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Morbidly obese but can't stick to diet.

(260 Posts)
LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 10:43:15

I weigh 25 stone and am almost 60. I have been trying to diet 40 yrs. Sometimes I have lost a stone or two, then I give up, eat normally again, and regain.

It's obvious that I have a slow metabolism but I think that just means I should eat even less and less until I find an intake that causes weight loss.

Despite being pretty much under attack from society 24/7/365, I still don't seem to be able to make myself stick to any diet. It's like there are two of me: the dieter and the rebel, and the rebel always wins.

I am currently supposed to be on Atkins. I keep to it at every meal, but then, whenever I have the impulse to cheat, I pop out (my street has shops) and grab a family sized bag of crisps, a giant bar of chocolate, or a litre of ice cream.

Afterwards I hate myself, feel a failure, sob in bed at night and make plans to re-start tomorrow and be REALLY good, no cheats THIS TIME. All night every night I play MP3s - hypnosis to make you stick to your diet, or hypnotic gastric band. But the next day I cheat.

When I was calorie counting and logging on MFP I allowed myself a treat size chocolate bar every day. I bought a bag of 12 with the intention of having one a day, the whole lot was eaten in 2 hours, so now I never keep treats in the house.

Why do I cheat? I honestly don't know, even after all these years. In the last ten years I have had three lots of eating disorder counselling, lasting about a year each time, trying to get to the bottom of it. None of this has worked.

I resent being told that I must eat only for fuel, whilst everyone around me is using food for pleasure and entertainment ("hey - let's go for a pizza!" and "break open the bubbly!" "ooh, cream cakes - yum!") Friends recount how they enjoyed the eat-all-you-like buffet they had on holiday or at a local Indian (things I never do) then tell me I have to stop overeating. I seethe when I look into the windows of pubs, cafes, restaurants, and see slim people scoffing cakes, pizzas, hot chocolate, muffins, McD's, fry-up breakfasts; I am cross when I see them buying cakes in Gregg's and eating chips in the street, because if I did that I am labelled "naughty" or told I have an eating disorder.

It's taken me ages to realise that it's not what I eat that is the problem. From observing close up the eating habits of my flatmates and friends who come to stay, I don't eat more than the average person. It's the effect it has on my body: clearly, I am still eating too many treats for my particular slow metabolism.

My GP says "lose weight or die young". I've had the same from everyone in my life for the past 30 years and some of them are getting really pissed off with me because they don't think I am taking their advice.

All my stats like BP, cholesterol, etc are good and I am not diabetic. I take no medication. Ironically, many of the slim people who issue these dire warnings to me about my health are themselves on insulin, statins, BP pills, etc, and some who used years ago to warn me about how I was cutting my life short by being overweight have since died of various illnesses, at ages younger than I am now.

GP has made an appt for me to begin the long series of meetings and consultations that lead to a gastric bypass. First appt is in a week.

I have read about this and it is a barbaric mutilation. I have read about several women who died of starvation afterwards. I don't have any digestive issues. Having a bypass causes chronic problems for the rest of life (reflux, vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation, indigestion, malnutrition). Even if I came out of surgery OK, the thought of never being able to eat a proper meal again for the rest of my life (bypass is irreversible) makes me feel I would rather die young but enjoy my food.

My basic diet is healthy, currently two big bowls of salad a day with mayonnaise and some kind of meat or fish or seafood on top. No sugar, and no wheat. I am also teetotal and I never touch fizzy drinks or sweeteners. But then I ruin it all by having "impulse treats": either sugary (ice cream), wheaty (cake or chocolate biscuits), or a family bag of crisps. I do not keep any of these things in the house - ever. I HAVE to go out and buy them.

Each day I get up with the intention to just have the healthy meals and not to give in to the cheating impulse. Probably 4 days out of 7 I fail.

