Monday, 5 October 2009

Self destruction

Time for a post on weight loss and binge eating. Not had one of those for a while. Maybe it'll help in the future if I've jotted down a few thoughts now.

By the 24th of September my weight had fallen nicely down as far as 11 stone 9lb - the lowest I've been probably since my middle teens. I felt good. I was on track to hit my target of 11 stone before my 40th birthday at the beginning of November, and thought of myself as being 'about 11 and a half stone' and slim.

I then had a bit of a heavy few days food wise. This was partly because the in laws visited from Thursday to Saturday (meaning fruit pie, a meal out and a relaxed day or two), partly because I didn't run Thursday or Friday, and partly because after the races on Saturday & Sunday I felt like comfort eating and that I deserved it. I did mange to resist another meal out on the Sunday evening but that just led to a mini binge on cheese, toast & butter!

Net result was that on the following Monday Morning the scales said 12st 1 lb!

Now, I know that thats a 'false' weight gain - as much to do with water retention and the weight of the food in the gut after over eating as any genuine weight gain - so I didn't panic. Instead, I went back to basics of dieting and exercise and by Thursday morning was down to 11st 10lb.

Trouble is, that was the high point!

I did ok through the day on Thursday but in the evening went out for a curry with friends. It wasn't a weight loss day as a result but I resisted the temptation to buy illicit chocolate on the way home. Friday started with good intentions but by the middle of the day I was feeling tempted to nip out for a quick treat lunch out despite knowing I'd got a big (and rather nice) casserole for tea.

I resisted once more but again this led to bingeing in the evening - huge amount (8-10 slices or so) of toast and butter (again after a very large tea) plus assorted picking at cheese, snacks, dried fruit, fruit buns and some newly discovered digestive biscuits.

Saturday was even worse. During the day I had 6 chocolate bars and half a bag of fruit pastilles alongside many, many more slices of toast and butter, fruit buns, digestives and 3 decent meals!

On Sunday I ran a tough race and managed to limit myself to only the four chocolate bars and the other half of the pastilles alongside a huge roast dinner and - you guessed it - yet more toast and butter, biscuits and assorted picking.

The scales today were 11st 13.2 lb. At least its under 12, but the lost time and weight gain now mean even at 2 lb a week loss I won't hit my target until the 22nd of next month.

This pattern of weight loss and bingeing is long established so is there a trigger?

Possibly yes.

The following all seem to contribute to this feeling of wanting to binge and sabotage myself:

Stress - especially work and/or money worries - seem to leave me more open to wanting to comfort eat. Funnilly enough money worries leave me wanting to spend too!

Denial - it seems (from this weekend) that if I deny myself a treat (like the meals out) there's a fair chance my response will be to binge on other things which will ultimately be far worse. Worry is though, if I gave in to the initial temptation would the bingeing follow anyway?

Not exercising - not sure how much of a trigger this is but if I go for more than 2, maybe even 1, day without running I'm more likely to go into binge mode. Exercise seems to give me discipline (post 10 mile run mini binges not withstanding).

Complacency - when I've had a few weeks good loss and am feeling ahead of the game I seem to get tempted to go off the rails. Maybe that's a response to a too strict period or maybe its simple complacency. I don't know.

I do think that the likelihood of bingeing (and its severity) are linked to these triggers working in combination though.

I can even recognise them at play. Trouble is recognising them and finding a way of not acting on them seem two very different things and words and phrases like sabotage and self destruction seem very accurate.

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