Grieving Giving Up Overeating

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  • Lovee_Dove7
    Lovee_Dove7 Posts: 741 Member
    edited March 2016
    So, since the beginning of January, I've lost twelve pounds or so. I probably have another ten to fifteen to lose, but I'm taking a break for a bit and maintaining where I'm at for a while. Now that I don't have the excitement of losing weight, I'm finding that I am dealing with a lot of sadness or frustration with no longer having overeating as entertainment. I really enjoy eating, and used to use it as a way to fill boredom, to entertain myself when bored, to avoid things I didn't want to do, and just as a way to have fun. Although I have the maintenance calories to do some of that, I can't eat whatever I want whenever I want in amounts I want for any reason I want and still maintain my weight. I find myself still frequently wanting to use eating as entertainment and feeling frustrated - maybe even sad - that I can't. It's like a grieving process for giving up food as an always available way to fill time. Has anyone dealt with that? What helped? I remind myself that although I'm sad about giving that up, I'd be more sad and frustrated to have that and be overweight, and that reminder helps a little. Does that feeling go away?

    Mood was a huge factor for me in not being able to lose weight. It's not all about bootstraps and self control.
    Before my last (successful) diet attempt, I would try my very hardest, yet ultimately I couldn't handle the emotional element...the way a deficit made me feel.
    Once I started my diet (the successful one), within a week, it was clear that I could overcome this problem, with the right dietary approach. Initially my diet gave me strength to eat within a deficit.

    Over the course of this last year, I have continued to gain strength in my ability to choose other things besides food to have good, healthy emotions and positive feelings.

    Here's a post I made on my wall just today!
    "Gratefulness Challenge Day #28 I'm grateful for the new habits I've learned in the last year. I've learned moderation and self-control through weighing and logging my food and exercise. This took longer than I thought: going through seasons and circumstances while still logging has been training for this change. Now I don't eat to achieve a change-of-state, a change in my mood or stress levels. I still feel that urge, but it's fading, and I have developed the power to say "no" to eating for the wrong reasons. Simply referencing my food log and seeing in black and white that I've had enough has been a new tool in my toolbox! Other tools have been successes which have made me feel physically better. Feeling better has boosted my confidence that I can find other ways to feel good. I can gain strength physically, mentally and emotionally by doing other things, and those things build me up. I've also learned a LOT about my body that I never knew before: I did not know about hormones and metabolism, and how much hormones were affecting every aspect of my being. This is true for the young and old, for men and women. I have more understanding and compassion for myself and other because of this. Knowledge is power!"
  • katnoir1
    katnoir1 Posts: 128 Member
    Completely relate. Food has always just been a part of everything in my life. I miss sitting in front of the TV with some ridiculous snack. I miss the fried food and ice cream that always marked girls' night. It's hard to break those associations. I'm still trying.

    One thing I have found to help somewhat is calorie cycling: I eat at a deficit most days of the week, then have one or two re-feed days a week. I still average maintenance calories, but it means that on two days of my choosing I get to eat a bit more. Generally I save these for days when I know something is happening, like a dinner party or movie night or something. Also I make sure to get in a workout on those days so I don't feel quite so sluggish and yuck.
  • Dana_E
    Dana_E Posts: 162 Member
    I love this thread, and I can relate to so many of the comments. Thank you, OP, for posting the question, and thanks to all those who contributed to the discussion. I have learned a lot.
  • jenmovies
    jenmovies Posts: 351 Member
    What's worked for me is really thinking about myself after overeating. Really focus on how you feel both physically and mentally. I'm willing to bet you don't feel like congratulating yourself. I feel uncomfortable and guilty, I feel like I've erased hard work done in the gym. There is almost no good feeling associated with it other than what you feel at that time. Frankly, the fallout isn't worth it and one day you will come to that realisation. I did! It's just not worth it. I went through years of mourning for the metabolism of my early 20s. Wasted time. I wish you all the best of luck on this journey!
  • KateTii
    KateTii Posts: 886 Member
    I have regular calorie breaks for holidays, birthdays and special occasions. Usually either 1-2 days for birthdays/special occasions or 2 weeks for holidays. As long as you "get back on the horse" the "damage" is always reversible. There are days I feel sad over only being able to have 82g of chocolate vs the whole block, but knowing there will be a day in the near future when I can have the whole block (whether I actually do eat the whole block or not) makes me feel better.
  • Mavrick_RN
    Mavrick_RN Posts: 439 Member
    Thanks, OP for a very thought provoking thread. Really brought out some insightful and heartfelt comments.

