Aug 282013
 

My friend Robby, Fat Girl vs. World asked on Facebook this morning:

“What makes people choose elimination diets (i.e., “no carbs” or “no solid food” or “nothing that rhymes with orange”) over moderation/food logging?”  – click the link if you want to see what everyone from all over the blog world is saying on her FB thread, we have lots of smart friends 🙂

– She noted that this does not apply to people with a food allergy or something like gluten intolerance or celiacs, because obviously those people must eliminate for medical reasons.

Here’s the answer I started typing, I realized it was very long, so I decided to post about it instead:

Elimination and food rules triggers my compulsive eating because I have anxiety and I’m a perfectionist (as diagnosed by my ED therapist and dietitian).

For most compulsive eaters its actually the SAME THING, they just haven’t been diagnosed for an ED or talked to anyone professional about emotions/foods.  If you remove the emotion from a food (which can be done with ED therapy NOT by WW or any elimination diet (paid for or free), you can eat in moderation…

You can have what you want…because you know it’ll always be there, so there’s no trigger to eat more and more. (this is NOT for people who have allergies/diseases etc that require them to eliminate things obviously, I mean people without sensitivities).

For 99.9% of people that are overweight, its all emotion..its all recovery from something

….for people that just got lazy or that had active young lives and now aren’t as active..those people can do WW or calorie counting or whatnot..but that’s not most of us, most of us eat to feel good, to hide something, to repair something.

Just like anxiety, depression, etc….overeating/compulsive eating…even if its not anorexia or bulimia…requires some learning about self-acceptance..it truly helps.

I’m in the middle of  therapy for compulsive eating and I can have all my old “trigger” foods right in front of me, because I have learned how to heal myself in other ways…a lot of me has healed already…I know that my favorite foods – Oreos, spaghetti, pizza, ice cream..well, they will be there tomorrow, too..and oh boy, leftovers of my favorite food (if I happen to get a large portion at a restaurant or make too much at home)…

I automatically moderate now because food doesn’t fix and I know food doesn’t go away..I hope what I’m typing here is helping someone.

I personally go to the Emily Program which I know has locations in Minnesota and Washington State. I also know that Park Nicollet (in MN) has Melrose.

But honestly, reach out to your regular doctor, tell them you want to be connected with someone who can help…compulsive eating is now an eating disorder and can be covered by your insurance.

 

Jul 182013
 

Not to say that I will never have a bout with emotional compulsive eating again, but I have truly moved past them as a regular occurrence in my life.

I started at the Emily Program back in March with an hour of therapy and a half hour of a dietitian every week.  In those months I have been focused on removing food rules, identifying emotional eating, working on what the true causes of my emotional eating are.  For me it is feelings of sadness, loneliness, worry and general anxiety.  There was also just a food anxiety in there that has built up over the years of Weight Watchers and other “food limit/food counting” type of diet plans.

Over the last month or so my food logs, which I have an example of here and my use of H.A.L.T which I talk about here have lead me to a point where pretty much none of my eating is scored as anything out of the average range and I’m eating when I am at the “H” in H.A.L.T, which is Hungry!

I did have one bout with emotional eating a couple weekends ago, but it was short, I identified it and talked myself through it and…it was over and done with after only about 8 Oreos (that’s pretty good!!)

I talked to my dietitian yesterday about being concerned about my weight (for health reasons, not looks) because as I worked on this journey of no food rules and identifying/regulating my emotions, I definitely have put on a few more pounds. I haven’t been weighing myself, but I know because I have to wear bigger sizes.

Since my emotional eating is in the normal range, my dietitian and I moved on to still logging what I’m eating, but also categorizing what I’m eating as follows: protein, grain, vegetable, fruit, fat, dairy or dessert.  Pretty much every serving of food falls into one or more of these categories.  There are guidelines and goals for how many servings in each category a person should be eating and yes servings have measurements. But for now, we are just categorizing, so I can learn about the food groups and how many of each I am getting each day and eventually we’ll move to learning balance and guidelines for each group.  This is all moving towards intuitive eating.

Speaking of, she recommended a book to me that I’ve been reading (and we’ve been following, but not to the letter). I want to recommend it to any of you who are struggling with “eating plans” and “diets”…and instead want to learn about eating what your body needs and wants…..like when you were a baby…you cried for food and stopped when you were done, and you weren’t overweight, right? RIGHT!

