Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I. need. help.

My eating is starting to scare me.  I mean really.  The behaviors are so old yet still so familiar.  I have a hard time getting anyone to take me seriously, to hear my concerns, but I know inside that it is serious.  You may not have noticed but lately in my blog I've been saying things like, "I'll spare you all the calorie-laden details but...".  And I think that's because of embarrassment, shame and self-loathing.  Those are heavy words but I do believe it's at the core of my hiding what I've been eating.  So I'm going to break down and write the blow-by-blow of today's eating to just get it off my chest.

Breakfast:  Grape Nuts with Almond Milk
Snack:  Banana, string cheese (+ water and vitamins)
Snack:  Clif Bar (the whole thing)
Lunch:  Avocado/hummus sandwich with cheese and a tiny bit of mayo, bag of chips
Snack:  Snickers bar**
Dinner:  Black beans, avocado, cream, tortilla, mexican cheese, 1/2 of a rib eye steak
Snack: Grapes, slice after slice after slice of pumpkin bread, red potato with butter

Yesterday saw me eat two candy bars in one day plus a ton of Now&Laters, I had a burger with avocado and bacon with onion rings for lunch, and just snacked until I went to bed.  Somewhere over the past couple of days I had the thought, "I need help."  I've been telling myself I'll eat better tomorrow and each day tomorrow comes and is no better than the day before.  I start the morning out feeling clear and focused and by midday I'm eating things that make me feel like crap in the end.  IT'S SO FRUSTRATING!

I know this all started with the slump I was in.  Then I felt myself come out of it and had a brief moment in the sun and then I got sick and bam, back in it.  It was like my newfound non-slumpage wasn't well established when the sick thing just threw me off.   So today I was in a frustrating situation at work.  I'd eaten the sandwich and chips and was super full.  I pondered buying a candy bar and talked myself out of it.  But the stress level rose and I gave in.  So I'm eating the Snickers bar and I'm halfway through it when I said, "enough!" and tossed the second half in the garbage.

It's never too late to make a new decision.

That's one of my mantras.  I'd love to finish this post with a lovely little tale of how the rest of the evening I was true to myself and my goals and ate good, clean, healthy foods - but you saw what happened.  More junk and more food than my body needs.  What is going on?  I have ideas of course.  There's shit going on in my personal life, work is work, I'm taking some exciting career development steps but that still adds stress and added responsibility, I don't get enough sleep, and I'm allowing my brain to be lazy.

Miguel brought home half of a lemon meringue pie recently.  I ate all but a few bites of it before the day was over.  I had all these resentful thoughts toward him for bringing it home.  I know better.  My eating is not his responsibility.  In fact, unless I ask, I want him to stay out of it.  But that's classic externalization of blame.  And it's addictive thinking.  My brain has just gone a bit haywire and I've let it.  I've been stepping it up some, fighting back with the more rational, healthy thoughts, but it's slow going.  I hope this writing it all down, getting it all out, will help.

And of course I'm having to battle all sorts of other irrational thoughts, the biggest one being, "Well, that's it, it's over, you've gone back to your old habits and...".  The unfinished part is, "and you're going to gain all the weight back."  And my brain acts like it's not only a foregone conclusion, but that's it's already happened.  Give up, it's over.  I have an idea of how friggin' insane that sounds.

And further, I see how insane it looks.  I am not that woman anymore, and yet she haunts me, and taunts me and calls to me to be her, to let go, slip back, hide.  Wow - this writing is...enlightening.  I don't want to hide.

For a while now I've been enjoying wearing "cute" clothes, styling my hair, wearing make-up.  I was actually looking forward to summer so I could wear shorts and skirts more often.  But lately I haven't been into it.  I figured it was just part of my slump.  It's not fun to put an effort into dressing cute when I don't feel cute. But I wonder if wanting to hide is part of this.  What am I hiding from?

Dammit, this is just too much to think about.  Bottom line, I've been coping with my feelings by eating.  I've been using food in all the wrong ways.  And it doesn't feel good.  That's what I have to remind myself.  In the end, the food does not help, I am left holding the bag.

If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution.

And it's sure as heck not about hunger.  It's about feelings.  And not exercising the strongest part of my body - my brain.  So I need to sit with my feelings, talk myself through the rough moments, build my confidence back up and establish a better recent past to break these bad habits that are trying to wiggle back into my life.  Fortunately I've done a lot of hard mental work over these past 6 years so even with all this unhelpful eating my brain is still there whispering, what are you doing?  you know this isn't good, think, Michelle, think.  So maybe my brain isn't so lazy after all.

