Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Turning point

My good buddy Carolyn wrote a comment on my binging post last week that has given me pause for ruminations. Here is her comment:

You know what I think, Michele? I think that if there is a "problem" here, it isn't that you might binge, but your FEAR of that possibility. The fear itself is what puts the capital B on binge and makes it feel like a big animal waiting to leap on you when you don't expect it. So ... fear. Hmmm. What are your tips and techniques for handling your own fear, whether it's about binging, about a loved one dying, or anything???

You all know the quote “There is nothing to fear but fear itself ” (FDR’s first inaugural address). Yes, for me it is the fear of the possibility of binging which in my mind is still equated with the slippery slope into failure at losing weight and getting healthy. Fear with an “F.” So what am I doing about it? I am staring FEAR in the face and meeting it head on. For me, the list below captures some of the important things that I have done to moderate my fear of binging and failure at getting healthy.

First: Plan. Plan. Plan. I simply have carved out a new habit where I plan my food in advance of any event, function or just plain life by bringing food with me in that little cooler type lunch box.

Second: I make sure that I have healthy snacks within reach. My favorite right now is a cup of grapes and a 100-calorie granola bar. Many weight loss bloggers have posted about snacks like Karen and Dr. Fat to Fit. I subscribe to the importance of having snacks to eat between meals and whole-heartedly.

Third: I have learned how to be more mindful about my eating. I honestly do not have much desire to eat off my calorie budget. When I do, I enjoy every morsel. Reading Geneen Roth, Marion Nestle and Dr. Jan Chozen Bays have really inspired me to understand about the importance of paying attention to everything you eat. I am GUILTY of eating different foods, many of them salty, sugary and fatty, without tasting them. Just sort of scarffing them down. I am sure there are some of my readers who are guilty as well...

Fourth: I am building an accountability system and network through blogging. Blogging is therapeutic for me, for one. It is helping me to come out of the closet about food, eating and obesity in ways that are allowing me to heal. Second: As you are all well aware, the support and encouragement in blogger land is priceless. That is why I am also so committed to supporting each of my followers. We share in the angst, disappointment, humiliation, fatigue and many other related emotions that are part of our coming to terms with our fatness, why we are fat, and what we are doing about it. I know because of my weight loss blogger cohort that I am NEVER alone in my journey. Never. That feels really, really good.

But there is overall one other thing that I have learned about myself in this journey and that is what I will characterize as a “turning point.” My tipping point led me to get started on this journey toward better health. As the weeks have gone by, something else has happened. I am at a turning point. Here is why I know: I wrote above how planning has become one of my newly engrained habits in terms of planning ahead for food and what I am going to eat. But there is more. I have made it a new habit to exercise. I have become a nut on the bike. I simply get antsy to get back on when I have to skip a day. I think someone could torture me by taking my bike away now (I am serious!). I make time to exercise at least 5-6 times per week. Right now I am at about an hour a day of vigorous exercise. These are two new habits that I did not have on June 26 when I started this journey.

You all do not know my good friend Carolyn, but she is good at asking good and tough questions. (Side note: I hope you have someone in your life that pushes you hard with tough questions). So, this next response is for her, but also for all of you. Carolyn, what you asked above is basically how I would handle the fear of binging or overeating when faced with huge and emotional life events. Well, my response is: meeting those fears head on (and that is my tip and technique for handling any fear). The last six weeks of my life were incredibly intense as I navigated with my splintered family the passing of my father (new readers you can read more here). During this time, I did have more than my allotted budget of calories, but not by much. I even drank a little too much (which for me is about 3 beers at one time (yes, I am an easy drunk!)) on at least one day. I knew I was eating over my budget, and I was honestly okay with that. I NEVER felt an impulse to binge or to overeat or to stop moving forward to better health. My two new habits of planning what I eat and exercise got me through, and easily.

Now, I am not naive enough to think that I have permanently kicked my fear in the ass forever. Instead and because of the planning and exercise I do I am not afraid of my fear anymore. I have faced the fear itself and that is why I know that I am now at a turning point. This is something that I have never felt before in regards to my health and or my eating habits. When I reached my tipping point, I envisioned a path to better health. I have plowed through 9 weeks of sensible eating and exercise and weathered some pretty big emotional events all without binging or overeating. I am at and have reached a turning point, where I will not go back. I just have lost my desire (again for now) to go back to what I was and how I responded to life through food. I know I will not go back. I know I will not go back. I know I will not go back. I am different this time around, my dear friend Carolyn and my readers. It feels great to be me right now!

What about you: how you reached your turning point?
Stay strong my blogger friends, Michele


  1. I have become an exercise addict. I have to get something in that day no matter what. I did my push ups at nigh the other day because my schedule didn't allow for me to get a workout in before then. But I was feeling antsy and knew something had to be done. So night pushups it was!!

    You are doing great Michele. I love coming over to read. I am glad that the turning point has been reached. Now go get'em tiger!!

  2. Excellent advice. We should all follow your examples! It's hard, for sure. Wish I could offer more comfort and support than I do. I've been thinking of you!

  3. First I want to say that I totally agree with what you said about blogging! The biggest part of this for me is the community and all I get from it. Thank you for being part of that for me:)

    Second, it sounds like you have a great plan. Personally, I have really been struggling and I drafted a long post about it that might never get published. Maybe that is a new tipping point for me.

  4. And how was dinner !!!!!!!!!!>>>>??????????

  5. OMG,I read this once, and then I napped a bit... Then I got up, and it did it again. Like AMBIEN on paper... Simple, eat less, move more....
    You are doing very well, let's not clutter this up with books, thoughts, or lists.......

  6. Planning is key and often where I fall down. Keep on planning, keep on doing!

  7. First, let me say, THANK YOU for supporting me on my journey with your comments. I am totally inspired by people like you.
    So many of us have gone down this path (multiple times) of getting healthy, succeeding in the beginning, then only to began that slippery slope and fail. Of course there is fear. In order for my journey to be successful, I need to look at what caused me to slide and I encourage others to do so as well. I can and have lost weight on diets before, the healthy eating part doesn't worry me. I fear that my psyche will cause me to fail, it is not about the food. But, like you, I am facing that fear and dealing with it head on. I am protecting my weightloss journey like a mother bear would protect her cubs. (I need to thank Sean Anderson for that analogy) There ain't nothing getting in the way of my success. It is that important to me.
    You are doing great! Keep inspiring. Best wishes. Jill

  8. Well I'm so happy I stimulated such a great post! I think learning to handle our fears is such an important thing - and staring it in the face, that's good! You know what I'm doing with my time right now in Florida, and this kind of circumstance can easily bring up lots of fears, but mindful breathing is really helping me with that, as I hope it helps you with eating stuff. See you soon.