Monday, July 4, 2011

Simple Insanity?

Can you relate to this?

In the past, I've trusted myself to eat just one and then suffered from intense craving that came afterwards. Not only intense cravings but also unhealthy behaviors and attitudes. In my life I've eaten one and managed to not have more that day only to dive two days later into the batch. I have been sick, painfully stuffed to the gills and 30 minutes later started eating again when I could perceive in my body there was a tiny space opening up in my digestive system - without a thought as to how sick I felt 30 minutes earlier. I've sworn I 'get it and can choose to eat just one' and then a month later I am banging my head against the wall crying 'why can't I stop.' I know this. I know this. I know this . . . .

Oh yeah?
Are not all these behaviors insane? Isn't a definition of insanity (and denial) doing the same thing over and over and over again and getting the same result - but believing that *this time* - this time, will be different? Thinking I could have one chocolate bar has led to my eating my way through countless bags. Making the "decision to allow myself" a slice of cheesecake meant binging a week later on unrelated junk foods. The switch in my brain is always active - urging me to push it because my brain and body are addicted to these foods. If I take the first bite I push the switch and light up the board with cravings. Then I eat in denial and insanity takes over. Society and well meaning family, friends and many professionals like to say "you can have one", "one is okay", "one will not kill you." Yet "one" leads me to insane behavior each and every time. If not immediately then soon after the bite. 

With a clear mind I know when I do not have "one" - when I do not have the first bite, I don't get intense cravings and I do not consume all the bites that could come after the first. This has worked in my life day after day; year after year. I have proven this to myself over and over again. Then someone suggests there is another way. Why would I want to tamper with a proven, workable way for me to live without the obsession and risk having that insane demand from my body and mind for MORE? 

Why? I suggest it is simply insanity. 

I still seek the easier softer 'cure?' When I stay abreast of medical breakthroughs in hopes of a safe, effective appetite suppressant I am seeking another way to have that one bite. When I study the practice of 'mindful' eating aren't I also seeking a successful way to have that first bite? When I seek out the experience and advice of people who are maintaining triple digit weight loss I am in hopes they have unlocked a secret door into a world where it is possible for me to eat a single hot fudge sundae and stop. 

While I do not keep testing dangerous waters by taking that first bite, I do consider many other ideas put forth by others. By choosing to not act on each and every idea others promote I allow my sane thinking to negate most of my insane thinking. What works for some many not work for me. What keeps me sane today is not listening to the squirrels in my brain when they insist I am capable of deciding for myself it is time to throw caution to the wind and try that first bite. Instead, I seek the counsel of others who know and care about me and know of this addiction through their own experiences. Trusting in their experience over the recommendations of people who do not know me has never led me to a binge. It is a sane behavior. Today I choose to follow it in my efforts at keeping the pounds off. I admit there is always a possibility that someday I will listen to the squirrels. 
Food addiction is insanity but it is not simple. 

Who can you trust? 
Who do you listen to? 



Vickie said...

Discipline is making the choice
between what you want now
and what you want most.
~ Author Unknown

As soon as a person asks the question, “How do I live my life the best way?”, then all other questions are answered.

Briefly stated, the three laws are: An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by a net force. Force equals mass multiplied by acceleration. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. (Laws of motion by Sir Issac Newton)

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle

Barbara Berkeley: “How about looking at maintenance with a completely bold vision? Maintenance is nothing short of a complete remodeling and re-envisioning of you and your relationship to the world. To do this, you must both embrace the world in a new way and utterly reject other parts of that world. You must embrace the natural world including sleep cycles, physical activity, interaction with the sun and the elements and the foods that are original to man. You must reject modern eating patterns, the intrusion of man-made stressors like the constant presence of noise, media and artificial environments. You must become a rebel. An original person in a world that largely moves in an unthinking mass. "

More Barbara Berkeley: "I often remind people that their new eating habits are a gift they are giving themselves. “If you are going to give yourself that gift,” I say, “then DO it! Don’t pull it back at the last moment just because of the Christmas cookies!

"I think that maintainers understand more about this gift than dieters do. This is because we have to experience a period of prolonged maintenance to “get it”; to feel the true benefits of changed eating. While staying at a lower weight is part of that benefit, it is often a smaller part than we might have expected. The gift we receive is a feeling of being in healthy harmony.

"This harmony allows us to enjoy powers of energy, a new smoothness of mood, a feeling of strength, and a body that stays well when other bodies fail. Escaping from the daily fear of illness – that’s probably the ultimate maintenance gift."

It is only when we have the courage to face things exactly as they are, without any sort of self-deception or illusion, that a light will develop out of events, by which the path to success may be recognized. (translated from I Ching, an ancient Chinese text and shared by my psychiatrist.)