After 40 years I still cannot work out why I am self-sabotaging my every effort to diet. Especially as I now cannot walk more than 50 metres, get upstairs, and my world has become extremely restricted as I cannot fit into cinema, plane seats etc. Predictably, I am still single. (Yes there are specialist dating sites for men who like obese women but they are fetishists who would sabotage a woman's attempts at dieting.)

I am literally making myself disabled, and un-dateable and I don't know why.

I want to live a normal life, get about and have holidays and a great love life, and yet why oh why isn't even all that proving to be an incentive to stop cheating? I want to live again, but it's like I am not prepared to pay the price of constant deprivation.

I am not sure if this is far too complex an issue for a dieting board made up of people who are just a little bit podgy from baby-weight, but I post in the hope that there is someone else out there who feels the same or is in the same position or has some advice on how to escape from this self-imposed prison.

PurpleDaisies Tue 06-Sep-16 10:48:28

Have you ever had any help with your "need" for treats? It sounds like that's what's keeping you obese.

Please don't characterise this board as just people that need to lose a bit of baby weight. There are people who've had real issues with their weight for a long long time.

AppleJac Tue 06-Sep-16 10:58:49

I have issues with food. I weight 15st and im 5ft 8. My biggest was 18 stone.

Im currently doing weight watchers and have lost a stone in 10 weeks. Im currently in the early stages of pregnancy and im finding it very hard to not eat rubbish and gain lots of weight.

I was going to suggest therapy but i can see that you have been through all that. Has anything happened in childhood that you used to block out by eating sweety food?

My weight started when my dad died when i was 9 and my aunt offered me beans on toast approx an hour after i had been told about his death and even though i wasnt hungry i accepted this food and ate it. It was distracting and comforting to eat this food at the time and ever since i reward myself with food to feel comfort in something.

You eat the food, it feels nice to eat sweet things at the time but then you regret it and tell yourself you have ruined your efforts for the healthy food you have eaten and then you think whats the point i might as well carry on eating the rubbish.

I do find attending a weight loss club very motivating as you are weighed by your leader every week and you dont want to have a gain on your records!

I found weight watchers better than slimming world and i plan on still doing it through pregnancy as i gained 6 stone in my last pregnancy and i really want to avoid that this time.

Everyday im fighting my eating battles in my head but i try and focus on the end result and everyday i tell myself that if i give up now i will hate myself for it when 9 months pregnant with a horrendous weight gain and seeing such an awful way back down.

Its really hard but it may be worth looking at were your eating habits started and see what triggered you to then eat excessively.

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 11:30:55

Aw sorry Purple I didn't meant that in an insulting way. Just acknowledging that I do realise most people on the diet boards here are not going to be 25st.

AppleJac - You have hit one of the nails on the head. My parents had no time for me and left me to raise myself whilst they worked full time then watched TV when not at work. The one thing they always did was put delicious food on the table every day, and whenever I needed comfort or attention they always gave me sweets to shut me up. I realise this, but how do I translate it into sticking to a diet?

Shannaratiger Tue 06-Sep-16 11:47:20

I've done W. Watchers and Slimming world and have lost the weight. Unfortunately I always put it back on and more.

I'm now doing low carbs, like Atkins but without someone else telling me what not to eeatbecauae think when I'm having a bad day I go back to a stroppy child and do the "I don't care what you say I'm want it and I'm having it."

I have no carbs for breakfast - 30g healthy portion always crept to 100g blush
Usually no carbs for lunch and then potatoes or rice etc. for dinner. If I'm having a stressful time though I have no carbs for dinner so I can then have a cake, biscuit or crisps without feeling guilty.
The summer holidays I usual put on about half a stone, this year only 2 pounds, and I'm feeling very proud with myself.
Back to carb free day today.
Hope my waffle might have helped a bit. flowers

ageingrunner Tue 06-Sep-16 11:51:54

There's a book called 'brain over binge' by Kathryn Hansen. I've found it very helpful. You can get it on kindle. Read the reviews in Amazon and it might be something that could help you.