Intuitive Eating, 3rd Edition – Evelyn Tribole, Elyse Resch

I feel like I’m taking back control, my dietitian and therapist have been invaluable in helping me learn a new way of eating and a new way of thinking for myself and to get away from thoughts that are triggered by anxiety….thus moving me away from emotional eating which has been destroying my efforts to be healthy almost my whole life.

Thanks for reading

<3 Merbear

May 062013
 

My cravings to eat compulsively or binge have already started to wane away, because I have allowed myself to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Imagine that, allow myself to have any food, whenever I feel hungry….and I eat LESS

Last week when I met with my dietitian at The Emily Program, she talked to me about how there is a physical and mental part of everything we eat. The physical part is the nutrition, the mental part is how our brain reports back to our emotions about being full..or I could even say “fulfilled.”

She said I’m pretty good at the physically full/comfortable part of things, but not the mentally full.  Which is why I tend to overeat, have cravings, and can’t stop thinking about food.

I now need to make sure I have 3 meals and 3 snacks a day and even my snacks need to give my brain the message that I am fulfilled.   We put together some snacks based on things that I love and her nutritional know how.

One of key things is that whether our body eats a light cracker/cookie or a regular cracker/cookie our physical need may be filled,we gave ourselves a “grain” and maybe a “sugar”  but our mental side sees the light ones and how they have less fat, less calories, more empty processed stuff and isn’t fulfilled.

Our body mentally and physically also needs a grain/fat/protein/fruit or veggie  in every meal or snack…so a fat free or light yogurt is seen/processed as a dairy…where as a regular one is dairy, fat and fruit! Ooh, that regular yogurt hit a couple of the must haves of a meal or snack!  (yes, we need dairy but it doesn’t have to be in every meal or snack).

A bit of a “showstopper” for me, to tell my brain that a meal is over is fat and/or sugar.  So, if I have two Dove chocolates at the end of lunch, that tells my brain lunch is over..and it removes and/or majorly limits my compulsion to overeat, keep grazing, or eventually binge on something for fulfillment.

Snacks we put together for me to use this week for morning snack and afternoon snack (since evening snack is ice cream always!!)

Homemade trail mix: Cheerios, cashews, coated almonds, m&m’s (I make an amount with a mixture per her recipe that will last me 7-10 days)

Actual snacks:

  • homemade trail mix with 1/2 banana (or a small banana)
  • snack bag of regular crackers(CheezIts are my choice) with 2 light laughing cow/1 regular laughing cow/1 baby bel
  • snack bag of Goldfish with regular string cheese
  • regular single serving yogurt & two cookies (Oreos are my choice)
  • Chobani bites (small, sweet yogurt) with 100 calorie pack of regular buttered popcorn
  • 3-4 graham crackers and a regular pudding cup

She also suggested that I have a bit of chocolate after lunch 🙂

So far, I’m feeling much happier with food 🙂

<3 Merbear

Apr 262013
 

I’ve now seen a dietitian twice at the Emily program. She’s fantastic and takes on every patient as an individual, vs just applying a “plan” which I totally love.

We finished up my intake this week and my assignment is now to record what I’m eating…but this is not the same as Weight Watchers or calorie counting.

She is linked to my entries and we can talk about them in future appointments. She uses it to help me find patterns, ways of thinking, etc.

Here’s an example of one of my entries (there is an app on my phone, as well as a web page that I can use with the questions).

  • How energetic are you feeling? (scale from lethargic -moderate – hyperactive) very engergized
  • How are you feeling overall? (scale from depressed – average – rocking the world) great
  • Yes/No Questions:
  • Are you feeling guilt? no
  • Are you feeling anxious? no
  • Are you feeling sad? no
  • Are you feeling irritable? no
  • Are you feeling angry? no
  • Are you feeling bored? no
  • Are you feeling tired? no
  • Are you feeling joy? yes
  • Who did you eat with? (alone – friends – parents – other) alone
  • Where did you eat? (school/work/home/friend’s house/outside/restaurant/ in treatment/other): home
  • How long ago did you eat? 8:00am
  • What did you eat and drink? (not measurements or portions, just a space to list it out)
  1. Fiber One Chocolate Cereal w/Almond Milk
  2. Coffee with cinnamon/honey/almond milk
  3. Banana
  • Portion size: (inadequate/adequate/excessive): adequate
  • Did you binge? (yes/no): no
  • How strong is your urge to binge now? (scale from not at all – moderate – overbearing): not at all
  • How hungry were you before your meal? (scale from not at all – moderate – extremely starved): famished
  • How full are you now? (scale from not at all – comfortable – unbearable): comfortable
  • Thought diary (a place for notes/thoughts about the meal): Average breakfast. I had a big bowl of cereal and I hope it will tide me through to lunch at noon with my friend.