Leslie (Something Brilliant is Brewing):
" There's a saying in AA: "It's easier to stay sober than to get sober." This has endless relevance for all recovering alcoholics, but especially those in early days of new found sobriety and peace after the heaviness of an alcoholic existence. Things are going well, and then something happens: a wedding, a death, a loss, a work issue, or even just a sudden desire to drink that comes from out of the blue. Many folks do relapse a few times before this adage sinks in, and find that once a relapse happens, it gets just a little harder to do it the next time. Stopping drinking the first time is almost always easier than stopping subsequent times, because the mechanisms of obsession and compulsion get more firmly entrenched and resistant to change. And that's definitely the same with food addiction and bingeing."

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him Forever in the next.
Amen.--Reinhold Niebuhr

Vickie said...

Some of my favorite quotes from my side bar (above).

One thing I think is little understood, really understood and applied, in weight loss/maintenance blog land, is 'consider the source'.

The amount of enabling and codependency out there, on some blog sites, is staggering.

This is especially true in weight loss blogs, but in maintenance blogs too. There are maintainers, who are not actually maintaining, but consider what they do to be 'working' for them.

I am extremely careful who I read for this reason.

there is a huge difference:

being goal + 50lbs and focusing on the inner and the outer to try to work on oneself


being goal + 50lbs and telling oneself 'next season, next month, next Monday' or it is okay.

I am not talking about the people who chose to maintain at a higher weight, but do actually maintain there.

I am talking about denial and self sabotage and enabling and codependency and being convinced old habits do work or there is magic or they are going to win the lottery.

A lot of it has to do with learning to leave one's ego at the door and take a hard look at our own realities.

There are a lot more people who can't take that first bite, than know they can't take that first bite.

And they are banging their heads against their own brick wall and wondering why they always have blood in their eyes.

Very good post.

ps - I think the 'threat' or dangerous ground of a tramatic event or a first bite lasts about 3 weeks. For each event. I can't tell you how many times I have read the same bloggers who have a first bite type experience, think because they make it through the rest of the day they are okay, and then spiral into several weeks of hell. they do not equate the two, but I see it, frequently.

Cenandra said...

Jane, we write almost the same thing. I agree that we have to do what's best for us. Just because I might be able to eat something sweet in the evenings, doesn't mean its good for you.

I am sorry you have had this spiral out of control. I haven't been the best the last few days. I've been at my Dad's nursing him back to health from hip replacement. He has some very large brownies and chips I crave...I haven't been perfect I can tell you that, but its time to get back on the boat.

Jane Cartelli said...

I am sorry if it read as though I was spiraling. It could not be further from the truth. I merely am relating, from my past experiences how struggles have started and how I could still find myself in trouble if I did not guard against it.

My food has been fine (thank God)!


Jane Cartelli said...

We read a lot of the same authors and have a great many of the same thoughts for our continued recovery but I love hearing them repeated again and again in fresh ways. Thank you for taking the time to write your two posts today. I really loved the line "There are a lot more people who can't take that first bite, than know they can't take that first bite."

To that I would add "Until someone who cannot take the first bite
accepts that they cannot take the first bite, the first bite will always come back to bite them."

I am also a firm believer in the concept that one bite leaves you on shaky ground for three weeks and this is why so many people:

1. have mini relapses with regularity (like every 3 weeks)

2. do not understand that a bite of something 2 weeks ago caused the binge they had yesterday

3. Cannot understand that if you have this disorder you cannot successfully PLAN for the foods you are addicted to. You can only successfully plan to fail.

I do not have the energy to get into all the denial and enabling that is out there in weight loss blogs. I watch a blog when I think the writer has something I can see in my life. If they are struggling and others are enabling and accepting them to death I quietly encourage the blogger as I can and let go of the rest. When I see the enabling behavior being acceptable to the blogger and it is being used to keep them in denial, I move on and hope they will find a healthy way to live.


Anonymous said...

That is a cute way of dealing with a serious subject. Damn squirrels.

I am still in the process of mentally coming to terms with what my body is telling me.

Dealing with the "one won't hurt you" is proving to be an exercise in restraint. Not only the won't power, but how to politely deal with those who decide to tell me what will and won't hurt me. Not that I think they mean harm or could possibly know how aggravating it is for me to hear, but the problem is with me. Calm resignation and kindness. To myself, to others who do not know my struggles (or do know, but cannot be on guard 24/7 knowing/not knowing what is hard for me). I hope one day... ONE DAY I can find peace. That the squirrels can go play at the other end of the camp and I can lie back comfortably on the swaying hammock.

Jane Cartelli said...

I can only speak for my experience but I find peace in acceptance and letting go. That does not make it easy but it does make it possible.


Anonymous said...

Hi Jane,

I am STILL trying to come to accept that I CAN NOT have one more bite of certain foods. This has been such a struggle for me. I have slipped, gotten up, slid, slipped, and now I am back UP again! :O) (If I fall again, it won't be my food addiction's fault! It'll probably because of my sandals that are a bit too big! LOL)

I agree that it seems like "insanity" a feeling of "this is bad for me, why would I want to even go there?".

