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Today's Rant: Why not what



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I think it's important to talk about what we're eating. We do a lot of that. In minutia. We lable foods good and evil. We obsess about the "right" diet, calories, choices, etc....

But that's really the easy part.

The hard part is figuring out WHY we're eating. WHY we ate ourselves to morbid obesity, and what need we were trying to address when we put that food in our bodies.

I feel like if those needs aren't figured out and meaningfully delt with this whole process is really vulnerable to failure.

I feel like we never talk about why we ate so much.

I'm not saying we need pity party hour with extensive confessionals chronicallying every challenge, insecurity and poopy life event...lol.

But I feel like sharing those little eureka moments were we've identified some little unmet need that resulted in bad choices....would be a good thing.

For instance.... I used to get the KFC six million calorie dinner with the 12 pieces of chicken, 3 sides, biscuits and the chocolate chip cake....after grocery shopping. It was almost an unwritten thing. I deserved it. In some weird justification, I figured that I was shopping, carrying stuff in, putting things away, selflessly giving up time to a task I sort of despised for my family. Of course I deserved chicken!

But really, what I wanted at the core of things....was support. I wanted to feel appreciated, and rewarded for being a good doobie. I wanted to feel nurtured after a stressful task that I hated.

These days....we have a new rule at the house. The person who does the grocery shopping gets to relax and take a bath while the other person does the cooking. And you know what? It works. I feel appreciated, supported. And I eat a more balanced decent dinner and have a win. That feels good. I learned that I geninely don't like asking for help...and that I need to more often. Just writing that makes me cringe.

My bariatric therapist did a lot of talking about the "whys" of over eating, and finding ways to get the desired needs met that aren't self sabotaging.

I wish we talked about the "whys" more.

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I think it is great that you came up with an alternative "reward"/routine for completing food shopping. I can relate to using food to reward or treat myself for completing a task. I used to start my work week with what I called "McGriddle Mondays" (surprised McD hasn't used that yet😉) to get ready to face the week ahead. For me, I also think some of my overeating has been due to periods of restriction/dieting and then needing to have a break from the restrictions (yo-yoing). Some of it is habit, such as 3:00 chocolate fixes, and having to end the day with a dessert. There may still be more "whys" for me other than rewards, rebelling restrictions & habits, so thank you for bringing this up, as I think you are right. We need to be aware of our why or triggers, because those can manifest in the future if we are unaware or don't find ways to manage or resolve them.

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this sounds really weird, but I always strove to be a super healthy eater, so I'd eat all this food to make sure I got all of my nutrients for the day. For example, my usual Breakfast pre-surgery was a smoothie. I would throw in a bunch (and I mean a BUNCH) of soft tofu or Greek yogurt, a banana, two or three peaches or an equal amount of melon or cantaloupe, several berries, some nonfat dry milk, and then enough orange juice to get it going in the blender. So that was like 600 kcal before I even walked out the door. Mid-morning I'd usually head downstairs to the coffee shop (I worked in a library) to get a coffee and an oat scone. Oats are good for you. So there's another 500 (or more) calories. Lunches were always leftovers. I can't remember if I usually had afternoon Snacks or not (it's been six years since surgery), but if I did, it probably would have been a packet (or two) of cashews from the vending machine. Nuts have lots of nutrients, you know. Then I'd come home and snack while I was making dinner. Dinners were often some sort of ethnic fare - Chinese or Thai or Indian - so chicken (usually) plus heaps of vegetables in some creamy sauce (that is, if Thai or Indian) served over about a cup of brown rice. So yea - healthy - at least nutrient-wise - but probably 3000 or so calories a day, give or take.

I still worry about not getting all my nutrients every day. Like - always. But then I remember that I DO take Vitamins, so I'm getting some that way - and over the course of several days, I probably DO get all my nutrients - just not all in one day. But I still find myself thinking about this - and thinking that I should go eat some nuts or something because they're nutritious.

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Well my "why" was NOT due to over eating. I had several health issues that contributed to me not being able to lose easily or normally. I also had a bad habit of ONLY eating once a day (just dinner) and while it may not have been the best choices (my one meal would be stuff like Pasta or include bad starches with my lean meat), I did not go hog wild with second/triple helpings/etc. Just my one and done. But many times I also would never eat veggies. Not that I don't like them just I would never cook them. No clue why. But yeah, I think my problem was not eating enough throughout the day or at the correct times. My metabolism is/was ****! I'm also not one to eat sweets or even salty Snacks. Just not my thing. On a special occasion/party, yeah. But not on the regular. If anything I'd get a craving for stuff like lunchmeat or cheeses periodically.

