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To ask how you finally tackled emotional eating/general unhealthiness

(52 Posts)
JanisNedob Wed 01-Feb-17 13:19:08

I'm actually on my third hot chocolate of the day. All I've eaten is a pastry. Major sugar/carb addiction. I'm not massively overweight (because I live off shite rather than substantial meals) but need to clear a good stone. I'm disgustingly unfit. 6 month old baby and older kid, no time to work out.

The thing is, whatever I try, I never ever stick with. I start with great enthusiasm then lose motivation maybe 3-4 weeks in; my old biscuit-scoffing, stress-eating, sofa-blocking ways pull me back. It's like it's my default mode and it's only ever a matter of time before I go back to it - usually as soon as the going gets tough. It's a comfort thing (Chronically frazzled due to lasting effects of traumatic bereavement and general stress)

A better, healthier routine just doesn't come naturally to me. I feel like I'm forcing it.

I am so ashamed to say that this was my diet yesterday

Breakfast: nothing
Lunch: half a cheese panini, almond croissant, latte
Dinner: few bites of kids leftovers (chicken and veg risotto), muffin, latte
Evening: bar of chocolate, hot chocolate, biscuits

So please! how do I make a healthy eating/fitness plan actually stick? How do I make it a habit? I've been unhappy with my weight and fitness levels for 10+ years and I want to live long enough to see my grandchildren!

(Please don't say I have to tackle the root of my emotional eating, as I know this and that is a long-term work in progress!)

WilburIsSomePig Wed 01-Feb-17 13:23:53

You're not eating foods that fill you up for long enough. I've really struggled with this too and the only answer I can give is that you are the only one who can make you do something about it. It can be bloody hard though.

My normal day goes a bit like this:

Wholemeal toast with poached eggs or baked beans.

Lunch is prawn/chicken salad, some crackers then fruit.

Snack is a banana.

Evening meal is anything we're having but I really watch my portion size now.

Good luck, it's not easy to change habits.

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Feb-17 13:25:53

I was a massive compulsive eater/junk food addict.

Now I'm not.

I low carb, it keeps my weight down and the cravings at bay. Before, I was just in an endless cycle of eat crap - crave crap - eat crap etc and it's just a big chemical chain reaction, whilst very stessful or upsetting events can cause me to want to eat, they're quite few and far between so most of the time it's a physical addiction IMHO.

Low carbing is a bit of a commitment but for me it's worth it my BMI is aound 24 now at one point I was around 35.

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Feb-17 13:27:33

Oh and I find evening the worst time for nibbles! I could eat constantly from after I'd had my dinner until I went to bed.

Now, I allow myself a small nibbly snack like nuts or olives plus I've really got into herbal tea to replace the 'what shall I have next' feeling, I have a few cups of those in different flavours to replace the urge to nibble

fluffiphlox Wed 01-Feb-17 13:27:48

Low carb/5:2 combo.

Astoria7974 Wed 01-Feb-17 13:29:42

5:2 cured me. I did 2 days of regular fasting a week where I just drank my calorie intake. It def weaned me off using food as an emotional crutch

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Feb-17 13:30:41

My diet yesterday:

Breakfast: 3 rashers streaky bacon, gruyere cheese grated on top.

Lunch: Chicken leg with a huge dollop of pesto, olives

Snack: Grilled artichokes and salami

Dinner: Roast Pork with mediterranean vegetables

Snack: small bowl of spiced nuts.

Kirriemuir Wed 01-Feb-17 13:35:50

I had to go low carb but it has worked for me.

I started 3 years ago now. Spent 8 weeks on Weight Watchers and lost a minimal amount. Think 2 off, half on, 1 off, 2 on despite following it to the absolute letter. I gave that up. Felt really deflated.

I then went very low calorie and used my fitness pal. Made myself ill as I didn't eat enough.

I then researched lots. Found out that anything diet/low calorie really DOES NOT work! Its full of sugar and other crap.

Found out about low carbing. My major flaw is crisps. I can sit and easily eat a family bag in one sitting. Even on something like points with WW I'd have an advertised as low calorie packet and then "make it up the next day" attitude.

One I decided to cut out bread, pasta, potatoes, a lot of carby veg and fruit, the weight fell off. Low carbing will be hell for the first 5-7 days but after, once your body gets used to it you don't crave sugar or carbs which was a major plus for me.

I eat lots of fat and everything is full fat, no diet/reduced calorie.

Works for me as I say. I know if I eat carbs then I start to crave foods like crisps and cakes/sugar.

I also drink 2.5 to 3 litres of water a day.

BlueSofaPinkLamp Wed 01-Feb-17 13:36:43

I'm another advocate of low carbing, which in an ideal world I'd love to do all the time, but due to a combination of being very active and an underactive thyroid, it wipes me out completely so I have to be quite moderate about it.

