comfort and emotional eating

Discussion in 'Exante' started by Itstimeforchange, 6 April 2010 Social URL.

  1. Itstimeforchange

    Itstimeforchange Member

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    Hello all,

    I have been on Exante since Jan and it's been going fine, lost over five and a half stone... the problem is reintroducing the food! I started reintroducing two weeks ago, and followed the plan no worries for two days, but then just stopped, and since then it's been back to the usual - skipping meals, bingeing one day and then eating nothing the next etc. etc. I haven't put any weight back on, but I know it's just a matter of time...

    I just need to confess really and write it down. I find it very hard admitting it, as everything I read on the subject is geared towards females, but I am a thirty eight year old man with a real issue with food and I eat to comfort myself. I can stick to the diet no problem when it's just shakes and soups, but when the food comes back I feel like I can't stop.

    I even binge when the bars arrive - when each order comes I eat all the bars in three days, and then just have the shakes and soups over the rest of the month - I wouldn't mind but they are not very nice either!

    I know I lead a stressful life in some respects - I'm a single parent with a disabled son, and it's the evening time when my son goes to bed that things are worst. I do feel that since doing Exante I can recognise the signs a bit better when I feel like a binge, and I am realising that it is an emotional hunger but it just takes over like I can't stop. It affects my mood as well - I felt like being on Exante I was a better dad - I know that sounds daft, but reintroducing food and the issues it brings has led to me being irritable with mood swings again, and I don't want it.

    The most important thing is realising that I need some help in dealing with this - not sure I can get over the stigma of being a man and contact my GP about it - I did contact the people at 'Beyond Chocolate' who look at confort eating, but they only offer help to women. Have ordered a couple of books from Amazon so will see if they will help.

    So, this is the start of me dealing with my food issues. Number one is to confess all the above to you all here! Number two is to go back on to Exante - I never reached goal, perhaps I felt I didn't deserve to I don't know, but I want to keep going so have placed another order (for shakes only - no bars!) I'm going to use the next month doing the diet to note the times when I feel hungry, as given I'm in ketosis it should just be emotional hunger, and I'll see if a pattern forms...

    Sorry for going on, thank you for reading, I'd love any tips you can offer, and this time I have promised myself I will post daily as a minimum (it's part of my therapy!!)

    Onwards and upwards, where's my bottle of water...

    John
     
    Last edited: 6 April 2010
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  3. Magggie

    Magggie Full Member

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    Oh John
    I really feel for you
    you Do need some counselling, but I know unless you can get a great Dr, who knows a good food counsellor, you will get sent to the practises dietician, who, bless 'em, in my experience are not much good

    Have you considered hypnotheraphy? you really need to find out why you binge like this
    I know what you mean about Exante-you feel completely in control, and the ketosis helps you keep to your targets, but afterwards, I admit I am worried about what I will do too

    Have you got time to plan your meals?
    go buy the menu items for that alone & nothing else?

    did you eat enough protein? low carb veggies?

    Good luck & let us know how you are (((hugs)))
     
  4. Karen

    Karen Serial Foodie!

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    First of all, congrats on getting rid of over 5 stones of unwanted fat, thats a huge achievement. Its only been since January and already you are better at picking up on signs... i think with help you can master that over a longer period of time. I am really shocked that 'beyond chocolate' didn't offer their support. Im not sure about other places but someone else here might know. I really think you should get over your reluctance and see your GP as they must have plenty of avenues for you to explore. Definitely post here and prehaps do a blog? theres a section here.

    Im the same as you... i binge eat and have horrendous trouble restricting myself or knowing when to stop. For me it is absolutely a self esteem issue and very difficult to overcome. I actually used a recommended hypnotherapist...not to stop me from eating but to help me with self esteem and giving myself permission to put myself first (in context!) Its not an easy thing to do, especially as a single parent. I've been there and think my [problem was worse because being alone meant no one could see and I could 'get away with it'. We're definitely all here though so post away and we will support you. Be kind to yourself and explore your other options to as there are plenty of them too.

    xx
     
  5. Shuffler

    Shuffler Full Member

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    It's really brave of you to come on here and say all those things. It's also really rubbish that it all gets made into such a female issue all the time, and that you have had to feel so worried about having these problems as a man. I'm sure just as many men are overweight as women, perhaps a lot of them just aren't as strong as you to admit you've got a bit of a problem with food and 'come out' and try and get some help and sort yourself out!

    You've done immensely well so far to stick to Exante and lose all that weight, and even though going back to food is presenting some problems, you are smart enough to figure that out and not just resign yourself to it, which I'm sure is the first step!

    It does sound like you have a stressful life - being a single parent looking after a disabled son must be very demanding and probably doesn't give you a whole lot of 'me time'. Which I'm guessing is why when he goes to bed and you're on your own, you're trying to have a nice bit of time to yourself and just doing it in the wrong way - by bingeing.