I don't know, several of my docs had me keep food journals and logs over the years and most times their comments would be stuff like, "You obviously know what you should be eating. Your logs looks good. You're just not eating enough or the correct amount of times throughout the day." Or "Cut back on some of these fruits." Or "You need to start eating breakfast." Or "You really shouldn't skip Breakfast and lunch." Stuff like that.

It's definitely been challenging though trying to think differently when it comes to eating and when to eat. Especially after surgery since you're not always hungry. And now, since I'm trying to break my old habit of NOT eating cause I'm not hungry, I try to anyway just to fuel myself correctly. Even if it's just a little something.

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I agree! The whys are definitely important. I had to put surgery on hold for 3 months while I saw a therapist and I'm actually really glad I did. We ended up doing a couples session and identified at least one sort of "trigger" for me that I didn't really think about before. For me, I've realized that "mental load" can often wind up feeling really overwhelming if one thing sort of gets knocked out of place. I'll list up all these tasks in my head of things I need to do, and then if say.. I suddenly have to work overtime, I'll panic and stress eat as a result. And sure I'll tell myself that it's only this once, and I deserve it I'm working extra so I don't have time to cook and blah blah, but if those things were true then I wouldn't have ended up as overweight as I am. The truth is it wasn't "once".

The solution we've found that works for our household is me just keeping the "list" written on the fridge instead of in my mind. This means my husband can see what needs to be done without me having to ask, because I hate hate hate asking (it makes me feel like a mother instead of a partner). If he knows what needs to be done, then he'll do it, especially if he sees I'm stressed. That has helped ward off a lot of the overwhelmed feelings that led me to eat before.

I also came to a rude awakening post-surgery regarding not finishing food. We were a "clean your plate" household, and while I'm aware of it, I didn't realize just quite how much throwing away food I was enjoying would bug me. If there's enough for leftovers, then I'll store it, but sometime I literally have a bite or two left. It's gotten easier to discard the little bits as time has gone on, but the first time I had just a couple bites left I sat there staring at my food for a good 20 minutes or so, hoping the full feeling would magically disappear before I finally tossed it out.

I am still continuing to see a therapist, and will be doing so until I've got a comfortable hold on my various "whys" and how to address them. While I am definitely better off than I was several months ago, I still have a lot of room for improvement. Eventually I hope to get to a place where I'm comfortable just calling the therapist when I'm having a particularly bad time, but I'm not quite there yet.

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I agree - "why" is a key question. I expressed it this way in an earlier post:

Quote

Now when I feel that craving (whether for food or to buy something) I stop and ask myself why? What's going on that I am trying to assuage or pacify? Not long ago, I really wanted a cookie and when I stopped to ask myself why, I realized that I had just come out of a meeting that did not go as well as I had hoped. I felt disappointed, embarrassed, upset. And I wanted a cookie. Once I realized what was at the root of my craving, I was able to redirect those feelings. I got a cup of coffee instead. It was warm and sweet and about 200 fewer calories than the cookie. And I took it and went and sat around the backside of the building where it was quiet and peaceful (being an introvert, that was comforting to me). I thought through what had happened and what to do next as I drank my coffee. And 30 minutes later I was good to go. Every situation is different, but I'm getting better at asking myself "What's going on? Why do you want that?"

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Like this - after rapid weight gain when ill I never lost it. Looking back all my diets were carb heavy. food fell into a treat - Who knew that many Cookies had between two and 500 cal! At times I ate out of boredom and other times it was what my palls and I did. Now we may hike or paddle rather then meet for dinner, happy hour or coffee and a scone. The Why.. too many diets and a trashed metabolic situation plus carbs ignorance.

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I've always loved all kinds of food, and strived to eat healthy. But healthy eating doesn't matter if you're still eating too much. I was very similar to Catwoman in the way I ate, and even though much of the food was healthy, my portions were huge. My "why" was always that I ate such huge portions and I never seemed to feel full.
I can't prove it, but I was poor growing up, and although we got enough to eat, there wasn't abundance. It's almost like when I got older and had plenty of food available I wanted to make sure I ate as much as I could in case the time came when there wasn't enough. I never felt satisfied no matter how much I ate, and I always ended up stuffed.
This surgery is like a miracle to me. I get full, and I can stop eating now before I am studded and I am SATISFIED. It is such an amazing feeling!

Sent from my Nokia 7.2 using BariatricPal mobile app

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