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To say I think I've forgotten how to eat 'normally'?

(34 Posts)
HoobleDooble Mon 01-Oct-12 08:15:59

I've been on diet plans since 1999, i lost 4 stone with WW then gained it all back after a break for an all inclusive holiday, spent years trying to 'go it alone' (my house is full of notebooks where I've stopped and started), and have spent the last 2 years on SLimming World, had a great start, lost 1 1/2 stone, then nothing and no longer believe it's the one for me.

My problem is I don't know where to go from here, I can't eat without points or syns popping in my head and, as a bulimic since my teens, if the points or syns in a meal are too great it either nags at me until I see it again, or I end up pigging out on crap for the rest of the day! At nearly 40 I've had enough, I don't want to keep a food diary every day, I'm bigger than I've ever been and don't know how to eat without analysing it, to be able to drop the odd takeaway or chocolate bar in without going on a food frenzy.

How does everyone else do it, does anyone else feel the same? My weight and food are on my mind all day every day!

SomersetONeil Mon 01-Oct-12 08:19:19

Just eat a bit less than you usually do.

Seriously. It's as simple as that.

pudding25 Mon 01-Oct-12 08:22:35

Get the Paul Mckenna book.

Callisto Mon 01-Oct-12 08:23:46

Eat less, do more.

WipsGlitter Mon 01-Oct-12 08:26:43

I think you really need to examine WHY you over-eat.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 08:26:50

OP, I can really sympathise with you, as I used to be bulimic and was in a very similar place to you a couple of years ago. I do not make myself ill these days, but I am a very faddy eater. I go through phases where I can only eat certain things. That said, I think it's better than being bulimic.

However, I don't generally count calories and I am able to have treats throughout the week and balance them with health food. Tbh I found 'I can make you thin' by Paul McKenna really useful. It's basically mindful eating and the advice is so simple, yet stuff that you forget when you have had a bulimic mindset for years. It did help me to lose excess weight that I had gained, but there was no starving and depriving myself of certain foods, so there wasn't as much pigging out. I still worry about getting fat again though. blush

I don't know about you, but I still really hate eating in front of other people. All social occasions seem to revolve around food and I am already dreading seeing people over the Xmas period.

So, YANBU, but you should try and fix your relationship with food for your own peace of mind.

CailinDana Mon 01-Oct-12 08:27:08

It sounds like food has become an emotional and psychological problem for you. Do you know why? What was the situation with food like when you were growing up?

Softlysoftly Mon 01-Oct-12 08:28:31

Somerset it really really isn't, logically yes but you sweep away all the psychological baggage which is the real issue.

op I feel for you I do, my mother is 60's now, looking back she wasn't even overweight when ww got her, she is now and like you has abandoned diet plans and screwed up thinking so engulfing her that she can do nothing about it.
I HATE diet companies for this very reason, the mentality of "being on a diet" means you can break that diet and give up to restart Monday. Instead of just healthy eating, that being the way you eat not a short term think, it's all about the mentality behind it.

I'm not great because of my mothers influence when young my weight is based on my life/mood at the time, but I recognise when I'm slim it's when I just change my eating habits (my weight is high now as my eating habits were poor during pregnancy).

You need something like NLP or cognitive behavioural therapy to change your mindset, you know what you should be eating you just need the mentality to back it up.

I dont think it is that simple.

You are going to have to get out of "diet" mode before you do anything.

Eating is part of life. Its necessary. If you were a drug addict you could get clean then avoid drugs. But you can never avoid food. So you need to rethink your whole relationship towards food and start from scratch.

Do you over eat when you are happy? Sad? Angry? Frustrated? You are an emotional eater if thats the case. In these situations you are going to have to find a different way to deal with your emotions in order to break your unhealthy relationship with food.

You also need to start exercising. You cannot lose weight through diet alone. If you feel you are too big, go swimming. Honestly. Its great for bigger people because once you are in the pool noone can see you. You dont have to feel self conscious. You also dont feel heavy and sweaty.

Once you have addressed these two issues you can then work on your new food habits.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 08:37:01

Also, her site looks cheesy, but I got a copy of this self hypnosis/nlp MP3.

She is a recovered bulimic herself and advocates allowing yourself to eat half of what you would on your average binge when you want to binge. Mindful bingeing is also a good strategy I learned in CBT. Basically, you are not at all mindful when you binge and you tend to go into a trance without noticing the flavours and textures of the food. By tuning in and noticing them you tend to enjoy the food and quickly feel satisfied.

However, I would advise NLP as being the best kind of therapy. It's not generally available on the NHS, but many DIY boks and audios are just as effective as seeing an NLP thearpist. I am able to say that because I have done both.