Ok, what else can I do?  The title of this post is I. need. help.  I'm going to a meeting every week.  If I can't make my Friday one, I'll go to a different one.  Or two.  Or whatever I need to get some help.  I remember reading about a Lifetimer's meeting, maybe I need to track that down.  They'll understand and probably have some good advice and support.  I need it.  I don't want to gain 10 pounds and then reach out.  That said, it's not about the weight, or my clothing size, or my appearance at all really - it's about the thinking, the habits, the behavior.  It's about not feeling good.  I did not lose 90+ pounds to be feeling like crap.


  1. I hear you :(
    You are right , the problem isn't to eat candy bars once in a while (life is not about staying on track everyday) but using the food to cope with your feelings.
    I´m sure during these years of losing weight you learnt a lot of things about yourself. It's not easy but try to take your mind to the moment you decided you wanted to lose weight , what were your expectations :
    running a 5k? You've just run a half-marathon!!! Look how far you've got !!!
    You are such an inspiration for many of us in the web , your blog made me get up of the couch and go to the gym.
    Maybe you need to change what you eat , I try to quell the cravings with special k bar at breakfast or low calorie chocolate. Or maybe running is not motivating you anymore and you need to change your exercise.
    Take a big breath and count to ten before eating that candy bar , if you want to eat it because you are hungry then go ahead , but if that's not the case then come here and write how you feel (or do it privately)
    Sorry for the long post , hope some of these ideas can help you :)

  2. Oh Darling,
    I'm so sorry you are feeling this way right now. This scares me to even read it. I have lost 80lbs and have been in maintenance for 7 months. Every time I ever do anything "wrong" I figure the 80lbs will be back on me by tomorrow. But of course it won't. We just have to know that. We have grown immensely. We know what to do right. There's really no point in us telling you what is right....you are our mentor in this and you already know. But you do need a hug and some encouragement. What would you tell us right now if we were to write this same letter to you? You would say, "Chris, you have come too damn far to even think about letting yourself slip back into that world you hated, that world that made you feel so sorry for yourself. You would say, "Get back to logging and let your followers see, exercise everyday...even if you convince yourself it's just for a walk (I bet you'll feel like doing more,) and by-golly put on your makeup and your cute clothes and strut that body you worked so freakin hard for!" We are proud of you for asking for help and we will be here for you like you've been for us. Chris

    1. Chris, I feel the same way. Ive lost 160 lbs, maintaining for 6 months. I feel like every little slip up is going to lead to an avalanche and it'll all come back. Every day is a struggle to talk to myself and feed myself positive thoughts and reminders about how far Ive come and that the fight is worth it.

  3. I hope you can figure out what feelings are pushing you to eat -- that is hard. Also, I think it's okay to tell people in your life what you need -- if a pie-free house would help you, why not ask?

    Good luck -- this is the kind of thing I never felt WW helped me with.

  4. It sounds like it all boils down to the same things that I deal with too, the after noon through bedtime stuff the mouth for comfort. I'm sorry you are dealing with this and freaking out. Food is hard to deal with because we have to eat but we don't have to eat stuff we know isn't good for us. Why do we punish ourselves? For me, I know its because the little child inside of me is throwing a tantrum and saying I want it now, like Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka. I have no way to deal with stress yet other than repetitive eating. So what I'm doing now is sitting in a different place at night so I am not comfortable in my normal spot, telling myself I can have it tomorrow, playing games to keep my hands busy, and not setting a strict plan because if I deviate I will feel like I've failed. I am doing my best each day to do what I know is right for my body and if I do it 90 percent of the time then I'll get healthier.

    Good luck and know that you can do this, you've done it before, you can do it again. It's not easy, but it is doable.

  5. This is BY FAR the very best blog post I have ever read. Ever. I felt like you were talking straight to me or better yet, for me. I have recently put back on most of the 15kg I lost and I feel like I am so out of control. I feel so much better after reading your post and I'm going to try to get back inside my head and look around at what's in there. I've been smothering it with food. Again. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  6. When we lose weight it is a three pronged attack on our bodies, our hearts and our minds.

    It is so much more than just mere fat loss.

    Please follow Go Kaleo.

    It is time to heal.

  7. I've been in your situation and it saddens me cause I know how it feels. You don't need to feel this way. One should never feel guilty over nourishing out bodies. I'd love to help you and if you would like my help please message me. There's a huge amount of people going through the same things as you and I have found where a lot of them go and it has been life changing for me. I'd love for you to be part of our group. Even if its just to read others struggles. Known that you are not alone and there are many women that would love to support you.