AppleJac Tue 06-Sep-16 12:05:50

When im doing well with weight watchers and having a steady weight loss each week i have to stop myself from rewarding myself with sweet things.

When i reached my stone loss i was very very tempted to but those mr kipling french fanices as a treat. I used to eat 2 boxes of those in a week at one point.

Im trying to change my mindset from rewarding myself with food to rewarding myself with something that is non edible for example a top or a shower gel that is nicer than the one i would normally buy.

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 12:06:24

Thanks Tiger and Agein.

Tiger I relate to that "stroppy child" reference. Yes, I think that is me, too. I hate being told what to do. And I think my feminism comes into play here, too: I am sick of women's behaviour being constantly "policed" and their bodies and food intake being constantly monitored and commented on by others. Sadly, these powerful feelings don't help when I need to lose weight!

Agein... I've bought a few books now on binge eating etc and I feel so ashamed that I cover the covers with brown paper so my flatmates won't see what I am reading. Thanks for the recommendation, that is another one I can try. I also do feel horribly ashamed that I am so intelligent and still cannot control this in myself.

ageingrunner Tue 06-Sep-16 12:19:11

User, I've got about 10 books on binge eating blush quite a few by geneen Roth and fat is a feminist issue etc. The brain over binge one is a bit different, in that it doesn't focus too much on the emotional causes of bingeing, but rather the author sees it as a habit that has been formed in the lower parts of the brain, which can be overcome by the higher, rational brain parts. It's a well-written, well-researched book. Get it on kindle and no one will know. I can completely identify with the feeling of shame. I used to wish I was addicted to something that would at least make me thin, like heroin hmm

GeneralBobbit Tue 06-Sep-16 12:28:21

My first thought is that you need to log every calorie you eat. Yes, including the binge ones.

Then you need to look at the monthly calorie intake. Then divide that by however many days there are in the month.

I'm saying this because I strongly suspect that you eat only very slightly more than the intake required to keep your body at a stable weight. I'm guessing you can eat roughly 2,300 calories before putting on weight if you're metabolically challenged. But you actually eat about 2,500.

So you put weight on gradually over a long period of time.

I am exactly the same as you. But I'm 14 years younger, very short and am only allowed to eat 1600 calories before putting on weight. So that one biscuit above that over 20 years has caused me to be 5 stone overweight.

Like you I don't over eat. Unless we're counting overeating as that one biscuit hmm which technically it is. I eat far less than normal people without metabolic issues, no buffets for me. My dh is utterly bemused at how little I eat. Porridge in the morning, tons of salad/protein at lunch, same as dinner. No dieting, no food issues, no mental obsession with food, no disordered eating.

The reason is 'shit happens'. That literally is the way I am. I occasionally loose weight when I do extra exercise (for enjoyment). I've occasionally dieted when I get really fucked off.

But the bottom line is that I don't want and can't sustainably eat less than 1600 calories a day. Anyone saying they can forever (and it would be forever or I'd yo yo weight) would be dedicating their life to thinking about food and weight all the time.

So this is what I suggest you do. Forget dieting unless you've found one you like? Choose the healthy food you like. Like soup, salad, veg, baked potatoes - just try and eat as much healthy food so you're not hungry.

Go out as much as possible. Find sympathetic exercise classes, go swimming when no one is there. Join loads of clubs, you sound lonely? Log all of your food without judgement, only look at the monthly intake and not the day. Let's find out what your calorie intake can be without putting on weight.

Now clearly right now you feel dreadful and I think you're at a weight that you might not be if you stopped dieting. Your natural weight might be 18 stone, still obese - but not 25 stone. I think you're at 25 stone because of the diet/binge cycle.

I think you need to start taking care of yourself, your post is full of self loathing which you don't deserve. You really, really don't flowersflowersflowers

GeneralBobbit Tue 06-Sep-16 12:31:22

And yes, food equals comfort to you. You've always been able to self soothe with it.

