Derailed into Storm Eating

(This post is really more of a journal entry because I need to get the words out to help me figure out what happened.)

Here’s a great description of “Storm Eating” from Dani at Clean and Delicious:

Storm Eating is binge eating or eating out of control.  It is anytime you can’t stop yourself.  You are aware that you are eating and you want to stop but you feel like you can’t stop or like you can’t control yourself.  It’s almost like you are watching another person inside your own body.  Sometimes this happens if we let ourselves get too hungry and sometimes it happens when we have an overwhelming emotion that we do not want to feel.  Storm eating is usually followed by regret and shame.  Many times it’s done in private or in hiding.” (

My day started out well: up at 5:00am, 25 oz bottle of water consumed by 5:45. Sat with MyFitnessPal and planned out and pre-logged my food for the day before feeding the cats and making my usual breakfast: oatmeal with blueberries, 1 TB of whipped butter, and a TB of creamer. Got dressed, made second breakfast (blueberries with yogurt) and took it to work where I ate it 2 hours after first breakfast. Yes, I’m a Hobbit and need 2 breakfasts. So far this was all normal.

Went to the doctor for a follow up visit and headed to Panda Express to get my planned (and anticipated) Grilled Teriyaki Chicken entree. I love that stuff something fierce. But there was a big line for the drive through, so I shopped At Home first – and came out only to find the line three times longer than the first time.

This is where things derailed. It was almost 1:00 p.m. and I was legitimately hungry – but also very thirsty. You don’t drink much before doing to the doctor because you have to get on a scale there. This was not a good combination for me, both hungry AND thirsty.

Stopped at Tuesday Morning, which I’d planned to do, but ended up bringing home a box of Meyer lemon meringue cookies. Okay, not so bad, 8 cookies for 80 calories. Except why stop at 8 when there is a whole box full and I’m hungry? Never mind that I had just sent an order FROM THE PARKING LOT to Jersey Mike’s for my beloved #2 Jersey Shore mini sub on rosemary parmesan bread. It was 15 minutes away. But those meringue cookies were right next to me. It was not pretty. I had no excuse for picking them up in the first place except maybe just that I was hungry.

Picked up the sub at Jersey Mike’s and ate it outside on a balmy day. So tasty, so good. Pulled out my MFP app and changed the recorded food to what I actually ate. But when I came home, I was still thirsty. Instead of getting water, I got a diet soda. Not a good plan. Looked for something to graze on and found not very much because I’d already purged the snacky things last week.

But I managed. instead of green grapes (which were IN THE FRIDGE), I found mint chocolate chip ice cream which has been there for a least a month, bought for my brother who never came for Thanksgiving because I cancelled the visit. I wasn’t stomach hungry but my mouth was wanting something – and I must say I was a little afraid that I’d lost my sense of taste which is a symptom of Covid. So I was trying to see if I could taste what I ate.

So there was a little cup of ice cream. And some Ozery snacking rounds which need to not be in my house and are going in the outside trash as soon as I stand up. A little spoon of peanut butter. Topped by 1/2 serving of chicken and dumplings.

Now I feel sick to my stomach because I ate foods that my system was not really used to eating. At least not all in one day. And I’m heart-sick because I thought I had some of this under control and here it is, raging through me while I just find food that I really don’t want but am eating anyway.

I’ve stopped now. But I needed to write it out, and to write it on my food log to be accountable to myself. My 65 lbs weight loss is down to 60 lbs – but still, that’s SIXTY POUNDS down from one year ago. I think I’ve been feeling depressed and like a failure for having gained a little of it back, and when I’m stressed and depressed, I eat. Long-standing pattern that is very hard to break.

So what happened? Yesterday I had pizza for only the second time in a year. Last weekend I baked 14 dozen cookies after almost a year of not baking. Unlike tracking food in Noom, I’m actually seeing the macronutrient values for things like sodium, carbs, and fat – and I’m radically changing what I try to eat to keep myself within set limits. I forgot that “eating normally” for me really wasn’t all that normal which is how I got so fat in the first place. I need to remember that I can eat anything I want to, but not all in the same day.