    1. I agree Samantha. I am so thankful for finding the group and letting go of all of the pain, stress, heartache, and disappointment I have felt around my eating and my weight loss and then my weight gain and "good days" and "bad days" on program, off program, binging, purging, guilty and crap. I feel ok finally about food, about my body, and finally about my own ability to just eat something and not need to feel any negative feelings about it. Michelle, I would definitely say that this wonderful group of people have changed my life and if you just lurk in the background and read their posts after a while you may feel brave enough to just eat the food too. It is a very freeing feeling.

    2. lol, not sure why it posted me as my son's name, Travis, but this is Jamie. sorry.

    3. Hi Samantha and Jamie - can you email the information on the group? michelle.my.bell@gmail.com


  8. I hear exactly where you're coming from. I've lost about 50 lbs at this point with another 80 or so to go... I'm in a bit of a plateau (and crazy life creeping in...) and find myself turning to food as an emotional crutch. Some things that have worked for me... sometimes...

    A massage and haircut/style. The massage helps me get back in touch with my body for some reason and the haircut and style helps me feel better about myself- for some reason, I treat myself better afterwards- including eating.

    Change your breakfast- Could be that having the same breakfast is helping setup/maintain the current unhealthy pattern. Try eggs, hummus and toast, waffle and PB...- something with lots of protein to get you through a light mid-morning snack to lunch.

    Find a cheerleader at work. It sounds like work is stressful and things start to head downhill there. Is there someone you could check-in with at work, or even call from work- like when you recognized the emotional eating but before you had the snickers??

    Just some thoughts. I REALLY appreciate your blog, your honesty, your rational response to emotional eating and attempts at understanding and responding to the underlying causes of overeating.... it's been the hardest part for me. I know what's healthy - for me it's not a knowledge thing, it's a behavior/attitude thing. Hang in there - and whatever you do, don't give up.

  9. You have recognized the need for help. That's the first step.

    Do not give up...and as much as you hate it....track your food for a while. Put it all on here..the good, the bad, the ugly. Use your readers as your daily accountability!

    Keep your chin up girl...you have this!

  10. Michelle, don't despair. You are such an inspiration to me! Your blog inspires me to give my best during running or at the gym. From your food log, I feel like you are not eating enough for breakfast and the hunger gets to you later in the day. When I was in peak shape, I would eat a protein-heavy breakfast - 4-5 egg whites and a smoothie or a small bowl of oatmeal. For snacks, I find clif bars to be a bit sugary so I eat turkey meatballs or a protein shake. I find that eating a hearty breakfast takes my mind off food and sets a tone for the rest of the day. For late night snacking, I find homemade popcorn is awesome. I also tend to not have 'unclean' foods around the house but sometimes you cannot help it. So I keep plenty of healthy choices at hand too and I talk myself out of making a bad choice if I am hungry. Hope this helps a bit. Its probably something you already know. (: You have done this before, come this far and you can continue doing it!

  11. I had a thought when I was reading this:" I am not that woman anymore, and yet she haunts me, and taunts me and calls to me to be her, to let go, slip back, hide."...

    I haven't thought this through so hopefully it will come out (the thought was just a tickle!)

    You're NOT that woman anymore. True. But you are. You lost your excess weight, not your identity. It's not like one day you were "heavy Michelle" and the next "skinny athlete Michelle". Maybe this is about "merging" the two, because they were never completely separate to begin with. I don't know exactly where I'm going with this... something about accepting her as a part of the new you. Accepting her as part of your PAST and letting it go.

    Well I'll stop rambling now. Maybe later today I'll figure out what I'm trying to say. In any case: You don't need to hide any part of yourself - you're awesome! You will find the solution.

  12. Michelle,
    Thank you so very much for sharing your hurts. I know that your sharing has helped me process more times than I can count. I'm sorry you are feeling like crap. Acknowledging that you are struggling is an amazing first step. Do you have people in your life that you can call when you are struggling?

  13. I have been diagnosed with compulsive binge eating disorder and see a therapist each week. I totally get where you are coming from. Let go of the shame and guilt, just do the next right thing, do what you know is right. Don't think about it and take all emotion out of it. Save your emotions for loving yourself.

  14. Michelle, I'm so sorry you're struggling. It is one of the biggest challenges, getting honest with our feelings and finding out how to separate eating from that equation. I wonder...from looking at this food log, if it's typical, could cravings for sweets be a hidden craving for protein? I've had good results reducing my cravings for sweets (in fact often eliminating them) if I concentrate on increasing my protein intake. I am not a devotee of protein-heavy diets or anything, though, I just know it helps with my cravings for chocolate. (And I know I have *hated* getting this advice over the years, so please ignore if it's not helpful :)) I hope you find the support and the connection to mindfulness that will help.