 

Obviously each meal and each day can be very different depending on what is going on around me, how I feel, etc.  But I wanted to share this because even though it is tracking…its not for making me aware of what’s going into my mouth, its making me aware of my attitudes towards food, people, mealtimes, etc.

I’ve learned a few things already and it hasn’t even been a whole week! For example…a good attitude, great night’s sleep and recent exercise help me automatically make better choices, and it doesn’t feel like “restricting” its just a choice..and it happens to be a good one 🙂

Hugs

<3 Merbear

Mar 042013
 

Hi!

This week I lost a pretty good amount of weight! What’d I do? Nothing crazy, took some advice from friends like Kris and Mindy who commented on my post last week:

I thought about what makes me feel satisfied, what foods are “whole” also known as Power Foods on Weight Watchers. I thought about how much I eat out and how Kris reminded me that the nutritional information at restaurants isn’t always spot on. I didn’t go crazy with measuring but I also was a bit more careful with it.  I made sure to have fruits and veggies with every meal or snack.   I ate out less and I drank beer only one night and it was just samples with my Barley’s Angel’s group, I also cut out cola except for ONE night because I needed some caffeine and something that was diet. I think that having at least one fish night a week is really good for us, too. I’m a big fan of steelhead trout these days, it tastes and looks like salmon, but is way less expensive and is even a little more moist.

What made me feel satisfied:  home made food

What did I drink: water, sparkling water, tea, coffee, skim milk (some diet soda but without any cola)

What did I prepare: LOTS of Weight Watcher’s and Hungry Girl recipes!!

How did I do it: I sat down on Sunday and whipped through the Weight Watcher’s recipe pages and printed out what looked good like a madwoman and threw them in a folder.  I did the same with my Hungry Girl to the Max cookbook.

Step 1: Grab all the recipes you can in about 30 minutes and get them all in one spot either in a book or printed out

Step 2: Pick 5 that you want to make that week

Step 3: Make a shopping list of what you don’t already have in the house

Step 4: SHOP! 🙂 🙂

Step 5: Cook what I want for dinner

Step 6: (if its a Sunday or Saturday, cook what I want for lunches!)

It seems simple enough, but I wasn’t doing this very often, now I will be. This week I have a whole week of lunches, plus other leftovers if I get too busy to cook during the week. I get to eat  Weight Watchers Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash for lunch this week..mmm with cheese, squash and spaghetti, mmmm!!!!

Weight Watcher's Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta

Weight Watcher’s Baked Pasta with Butternut Squash and Ricotta

Then leftover at home I have chili and chicken parmigiana!! All were recipes from the weekend!

I’m also prepared to make buffalo chicken fingers this week as well 🙂

We learned this last month in Weight Watchers and it finally has hit my brain and is proving to be true, preparing my own food and planning ahead what I  will eat, especially dinners…really helps me stay focused on my points for the day because I feel satisfied and PROUD of what *I* made…I know what’s in it, I know its good for me, and I know its tasty already. I look forward to the meals I made or will make for dinner, and it keeps me on track all day. I know how many points I can have the rest of the day! (This can be translated to calories or whatever type of plan you are on)

Another good thing about prepping ahead: you get all the dishes done on prep day instead of washing pots/pans/mixing bowls etc repeatedly all week..its SO NICE!

I kept the ball rolling…I made ahead and planned meals for this week, too.  Loving this!

Oh, and I’ve earned 12 activity points for WW this week so far (I go Wed – Tue). Add something active and fun into your weekend as a social event or something with a loved one. I’ve been lifting weights and walking/running on the treadmill, too.

<3 Merbear

 

Jan 232013
 

As you all know I’m a WW member now and wow, the program has gotten so full of helpful habits, tips & routines.

This month the routine is adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal.  I had to remind myself at first, but now I do it automatically. It might seem like a chore at first…but adding a banana, strawberries or a melon to breakfast; cherry tomatoes, an apple or oranges with lunch; or,some salad and cooked veggies with dinner has really made me feel fuller and more satisfied with my meals and snacks. I am actually now starting to crave certain veggies..like roasted brussels sprouts!