Immediate things I can change:

  • Schedule my water to make sure I am not dehydrated, which makes me think I’m hungry when I’m really not.
  • Eat all my meals at home for the next week. I have more control here than when I’m out and about – and I don’t need to be out anyway. Seeing the doctor doesn’t mean I need to get take-out lunch somewhere.
  • Throw out the remaining bread things (Ozery rounds, Dave’s Killer Bread, Orowheat Sandwich Thins)
  • Melt ice cream. Do not buy more.
  • Schedule snacks like green grapes which I don’t really like but serve a purpose.
  • Start a gratitude journal to focus on finding positive things instead of things that make me feel like a failure.

Oh, and why was I out shopping? To get steps in. I do better if I have a cart to hold on to and push around. I can whip around a store like Sam’s or At Home and rack up steps without buying much if anything. Masked, of course, and avoiding other people. I was only actually out because of a doctor’s appointment with the other things planned for stops on my way home. Note to self: just go home next time, which is tomorrow.

What I Did With Mom’s Wedding Dress

Mom in her wedding dress
My mom in her wedding dress

My mom’s wedding dress no longer sits on the top shelf of my closet in a decaying cardboard box tied with string. I asked you all what you did with yours; here’s what I did with Mom’s.

Even if I had a boyfriend in sight, wearing the dress was never a possibility for me. Mom was tiny and I’m just not. Both of the granddaughters are married and had their own dresses. Holding on to this dress for another generation didn’t make much sense but I couldn’t bring myself to give or throw it away.

I found Fairy Godmother Creations in Dayton, Ohio, by doing web research, and looked at almost every photo on the site to see if I liked the work they did. I did. So I gulped, packed up the dress in tissue paper and carefully sealed in a fresh cardboard box, and sent it off to Liane.

Pillows from moms dress

Just before Christmas, actually, on my parents’ wedding anniversary, I got a package with the new creations: First, two decorative pillows made of the satin underdress topped with the lace overdress, featuring hand-covered satin buttons lovingly made by my grandmother, who created the wedding dress. Both the satin and lace had yellowed with age but are now glowing and beautiful. The backs of each pillow are lace over satin. I love them.

TreeAngelThe other creations were two identical Christmas tree angel-toppers. The back of each angel has a short row of buttons between the wings, taken from the sleeves of the wedding dress. Placed on top of our tree, the wings gently folded forward.

We had a piece of both Mom and my grandmother with us for Christmas. For my father, placing the angel made from the wedding dress on the tree on their anniversary brought Mom closer on a day when he missed her dearly.

I am very pleased with the work of Liane and her team at Fairy Godmother Creations and recommend them highly if you are looking for something to do with a wedding dress or other special garment. Now instead of a dress in a decaying cardboard box, I have keepsakes that are displayed and will last for years.

Non-Scale Victories on the Road

Princess Minnie dollsI had a really good week, most of it in California at my conference.   I intended to concentrate hard on eating differently so I didn’t get sucked into the eat-everything-not-nailed-down mode that usually infects me as soon as I leave the house with a suitcase for an event. But I discovered that I didn’t have to concentrate all that hard.  I just listened to my body and the head went along.

Every morning I bought a big hotel breakfast instead of eating muffins and overpriced coffee at Starbucks.  I figured that a good balanced breakfast would tide me over better and treated myself to things I don’t eat at home, where I always have yogurt with fruit and an English muffin.  Instead I ate egg white omelets or scrambled eggs with bacon and sourdough toast and fruit.  No orange juice either, which they usually pour as soon as you sit down at $3.50 a pop. I love it, but I was happier with Diet Coke 🙂  One morning I ordered blueberry pancakes because I wanted them, ate about 1/3 of the portion, and was finished.  I was kind of astounded to have recognized I was full and stopped.

We had lots of snacks available, including HagenDaz ice cream bars and a lovely dessert reception.  I ate none of it, sticking to an occasional Late July cheddar cheese sandwich cracker pack from my stash or a small Tootsie Roll, also brought from home.   I went to Disneyland after sessions one day, expecting to have dinner there, and didn’t see anything that fit what I was wanting so didn’t eat anything there, either.

