Wednesday, November 4, 2009

(A Little) Out of Control

I went from counting calories 3 days a week to doing it everyday rather spontaneously. The idea was to not limit myself to my goal number (1500) every single day, but simply to get some structure into each day so I knew how much I was eating. For 10 days, I ate just under 1500 every day and it was actually pretty easy.

I started to grow both confident and complacent about my control over my eating. Then, there was today. I still tracked my calories, but at the end of the day, I found myself craving salty food and giving in to the craving. I told myself that it was okay as long as I didn't go over 2000 calories because I never planned to eat at a low number every single day. I rationalized it further by saying that it was probably not a bad idea to mix up my numbers and eat a little more occasionally. The bottom line though was that I was eating compulsively because I had a harried, stressful, and painful day.

In the end, I finished at 1950 calories. This is by no means a disaster, particularly in light of all of the days behind it of very good control and strong numbers. There was no way I was going to go over 2000. However, when I found myself saying that it was okay to finish off the remains of a bag of Chee-tos (about an ounce) because I could have a day where I indulged every once in awhile, I knew that I'd lost control and was acting on emotional eating. I ate about 8 cheese curls and threw the rest in the trash. Most of the extra calories I ate ended up being from a few small handfuls of peanuts.

On the bright side, this is the closest I've come to a "binge" in a long time, and I truncated it. On the not so bright side, I came close to a binge. At the moment, this experience only improves my determination for the road ahead, and it gives me a good hard kick in my complacency. Unfortunately, it also puts a tiny dent in my food control confidence.


Phat Fighter said...

I wouldn't call that a binge or disaster, or even losing control. You held yourself accountable for giving into a craving. Giving into a craving is not a crime. We all have them and if you dont feed that craving sometimes it ends up doing more damage. You where even controlled when you did give in by throwing away those cheese curls. You recognized that you ate/craved these things due to an emotional/stress filled situation. Again another point for you.

Bouncing a few extra calories in will actually help in the long run. Eating the same amount of calories everyday usually brings on a plateau. A little extra calorie craving (when indulged under control) can turn out boost that metabolism a bit. Congrats on the good work keep it up.

screaming fatgirl said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. I appreciate it!

I've read about calorie cycling and I want to have days where I eat more and days where I eat less. That being said, I'd like those days to be planned rather than based on a lack of control. Last night, I really wanted more to eat around 11:00 pm (and especially was craving pretzels) and could have justified another 100-200 calories as I'd finished the day around 1500. However, I realized that having them as a result of a late night craving was not the way to go and fought it off.

I think there's a fine line that, as a food addict, I need to walk in order to not fall back into my old patterns of eating things I shouldn't and justifying it to myself as reasonable or OK. That line is very hard to define because it's based on my thinking.

And I'm sorry for the delay in replying to your comment!

dlamb said...

Hello Girl,

I look forward to seeing if you posted something on the subject of binging and what YOU define as binging.
I agree with Ms. Fighter, you know, over 2 years later, that I do not consider what you did a "binge', nor do I think of it as "out of control eating".

As late as this is, I will add to the discussion by saying that I understand your concerns (at that time), re. UNPLANNED overeating and its slippery slope, especially if the behavior is used as a coping mechanism EXCLUSIVELY.
On the other hand, I do believe that life, with its fluctuating conditions, hormone, sleep, activity and stress continuum, will lead to different food/calorie/nutrient/taste requirements. In addition to being quite careful and controlled, especially during the loss phase, I think that we also need to pay attention to our bodies and feed ourselves accordingly.
Of course, the same applies to times when we are not as hungry due to conditions that are reflected in our appetites. You have done that. You did not overeat when you were not hungry, so overeating occasionally AND balancing that with a lower nr. of cals when you do not need them should not only be fine, respectful of your system but also lead to the "calorie cycling" benefits. In my opinion, this also includes eating when we are stressed, NOT in order to quiet the feelings and 'stuff' them instead of resolving issues, but because it is likely that as a result of the stress, our bodies may, indeed, need the additional calories.
I am enjoying your blog enormously and find that my perspectives are extremely similar to yours. It is a really nice experience for me.

screaming fatgirl said...

I mainly think of a binge as uncontrolled eating of things beyond the point of satiety. "Uncontrolled" means that I am incapable of saying "no". This is tricky business as people often convince themselves that they are saying "yes" as a choice when the truth is that they really can't say "no". I now know the difference between the two, but it's a personal thing. I can't speak for anyone else.

It also is when I eat for comfort (and I know I'm doing it sometimes, but do it anyway - just not too often). I think that this is actually okay as all animals gorge when stressed, but if it becomes chronic, or the sole source of comfort, it's a problem.