We need to find better ways/different ways of comforting you.

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 12:42:01

I've just managed to read, online, the basic premise of "brain over binge". The denouement was, her binges were caused by dieting, her body's response to being deprived and starved, so as soon as she stopped dieting and just ate what she liked, when she felt hungry, the bingeing ceased.

Rockpebblestone Tue 06-Sep-16 12:45:44

I think developing some really compelling interests, activities that you don't associate with eating will help. Good books you can't put down, long baths, arts and crafts...anything that will keep you mind fully occupied away from food. Then make sure your day is just really full, so there is not the time to snack.

Thefitfatty Tue 06-Sep-16 12:51:46

Look at intuitive eating (which I think is that brain over binge book), eat when hungry (really hungry, not just bored) stop when full. Pay close attention to your body and how you feel when you eat healthy things vs. unhealthy things. Stop thinking of foods as a treat. Rather, pay attention to what your body wants. Don't think of it as a diet either. Think of it as a normal way of eating.

It's ok to have chocolate. Just stop eating it when the craving stops. It's ok to want some crisps, but stop eating them when the craving stops.

And most of all, stop hating yourself. You're punishing your body because you think it deserves it and you need to stop. Get out and try and walk as much as possible and "treat" your body with healthy food it needs.

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 13:00:36

Thank you Bobbit for your post.

Bobbit, I feel that I already eat a healthy basic diet of veg, mainly raw, good fats and unprocessed meats and fish. In the winter it's home made veg soups with chunks of ham or chicken added. It's only the "junk treats" that are unhealthy foods. If I could just eliminate them, I'd be home and dry.

Self soothing: I looked into the treat/comfort thing many years ago, hearing this from various dieters ... have a bubble bath, a massage; buy yourself something nice. I do all these things, have lots of non food treats and indulgences. I have no shortage of money and don't hesitate to buy anything I fancy. I wonder why this is not enough and I have to treat with food, too. Maybe the "empty hole inside" caused by lack of parental love is so huge it needs massive input, more than things one can buy?

I'm sorry, there isn't a hope in hell of me joining an exercise class. I cannot stand up for more than a couple of minutes without intense pain and I cannot get on the floor as I can't get back up again. Any kind of exercise I try at home, even dancing, makes me sweat and pant. Doing this sort of thing in front of others would be unbearable humiliation.

I go swimming a lot, and did so all through my weight gain. I am a wonderful swimmer and I love it. Many times when I've started a new diet and exercise regime I've increased to an hour's swimming every day, and it has never made any impact on my weight loss. In fact when I lost 40lb a couple of years ago yet didn't go swimming once as I had an (unrelated) health problem. Swimming makes me hungrier, for sure.

No, I don't feel lonely. I'm terribly busy and absorbed in my work and I love my solitude so much that I often secretly resent visitors taking up more than a couple of hours of my time. I have a few close friends but I am not the social butterfly type. I find meeting new people incredibly stressful as I find everyone instantly judges me because they cannot see past the weight.

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 06-Sep-16 13:00:51

GeneralBobbit - I find your post really confusing. Why do you suspect op is only eating "1 biscuit per day" over her calorie requirement when op herself has described binges involving family sized bags of crisps and litres of ice cream and a full bag of treat chocolate bars gone in 2 hours.

It sounds like you have Binge Eating Disorder, op, now a recognised condition. Group therapy seems to work well for this disorder. I recently heard an interesting radio programme about it (think might have been on Woman's Hour, or otherwise it was a sep. programme on R4) which is probably still on the i-player if you want to search for it.

bibbitybobbityyhat Tue 06-Sep-16 13:02:37

I should think you would also qualify for weight loss surgery on the NHS, op, if that is something you would consider?

