I Need Brainwashing

Yesterday I woke up and thought about my weight.  Not the number, per se.  But just about the fact that this whole journey of mine is so much a focus of my life right now.  And I spent my day thinking about it all:  food, eating, dieting, etc.  Not in a good way.  Because it hit me, as it has at moments in the past months, that I just wish it was not so front and center in my thoughts.

Was I just having a bad day?  Why did it feel like I had PMS without the PM?  Was this thinking a negative side effect of the realization that I am not on a diet that ends, but a lifestyle change that goes on forever?  I don’t remember thinking about this stuff so much or so constantly during my past diet attempts, but they ended sooner and my memory is fading so maybe this has always been part of my diet persona.  Have I always, in all my many diets of years past, had this constancy in my life where I think about eating or not eating?  And what did I think about when I wasn’t dieting?  Yesterday I woke up and wondered when – if – the day would come when I would just eat normal, healthy food and not have to think about it.

I don’t think I am obsessed with food and dieting; I don’t think it is unhealthy.  I just think it is too much.  I have seen other bloggers talk about their hopes to “be normal” and I see myself in that description.  Maybe I have never had a “normal” relationship with food – but certainly I have not always had it so much in the forefront of my mind.  Some days, like yesterday, it seems to be my life.  I didn’t cheat.  I didn’t overeat.  But darn I thought about food a lot!  It was an okay, on plan eating day – but a bad thinking day.  I kept telling myself, “Karen, get a life!”

How does it happen?  When does it happen?  The part where I just eat and don’t think about it.  The great irony here is that I have always thought mindless eating referred to the endless munching while distracted by other things.  But now I wish for mindless eating… the eating without thinking about it.  And mindless not-eating.

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57 Comments

Filed under dieting, emotions/emotional issues

57 responses to “I Need Brainwashing

  1. The “Normal” has to happen, or we are all screwed. If “normal”, healthy weight and healthy life are not on the horizon then this is all for nothing. Have faith. Healthy people are all around you. I find them everyday and try to copy them. I think about food all the time. I think about other things, but it is there. If you had Cancer, heaven forbid, it would consume you until you were cured. Then it would be with you for the rest of your life, checking against its rebirth. Sorry, we have that, and that is the weigh it is.. Sorry about the pun, but the group you are with, us food obsessed, are here..
    .-= Allan´s last blog ..DAY 24, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9, 2010 PART 2 =-.

    • Karen

      Thank you for commenting Allan. You make a good point with a clear analogy. I love analogies:) I am going to have faith. Yesterday was just one of those days. And we all know that the sun will come out tomorrrroooow.

  2. I can relate to this post and I say soak it up because it won’t always be able to be the focus of your life- as long as it’s not an obsession or intruding on other parts of your life I say just take things as they come 🙂

    • Karen

      That reminds me that a few years ago I decided to start looking for a part-time job and complained to my mom about not having any work clothes that fit. (They were too small of course.) She replied that she thought a job would be just the thing for me to lose weight! I think she is right and you are right. There is a lot of time now for me to be thinking about this stuff. The good part of that – I can exercise longer:)

  3. I think that “this too shall pass”. Maybe your life is relatively quiet right now with few distractions? That is always nice, but can allow for a lot of think time! Or maybe things are chaotic and this is a way of not getting overwhelmed. Whatever – everything shifts and changes. This will too.
    .-= Leslie´s last blog ..Tuesday topics =-.

  4. I felt that way many times while I was losing weight – why does it have to be something I think about 24/7? I would go to sleep thinking about exercising and what I would eat the next day. The entire day revolved around it. It gets tiring.

    I have found that a big part of it is self trust and that really only came out when I moved to maintenance. Sure I still plan out my meals and exercise, but I don’t think about it as much as I used to. There was some fear in letting go of that mind set, but the longer I go on the more I am able to trust myself without having to think about food 24/7.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Three things Thursday =-.

    • Karen

      Self trust is an interesting concept. I wonder when that will come for me, since maintenance has in the past been quite a personal challenge.

  5. I guess the real question is…what exactly IS normal….I think it may be different for everyone. Some days I seem to think about food more than others…but I guess I never really thought of it as abnormal. I guess I think, thin or large, everyone has days like this. At least I hope.

    I can say, this time around, I am seeming to think less of food and what my next meal will be than the last time around…but there certainly are days I spend hours looking through recipes, drool dripping down the corners of my mouth…I guess that is just who I am. 🙂
    .-= losingmore´s last blog ..Still busy… =-.