WineGoggles Mon 01-Oct-12 08:38:27

Hooble I'm not sure what to suggest other than to perhaps have a word with your GP with the view to having counselling to deal with your unhealthy relationship with food. I wonder if a referral to a nutritionist is something available too?

cozietoesie Mon 01-Oct-12 08:38:54

Well if you're bulimic at nearly 40 you have problems which are going to have to be worked out long term, as other posters have mentioned. I'm sure you realize, as well, the effect bulimia is likely having on your general health.

In the interim, I'm going to say something which will probably be wildly unpopular. I'd recommend you 'manage' your way to a position where you can physically maintain while starting to deal with the other,larger issues.

What I would do is to set up a different set of rules. Gear them towards a healthy lifestyle so that eg No added sugar, no added animal fat, lots of veg and fruit (that all actually is a lot) and some exercise on a scheduled basis.

Scheduling is very important here - for the food as well as the exercise. Ensure that you eat large amounts but make it healthy and low/no fat and low/no sugar. Lots of vegetables and fruit.

That will turn around your physical system and is a sort of eating that can easily be maintained in front of others at eating out times.

Have to go out, I'm afraid but I'll be back later.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 08:43:21

Tbh I think it's very difficult to totally get rid of the unhealthy thought patterns of an eating disorder, but it's definitely possible to learn to eat healthily again.

Most women I know have a funny relationship with food and body image anyway - even ones who have never had a n eating disorder.

MumOfAPickle Mon 01-Oct-12 08:44:09

Didn't want to read & run. It really isn't that simple for lots of people and I feel for you. But honestly? If you've got 4 stone to lose I would probably say you do need some sort of structured eating plan to help you shift the bulk of it. But then I haven't read mckenna book so maybe that's worth a shot.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 08:47:56

Could you visit your GP and see if you could get a referal to the eating disorder team in your county?

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 08:49:34

It sounds like you need to simplify things. The most success I have had is by cutting out things completely, like 'No Sugar'. I gave it up on New Years Day a few years ago and by May, I was slim! Just by giving up sugar.

OldCatLady Mon 01-Oct-12 08:52:44

I'm a constant dieter but I try not to buy into the fad ones.

My biggest tip is this....plate up a portion that you think you can eat, then take half of it off and put on another plate. Eat your 'half portion', wait 10 mins, if you're still hungry plate up half of your half plate. Keep going till you're full. Because my biggest issue was that I have eyes bigger than my tummy, and then would feel obliged to finish my plate...this eliminated it!! I only eat until I am full, and don't keep stuffing it in!

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 09:00:56

Paul McKennas rules are:

Eat whenever you're hungry.

Eat whatever you're hungry for.

Consciously enjoy every mouthful.

Stop when you're beginning to feel full.

His book covers the whole finishing what's on your plate thing. Many people are told as children that there are starving children in Africa...blah...yawn. In fact, my parents did just this. It sort of conditions people to overeat.

Paul McKenna rightly points out that finishing the food on your plate does nothing to help them, and if they know your were doing it, they wouldn't be happy about it or feel any better.

As an ex bulimic I never insisted DS should finish everything on his plate, although this has shocked a few people (I obviously didn't tell them that my reason for this was because I had an eating disorder).

MarchelineWhatNot Mon 01-Oct-12 09:07:17

I think you are right not to force your DS to eat, LesleyPumpshaft. My DS is skinny and DH is always telling him off for leaving food on his plate, or not eating stuff he doesn't like (he eats most things, but hates pasta, pizza and bread). The thing is, both DH and myself are overweight and in fact DS is fine for his height. I would hate for him to grow up to be overweight like us.

LesleyPumpshaft Mon 01-Oct-12 09:12:22

MarchelineWhatNot I was a chubby kid and got bullied about my size, as well as family making insensitive jokes and comments. Probably a major factor in developing an eating disorder.

When I see my parents now I am shocked at the amount they eat and think to myself that it's no wonder that I was a fat kid. They are lovely people, but maybe I didn't need to clear my plate!

aamia Mon 01-Oct-12 09:13:50

Eat 3 meals a day, only snack in between on fruit. Have tonnes of fruit in the house, and never buy anything 'naughty'. If you do then crave a bar of choc, buy one small one from a newsagent/wherever, and you'll only eat that, not the rest of the big bar/packet.

So for breakfast: couple of slices of toast and fruit juice OR cereal and fruit juice. Lunch: one sandwich + salad OR soup and roll. Dinner: one portion of something from a recipe book (or one chicken breast, or one chop...) + lots of veg. In between, with the exception of bananas/mangoes/avocados, eat as much fruit/veg as you want. Look on the back of packets to see how much they say one serving is, if you get stuck.