GeneralBobbit Tue 06-Sep-16 13:06:47

bibbity I think you need to read my post more carefully as that's not at all what I said. If you eat a small amount extra over a very long period of time it adds up. Like my metaphorical biscuit does for me. I said the OP needs to take a long term view over the eating ( instead of daily) so that she can see exactly how much she's eating over what she burns off.

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 13:10:45

Thefitfatty thank you for your post.

One thing that is very noticeable with me is that once I have started I cannot stop until ALL of the item is gone. That's why I ate all 12 treat bars at once,. It's almost like an impulse to "tidy away" everything. Same with family sized bags of crisps. I'm not able to eat a few then put the bag away like a normal person. If I buy a six-portion round cake, I will be driven to eat it ALL at once.

That is why my intention is always not to buy junk treats and not to have them in the house or think I can have "just a bit". The compulsion is literally irresistible, uncontrollable, and has nothing to do with hunger. It's like a mania, a madness. Trying to get myself to stop once I have started would be like telling me to stick my hand in a fire and leave it there - the physical compulsion would override.

I think this compulsion to finish, to tidy it all away, then hide the wrappings, shows that I do, indeed, have a mental disorder when it comes to food. I have been to people's houses and found a six-pack of Mars Bars from which only one is missing after being in the cupboard for 2 weeks. That would not happen here.

Thank you Rock for your post. I am extremely busy from dawn to bedtime with my various absorbing interests. Never have enough hours in a day to get it all done, and if I stop for a break there is loads of housework to do.

GeneralBobbit Tue 06-Sep-16 13:11:50

Loads of interesting information in your new post OP. Totally true about exercise making you hungrier grin screw the swimming and exercise unless you enjoy it obviously.

Great to hear that actually you're happy and busy and have enough friends and relationships and work to fill your time, that means there's no work to do in those areas. You sound happy enough smile

So it's really about the trigger areas, late at night when the day is over? That at some point the healthy food you've enjoyed isn't enough and you're emotionally forced to go outside to satisfy your craving?

I wonder if this is the deep hole that's not satisfied, that you are high functioning and happy during the day but at night you're out of energy to fight it?

LEIGH350 Tue 06-Sep-16 13:12:31

bippity - I mentioned WLS in my first post. My GP has actually put me on the process and the first meeting is next week but I am not attending. I don't want it.

BabyGanoush Tue 06-Sep-16 13:14:25

You were set on the wronk track 40 years ago when you started dieting.

Diets rarely work, ik they did, why are so many people getting fatter?!

By eating massive bowls of salad and a bit of protein, you are setting yourself up for a fail (the ice cream).

If you had eaten something tasty, like a tuna melt baguette, pizza or a burger, you probably would not have had that craving.

If you can manage to be kind to yourself and enjoy food (can be salad, but equally aburger. Eat what you really fancy), the cravings might leave you alone.

And start walking/excercise, as much as you can. Not because it will burn calories (though it will), but because it is good for the mind.

Dieting is a con.

GeneralBobbit Tue 06-Sep-16 13:14:42

Yep, you can't keep Mars bars in the house. You're so embarrassed about yourself that you need to tidy them away to hide the evidence. sad

BitOutOfPractice Tue 06-Sep-16 13:15:35

I am sick of women's behaviour being constantly "policed" and their bodies and food intake being constantly monitored and commented on by others.

I found that a very interesting thing for you to say after your OP was full of you commenting on judging what others eat! It's almost as if you are angry at people who aren't overweight and sort of blame them for your weight issues.

Also, you say that you return to "normal" eating after a diet but I'm not sure if your idea of normal is actually what is normal.

I hope you don't see this as criticism. I am also overweight so I am not judging you at all. I just wanted to highlight a few things that stuck out of your posts to me in the hope it might give you some food for thought

Thefitfatty Tue 06-Sep-16 13:15:43

I think you definitely have some kind of mental issues with food. Which generally means that none of us are really in a position to offer you helpful advice. sad

You need to seek (again) professional help. I'm sorry OP. flowers

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