    • Karen

      Now I think the recipe surfing is the good part of thinking too much about food! And actually, the whole planning is pretty important and okay for me. It is all the other thinking. About wanting something I shouldn’t eat, for instance.

  6. I had always hoped I’d reach an “autopilot” phase, where I just…lived. But for me, autopilot is what led me to obesity in the first place so I’m a little askeered of going that route completely. I think I’ll find a happy medium at some point in time, and if I don’t, this little crown of thorns isn’t too heavy.

    Something I’ve wondered about is if being immersed in this section of the blogosphere serves as an enabler, of sorts, to this hyper-focus. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been exploring the “unplugged life” now and then, to try to lose myself in something else entirely. It’s kind of nice. 🙂
    .-= Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog ..Out of Gas =-.

    • Karen

      Well I was very interested to hear what you would say, since you have been so successful at this whole thing. And I really did have moments when I thought about that blog enabling stuff too! I love this place and spending time on all the great blogs but certainly that does bring my mind back again and again to the whole topic. I wrote what was on my mind but it feels like the writing has been a bit dark lately and I need to find something light and cheery to write about.

  7. My children & hubby who are very much fit have days where they are constantly thinking about the next meal. I always tell them I have never not fed you. I think somedays food is just stuck in our head.

    Some days I am on diet mode 24-7. Trying on clothes, excersising, reading diet blogs. Other days it is effortless. I do hope for more effortless days. I think the effortless times give us the best results. The obsessive days I try and get into an art project. Make my brain think about something else for awhile.
    .-= Audri´s last blog ..New Theme: Andrea =-.

    • Karen

      Okay, I can handle that… some days more so than others. Here is to more effortless days for us both:) And maybe I need a project too. Not art. Can’t do that.

  8. Yep that’s me alright! You did my post today too thank you now I don’t need to post anything, just tell my readers to come here instead. Thank you.smile.
    .-= Lesia´s last blog ..ooh la la…. =-.

    • Karen

      Ah but your post today was so cheerful and mine was so gloomy:( I am going for something light tomorrow. If anything comes to me.

  9. Tough, really tough, issue you have raised regarding the vigilance over eating, exercising, and all the behavior changes one has to make. Unlike smoking quitting smoking where you just become a quitter then go into maintenance immediately, weight loss can take months then maintenance phase comes much later. It supposedly takes a minimum of 6 months of maintenance of new BEHAVIORS before the hyper vigilance can decrease and behavior change is more routinized.

    To me this means I still have to incorporate the underpinnings that have been supporting my weight loss (seeking support, monitoring, building my confidence in various situations, etc.), but I don’t might not need to do all of them so frequently. Some, however, will be life-long changes for me because I know they are crucial to relapse (monitoring and physical activity being most important for me).

    Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
    Jan
    .-= Sskar´s last blog ..Post-op Day 1 =-.

    • Karen

      6 months!? Clearly that is why I have not been good at maintaining before. I saw something interesting the other day, I think it was Al Roker talking about his weight loss, and he said that alcoholics can just not drink, but those of us with food issues can’t “just not eat.”

  10. I think when you are the person feeding everyone, planning meals, buying food, preparing food you have the constant reminder of your eating issues.

    It is getting to be less in my face though as I get closer to going back on maintenance. I feel like I have a better handle on my eating issues and I have a healthier attitude about my lifestyle. I don’t feel so much pressure which was self imposed to begin with.

    I do think blogging about it all the time and reading about peoples struggles with weight just creates more focus on the issues and sometimes in a negative way. It is like when you are pregnant and you notice other pregnant women every where you go. Or you buy a certain type of car and you start seeing that same car every where you go. It is the things we are focused on that we see.

    • Karen

      You are so right how that works! And how I never noticed college stickers on the back of cars until we started looking at colleges with my son. I love blogging. Maybe I need to start a second blog that has nothing to do with eating and dieting and weight and food. Just a creative outlet. Wonder what I could write about.

  11. I think it happens little by little. Realization by realization. Like this post. And it adds up to normal.

    Someday.
    .-= JourneyBeyondSurvival´s last blog ..Yum Yum Yummy =-.

  12. I get this. I got fat thinking about food all the time and it is disconcerting that I am trying to get healthy thinking about food all the time, too.

    • Karen

      But sometimes I think that when I was overeating, I wasn’t thinking about food as often. Sounds crazy and I may be wrong. I just ate what I wanted.

  13. I have totally felt this way many times. I have this dream of being able to eat healthy and exercise without having to focus on it practically all the time. But for me, it certainly has not happened. Each time I get a little confident and think that maybe I can dial down the focus a notch, I end up gaining weight. It’s like the super duper focus is what gives me the willpower and motivation to avoid the “junk food.”
    .-= Laura Jane´s last blog ..Make It or Break It =-.