It completely changed my view on food, I felt satisfied by what I'm eating and no longer felt the need to reach for snacks in between meals.

I am already slim and don't need to lose weight, but I valued low carb for it's benefit to how I felt and my resulting attitude towards food.

JanisNedob Wed 01-Feb-17 13:37:47

Ok thank you, I don't think I could manage low carb but I definitely could squeeze more protein in.

I'm a bit unsure about doing 5:2 as it talks about 'eating normally' on your non-fast days. Does that mean I can eat junk on those days? because even retraining myself to eat like a normal person is going to take some work!

SomewhatIdiosyncratic Wed 01-Feb-17 13:40:50

I'm assuming that if you start with "great enthusiasm" that you make great sweeping changes that are too much effort to maintain. Can you introduce a range of smaller changes in gentle stages e.g. eat a small filling breakfast that will delay the start of the grazing. Drink water. Go out for a walk each day. Give each little stage some time to become a routine. One day off plan is one day off plan, it is not a failure (to never have a day off plan would require a draconian unhealthy mindset anyway), accept it, learn from it if possible, move on.

As you get used to a small positive change, you'll have more energy to extend it or make another and will be much less likely to burn out than reinventing your whole lifestyle in one go.

Kirriemuir Wed 01-Feb-17 13:41:39

Being honest, it doesn't sound like you are ready to look at what you eat given your comments above. You've questioned two ways of eating.

Why don't you think you can low carb? Your body doesn't need potatoes, pasta and bread. Your body doesn't need the sugar in 3 hot chocolates.

5:2 does require a healthy diet on your non fast days.

You are already dismissing ways that can work.

You need to ditch sugar. The only way you can do that is by stopping eating processed food and preparing everything you eat freshly.

Titsywoo Wed 01-Feb-17 13:45:32

I did this diet and that but what has finally worked for me (and I've been a binge eater for 26 years!) is I only eat when I'm actually hungry, when I did eat I just said to myself "I can have what I want to eat, what will be the best choice" so nothing is ever off limits as that makes me want it more, I try very hard to get as much veg into my diet each day and a little fruit (if I pile my plate high with veg I don't feel deprived, I stopped drinking booze and fizzy drinks AND I learned how to cook food that actually tastes good! Bland stuff like crisps or pasta just leaves you wanting more. I could eat platefuls of pasta and still feel like I need to eat again but a good steak (with the fat on!) and a small portion of potatos and loads of veg makes me stuffed and I wouldn't go back for seconds.

JanisNedob Wed 01-Feb-17 13:45:57

No kirrie I don't think that's fair. I absolutely am ready to look at what I eat but I think low carb is too rigid and probably not sustainable. I also think 5:2 might just enable my disordered eating when I really need to just eat like a normal healthy person and not make food the focus. Do you see what I'm saying?

Ditching sugar is probably more realistic and long overdue!

AnotherUsedName13 Wed 01-Feb-17 13:46:07

My mantra became "food has no moral value". I limited nothing. Stopped fussing about anything. I started doing half an hour of brisk exercise a day, cut out snacking entirely, ditto takeout and ready meals and cooked everything from scratch.

I lost two dress sizes on this and felt a lot saner. Calorie counting etc was awful for my brain. Cooking and exercising was good for it and I didn't need to feel so hungry either.

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Feb-17 13:51:15

If you only need to clear a stone OP, take a look at this book

You can buy it for 1p plus postage off amazon second hand.

Its a two week, fairly extreme version of low carb high fat but it will get you results fast which can be very motivating. I only had a stone to lose when I did it, and lost 10.5lbs.

You just do it for two weeks so it's easy to motivate yourself to continue.

After the two weeks you do low carb maintenance which is much easier, and after a while can do another two week blitz if you have more to lose.

It's restrictive, but after the first few days you won't feel hunger and the weight literally melts off, we're talking 1/2 to a 1lb a day. I'd wake up in the morning and feel a difference.

It's not for the fainthearted but really good to give you a kick start, so long as you don't go back to a high carb diet after (moderate-low carb is ok) it won't go back on.

Low carb works, but it's not a piece meal kind of approach or something you can only do a little bit of. If you start trying to increase protein as you suggest, whilst still eating bread/potatoes etc it won't do much at all. If you increase fat whilst still eating those foods it will probably have a counter effect, the increased fat part of this approach ONLY works if carbs are kept quite low.

FreeButtonBee Wed 01-Feb-17 13:53:52

I find it much easier to deal with stuff in stages.

So January was start exercising - I had pretty much stuck to this - but I didn't put any pressure on myself re food. Have finished all the nice Christmas food and not worried about it too much. But I've done a pilates class plus some home resistance work (Kayla Itsines BBG - hate the whole concept but I must reluctantly say the routines and timings are really easy to stick to even if I only do it twice a week and haven't quite added in all the cardio! if you google, you can find the PDF guides for free).