One habit I am SUPER proud of though is planning out my meals and points before I eat them.  This is a slow habit to build because I’m not a very good meal planner. But, knowing what I’m going to have for dinner…really helps me to stay on track all day. I’m looking forward to my yummy planned ahead dinner and I know what snacks/meals I can have during my work day and not feel guilty or worried about “fitting in” dinner.

Last night I made Steelhead trout. This fish tastes and looks exactly like salmon except it is more tender and has less fat/calories/points and the same amount of protein 🙂  By the way it was really easy, I just cooked it in a packet of foil in the oven at 375 for 15 minutes. It was PERFECT. (Oh, I put lemon juice, a couple sprays of olive oil, salt, pepper, onion powder and dill) It was a household favorite!

As part of my counting up points before I eat them, I had a Vietnamese take-out victory today. We went to a local, only open for lunch during the week, Vietnamese restaurant to pick up lunch for work today.  I ordered the chicken & vegetable stir fry with fried rice.   I already had my breakfast points in my tracker, I also have my homemade baked chicken fingers for dinner in there too, and then I put in the chicken & vegetable stir fry (2 cups).  After that…I saw how many points I had left for the day. Determined I wanted a snack with points this afternoon combined with my apple, so I took that out. Then, I saw how many points I had left and I MEASURED out 1/2 a cup of fried rice (I keep measuring cups at work!) and threw the rest away!!

Measured my fried rice!

Measured my fried rice!

Threw the rest away!

Threw the rest away!

 

Tracker

 

How about that?  Rockin’ the healthy habits!!!

<3 Merbear

 

P.S.

I’m all set for Fitbloggin’ 13 in Portland! I hope to see you there!

Jan 062013
 

I figured out my key to staying on track. Accountability.

Accountability to myself *and* accountability to the people who make up my support group.

Accountability to myself is *so* important, but its not always enough to keep me on track in challenging situations or when I’m feeling unmotivated or even wanting to give up for the meal/day/week etc.

Sometimes telling myself the reasons why I’m doing this and staying committed isn’t enough.

So how do I get that other support I need?  All of you wonderful people out there in the social media world as well as my awesome healthy friends locally, too.  Reaching out for help, sharing my journey and looking for other people that are sharing has been key to keeping me on track.

Whenever I think I’m not doing well and keeping it all in, kinda hiding my struggles instead of sharing them with my supportive people…it just gets worse until I really hit bottom.

If I get on my blog, or Facebook or Twitter and I share my challenges, ask for advice or just ask for a cheer when I do feel accomplished…it is just so much easier to get back on track and stay on track.

This week I found some truly awesome support groups to add on to the ones I have.

The first group I found is a challenge to track five out of seven days of the week. Its called Progress Not Perfection Trackstar. I *so* needed this group, it has over a hundred people and Dani Holmes-Kirk keeps us updated and motivated. Heck the whole group motivates each other with our tracking successes. Its for anyone who want so track…whether its points, calories, whatever. Its all about tracking. Dani blogs at Weight Off My Shoulders, and if you want…I’m sure she will accept more!

The second group I joined is actually a challenge on the Diet Bet website. This particular challenge already started and its been going about a week. The challenge is to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks. To join a challenge you invite people to “bet” that they’ll get to the goal. If you get to the goal, you can win part of the pot. The plot is split amongst all the people that get to the goal.  So it isn’t about losing the most, its about getting to the goal.  The group is active with weigh-ins, status updates and, well I have $20 in the pot..so I want to succeed!

Also, over the years I’ve been following healthy bloggers and tweeters on Facebook, Twitter and in my RSS readers. I’ve taken the time to post on their blogs and get to know people. It totally helps when I know there are people out there reading what I have to say and caring about what happens. I care about them, too!

I want all my readers and friends out there to know how much I appreciate you and how I totally need you all as my support group and I’m here for you, too! Let me know if I can ever do anything for YOU!

*HUGS*
<3 Merbear

 

Nov 132012
 

As most of you know I’ve lost 40 lbs on Slimgenics, and I’m extremely thankful for the program, the counselors, the friends I’ve made via the program online and here at home…..but, I’m done.

No, I’m not done losing weight, but I’m done with Slimgenics…the time for a super strict…can’t have bananas, melons, avocados & carrots plan is over.  I’ve learned some excellent fundamentals from Slimgenics about eating a high protein, lower carb, low glycemic index diet in order to lose weight quickly…..but this is not something I’m going to survive on. I need to learn to lose and then maintain using the much more open, easy to work into intense workouts, group support atmosphere of Weight Watchers. I’m toying the idea of getting to goal and then applying to be a leader….that’s how much I like Weight Watchers.