    • Karen

      Yes – I need super duper focus too. But now I think I need to focus on the right things. Maybe I can focus on drinking more and exercising more and finding creative recipes.

  14. I so know what you mean. All day long, and I dream about it too. If it’s not planning, it’s shopping, preparing and eating food. And exercise–I think about it all day long until I’ve done that day’s exercise, and then I start thinking about what I’ll do the next day. And I honestly can’t even go into my bathroom without seeing the scale and wondering how I’m doing. And blogging, too. Right now all this thinking and planning and doing is getting me where I want to go, but sometimes I’d just like to let my mind “veg” for a while. Not yet.

  15. Karen, I bet thinking about it so much is one of the reasons why you have been successful this time. Please don’t beat yourself up about it…what you are doing is retraining yourself to eat healthier for life. And that means sometimes eating a gob of chocolate on one day and then going back to the healthy living as your regular default. I try to make healthy eating my norm, but when I stop paying attention, I inevitably start picking up a couple of pounds. Rather than being annoyed or frustrated, look at it as learning a new practice that will give you another 10 years in life, more activity now and so many other great benefits. You inspire us and we are proud of you!
    .-= Shira Miller´s last blog ..Eating Las Vegas =-.

  16. I focus on food and eating a lot, too, even though I don’t have a weight issue (my husband laughs and says I know everything my family has eaten for every meal in the past month – now that’s obsessing!). Rather than focusing on sweets and pizza like I did when I was younger, I now focus on what I can make for dinner, will the meal be balanced, etc. So in other words, it’s obsessing over food in a more healthy way than I used to do.
    .-= Melinda Neely´s last blog ..Deciding on whole versus processed foods =-.

    • Karen

      I am very bad at planning dinners. Maybe I should consciously shift my focus to that, and to exploring new healthy recipes.

  17. This post makes me feel like crying. I have been feeling this way for several days. Like I am fed up of having to think of these things all the time. We have a party this weekend, and I’m already thinking and wondering how will I get through it? Do I try having a small treat? Can I get out of it somehow??? etc. etc., it never seems to end, I can’t stand it anymore! I almost even feel like stopping my blog!!!
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..A very informative trip to the pharmacy =-.

    • Karen

      NOOO! First I have to say that I have seen you go through challenges before and you have been so successful. Second your blog and you inspire me and many others. That said, if you read comments above you will see that others mention the downside of the time we are spending on here… it focuses us on the very thing we are over-focused on!

  18. Genie

    I can’t explain why some days are diamonds and some days are stones with my brain on food.

    I have no idea what normal is. I would like to have 24 hours of it to see what it’s like.

    • Karen

      Well tonight I realized that a big part of why yesterday was so hard for me was that I was stuck home all afternoon. Three drivers and now only two cars. Today I got out and ran errands and didn’t think of food the whole time! Woo hoo for errands:)

  19. Was just talking about this with a friend today. I really do believe that it all comes down to having a healthy relationship with food, and face it, that is something that we are learning right now. For me, I’ve had to stop making promises about losing X number of pounds by a certain date because it makes me think about it too much. Instead, just practicing a healthy lifestyle one meal at a time will lead to the ultimate = making peace with food. That does take a little time, but once we are at peace with it, I believe our daily diet will become healthy and automatic.
    .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Success Is In Your DNA =-.

    • Karen

      This reminds me of a post idea that I have and will one day write about. The notion that for me, this is no longer a journey that leads to a number on the scale. But a journey that leads to me having that healthy relationship you mention. Yes, I want the number. But that no longer will mean success to me.

      • Yah, I came to terms with that myself recently. Most of it is learning to feel at home in my own skin as the weight comes off, and somehow I just don’t think its wise to rush that or put a time frame on it. Sure, I have a range of where I want to end up, but that is solely based on charts and such. I will know when I get there regardless of the number on the scale! Great discussion going here, Karen!
        .-= Cheryl´s last blog ..Success Is In Your DNA =-.

        • Karen

          Who’d have thought that dieting talk would be so deep?! And it seems to me the blogs I read that are written by successful maintainers, all mirror that idea. You and your body just know when you get there.

      • YES!!!!! The number is desirable, but not the goal!
        .-= Peacefulbird´s last blog ..I’m Proud of Myself ~ 10 Things List =-.