    I too, believe I am grieving the loss of ever being able to eat THAT WAY. The full out eating with abandon and denial of the consequences. Eating because I can, because it's there, when no one's looking because that kind of eating is not something you do in public. Yeah, it starts out for any number of reasons, I saw a commercial, it's free, I deserve it, it's a holiday but I kept eating beyond any semblance of satisfaction. I ate until it was all gone or I was completely stuffed.

    Now I'm looking into the WHY and this comment hit me the hardest:

    "Yes, I relate to the way you used food, for sure. Food was my god. I'm still having that empty feeling ( lol, along with feeling physically (hungry) empty too). I had got to a point where I felt ridiculous and immature about how I was eating whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it. It no longer made sense to keep stuffing myself, grazing all day and feeling pretty lousy physically. I realized I was using food for every little problem, every slight I got from anyone, for every painful emotion I felt. The self pity and anger at anyone and anything grew. It got to where if I didn't have enough frustrating, uncomfortable emotions or events to get upset over, I could exaggerate small ones and eat over those.

    I quit doing overeating in December. I did that gradually, sort of weaning myself off the bottle so to speak. I feel better now and I'm working on myself by looking at these things I mentioned, also doing more meditation to find constructive ways of dealing with unresolved emotional pain etc.

    What a great topic, you really rock for the honesty like sam said."

    Totally agree GREAT TOPIC and lots of food for thought. LOL
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,331 Member
    I really relate to this post. I have been on MFP for years, and although I'm aware of what I've gained (freedom from diabetes is a major benefit) I still get these moments where I feel sad that I will never be able to eat with abandon without a care in the world. Even though I don't deny myself anything, I'm still aware of how much and how often I eat certain things. Weight loss and maintenance are relatively easy to me, but are a conscious effort. Gone are the days where "I see it, I eat it" was the norm, whenever I want however much I want. No internal dialogue or reasoning necessary.

    It does get a bit easier with time. This feeling may never go away, but with time it becomes less pronounced and frequent. You hit the nail on the head when you called it "greiving".
  • ncfitbit
    ncfitbit Posts: 1,058 Member
    I understand what you are saying. I think I'd been feeling that way lately too, but I unintentionally took a whole week "off" recently because my mother was in the hospital and I had to eat whenever I had time and wherever I happened to be at the time and I learned something very helpful and important. I don't REALLY want to go back to my old ways of eating, I just like to fantasize about it.

    At the end of last week all I craved were the meals I could make at home that I knew would fill me up and make me feel great. I really DO NOT miss the sluggish and full feeling of too many high carb/high fat meals and I was glad to be reminded of that.
  • MommyL2015
    MommyL2015 Posts: 1,411 Member
    KateTii wrote: »
    I have regular calorie breaks for holidays, birthdays and special occasions. Usually either 1-2 days for birthdays/special occasions or 2 weeks for holidays. As long as you "get back on the horse" the "damage" is always reversible. There are days I feel sad over only being able to have 82g of chocolate vs the whole block, but knowing there will be a day in the near future when I can have the whole block (whether I actually do eat the whole block or not) makes me feel better.

    Absolutely this. If I did not take breaks every so often, I'd be crying, too. It's all about being human and enjoying life because if you can't enjoy life, what's the point? It's hard enough dealing with everything else life throws at us besides food and weight, so I think having a day or so every so often where you just take a calorie-counting break is good for the soul and the mind. We have to include those in overall health and wellbeing, don't we? I didn't count calories or watch what I ate ever in my life until last year. While I know now that's what caused my gain and I need to be much more mindful or I'll gain all my weight back, I still have the right to enjoy myself. Food is enjoyable!

    I kind of view my eating like I drink alcohol. I enjoy and indulge every so often, but I don't get drunk every day.
  • vicky1947mfp
    vicky1947mfp Posts: 1,530 Member
    I have bookmarked this thread. So comforting to know I am not alone with this feeling.

    Every post is awesome in your honesty. After 4 years of eating better and working out, I still miss being able to eat like before. But the few times I have over indulged, I have paid for it by feeling sick and having diarrhea. All that fat, grease, sugar, sodium is telling me it is not good for my system.

    I am 68 and have lost 43 lbs. have gone from a size 14 to a size 4. Being only 5'2" tall and at my age I only get 1450 cals to maintain and sometimes that is hard to do. But it is so worth the way I feel and look better.