  15. Michelle -

    Just a thought: did you sign up for the marathon? The reason I ask is because I'm super guilty of thinking, "hey! I'm training for a marathon! I can eat the whole pizza!" I've found once I start eating like a jerk, it's easier to continue to eat like a jerk. I've learned the hard way that endurance training does not give us the keys to the buffet bar w/o consequences. :-( So, I'm just throwing that out there.

    I think this (learning how to eat in today's society) is always going to be a struggle, and it's great that you realize you need help. Write about it. Talk about it. Think about it.

    I don't have any other advice, except to keep trying and know that a million people have your back.

    Thanks for posting this. It's these posts that make all of us stop and think.

    Hang in there!

  16. Wow. This post really hit home with me. Thank you so much for sharing so openly. I know how hard that is to do. I really do appreciate your candor and how you're feeling - I totally understand and have been there. You get that support and get that help - there are people out there who will listen. Get them into your life on a regular basis!!

  17. You are scared, we all are. I think that maybe you need to eat more. Now before you laugh, your breakfast is tiny, and just a sandwich for lunch? Maybe you need to eat more substantial breakfast so you don't feel ravenous later in the day. Or how about making smoothies. They feel indulgent and take forever to drink. Or maybe some low cal drink you really like? I don't have all the answers, but trust me you are not alone. Virtual hugs to you!

  18. I have a problem with binge eating. If something tastes good, I like to stuff my face until I feel like my jeans will literally pop if I take another bite. Even as I'm eating, there will be times where I tell myself, "I'm full, I feel gross, I should stop" but I stuff another bite in my mouth because it tastes so good.
    I know this is a problem. This month I started the Whole30, which is a strict regimen. It has honestly helped me SO much with my attitude toward eating. I know I am not cured with only being on this plan 17 days, but I have been SO good. And I feel SO great. Maybe you need a strict plan to get you back on track?

  19. Reading through all these comments brings tears to my eyes. I am so buoyed by your support. All day I've felt a lightness thanks to the overwhelming support here and on my FB page. I've received so much helpful feedback, commiseration, understanding, and faith that I will get through this. Thank you all. You don't know how much it helps to be reminded that I'm not alone in this journey, that I'm not irreparably broken and that what I'm going through is, within the food junkie world anyway, entirely normal. Thank you!

    Ok, I'm off to check out Go Kaleo.

  20. Michelle, I don't post often even though I've been following for a while, but I thought this one deserved a response since you're obviously struggling. I'm still pretty early on in the journey (about 30 lbs. down and another 20 or so to go) but I've had my moments as well and your blog has really helped me through them when I see your ability to ebb and flow with daily life and continue focusing on a lifetime of health and fitness rather than just on the bad and good achieved in one day.
    Returning to meetings will help. I know you've said before that you don't want to go back to tracking, but do you think it might help just for a few weeks? I hope you find the external and internal support you need to get through this...you have a lot of fans out there rooting for you!

  21. I literally have tears in my eyes because I can so relate to you and where you're at right now. I feel like it's a constant struggle and I go in and out of these same stages every year. I'm in a slump right now too, and it's almost like an out of body experience. I see myself doing it, I know I'm doing it, I'm almost trying to talk myself out of it and into it at the exact same time. It truly is an addiction because I do it with wine too. I've been leaning on that too much and when I try to restrict that, I start in with the food. It's this out of control feeling that spirals and spirals. I'm glad you have the meetings to turn to for support. I wish I had that. Unfortunately, I did "it" online so I don't have that to fall back on. Maybe I'll go online. Regardless, you are not alone. Thank you for putting your story out there for the rest of us. It feels so much better knowing other people are struggling and working through the same stuff every day. :) We can do this.

  22. I'm not at all familiar with your history, but I would suggest going to the your eatopia website and reading the blog post titled something to the effect of "When a Binge is not a binge". That might not be the exact title but you should be able to find it. Best wishes to you!


  23. Michelle, I so identify with what you are going through. I'm having my struggle and I am going to try planning every bite I am going to take tomorrow and see if that helps. I'm praying for you and always rooting for you. Have you ever thought of doing what they do on the Biggest Loser? Pile on weights until you are carrying all the weight that you lost and remind yourself how that feels. Try some sort of walk or workout with that weight. That thought just crossed my mind today.

