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.” (https://cleananddelicious.com/the-four-types-of-eating/

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.

Me and Noom

You know about me and Noom: I started it on January 1, 2020, so I have almost 10 months using the plan. The last few months have been pretty static which I understand because I’ve gotten a little sloppy and have had injuries. But I’m also getting a little bored and it was time to take a look at what I’m doing on this journey and what needs some tweaking.

The big thing I like about Noom – and it’s huge – is the articles that help me understand the psychology and physiology of eating with tips to help make different choices. This is the feature that makes Noom different from other weight loss programs and I’ve learned a lot that I’m able to put into practice every day. I’ve also learned to weigh myself every day without feeling that I’m being judged; the scale just gives me information.

Noom also gives me a goal specialist who checks in with me weekly, and a group – but I’ll be honest, I don’t pay that much attention to either one. I’m on a Facebook group for Noomers with 100+ pounds to lose and am getting more support there from people whose journeys are more like mine, and from talks with friends who are also Noomers. We have a common vocabulary (ask us about our elephants).

All weight loss programs including Noom have trackers for food and exercise as well as daily food diaries, and all have apps so you can do all of this on your phone. Noom is app-only while WW and MyFitnessPal also have desktop options. I prefer typing on a keyboard so that aspect of Noom is limiting for me. Making it even more confusing, Noom works differently on Apple and Android devices. The Apple version has more features but I don’t know what they are until someone posts about them on the FB group.

All weight loss programs have food databases which vary in accuracy and breadth. Noom is the newest program and their database is sometimes wonky. I missed being able to save frequently eaten combinations of foods such as home-prepped taco salad ingredients, as well as the ability to create, save, and enter home-built recipes such as my meat sauce or chicken teriyaki. I think that’s possible on the Apple version but not on the Android and it made me crazy.

So after 9 1/2 months of Noom, I signed up for MyFitnessPal to check it out and have been doing both programs for the last week. This isn’t sustainable – trying to track everything in two places is too much work – but for now it’s given me a way to evaluate and compare different aspects of the programs. I still like the Noom articles but I prefer the food database and recipe and meal builders in MyFitnessPal. And I really like being able to see micronutrient values of what I’m eating for calories, fat, carbs, protein, fiber. I can see how they relate to Noom food colors but I like the numbers.

Noom has a way to manually enter the steps I track on my pedometer; MFP doesn’t have that but you can synch a device like FitBit (which I don’t have or really want). But you can track exercise and weight in both.

Oh, and I’m down 3 lbs this week and back to my lowest weight since January for the first time in months. Not because of MFP but because I was ready to actually pay attention to what I’m putting in my mouth. That’s what matters, no matter what plan I follow.

Bottom line: I think that people with less weight to lose than I still have can be satisfied with Noom, and I’m very glad I spent the time and money to start there. The articles were a huge help. But I think I’m ready for something else, at least for my tracking.