You may ask: “Well, why haven’t you gotten to go before on Weight Watchers, Meredith?”  My answer is that I truly wasn’t in the right place to have balance yet…I was only in a place for quick solutions. Now, my life is balanced..I exercise…and its FUN….the majority of my friends and all of my family  have a healthy lifestyle…and, well I’m ready. I’m ready to have more choices…..I don’t need the restrictions anymore.

I’m excited that Liz @LutherLiz has a meeting that I can attend with her….she is super motivational and inspiring to me..and that extra push of having a friend in the meetings is just what I need!

So, on to Weight Watchers…tomorrow morning!

<3 Merbear

Some days, you just have to go with the flow..

 Basics, fun, lifestyle, support, Team REFUEL  Comments Off on Some days, you just have to go with the flow..
Oct 162012
 

 

First…Hello out there Popchips winner..I haven’t heard from you yet! Can you post in a comment here if for some reason I missed your email?? Otherwise, I’m drawing again this week!

Second….vote ALL month for me!!  I NEED YOUR VOTES!  I submitted a video sharing what my After workout ritual is and how I refuel with lowfat chocolate milk and now have the chance to get sponsored on Team REFUEL! Check out my After video to VOTE FOR ME! If it earns the most votes at the end of the month, I’ll be the next sponsored athlete of Team REFUEL and have a chance to star in my own “got chocolate milk?” ad! And it’s all for a good cause. For every vote cast, REFUEL will donate $1 to the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Thanks

SEE MY VIDEO AND VOTE HERE! 

Swinging at the Park

Its the little things

I woke up this morning and I didn’t want to do anything. I was stuck by being po’ed at not losing weight or even maintaining over the weekend. Yes, I had some fun at the Zombie Pub Crawl…totally worth it…

Ryan & I are dressed as zombies

RAWRR BRAAINS!

 

…..but I still kinda felt like I was paralyzed…I couldn’t move on with my day, because I couldn’t decide if I was going to go to Slimgenics and face the music of an official weigh in (after a week of not going)…I stayed in bed and read Twitter, read about jobs, applied for jobs (still looking for some copywriting contracts folks!)….looked at Facebook…then….called my mom….

…yup, calling mom works 🙂  She invited me out on a walk around the lake with her and some homemade mom-style lunch beforehand.  Perfect! It got me something specific to go do and to get my juices flowing! While I was over at my parents’ house I got a voicemail from Slimgenics encouraging me to come in, offering some strategies to stay on track and some Halloween tips. I then planned to go today…but found out from mom that my niece would be spending the evening. I jumped at the chance to hang out with her….thus…swinging at the park and a big smile on my face.

I needed that.

Mom time, adorable niece time…swinging on the swings time..

Know what I mean?

<3 Merbear

 

 

Oct 122012
 

Tonight I tweeted out that I felt another whiny blog post coming on and my awesome friends reached out to me.

So instead I want to talk about how important feeling and getting out your feelings can be.

If I hadn’t have shared how I was feeling, Dawn wouldn’t have asked me what was up. Reaching out and telling her & the Twitterverse that I felt like a failure for gaining the weight back that I lost last week and that I was fearing more failure this weekend, empowered me to be open to solving the problem.

Dawn, Liz and other friends tweeted and messaged me that tomorrow is a new day, to focus on what I’d important, get a new start, make new decisions. They are so right. I needed to hear that my guilt about gaining and wanting to sabotage another day are in my head and not that messed up or unsolvable.

Saturday, here in the twin cities, is the Zombie Pub Crawl. I was worried that crawling from bar to bar with my friends would just be way too tempting, after the disappointing week weight wise I’ve had, to not just give in and eat and drink whatever I choose. But, its not true, my supportive friends helped me see that there’s the fun of dressing like a zombie, spending the evening being silly with my friends, hearing bands, dancing, rides and karaoke to look forward to.

I’m in control, I know this now. I’m not saying I won’t have a beer or two, or some special zombie treat. I just don’t have a reason to be worried about it anymore. The night is mine!

Thank you friends, you know who you are, vocal or not this particular evening you are all in my head, cheering for my success.

Oh and P.S. For the first time ever I bought a regular sized, kinda naughty, Halloween costume! Yess!

Merbear