    It's a hard one, seeing as you've done so well on the total solution. I really hope you work it out!

    Becky x
     
  6. Yambabe

    Yambabe Bad Girl

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    I have a couple of suggestions for you. Obvioulsy it's impractical (not to mention daft!) for you to never eat proper food again so you need to get to grips with these demons now and sort your head out.

    My first piece of advice would be start keeping a diary or blog. List everything that you have eaten in a day, and if possible calorie-count it as well. Alongside that write down how you were feeling. It doesn't have to be online, it could just be a little notebook that lives in your pocket. If you do it online it doesn't have to be shared, although you may find it helpful to get some objective feedback on what you are doing sometimes!

    The idea of this is that you can look back on "good" days and "bad" days and try to start identifying patterns to your eating. If you always reach for the bread/cheese/chocolate/whatever when faced with a certain situation you can then take steps to distract yourself when you next see that situation coming and hopefully avoid it becoming a major issue.

    My next idea is that you may actually never be able to have a "normal" realtionship with food, and you need to be looking around now for an eating plan for the future that will fit in with your lifestyle and habits even if you don't think they are particularly healthy at the moment.

    Use this site and the net to research various diet plans (although I hesitated there with the word "diet" cos we are not necessarily talking weight-loss plans here) and see if any of them fit in with how you see yourself.

    Depending what your trigger foods are for bingeing, you may get on with something like Atkins where you can have some foods virtually unlimited as long as you curb the carbs. Or Slimming World which has a huge list of "free" foods - if they are all that is in your cupboard you can happily binge on them without too much guilt! Personally I am currently looking into the JUDDD diet as an option when I finish TFR, this is where you alternate days of VLC eating with days of "normal" eating, sounds faddy but from my research so far it does seem to work, particularly for maintenance.

    My final suggestion is that you find a new hobby for those long evenings, preferably something you can do to keep both your hands and brain occupied. How about a home-learning course of some sort? Model-making? Exercise? Something artistic? Endless possibilities once you start to think about it, but it will not only give you something to do but also hopefully give you something positive to focus on.

    I don't have the answer to mending your brain unfortunately, although seeing your gp or finding a self-help group may have. Don't forget that a slimming class such as WW or SW is a kind of self-help group too, although they may be awkward to fit around your child's needs.

    Most of all don't despair, and don't give up on yourself yet. You have done something amazing to get this far with your weightloss, hold that thought and treasure it, use it to help you get even further until you finally reach where you want to be.

    Oh and one last thing, never never feel like you are the only person feeling like this. Trust me, you're not. :)
     
  7. Quak

    Quak Gold Member

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    John, you are very brave posting what you have and I hope it has helped to put it down in writing, there is very little else that I can add as Yam has been very comprehensive in her post. I would have to agree with her about not being able to ever have a "normal" relationship with food as I feel the same, I am always going to have to be extra vigilant to the mood swings and "comfort" culture of food (and alcohol to an extent) - personally I am looking towards Atkins as I know that carbs are my biggest trigger for bingeing, once I succumb to the carbs I find it very hard to stop, especially bread.

    I hope that being on here and posting daily will help you towards the control, if I am feeling that insane urge towards food I can spend all night on minimins, not just in here but on the other forums too, just to distract myself, although most of the posts are about food or lack of it it somehow helps in a funny sort of way.

    Well done on your loss so far and I hope that you can get to your goal, because you do deserve it! and don't let anyone, especially yourself, tell you any different.

    Bren xx
     
  8. Magggie

    Magggie Full Member

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    Ohhhh bread :-(
    lovely bread(and crisps)

    adding to Yams a tiny bit
    in your food diary-if you are more IT literate, how about taking a low resolutin picture of your meals? phones can be good for this.
    also maybe an indicator of how you felt when you ate that food?
    smiley face?
    sad face
    non commital face
    etc.
     
  9. Red77

    Red77 Full Member

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    Hi John

    I'm glad that you have reached out to us (as in the forum) and shared your feelings, it at least gives us the chance to help you as and where we can.

    Well done on your loss, its such a great acheivement, you should be very proud of yourself. Why don't you go for it and finally reach your goal? I think it would help you in the longer term anyway as I get the impression that you don't consider yourself a success until you lose that extra bit of weight, I may be wrong though..... I think it will help you to think more positivly (can't spell) and help you keep yourself in check.

    Its everyones worry about coming off the diet as the diet does the 'thinking' for you so you are not alone. Habits are very hard to break but when you remind yourself of how you felt before losing the weight, its quite a wake-up call!
    Maybe try and retain some of the 'structure' that the Exante diet gives you - such as buy ready-meals for the immeadiate future to keep your portions in control or just indulge on a weekend and use Mon-Fri to be 100% healthy - this is my plan once I have lost the weight. Do you have to have naughty food in the house? Could you buy other food thats not such a magnet to you perhaps?