    And for the first time in my life, I love to exercise. It has become sort of an addiction to me now. I guess I traded one addiction for another. But this one of being obsessed with logging and getting in my exercise is so much healthier for me.

    Thanks, Robin, for starting this topic. Best of luck to everyone. You all are much younger than I am and are getting smarter so much earlier in life. You will be so glad you did. I wish I had.

    PS- I have a friend whose Doctor told her that fast food was slowly killing her. So we all need to wise up and eat healthier. I know- easier said than done!
  • Pinkylee77
    Pinkylee77 Posts: 432 Member
    OP This is a great thread. My husband and I are working on these issues too. I will snack my self into a food coma and he is the big eater. What we are trying to do is if he wants a burger he in the past would say when we are not watching I want X, now if he really wants something we will work it in to our food plan. Also like someone else said I try to learn to cook what you might call more exotic foods like Korean or Japanese. This way we do not have the same associations with the comfort of eating a food, but we still have a good time eating it. Asian food done well have lots of veggies as a plus.
    I still miss inhaling a bag of chips but it is time to get rid of the guilt and shame associated with negative behaviors.
    Good luck to all of us
  • Kullerva
    Kullerva Posts: 1,114 Member
    I have a favorite Italian restaurant that serves crazy portions. We go there for every major celebration. Every time I lose 10 lbs, I go there and eat everything I want. I've found that I can't pack away as much food as I used to, so even if I do damage I can recover from it better.

    Food is great! You can still enjoy what you like, just not all the time. I love that restaurant not just for the food, but for the people and atmosphere. I do sometimes still go, but I keep in mind that one meal there should feed me four times, not once. :)
  • hoyalawya2003
    hoyalawya2003 Posts: 631 Member
    edited March 2016
    I totally get it. My hubby and I often say we will always be fatties at heart. But, after losing quite a bit and changing the way we eat (not radically, just smaller portions and healthy substitutions around the margins), our perspective has changed. Way overeating now is probably close to what a "normal" day would have been back in the fat days. And sometimes I will really really want something fattening/sugar laden, etc., but then when I actually get there, I change my mind or only eat a part of it.

    And as others have said, don't like the overfull feeling anymore and get full with less food now.

    You will get there. It isn't easy, it's not a straight path, you will have lots of setbacks. But you don't have to become a self-denying obsessive who never enjoys life to get there, either.

    ETA: Oh, and one thing I realized: having a "treat" of a giant bowl of ice cream wasn't really a treat so much as a habit. Now that I have "treats" less often (and in less quantity), I enjoy them more.
  • Angelszophia
    Angelszophia Posts: 127 Member
    This is so me even after 2 yrs of dr. prescribed eating...
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    Pinkylee77 wrote: »
    I still miss inhaling a bag of chips but it is time to get rid of the guilt and shame associated with negative behaviors.

    The problem for me at least is that I had no guilt whatsoever.

    And the bottom line is that now I'll never be able to get back in this mindset, because I know better. I still let myself eat more from time to time, but yeah, most of the time I still feel guilty about it, so it's not quite as enjoyable (well, it is at the time, just not so much after). But I've also found more and more that if I stop resisting and just have whatever I'm craving, I typically end up still under my calories for the day (hormonal days aside). The big change of mindset for me is that if I want pie, I can just have some for lunch instead of WITH lunch.
    Oh, and one thing I realized: having a "treat" of a giant bowl of ice cream wasn't really a treat so much as a habit. Now that I have "treats" less often (and in less quantity), I enjoy them more.

    This is very true!
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,331 Member
    Francl27 wrote: »
    Pinkylee77 wrote: »
    I still miss inhaling a bag of chips but it is time to get rid of the guilt and shame associated with negative behaviors.

    The problem for me at least is that I had no guilt whatsoever.

    And the bottom line is that now I'll never be able to get back in this mindset, because I know better. I still let myself eat more from time to time, but yeah, most of the time I still feel guilty about it, so it's not quite as enjoyable (well, it is at the time, just not so much after). But I've also found more and more that if I stop resisting and just have whatever I'm craving, I typically end up still under my calories for the day (hormonal days aside). The big change of mindset for me is that if I want pie, I can just have some for lunch instead of WITH lunch.
    Oh, and one thing I realized: having a "treat" of a giant bowl of ice cream wasn't really a treat so much as a habit. Now that I have "treats" less often (and in less quantity), I enjoy them more.

    This is very true!

