Sometimes no choice is the best choice of all

I'm done. I'm throwing in the towel. No, not on trying to lose my stomach so that I might go a day without my lower back or hips hurting - that I'm very committed to! - but rather I'm giving up on trying to make good food and activity choices every day. Because I'm not. (Making good decisions, that is.) I've been eating more at meal time PLUS binge eating in whatever time I can spend alone...cramming food in my mouth as fast as I can without tasting and certainly without enjoying it.

I finally got myself on the treadmill for 30 minutes yesterday and I felt just wretched afterwards: light-headed, stomach burning, head aching...all symptoms, for me, of messed up blood sugar. I can't even exercise to help my body become healthier because my eating is such a disaster. Hence my earlier statement about being done.

So, I need to take choice right out of the equation. Eat what's in front of you. Eat enough to feel full without bingeing. Get a good balance of food with about 1500 calories per day - some days more, some days less. Effective tomorrow (because I need the 24 hours to plan everything properly for success), here's the plan:

  • For food, HMR Shakes and entrees plus fruit and veggies. I'm giving it a real go for three weeks and we'll see how I do. If my bingeing worsens then I'll try something else but for now, this sounds like a really good idea. No choices, no feeling hungry (you have as many shakes or entrees or fruit/veggies as you need not to feel hungry), and no having to plan the right meal to meet my nutritional needs.
  • Work my way up to 60 minutes of moderate cardio 6 days a week (plus my two days of gentle yoga). The recommendation along with my diet is to burn 2,000 calories off with exercise per week and, for my weight, that's going to take about an hour a day most days of the week to do. This is something I will need to work up to because 30 minutes at a time is my limit at the moment, and that's OK. To get there eventually I'm committing to 30 minutes of walking 6 days a week plus my yoga plus at least one night of 50 minute water aerobics class for now, and increasing the time of my walks by 10% each week.
What will I do to support these commitments for the next 3 weeks?
  1. Find an eating disorder specialist through the Employee Assistance Program at work, make an appointment, and go. I have an eating disorder and I need to lose weight. My company will pay for me to get mental health treatment when necessary. What more do I need to know in order to make this happen?
  2. Take a pair of sneakers and socks to work. I already have several here at home so leaving a pair there will just make it that much easier to get the daily walks in.
  3. Eat at a table while focused on my food. No multitasking while eating! No TV, no computer, no whatever. Eat mindfully. I've never been much good with this one and that's probably not surprising given my eating disorder and the fact that I use food to help me zone out. Time to zone back in, methinks
  4. Tell everyone at work and online (here you go!) what I'm doing so that they/you will hold me accountable. I need to give this a fair shake for three weeks to see what I can accomplish, so no going easy on me, no giving me a pass if I slip. If I slip, I need to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get right back to it.
If I follow this routine seriously for three weeks, I could lose 6-9 pounds; if I stick with it for six months, it could be as much as 50 pounds, which sounds like a really good interim goal to me. Six months, then maintenance for six months? Could be a good plan.

OK, I want to know what you think. Have you done a similar plan in the past and are you willing to share what you learned? Do you think this is crazy talk and that I can't possibly make this work? Any ideas about supporting strategies I can employ to increase my chance of success?

Remember (and this is as much for me as you all), I'm doing this because I want to be healthier and get rid of my nearly-constant lower back pain, not casually or on a whim because I want to be thin. I have no plans to become thin, just smaller and stronger than I am now. I'm not desperate, just determined. I have a wonderful life with a great husband who loves me as I am, an awesome job that I love, and a lifestyle that would be the envy of many...I don't need to re-make myself in order to be happy because I AM happy...I just need to have less weight hanging off of these happy bones.


neca said…
Hey there,

First of all: congratulations! Saying that you have an eating disorder and seeking help must've been very tough. That is a HUGE step!

I have never done a similar plan in the past - I lost 25 pounds last year, but it was through changing my eating habits & exercise.

This year I am reading Dr. Joel Furman's books and trying to incorporate his thoughts on "nutritional excellence" into our eating habits.

I have goals for this year and have signed up for a "Healthy Living Challenge" at work, as well as started a walking program with my husband to keep me from slacking off. :-)

If there is any way I can be of support to you, I will gladly do so.
Anonymous said…
I think you have a great support system set up. If your EAP can help with a specialist--I would definitely DO IT!
Also, keeping walking shoes around has worked for me--no excuses (ie...I'm in the wrong shoes! wah!)
Telling everyone is a biggie and being accountable publicly is huge as well.
Will your husband support your food choices? (I have a hard time with this at my house with teenagers wanting to have junk in the house)
Anita said…
I'm right there with you, girl. I spent the first few weeks of January just working on "eating healthy / lowering stress". Of course, my weight didn't change but I realized I was tired more and more. I woke up Friday with the realization, "I'm tired of being so TIRED!"

Like you, I made some changes. I'm eating lots of small meals (5-6 times a day), tracking my food intake on my itouch (LoseIt! app is so cool!)to make sure I'm getting enough fuel and plan to do a 15 minute workout on my Wii before I take my shower at night. I also promised to only eat at my dinner table, which has really helped me be more "accountable" for my hunger and food intake.

So, as you can see, we all have those "end of the line" epiphany moments. ;-) I'm glad to see that you're willing to see a specialist. It takes guts to step up and say, "There's something wrong with me and I need help." that's a BIG step.

Also good to see you have a plan for exercise Just make sure that you're going to have enough "energy" (food) to fuel this increase. The last thing you want is to have a low-blood-sugar attack, which effects your body, weight and mind.

*hugz* Good luck!

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