
When I started my DDP Yoga journey, I was 192 lbs because I was overeating. And when I say overeating, I mean that with all the behaviours of an overeater: eating in private, paying cash so my husband didn’t see yet another drive-through on the credit card, food-related guilt, and of course, shoveling copious amounts of food into my face in an unending quest to activate the reward center of my brain. At the time, I honestly thought that, aside from an occasional brownie or latte, I was probably somewhere in the range of 2K calories per day. It wasn’t until I started DDP Yoga, and began tracking my food intake on MyFitnessPal that I realized I was between 4 – 5K calories per day on a normal day, more on a bad day.
Doing DPP Yoga was my last shot at getting thin and healthy, having failed so many times before. I decided to commit to everything DDP Yoga told me to do, and to commit to the calories allowance MyFitnessPal called for me to do. For the first three months, I was on about 1.4K calories a day, and despite the shock to my system this caused, I stuck to it with a surprisingly low amount of hiccups. Et voila, I got to 155 lbs, and found health and strength that I had never seen before in my life.
And I lived happily ever after.
Not so fast. These days, I am definitely in the habit of working out. I eat good, healthy food. My weight has been steady at 153 – 155 lbs for the past three months. I am active on teamDDPyoga.com, and I get messages from people telling me that I have inspired them, or asking for advice to help them be as successful as I have been. But I still have all the thought patterns and behaviours that led me to my erstwhile overweight physique.
Don’t get me wrong. No brownies have been consumed by me since I committed to health; I don’t even have a taste for them anymore. But eating healthy food doesn’t mean having a healthy relationship with food. For me, I find myself latching on to something that is sweet, salty or high fat (it was oatmeal with chocolate morsels, currently it is peanut butter), and slowly but surely, eating more and more of it each day. Then I find I have to workout more and more to keep my peanut butter consumption from exceeding my calorie allowance. I also find that I eat it ahead of things I should be eating, sometimes even letting the peanut butter replace things I had planned to eat, like vegetables. Unlike the brownies and chips I used to indulge in, I can justify peanut butter a more easily because I buy single ingredient, organic peanut butter, and they use peanut butter to feed starving children to bring them back to health (google: Plumpy’nut). So, peanut butter is good for you, right? Yes, but not when you’re eating close to half a jar a day, and eating heaping tablespoons instead of the leveled ones required for accurate calorie counting.
In the last two days, an even more worrisome pattern has emerged that prompted me to nip it in the bud by writing this post. I ate so much peanut butter that, in spite of the fact that I had worked out both days, I still exceeded my calorie allowance, and needed to deduct it from the following day’s allowance. There was a perfect storm that led to the last few days of erring. On top of being a few months into the maintenance phase of weight loss, and therefore being at higher risk of letting things slide, I have my mother in town, which means a lot more eating out. I have also been sleeping poorly as I try to switch over to early morning workouts (tiredness = less control of diet). And [men: skip to next paragraph now], not to be indelicate, it was TTOTM, which makes me a little more ravenous and prone to indulgent eating.
Making this even more worrying is the fact that my daughter and I are booking a month-long trip to see my family. It’s going to be hard to find time to workout, we will probably being eating out more, I will be tired from jetlag, and I won’t have the same level of control over what food will be accessible to me (though I am planning to bring measuring cups, and all the food I can transport).
I made a promise to myself that having worked so hard to reach this weight and level of strength. I need to be mentally ready to stay strong and not go back to my old habit just because I am back in my old home. I am going to spend the time between now and then focusing on why I overeat, and working to have healthier eating habits.
Instead of spending long hours wondering if I am trying to fill a hole in my heart left from some trauma in my past*, I am focusing on the more realistic idea that our food is addictive, and pairs with evolution to make us overeat. I found this article on WebMD, and it has some great information and advice that I am going to follow, especially the point, “Learn to enjoy the foods you can control.” For me, that means not having peanut butter in the house for a while, and having hummus available for protein cravings.
Finally, for maximum accountability, my MyFitnessPal username is myDDPyogajourney, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to check up on how I am doing, and contact me to give me support or a kick in the butt when needed!
*I had a lovely childhood.
- 4 Ingredient Healthy(ish) Peanut Butter Pie (nicolejoslin.wordpress.com)
- 5 Healthy and Nutritious Snack Ideas (ciaobellabody.com)
- The 08/21/13 Joy Jar (drwilda.com)
- My love affair with peanut butter (strongbravehonest.wordpress.com)