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.

“Eat Me,” said the Snack Bag

“I’m small, I’m portion controlled. Only 70 calories and you can enjoy my wonderful sweet and salty tastes,” said the Skinny Pop Kettle Corn Single Serve bag in the drawer. The one with the other Skinny Pop and a few Pirate’s Booty bags. They all came together in a sack from the grocery store snack aisle which had no business leaving the store let alone get into the house.

Why, you ask? Because even though they are nicely portioned out, there just isn’t enough stuff inside to be satisfying. So I end up eating two and then three trying to get enough. They are empty calories that I can afford to squish into my day if I’m careful, but then there are other foods that are so much more satisfying and sustaining that I have to cut out if I am to stay within my daily calorie target.

Or I could just keep eating my planned healthy little clementines and baby carrots or even real food for dinner AS WELL AS the empty snacky foods. Seems I’ve been doing a good bit of that lately and it doesn’t make me happy. So why do I do it? There’s the question.

I don’t particularly feel deprived. I’ve been eating carefully for almost a full year and know that I can eat anything I want as long as I can figure out how to account for it within my limits. Mostly that’s calories – I’m eating 1540/day now, but aiming for less – but also a minimum of 70 gms protein, under 2300 gms sodium, and 35 gms or more of fiber, plus 80-125 oz of water.

So I spend time every morning planning out what I’m going to eat that day, all three meals and snacks. It usually reminds me that I have food scheduled and planned that I know is actually in the house and available. I arrange for my beloved slider basket from the club at least once a week because I love it. But I also read labels as I shop and even as I look at restaurant menus for possible takeout. Foods I used to eat regularly I just can’t justify eating anymore because of the calories. Oh, I can eat them, but to make it work, I need to not eat much else. I love Pad Thai but hey, I love not starving the rest of the day more.

Back to snack bags. The fact is, I don’t really like eating baby carrots and healthy things. I know I should, but I don’t. I still have the acquired love of salty things even more than sweets. I can pass on ice cream but crave tortilla chips – but know that I just can’t stop myself with a measured amount. So the snack bags of popcorn are replacements for the chips but inadequate ones, so I keep eating more.

Next project: find snack sizes of tortilla chips. Maybe that will be satisfying enough that I can stop with the measured, portioned amount. If not, I’m back to carrots even though I don’t want to be.

I Want to Eat Everything

Emotional eatingLast week I quietly strung together almost seven days of eating carefully and relatively easily within my food plan. This week it’s very different. I want to eat everything in sight unless it is a vegetable or fruit. So I guess it’s not everything I want, it’s specific tastes. My basic comfort food pyramid of salt, sugar, and carbs.

I want to crunch things but not baby carrots because they are healthy. Potato chips or soy crisps or popcorn work because they are salty and meltingly crunchy instead of crispy crunchy, the way an apple or those stupid little carrots taste.

I want chocolate, good chocolate or crummy chocolate as long as it’s sweet and rich and creamy tasting. Okay, really crummy chocolate isn’t going to do it for me right now. I want good stuff and since Valentine’s Day is just days away, there is and will be chocolate everywhere within hand’s reach – and later this week it will be on sale for 50-75% off. Uh oh, now that’s scary.

But then there is the lure of bread. Ahh, I love bread. It is my ultimate comfort food, which is why I can’t buy loaves of it to have in the house because I’ll sit and eat it mindlessly, slice after slice. Potato rolls I seem to be able to more or less manage – but a friend mentioned breadmakers the other day and my mind has gone off into scary tangents of justification. No, no, I can’t go there.

So I sit here with a stomach ache from eating too much of all the wrong things today. Fritos in the morning when I wasn’t even hungry, just wanting something with crunch and salt. Small meatball sub at lunch with extra marinara sauce. Little vanilla creme sandwich cookies – 2 packs of them, for no particular reason except they are addictive and were there when I was feeling squirrely. Mrs. Prindables chocolate covered caramels that were supposed to go to the office. Ha ha ha.

I managed to eat a balanced breakfast and a reasonable salad with layers and flavors and – blech – vegetables. I drank lots of water. But somehow that got overwhelmed by the other stuff. I knew what I was doing and did it anyway.

So what’s going on? I’m squirrely. I hate being cold with my toes turning into little ice cubes. I hate the gray and drear and sameness of the days. I’m tired of it being dark so early, even though it’s better than it was. I want long weekends when I can get out and explore and take pictures without taking off my insulated gloves and freezing my fingers.

I want to not have to worry that tomorrow is my weigh in day and it’s not going to be pretty. I’ll go anyway, but I don’t want to. I’m tired of doing a daily (private) inventory and have been blowing it off instead of doing it because it feels like work now and not a helpful tool.

I want a change. I want to be warm. I want to be planning a great vacation without having to worry about money. I want to be satisfied with healthy foods and not just the things that all the experts tell me will kill me. I want to not have the attitude that I’m going to die of something anyway so why not enjoy myself while I go. I want my tummy to stop hurting.

I want to feel better about myself. Maybe tomorrow I will.

A Weekend to Relax and Unwind

MassageWhat to write, what to write. It’s been a quiet weekend here in gray and chilly Connecticut and my biggest accomplishment has been sleeping until I woke up both days. Of course, since I usually get up at 5:45 am, sleeping until 7:30 is a huge luxury.