However, I really believe that it is brain/body chemistry that is 'haywire' (so to speak) in certain individuals, where once you eat certain foods, the body treats them as drugs, VERY addictive drugs! And our bodies remember that!! No matter how long it has been since the food has been eaten. Just like any other addiction.

And that is something that I need to remember, and maybe that will take some of the guilt I feel away. I feel like a failure sometimes that I can't control myself after I have had JUST ONE. Agh! I also feel like a failure when I cannot enjoy the pleasure of certain foods with my husband and son. Like I am letting them down. Is that strange or what??!!

I need to listen to myself, because I KNOW what I need to do. I need to learn to trust myself that I CAN do this! (and not worry about what others think of me and my food choices.)

Do you have to take the 'hard line' with people, if they get pushy with food. Do you walk away if they lay on the pressure? This is the part where I would have a hard time. I get kind of defensive if they don't/can't take no for an answer! I can explain my 'food addiction' problems, politely, so many times to the same people!! ;o)

I also see these promises of "take this and you can eat anything you want without consequences", and I really get sucked in to that. Though, in the sanity of my brain (it's there somewhere...!) I can't imagine that ANY of those things work for everyone or anyone for that matter. So, even know I know it's a bunch of garbage, I still have the hopes that something like that might work for me too. I think it's natural to want to make something that is so difficult to deal with, easier. Common sense tells me, dream on!

LOVE the squirrel button!! That about sums it up for me. ;o)

Thanks for a great post!

Heather (who will not take that first bite...)

Sarah Grecco said...

Oh my! I agree. If I even have one bite of sugar I am craving it for days. It is my biggest downfall!

Can I just say I love your blog and think you look incredible!

Get Up & Go

Jane Cartelli said...

You are never a failure when you are STILL TRYING. Remember we are not bad people trying to 'be good.' We are sick people trying to get well.

When someone will not stop with the food in my face I
(a) ask them if they would insist on trying to get me to eat it if I was deadly allergic to it - and then tell them to act as if I am and get it away from me.

(b) I leave the room with a smile on my face and a prayer in my heart for the shmuck who thinks that their (insert food of choice) is more important than my life.

(c)Accept that they may never "get it" and that is okay. As long as I get it, they do not have to.


Jane Cartelli said...

Thanks! I like to think of my blog as a place where we are safe from the sugar monster.


Anonymous said...

Hi again Jane,

I really appreciate your encouragement!! I will really try to think of the fact that it's "we're sick trying to get well".

I LOVE your tips on what to do when others lay on the pressure to eat! Thanks so much for taking the time to put those out there!

Have a GREAT day!

Heather :O)

Leslie said...

Hi Jane,

Vickie turned me onto your blog about a month ago, because I've written a lot about addiction and how it affects my eating. I've been reading you for awhile but this is my first time commenting.

What you've written here makes me crazy because it's so true, and I know it. You eloquently spoke about the insanity of bingeing, and how it's the first bite that sets it all in motion.

What I hadn't thought of before is how even if I successfully navigate "one bite/slice/piece/taste on any given day, its effect can surface days later in the form of cravings, intense wanting of food, and just overwhelming obsessive thinking about food.

I SO DON'T WANT TS O BE MT REALITY. But it is, and the sooner I get off the fence and deeply accept it, the sooner I can move closer to the sanity you speak of. Thank you for this post. Very powerful.

BTW, do you work a 12 step program?

Leslie said...

oh - one more thing from AA there is an oft-heard question: What is the worst thing that can happen to alcoholic who has one drink? Nothing - because the groundwork is laid for the next drink, and then the next, until something very bad happens. Reminds me of what you've said here about a bite 3 weeks ago causing today's binge.

Jane Cartelli said...

There is a 12 step program for people with food issues and they definitively speak my language. :-)

Email me directly if you would like to talk about it.


katie said...

I found your blog this morning from a link on Vicky's blog. I have to stop and compliment you on the blog..the owrds, ideas, photos..just everything! I am going to add you to my daily "morning reading" of a couple of weight loss blogs that inspire me and challenge me. So thank you thank you!

caryesings said...

Very happy I found your blog, you say what I'm thinking so very well. Personally, I had to stop candy binging first, then years later made other lifestyle changes to lose 100 lbs. For 20 years I tried to lose weight while still eating candy. Wasn't ever going to happen but it took that long for me to accept giving up my pound of sugar per day habit.

Jane Cartelli said...

I look forward to hearing from you and having you along on this journey.

OMG, I know what you mean. Even when it was plain in front of me and I KNEW that sugar was a problem for me I still could not ACCEPT that I had to give it up. I needed more "experimentation" - which was really just PAIN. Congrats of reaching the point where you did accept it. Some people never do. Please keep sharing on the blog. I look forward to learning more about how you finally reached acceptance.