  24. Omg Michelle, this line made me tear up "I am not that woman anymore, and yet she haunts me, and taunts me and calls to me to be her, to let go, slip back, hide." This is exactly how I've been feeling lately. I got within 5 pounds of goal weight and everything seemed to fall apart. That sentence perfectly describes how I feel. Looking back losing weight was a lot less pressure than maintaining is for me. I worry constantly about slipping back.

  25. I just recently started reading your blog, and I love how you are honest in the good, bad and the ugly of life before and after losing weight. I'm throwing out a virtual hug to you first. Second with the bullhorn put down the Snickers.
    Go back to your go-tos when you were losing, carry gum with you at all times, different flavors and when the mood strikes pop a piece. If you are still hungry in 15 minutes then feed your body. But food doesn't fill the void for stress, you have to deal with the issues at hand. Easier said then done, for me the month of May is a boo month, both my parents died in that month, and it's Mother's day to boot. I felt the slump come over me on May the 1st and on the 31st it lifted. I muddled thru up 1 or 2 lbs, but now on track and losing again. You know how to be successful look in the mirror and take control! God Bless!

  26. Hi Michelle, I just recently started reading your blog as well and I have to tell you that you are seriously an inspiration!! You seem so real about everything. I have laughed with you, cried with you, and was overjoyed to see your babies plus your husband seems like such a cool guy. I feel like you're family that I've never met (ok, and I feel a bit stalkerish now too, so sorry if it's a bit weird!)

    Anyway, a couple weeks after I started reading your blog, I started a blog of my own and a new journey to fitness. See what you did? So, here I am up to around Feb 2012 of your blog and I see this post "I. Need. Help." Wow, I read it right away and at the end I was just thinking that this doesn't sound like the same person who wrote the 5 years worth of posts I've been reading lately.

    My point is that you haven't been on this journey just to gain all the weight back. No way. Not gonna happen. You've said many times how much you enjoy having the ability to run around and play with your kids. AND for motivation, you could always read this blog I've been telling my friends about... "Diary of an aspiring loser"-because it has inspired so many people. OR, you can always come check out my blog (I'm trying to lose 70 lbs) - it will remind you of all the pain and frustration and internal battles of a journey such as this.

    You are on overcomer!! You won't let some stinkin' candy bars derail you!! Where's that positive self-talk? You can beat this too!! Favorite quote here: "If hunger is not the problem, food is not the solution." Love it.

    Ok, sorry for rambling on here, but many virtual hugs and lots of encouragement headed your way!!

  27. While I haven’t reached my goal weight yet, I know ALL about what you’re going thru. For 2 months, the scale didn’t move. Why? Because I was eating like crap. The only thing that kept me from gaining was that I kept up with my running schedule. Then, in the last 2 weeks of that 2 month period, I GAINED 4 pounds. I was horrified. However, the only difference was that I had gained an inch in my thigh circumference. I didn’t gain anything around my hips or my waist. And then, the very next week (last Saturday), I weighed myself and had lost 4.8 pounds. It was water weight. I had eaten fast food Mexican food the night before the previous week’s weigh in…so water weight was at least half of that 4 pound gain. The bottom line is that you can’t beat yourself up over little slip ups. Sure, they’re happening most days, but you still can’t beat yourself up about them. Just take each day as it comes and focus on only that day. Don’t think about tomorrow. Like you said , it’s never too late to make a new decision. Keep telling yourself that. When you feel the urge to binge on something unhealthy, realize this, let yourself feel it, then distract yourself until the feeling passes. This is one thing that therapy for my binge eating disorder taught me. Don’t suppress it or you’ll make it infinitely worse on yourself.

  28. Just so you know, you inspired another post on my blog:


    You continue to inspire and encourage through your honesty and willingness to share you life with the world. Thank you.


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  30. Michelle, you can and you will get through this! You are strong and determined and I know you will not give up. You are not that woman anymore and will never be again. I know I am far but I am thinking of you and sending many virtual hugs and good thoughts your way. Hang in there my friend!

  31. Stefani Rossi WarcholskiJuly 29, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    I just read this, even though it was written awhile ago. It broke my heart, but also made me realize you’re human. You are honest, and have struggles. You have accomplished so much, but I agree, sometimes when I start on the path that I know is not healthy, I feel like such a loser (and I don’t mean the good kind). You are beautiful, strong and willing to put yourself out there. I appreciate your honesty, about your good times and bad. Just remember you are worth so much more, than settling for less. And remember, you have an entire community that won’t allow you to fall, we’ll be there to catch you.


If you don't want to login, use the Name/URL option (just type in your name...or any name for that matter). If you use the "Anonymous" option your comment won't get posted. - Michelle