Tessie stays curled up on the bottom of the bed, on top of the warm electric blanket, until I start to stretch and take off the CPAP mask. Then she climbs on my tummy for about a minute, and then we’re off. It takes me a good hour to wake up and I prefer to do it in my robe with a cup of coffee or a can of Diet Coke (depending on the day), watching the news and petting the kitty. It’s a nice way to start the day.

Yesterday afternoon I indulged in a full body massage, something I treat myself to as often as the budget allows. I like the background music – I think all massage therapists get theirs from the same catalog, with the sounds of water or quiet Celtic singing that we don’t understand – and the scent of the oils and lotions. I was so cozy and warm with a heating pad on the table beneath me and the chance to be very quiet and present in my body while A worked on my knots. There are always more than I realize and usually the ones that the therapist finds are worse than the ones I went in knowing about, which was true yesterday.

Today we had visits from strangers. I listed an old DVD player on Freecycle, which was picked up two hours after I posted it. Boy, was that fast! More than 10 people contacted me about it and I love that it was able to go to a good home so quickly, with just a single post and no lugging involved.

After lunch the pet sitters arrived for our consultation visit. It’s a young couple who share the responsibility of all the animals they care for, so both of them came to meet me and Tessie. I had called some references and they were recommended by my vet – and Tessie lasted about 5 minutes before she slipped away to my room to hide. Usually she’s gone the minute she hears voices other than mine. I’m comfortable with them and think they will take good care of her until I get back. They’re even going to send me email updates!

Food has been a little iffy. I’m journaling everything and trying to get in more, if not all, of the basic food groups. The essential oils are the hardest because I resent having to use points on them when they don’t seem to be real food. I’d rather have bread – but too much bread isn’t a good thing either. I did make a batch of pudding yogurt, something I haven’t done in a while. It makes a good evening substitute for ice cream plus it counts as dairy, which ice cream doesn’t. I used up odds and ends of three different bags of frozen fruit, so that also cleaned up the freezer some, too.

I made some poor choices – picking up a single serving pack of Entenmann’s donuts, for example – but even then I ate one and squished the other. Why do they think two donuts make a good portion? I succumbed to buying snacky crackery things today but got a small box of wheat things instead of a sleeve of fig newtons or peanut butter and cheese crackers. Mostly, though, I’m writing my food in advance which provides me guidance on what I will eat and know what extra I can have.

Tomorrow it’s back to work for a short week; Monday will actually be my only full day to do real work. Tuesday afternoon I have two meetings, one on electronic resources and the other on Web 2.0. Wednesday there is an all-day e-resources planning retreat from 9-4:30, followed immediately by WW. Somewhere in there, probably Tuesday, I’ll pack up for my trip to Texas. Leaving for the airport at 2:30am means I won’t get much sleep Wed. night so packing earlier gives me a head start.

I’m off to play “feather on a string” with Tessie. Hope you all had a good weekend and that your week is off to a good start.

Experimenting With Breakfast

Breakfast FoodSome people find that night eating is the hardest challenge of the day. Other people want to snack all afternoon (learned from after school snacks?). Others nibble through the day and use all their points/calories/whatever in a big blowout meal for dinner.

I’ve become aware that I am none of those people. I like to eat all morning long, particularly on week days. I think it’s because I really am not a morning person and resent getting up at 5:45am when I’d rather snuggle in bed with Tessie. I eat a perfectly reasonable breakfast at home but still find myself snacking through the morning – more than just my planned snack, and usually those extra snacks have been pretty empty of any kind of nutrition. The salty ones are very tasty even if they are empty, though.

My best friend Phyllis and I were talking about our common problem of being morning eaters and decided that one approach to dealing with it is to deliberately shift our food intake. We know we’re going to eat more then, so we might as well make sure what we eat is better for us than the crap we’ve been grabbing. Muffins and chips and bagels and cookies don’t have the nutrition we need.

I’ve been in a rut with my breakfast, or rather a series of ruts. I need something easy and fast that doesn’t require me to think very hard so when I find a combo that works, I tend to eat it for weeks and months on end. My current choice is a banana with 2% Fage yogurt, a few craisins, and a squirt of honey, often with a Kim’s Light Bagel.

Unfortunately, my tummy isn’t totally happy with this. I have pills I have to take with food in the morning and I’m getting queasy which is not a good thing. So I’m rethinking back to what I’ve had in previous breakfast routines when the pills were less problematic. Those have included steelcut oatmeal and Vive cereal with a banana, and occasionally Kashi blueberry waffles with sugar free syrup. But those don’t stick with me long.

So I’m considering having cottage cheese, which I absolutely despise but which is full of protein. The fact that I despise it is a bit of a drawback but I have a little tub of Friendship 1% whipped cottage cheese that’s supposed to taste pretty good. Add some fruit with it and it should be okay, at least for an option. And I bought some real Thomas’ cranberry English muffins and had one today with the yogurt. It tasted yummy and I also didn’t get queasy, so that bodes well.

The next trick is to figure out snacks to bring with me to work to keep me from raiding the vending machines for something to fill the empty place. I know it’s not really physical hunger as much as some kind of emotional hole being filled but for right now, I need to make sure the things that I do put in my mouth are better for me than Snickers bars or Fritos.

So my project for the week is to experiment, both with breakfast food and with morning snacks, that will leave me feeling satisfied by the time I get through lunch. I’d rather use up a bunch of points in the morning on healthy, balanced food and eat less later in the day, since the crazy-making time is definitely between 6am-noon.

The things you learn about yourself.