    Exactly. Well, not exactly the guilt for me though, I mean I can fit in a giant bowl of something if I want. It's the difference between inner monologues, trying to decide if it's worth it, planning for it...etc and just simply spontaneously having something without a second thought except "I want, I'll have". I'm just too aware now. It feels like "loss of food innocence" or something.
  • Clarissa8891
    Clarissa8891 Posts: 2 Member
    Here we are, in bodies programmed from years of evolution to seek out high fat and sweet foods but living in a world where those exact things are an overabundance. Yes, I want to eat that and that and that. This is hard and frustrating. And, thank you for saying what you did. Because, we all need to know that thin and healthy is not easy.
  • Francl27
    Francl27 Posts: 26,373 Member
    Francl27 wrote: »
    Pinkylee77 wrote: »
    I still miss inhaling a bag of chips but it is time to get rid of the guilt and shame associated with negative behaviors.

    The problem for me at least is that I had no guilt whatsoever.

    And the bottom line is that now I'll never be able to get back in this mindset, because I know better. I still let myself eat more from time to time, but yeah, most of the time I still feel guilty about it, so it's not quite as enjoyable (well, it is at the time, just not so much after). But I've also found more and more that if I stop resisting and just have whatever I'm craving, I typically end up still under my calories for the day (hormonal days aside). The big change of mindset for me is that if I want pie, I can just have some for lunch instead of WITH lunch.
    Oh, and one thing I realized: having a "treat" of a giant bowl of ice cream wasn't really a treat so much as a habit. Now that I have "treats" less often (and in less quantity), I enjoy them more.

    This is very true!

    Exactly. Well, not exactly the guilt for me though, I mean I can fit in a giant bowl of something if I want. It's the difference between inner monologues, trying to decide if it's worth it, planning for it...etc and just simply spontaneously having something without a second thought except "I want, I'll have". I'm just too aware now. It feels like "loss of food innocence" or something.

    I love the way you put it!

    Yeah I still enjoy it when it's planned (so Holidays and my birthday, typically).
  • mdrichardsons
    mdrichardsons Posts: 89 Member
    Awesome thread!! Yes I too have experienced this feeling of grief. I think I'm grieving the life I used to live the "good parts"anyway. The never having to think about the consequences, keeping a roll of cookie dough in my freezer to snack on throughout the day until I'm completely stuffed from it, sodas, tall glass of whole fat milk with dinner, appetizers and the desserts at restraunts. (Don't yell at me anyone, I know I can have all these things, but most have been cut because I've had to make decisions and they just don't make the cut over other things I love.)
    But when I really stop and think I remember that this old life came with slavery. I could not do the things I do now. I just went on a bike ride this morning with my son and it was beautiful! Sun shining fresh air we stopped to see some goats and just had a great adventure. I was missing out on this life that I have now. I have freedom to get in a swim suit or play with my kids at the park. I no longer look at myself in pictures or in the mirror and am embarrassed by how horrible I look. Im free to buy clothes I want. I'm free to try new things and enjoy my life. So when I compare the 10 minutes of "happiness" I get from stuffing myself with unneeded food to the life I have been given now there's no comparison! It's just a lie telling you the food will be what fulfills you.
    I relate so much to drug addicts or alcoholics. Or whatever kind of addict we are really no different it's all just trying to fill a void.
  • shannonbrophy360
    shannonbrophy360 Posts: 1 Member
    I can't express enough how thankful I am to have stumbled across this thread. I've been focusing a lot lately on why I still feel the need to overeat. After dinner, I am overcome with this urge to grab a bowl of granola while watching a tv show. While I'm sitting at my desk, I crave something to munch on. I choose not to ask myself if I am actually hungry. I choose not to ask myself if there is something deeper going on as to why I feel the need to keep eating when I am not hungry. Sometimes I feel overcome with anger and frustration because I can not eat like "normal" people. Why am I unable to stop mid sandwich or meal because I'm satisfied?

    I have started taking responsibility for my actions. Plugging into MFP what I am going to eat makes me aware of my choices. It also makes me feel in control. I remind myself these are my choices, no one is making me eat. But taking ownership is really, really hard.

    I read that feeling hunger is not always a bad thing, and that a lot of people don't know what true hunger feels like. The more I think about this, the more I relate to it. I snack and eat all day long and never feel true hunger. I hate feeling uncomfortable, and being hungry IS uncomfortable. But by doing so, I'm figuring out what my body's hunger signals are so I can distinguish between emotional hunger and physical hunger.

    Thank you for starting this thread.