Today is the first of February so eating better starts today. Rather than banning everything, I am aiming to eat less cake during the week and have a better breakfast every day. I can snack on popcorn (which I don't particularly love). If I do that, then the rest of the day tends to fall into place and then I can have some cake at the weekend. The rest of my diet isn't toooo bad as I tend to force 3 or 4 veg into most dinners in the evening.

I am then going to think about the next stage in March - not sure what to add in. Might have to get serious about running again.

Anyway, why not try to take it one stage at a time. You're still in the weeds of small babies - I found that stage very hard and all the food constantly on offer in the kitchen was hard to resist plus you have to start feeding the damn baby so there are left overs to pick at. Exercise and breakfast will make the most difference. Maybe start there.

Somehowsomewhere Wed 01-Feb-17 13:54:35

I agree with Kirriemuir. You've already dismissed two ways that people have told you work.
Losing weight is not easy. It gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to make changes that you might not particularly want to make. But if you really want to change your diet/lose some weight, then you're going to have to come out of your comfort zone.
I was a stone and a half over my ideal weight on 1st Jan. Through cutting out crisps/chocolate/biscuits/alcohol and reducing bread/pasta etc I've lost 8lbs. Hopefully in another couple of months I'll be at my goal weight. It hasn't been particularly 'fun' but needs must.

maggiethemagpie Wed 01-Feb-17 13:55:25

Ok so all these people are coming up with suggestions but you're knocking them all back!

Surely some are worth a try? Particularly those that several people have said worked for them.

Of course, no option is easy. A certain amount of sacrifice has to be made for the greater good of feeling in control of your eating and weight. Do you think I want to be eating low carb every day when everyone around me is eating high carb food? I don't really, but it's worth it for all the benefits. So I commit myself to it but it's been a long road.

Why did you come on here and ask for advice only to turn it all down?

Somehowsomewhere Wed 01-Feb-17 13:55:33

Took me so long to write that I missed your update.
Fair enough! I think you need to look at smaller, long term, sustainable changes. One step at a time.

user1484394242 Wed 01-Feb-17 13:59:56

I hit a low (really really low) and started Slimming world just over 2 years ago. For the first month I googled meal ideas, used their online recipes and joined facebook groups. My husband did it with me (he's very supportive and we work together - I strongly recommend getting a family member or friend to work with, whichever plan you choose). At busy work times we both put on a bit and then work it off again. After 1 year we were both at target and I wanted to cancel my subscription. He wanted to carry on so we did for another year. We stopped paying now though. I've moved to mostly paleo and he remembers details of everything he eats.

If you choose a plan to follow join support groups. Facebook is full! Read blogs and other people's meal plans. Write things down- meals you like, how you feel, write down your weight and size loss so you can go back and read it. Take photos as you lose- you may not want to look at them now but you will have them later if you decide to look at your progress. And if you have an off meal/day don't worry. Enjoy your treats and get back on track when you're ready.

friendlyflicka Wed 01-Feb-17 14:02:10

I find that the best way to be a bit healthier is to make sure you have healthy prepared food available. If you are tired and bored you just want to grab rubbish. If you are empty you eat more rubbish.

I will bake some vegetables - like sweet potatoes and peppers, or make a soup, that is ready for me immediately I am ready for it!

It makes a great difference to me.

JanisNedob Wed 01-Feb-17 14:05:39

Thanks for suggestions. I like the idea of tackling things one month at a time. So am thinking if I cut down sugar this month (probably urgently needed) then added some daily walking (1000 steps?) next month?

Then if I get that far I could look into monthly goals of
*reducing carbs in one meal a day
*going for a run twice a week
*fruit/veg with every meal

The weight loss isn't urgent, it can be gradual. I've done crash diets where I've got down to a size 8-10 only to ping back up to a 12-14 in a couple of months.

I'm 5'3" and 10 stone btw

flashheartscanoe Wed 01-Feb-17 14:05:58

It sounds to me that you view food as your main source of 'treats'. Like other people I have really found that 5:2 has helped me with this. If you spend some time really hungry you will find that something healthy like poached eggs on wholemeal toast or a fish fillet with greens becomes the biggest treat ever. Normal, healthy food is delicious and a treat as long as you are hungry.
I am on an eating day today and really looking forward to being able to have lunch! It doesn't need to be rubbish to make it feel like its cheering me up.

JanisNedob Wed 01-Feb-17 14:08:22

Ok I'm not being dismissive again (sorry!) but just re slimming world, I tried it twice and it hasn't worked for me. I became a bit obsessed with food (I guess knowing certain things were off-limits - even though I know a lot of food is 'free') and in the end it made me eat more.

So i suppose as I write this, I'm really trying to work out how I can just settle into a decent eating pattern where the focus is being healthy rather than trying to follow a diet

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