    For me, I no longer want to be embarassed by what I consume in private so if i do want something, I stop and ask myself if I would be happy to eat it in front of other people - if the answer is yes, then i know i have my head in the right place and haven't lost all my willpower - I'm not explaining it very well I know, sorry!:confused:

    Boredom is such a killer to the diet so as with Yam's reply, keep yourself busy (my house has never been so clean!:)). Not knowing your situation or whats availble to you but simple things such as walking in the longer evenings or gardening, cleaning (!), surfing, gaming - basically anything that keeps your hands occupied is the common theme.....:p
     
  10. Magggie

    Magggie Full Member

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    Dear Red
    I don't really know of any good ready meals?
    arn't most of them full of fat & salt?
     
  11. Red77

    Red77 Full Member

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    There are some that aren't too bad.....

    Its more about introducing control slowly back into ones's life - (do I sound posh referring to myself in the 3rd person?!:p).

    I lost a lot of weight years ago by having them with a load of veg. Its not ideal and can't compare with real fresh food but it helped me keep control over portions etc and meant that I didn't have to overthink what I wanted to eat each day.
     
  12. Shuffler

    Shuffler Full Member

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    I think there are some that are alright compared to other ones, and if it helps you get control over portions and stuff it's probably ok for a while. Usually they are very small portions.
     
  13. Miss Demeanour

    Miss Demeanour I.P. Freely

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    one off the interweb...
    Well that's just rubbish!

    I won't repeat what everyone else has said (much!), just add a different slant. I used to binge eat too. I had a former colleague who had a nasty OTC codiene habit. A number of former colleagues drank too much. We had/have stressful jobs and lives.

    We all did it as an instant method to change the way we feel. A food 'hit' can be warm and comforting, anything with a good dose of simple carbs can change your mood - albeit temporarily. It may be why you snaffled all the bars first, you were seeking out the carbs...

    Being on a TFR takes that opportunity away from you externally, but doesn't take away the need for the void to be filled. You're just distracted from it for a while by the weight loss project.

    You sound like you're in an exceptionally stressful position, and you have my every respect. However the stress may well be manifesting itself in a need for 'warmth and comfort' - especially if your trigger time is when you're on your own. All of a sudden the person that takes up your time has gone to bed and you're on your own - now what? you reach out for something to make you 'feel' better - which clearly doesn't work in the long run. Be thankful though it's food and not Pinot Grigio...! That way bad things lie...

    So, it may well be the underlying stress, or anxiety, or even depression. All of which are distracted when you're caring for your son, but may manifest themselves when you're on your own. It may well be that the food is the symptom, but there is something else underlying that your bingeing is trying to 'medicate'.

    Hats off to you for coming this clean and I hope you find the answer - I also hope you do go to your GP, even if it's to talk over the possibility of treatment for stress/anxiety/depression.

    I also agree in the interim that some other hobby, or exercise, or study will help further distract you at your trigger times; and (perhaps more importantly) in itself it would give you a small sense of achievement, something for *you* that you do for *yourself*, and is entirely separate from other aspects of your life. Do you spend so much time working and doing things for other people, you don't do anything *for yourself*?

    You should be exceptionally proud of your achievements to date, and that *includes* your caring role at home. You probably think 'that's nothing, it's just what I do', but actually you're a top bloke. :)
     
  14. Mrs R

    Mrs R Full Member

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    I totally agree with what Miss d said there, spot on!
    I would urge you to go and see your GP because your symptoms sound like classic stress to me and it needs to be dealt with before it gets out of hand.
    I went through the same thing as a single parent looking after my son who has schizophrenia (I'm narried again now). I totally ignored the accumulating stress and continued to manage alone going to work and trying to deal with everything at home on my own for some years, I was addicted to OTC drugs, mainly paramol, drank too much, comfort binged, smoked 20 -30 a day whilst congratulating myself on how well I was coping.
    The result - massive mental breakdown and 6 months off work to recover. I have been forced to face up to my lifestyle now and no longer smoke, drink, abuse pharmaceuticals or binge eat, this diet is about undoing the damage. I had counselling and for the first time had to face what I was doing head on and chanhe my life. Things are great now and we are all living normally again and dealing with stress in a healthy way.
    Get help before it's too late.
     
  15. Magggie

    Magggie Full Member

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    Oh its so hard to get away from the bad habits that make us feel good

    why do we have to be so open to addiction?

    I just think that one day they will be able to switch off our compulsions with a pill
    or put a switch in the side of our head
    I am sitting here now after my 5.30pm
    soup thinking it will be ok to have a bit if bar for pudding
    NO! It's not
     
  16. Miss Demeanour

    Miss Demeanour I.P. Freely

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    There was - it was called Accomplia, or Rimonabant. But they took it off the market towards the end of 2008. Bloody marvellous stuff, it was. :(
     
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