Monday, May 17, 2010

Searching for Balance

Today was my first appointment with the dietitian. I thought it went pretty well. I got there at 8:00 am (before work) and talked to her about how I have been since I saw her in January. I told her that I am having trouble controlling my eating, that I have been bingeing even more, and that I have gained about 15 pounds since I saw her last. She was very nice and supportive, and I really hope what I learn here can sink in.

We talked about the Hunger Awareness Dialogue, which is basically a chart of what you think to yourself when you are “hungry.” It starts with you deciding if you are physically hungry or emotionally hungry. If you are physically hungry, you choose what you are hungry for, how hungry you are, and then eat until you are comfortable full. If you are emotionally hungry, you decide what you are feeling, assess whether food will help, and then take part in alternative actions instead of eating (alternative behaviors, affirmations, support, etc). I guess this is how normal eaters behave without thinking about it. I saw the worksheet explaining this dialogue last time I went to the dietitian and I left with the same thoughts that I have now: who in their right mind thinks like this? I guess the whole point of this is to make yourself think this way.

Unfortunately, when I left the dietitian and got to work, I pushed everything aside. It is had to concentrate on food or emotional stuff with my busy work schedule. I guess that might be a good thing also. Anyway, by the time I got to work it was 9:15 (which is late for me) and I was starving. I got two kolaches (potato, egg, and cheese) and a Diet Coke from a place near my office. I know I would have probably been satisfied with one kolache, but I was starving and thought that I HAD to get two. I just thought one would not be enough. Often, just like I did this morning, I eat a lot because I feel like I will never have that food again. It is that diet mentality that I know so well.

Anyway, it was crazy at work today because my boss resigned (her last day is next Wednesday). I have no idea who my new supervisor will be and it really stressed out my entire department. We all went out to a chinese restaurant for lunch and I could feel tension in the air. I ordered the lunch special of hot and sour soup, chicken with vegetables and steamed rice, and a spring roll. I ate my entire plate. It is always really hard for me to know when I am satisfied. After I scarfed my food down, I looked over at my coworkers and noticed that each one of them had food left on their plates. This happens to me often. I know I shouldn’t care about what others eat and just focus on my own eating, but how could that not make you feel like a pig? Again, I think I ate so much because I felt like I had to get in as much food as I could while it was an acceptable eating time.

I worked until 5:30 and then went to my parents house for dinner. We had hamburger patties, whole wheat buns, and cucumber salad. I also had about one cup of fruit salad. I ate 3 or 4 pieces of cheddar cheese after that because I still did not feel full. An hour or two later, when passing by the kitchen, I grabbed a large handful of pretzels. I really wanted something sweet (like chocolate), but my parents don’t keep anything bad in the house.

I thought about sneakily picking up something else to eat on my way back to my apartment, but decided not too because the weather was not good.

Once I got back to my apartment, I had the urge to eat something here, but didn’t because I have no food in my apartment (and I don’t keep food at my apartment for this very reason). And now, as I write this, I realize that I did not really think about the Hunger Awareness Dialogue all day. Just seeing that worksheet makes me feel anxious and annoyed - I don’t want to think about food (it makes me miserable!!) and that work sheet makes me dwell on it - maybe thats my issue with it.

At least I recorded my food all day. That is a big step. Usually I’m not good at keeping food records because it is embarrassing (bingeing is a very secretive thing), but I know I need to succeed. On my food records today, I wrote the following: “Overall, I did really well today. No binges, although I did overeat a bit at lunch. Still, not bingeing is an accomplishment!”

Still, I feel like a failure for not keeping a perfect diet record. I know that is CRAZY because I have been eating so, so badly that I actually ate pretty well compared to normal, but I can’t help it. It reminds me of dieting throughout middle school and high school. When I am not dieting like crazy, there is something about seeing my day of food in writing that is gross - Usually, I just eat as much as I can and then try to forget about it. I push it to the back of my head. So, I guess recording my food intake is good for me, no matter how hard it is. I need to learn balance and really realize that is going into my body (and how much). I am used to such extremes: extreme dieting or extreme bingeing.

Wish me luck on my journey to find balance in my eating habits, and in the rest of my life! Outpatient starts tomorrow!!


  1. I can relate to a lot of this entry, and I bet it felt really good to put it all out there! You're right: binging is such a secretive activity, and when we have to actually record what we've eaten, it can be alarming and embarrassing.

    I would say for now, focus on one thing at a time. That's my goal for now, and I've stopped worrying about being absolutely perfect every day. I know that's not realistic and not something I could ever maintain. My focus is simply to do the absolute best I can (and not lying to myself by saying that everything I do is my absolute best...I know it's not).

    I wish you luck!

  2. I've started reading "Breaking free of Emotional Eating" by Geneen Roth... maybe you should check it out? So far its pretty good :)

  3. Geneen Roth is amazing. I am also learning the difference between real hunger and emotional hunger, and it's sure a process, isn't it? I like the idea of the chart (I'm a very visual person) and will be checking into doing something like that for myself.