This Is How It Happens

October 30, 2007 · 6 comments

Most, if not all, of my readers are or have been in a battle with food.  What I am about to describe will no doubt elicit a simple “well duh, that happens to me all the time” response.  Still, it’s important for me to write, for myself if nobody else.

Here is how easily a good day can turn bad.

For breakfast I made myself a 3 egg omelette with green onion, mushrooms and cheese.  I drank 12 ounces of V8.  For lunch I first walked 2.25 miles with my wife, then had a Fajita Burrito Bol at Chipotle, without the rice.  I had a banana for a snack in the afternoon.  This is a good start to my day.

My wife is working tonight and my daughter was eating over at a friend’s.  So it was just me and my son.  He had friends over and I was getting hungry so at about 6:30 I had a small dish of almonds and finished off some curry chicken salad that was still in the deli container.  First sign of trouble - I ate this on the couch.

Then my son’s friends left and I needed to make him dinner.  So while I was putting his together I noticed there was a little bit of Lloyd’s BBQ pork leftover, so I made myself a sandwich.  I have been trying to stay away from unnecessary carbs but I put it on a bun anyway because BBQ Pork on lettuce just didn’t seem right.  There was actually more than a single portion left but I couldn’t put it back with a single portion (or even a little more) and I surely couldn’t throw it away so I put it on my bun so that it was overflowing.  While I was doing that I decided I wanted some soup so I put on a can of Campbell’s Double Noodle Chicken Noodle.  I ate my sandwich over the sink.  I had to eat half of it with a fork because there was so much extra.

I only could eat about a third of the noodles in the soup.  By then it was time for dessert.  I had a 100 calorie snack pack.  Then a 70 calorie ice cream bar.  Then within an hour I found myself grazing for some reason and I had some apricots.  But those were overly sweet and I needed to cut the taste in my mouth so I had some more smokehouse almonds.  Then I noticed there were only three peanut butter cookies left.  So I ate those too.

ARGH! Stop the insanity.

I was down to 273 when I weight myself this morning.  I’m willing to bet I’ll come in at 275+ tomorrow and it will take me a couple of days to get back to where I was, with only a couple of more days to make progress on the week.  One day throws the whole week akimbo.

So, how can I avoid this problem in the future?

  1. My first big problem was that I ate my dinner by myself and casually, while on the couch watching television.  I believe that in my head that turned it into a snack, not a meal.  I should have made a little bit more, put it on a plate and ate it at the dinner table.  Or better yet, timed it so that I could eat with my son when he was ready.
  2. After my first round I should have brushed my teeth or chewed some gum.  One of the benefits of chewing gum is that it helps prevent my grazing.  I think I could have shut it down at that point.
  3. I simply have to learn how to get myself to stop.  I am doing a pretty good job at avoidance in general but once I get started it’s a hard train to stop.

That is how it happens, and it ain’t pretty.

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GroovyBabe October 31, 2007 at 2:28 am

I read yesterday that someone suggested someone else was punishing themselves when they overate, I think there was something in it. If I have one single thing that is not planned, I will end up ruining the plan completely and I think, subconsciously, that has to be about punishing myself for going off plan.

Scott October 31, 2007 at 3:50 am

Hi John,

another thing that seems to work - remove all of the unhealthy foods from the house. Obviously you can still grab a handful of fruit or nuts, but things like the ice-cream bars would require a bit more effort :)

john - from fat to fit October 31, 2007 at 4:49 am

GroovyBabe - You may have something there. But the thing is, I had been having a great day. The tipping point was after I had already eaten a little bit and I think I just got distracted by the BBQ pork leftovers. At that point I had no reason to punish myself yet I found myself putting way too much on a bun, which I have been avoiding. Why did I do that? Everything after that could very easily have been subconsciously punishing myself.

But understanding the tipping point, that is the key for me. I think part of it is convenience. I’ve talked about leftovers before causing trouble, this may be something I need to understand better. Planned leftovers like when I make extra baked chicken breasts where I have specific planned usage and there is a controllable portion are manageable, but bowls of leftovers seem to give me trouble. Something for me to watch.

Scott - I’ve heard that tip before and I have tried to follow it a little bit. It would be so much easier if it was just me in the house! But I have a wife and 2 kids and they have certain needs. True, we would all be better off just eating veggies and fruit, but we aren’t that strict. Also, I’m trying to build a plan that will work for life and life has a way of throwing temptations in front of you, whether it is at home, the hotel minibar, the breakfast buffett or the boxed lunch at the conference. I’ve got to develop healthy strategies for a combination of pure avoidance, but also moderation in a sea of temptations.

Diana the Scale Junkie October 31, 2007 at 12:57 pm

I’ve done the same thing. You can’t throw away a little bit of leftover BBQ because its such a waste. So you eat it to “get rid of it.” Its one of the reasons I can’t go to buffets, I want to eat my money’s worth. I find I’m so much more successful when I plan my meals in advance. I try to cook so there are no leftovers because I’m the one in the kitchen cleaning up and scooping the leftover rice into my mouth because there isn’t enough to put away and I hate to waste it…I’m fighting so hard to break these habits. I wonder if it is subconscious self sabotage to punish myself in some way. I think that the fact that you identified what you did and owned up to it says a lot. Now you can begin the process of working out the why’s. Developing healthy strategies is a great idea. I know its something that “normal” people don’t understand.

Paula November 1, 2007 at 1:40 pm

I’m a new reader (that’s why I’m reading old posts), and I applaud your efforts to lose weight! You seem to be doing well, and your blog is great!

As I read your description of your good day gone bad, I thought about a couple of things that I do to keep from overdoing it. One (you’ve probably heard this before) is to keep a food journal. Write down everything you eat and the calories/fat/carbs it has. In order to do that, you have to weigh or measure all of your portions so that you can calculate calories and fat. It helps me because I have to look at the nutrition facts and see what the portion size, etc. is…sometimes after I do that I don’t even want to eat the food any more! Not tasty enough to risk the sabotage. I don’t do it every day at this point but I do keep the journal periodically to make sure I’m staying on track.

The other thing is along the lines of what you said about eating in front of the tv. I always eat at the table, with my food served on a plate. It’s a visual reminder of how much I’m eating. (And if I snack a lot I end up with a LOT of dirty plates!)

Basically this approach just works on the “head” part of weight loss or maintenance. If you really make yourself think about and visualize what you eat, it slows you down and helps to reinforce your committment to improving your health.

Good luck with your journey!

john - from fat to fit November 1, 2007 at 2:18 pm

Diana - oh man, don’t even talk to me about buffets - not ready to tackle those yet! You are right, you can’t understand this if you haven’t been there yourself.

Paula - Thanks for stopping by, I always LOVE hearing from new readers! I don’t know if you have a blog yourself because you didn’t link to one, but it is just a really cool feeling to know that someone like yourself could be out there, happen upon my blog and jump into my journey.

It’s particularly cool when you find someone who has great insight, like you offered.

I sort of used a food journal when I first started and what it really gave me was immediate feedback on how many calories were in my normal market basket off food and meals and where I needed to make drastic changes. From the beginning I have been cautious with putting in place processes that were not sustainable, and writing down every calorie for me is not sustainable. However, I do agree it is essential until you figure things out for yourself. For some that might take longer than for others.

Thanks, and come back again!

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