HoobleDooble Mon 01-Oct-12 09:42:41

Sorry, had to run and get DS to childcare and myself to work.

Thank you for all of your posts and advice, I think it does go back to childhood, mother giving me huge portions of homecooked food (because homecooked = healthy in her mind, even if it's pies and quiches and things deep fried) and expecting me to clear my plate. For example, earliest memories have me eating a huge cooked (fried) breakfast on a Sunday before Sunday school as we wouldn't know what time dad would roll in from his lunchtime session at the pub for us to have (even bigger) Sunday lunch and she didn't want my sister and me to go hungry waiting for him. The result was me being very big by the age of 10 with my dad being very vocal about me being fat and my mum still not having much of a clue about nutrition (think it came from being a war baby and remembering rationing).

I'm also very careful about DS and his eating, he will eat anything and everything but is built like a racing snake, I don't hassle him to clear his plate but I've recently become more aware of how often I say "Mummy can't have that" and make myself something different to him and his dad at mealtimes.

I think I seriously need to look into getting some help as I'm aware of what I may be doing to myself every time I make myself sick and would be mortified if my husband or ds caught me doing it.

ICBINEG Mon 01-Oct-12 10:24:25


I am sure you already know this, but being overweight is primarily a psychological problem, after all everyone gets that to lose weight you have to consume less calories than you use.

I strongly believe the best course of action is to get your head straight by any means possible (while ignoring the weight issue) and then tackling the weight will actually become as simple as people suggest.

cozietoesie Mon 01-Oct-12 10:26:57

Back now.

Well the relationship between a bulimic and food is extraordinarily complicated, Hooble. It's, among other things, a mix of obsession, pleasure and deep, deep guilt. As well as being intensely private. (Bet you save your 'worst' gorges for private moments when you indulge completely by yourself.)

What I meant by 'managing' your problem is that - sorry - my experience is that you'll likely never have a completely normal relationship with eating even if you come to understand why you're behaving in this way. (It's also likely going to be very difficult for you to talk to anyone about it in a constructive way - so difficult in fact that you may keep on putting it off. )

I would suggest, therefore, that you start to structure your eating to different rules. Immediately.

You need to allow yourself to eat but cut out the guilty feelings so that you can keep it down and enjoy it and still feel the control glow. All very well slavering all afternoon about the thought of that private 6 chip butties and 4 milk shakes you're going to have later on, and enjoy the purchasing and the preparation of said butties and shakes, but the moment you start eating them, you're not going to really enjoy them because you'll already be feeling the guilt and starting to think about having to purge afterwards. (How much milk do I need to drink to go with this?)

So - right away. Prepare a plan for a diet without added sugar AT ALL, without any significant animal fat (milk in tea and coffee and lean meat/fish etc are OK - you need some fat after all) and start eating to your heart's content on that basis.

If you feel like a binge for comfort, have one - but make it a great big salad (say two Little Gem lettuces, a tray of tomatoes and a couple of hard boiled eggs all chopped up in a big bowl) or a couple of pounds of boiled or steamed carrots and cabbage. (No butter or spread on them of course.) Leaves you feeling full, complete from the eating and is also good for you.

If you want a nibble, have some fruit (keep a plate of washed and picked grapes beside your chair or bedside table) of any description.

Trust me, all this cutting out added sugar and animal fat will really change your tastebuds. You will be pretty well able to eat what you like (because your body will automatically self-limit) and you won't feel the guilt associated with some foods you eat. So no need to purge.

It's actually a huge diet change (you'll be cutting out, for instance, all biscuits, chocolate, cakes etc and most pre-prepared foods and snacks) but one which can easily be maintained in front of other people with just the excuse of 'I'm trying to eat more healthily'. You will likely be able to easily combine your foods with the family's - just that yours won't have butter or sugar on it, you'll have fruit instead of pud and you'll pass on the Yorskhires for extra vegetables. It also won't be any more expensive (think of the amount you've wasted on purging) and - just as a by product - you'll lose scads of weight and bulk.

Also - schedule yourself some exercise. I'd make it a class that you have to go to rather than just eg going out running at a time to suit yourself. That feeling of obligation to the tutor and a structured class set up will likely suit you better at the moment than something you set up yourself.

Sorry to be so wordy. I'd start that immediately as in - 'Go to the shops this afternoon and buy lots of new fruit and veg'. Deal with the symptoms first and then while you're getting those under control you can start to think about the root causes. In a situation where you're feeling better about yourself.

I'm aware that that may not be a popular approach but it does work.

cozietoesie Mon 01-Oct-12 10:28:20

I think we disagree on the initial tactic, ICBINEG but maybe not on the strategy.

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