  20. You know how much I relate to this. I have often thought how nice it would be to have my skinny eat whatever with no thought friend’s brain. She eats with no thought about calories, fat, protein, carbs, sodium….she’s clueless….she’s skinny….never been on a diet…ever. I guess I’ll just have to daydream about it….cause for me….it’s just ain’t happening…

    • Karen

      I admit that I did think of you when I wrote this. I believe you and I have gone back and forth on this whole notion of ‘normal’ before. And again I am struck by how different our stories are, our pasts, but how similar we still are in so many ways. I am glad that there is someone out there who gets it and who says things that really make sense to me. Even the things of which we can make no sense!

  21. This post hit home! I get exactly what you are saying!!!
    .-= Bringing Pretty Back´s last blog ..A hot dryer and a box of bounce keeps a marriage strong =-.

  22. Karen,

    I needed this post today!! YOU ROCK!! Thank you!! 🙂

    Now… I totally get what you are saying. I have been thinking about how far I am and how far I should be. I have analyzed every feeling right down to the nitty-gritty whodunnit. Sometimes, I eat because it’s just what I do. Why does the meaning have to go deeper than that? kwim? When you have bad habits that have ingrained themselves into your life for x-amount of years… it’s quite a process to change.

    Like Jillian Michaels said: “Change is HARD. But worth it.”

    Anyway… just wanted to give you some hugs and support. I really love this post!

    ~Kellie
    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..Day 1 of core… =-.

    • Karen

      Thanks Kellie. And Jillian is right. Years ago when I worked, I remember the whole issue of change and how people respond to it in a business setting. Most of us find it hard and resist. I had not thought how much those ideas translate to this journey too. Even welcome change is hard.

  23. You know, I have been doing this for soooo long that I don’t think of myself as any particular weight…that can be bad when it comes to ‘noticing’ how far I have come.
    I am a size 10…I haven’t been a size 10 since I was married 17 years ago or there bouts…and before that I think it was 9 th grade. A size 10 has been a rare thing for me…very rare. I stood there the other day and said it out loud two or three times to kind of try to grasp it.
    I still feel like I am ‘not there’. So it’s hard to enjoy.
    stupid huh. Oh, and not only does Kansas have clean sheets…the hotel rooms are the cleanest I have ever seen…very very nice. lol.

    • Karen

      Good for you!!! Your post cracked me up because we Kansas don’t get a lot of compliments about our state. Or maybe that is my bias showing as a native New Englander.

  24. Well I can relate to where you are. This is a battle that I do every day. I have been battling my weight for years. Up and down. I have to say this past year has been good though. I did find out from my doctor that it wasn’t what I was eating or how much I was eating cause I eat healthy and sometimes only twice a day. In fact it had nothing at all to do with food. I was toxic. I had toxins in my fat cells from smoking and from the pollution around me ( they come from many different things). So I lucked out last year and found a product that helps detoxify my fat cells and low and behold I went from a size 22 to a 14 and I have maintained that size 14 for a year now!
    I wish you the best of luck with this.
    Stopping by from lady bloggers. Have and awesome day.
    .-= Sheri Carpenter´s last blog ..Free Gifts & Enter To Win!!! =-.

  25. Mindless not-eating! That’s exactly what I crave!!!! The only time it ever happens at this point is when I’m doing an art project, especially one that is improvisational (as opposed to pre-planned… when I pre-conceive an art project, it doesn’t hold my attention as well). Also, mindless non-eating often happens for me when I’m writing and reading blogs… even the weight-topic blogs… although the topic may be food related, I don’t actually dwell on my own food-eating or eat while reading and writing. Thanks for this post, Karen!
    .-= Peacefulbird´s last blog ..I’m Proud of Myself ~ 10 Things List =-.

    • Karen

      Same with me… the blog time not the art time:) It is a great diversion for me. I never eat at my computer. Now I am actually working at drinking more when I sit here. My very worst times still continue to be evenings and if I read or watch TV. You should see the huge stack of books waiting to be read!

  26. Ah, this is why I talk about “Low Stress” weight loss.

    I have lost weight successfully many times in my life but it was always when losing weight was front and center in my life. Thinking about it, doing it, preparing for it.

    Now my life is full and rich and I don’t have the mental bandwith for that kind of priority on my weight – so while I still want to lose weight, I want to do it in a way that I can live with permanently – both in terms of diet/exercise and even more so in terms of mindset and attention.

    It’s definitely a learning process & an imperfect path, but one I find incredibly rewarding

    • Karen

      I think anyone would look at my life from the outside would think I have nothing to complain about and much to envy. But I know that the “full and rich” part is missing and wonder what would fill that void for me. Instead of food:)

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