Me in Mouse EarsActually, the only things I bought were a pair of dangly earrings with teeeny tiny sparkly mouse ears at the bottom – and a pair of clip on Minnie Mouse ears for my head.  Instead of eating or shopping, I enjoyed watching the wide-eyed delight of little girls dressed in princess costumes, honeymooning couples with wedding mouse ears (with veils for the brides or little tuxes for the grooms), tired parents pushing strollers, and the incredible assortment of costumed Disney character dolls everywhere.  The place is a merchandising mecca.

I also thought of my parents who took my brother and me to Disneyland back in 1964.  I don’t think I ever quite realized what a big deal that was, to fly us all across country, staying at Disney and taking the monorail, riding the rides, watching Tinkerbell fly at night, sprinkling pixie dust on us all.  I remembered it as a magical time and I could see the magic still working in the small faces around me.  I called my parents from a bench on Main Street to tell them I loved them and was thinking about them and everything they’ve done for me.

It was a productive conference and I had the chance to visit with bunches of friends, many of whom I only see once a year.  I found it easy to concentrate on conversation rather than focusing on food, and came home feeling happy with not only what I learned but also how I handled myself.  It showed up on the scale today with a 2.6 lb loss – but the real victory was won before even stepped on it.  Yayyy me!

Taking My Balance to California

BalanceI leave for California on Saturday to attend a computer users group conference.  It’s one of my favorite events and I’ve attended every one since this started in 1993.  We’ve grown from a group of 300 attendees to 1800 at last year’s meeting.  This year, though, because of the economy and tight budgets, I know that attendance will be down, but it will still be a fun and productive time.

What comes with it, though, is 6 days of eating in restaurants.  I know how to do this but admit that I’m nervous of upsetting my still-new-feeling balance with healthy eating.  Airport eating is particularly hard because I want to eat everything not nailed down.  There’s something weird and “out of place” about airport waiting areas that just make me want stuff, plus there’s a 3-hour time change on this trip on top of having to leave the house at 3:30am to get to the airport in the first place.

I’ve been checking restaurant listings on the local arrangements website to see what kinds of options are available and likely to be visited, and checking foods in the WW book to get an idea of points values.  But really, how hard is it to make good choices – assuming they are available to find in the first place?  I’m bringing some Fiber One peanut butter bars to throw into my bag so I have an alternative to pastries and cookies out for breaks and snacks, and I’m hoping there will be fruit around.  It’s California so hopefully that won’t be a problem.  Maybe I can take a cab to a little market to pick up some stuff after I arrive.  We’ll see.

I just want to be prepared but not so rigid that I can’t enjoy myself with friends while keeping boundaries around this balance that I’ve rediscovered.  To get myself started right, I’m going to a WW meeting on Friday night before I pack, throw some good options in my bag, and not beat myself up if I slip.

Eat This, Not That!

Eat This, Not That!I am a visual learner. Some people can listen to a speaker or news cast and remember what was said. Others can read dense text and remember what they read.

Me, I like pictures. Not graphic novels instead of the written word – I devour novels – but I like magazine articles with pictures more than just an editorial because the image helps me hold the words into a context.

So you can see why I was delighted with Eat This, Not That! The subtitle sums it up:  “Thousands of simple food swaps that can save you 10, 20, 30 pounds – or more!”

Whether that’s true or not, the design makes it easy to figure out how to make smarter eating choices.   It’s not a traditional diet book, nor is it just a list of nutritional values.  There are different sections for specific restaurants, supermarket, types of eating situations, drinks, and “what to eat when”.

Each page has big clear pictures of a few foods  with little explanation circles to point out nutritional counts and why some are better (or worse) choices.  Here’s the cute part — on the left page are the things you should choose over the things on the right page.  Hence the “Eat This, Not That” of the title.

No matter where we find ourselves when food is available, there will be some choices that are better than others in terms of calories, fat, carbs, sugars.  Sometimes it’s the lesser of two evils – but a wiser choice is always there.  The hard part is knowing sometimes what that actually is.  Having specific ideas of what to eat where, and what to avoid – reinforced by color pictures and brief nuggets of info – will help the next time I go out to eat or am stuck in an airport looking for food.

It may be simplistic but for me, this is going to help.  Stop by a bookstore and take a look at a copy for yourself.