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nebule's avatar

How do you suggest I get out of this circle of self-destructive behaviour?

Asked by nebule (16446points) September 12th, 2010

Most people struggle with their weight, I understand this. However, I seem to have got myself into a pattern of self-destructive behaviour that I can’t get out of.

Brief History: I’ve been doing weight watchers for a year and have lost two stone, which got me down to 11 stone. I did lose another seven pounds but have put it back on, plus some more. When I got to 11 stone before I plateaued and really struggled to lose more. Then I started seeing someone and just didn’t need to eat much…so I lost the extra 7 pounds…I felt amazing.

Anyway, then I went on my holiday and ate loads, put on a little weight and shortly after I got back I stopped seeing this man and started eating. I think the problem lies in my belief that I just can’t lose weight without there being something else (a man?) in my life.

Anyway, every day I think to myself, I’m going to do it! But I fail and just keep eating, so I feel bad about myself and eat more and because I’m eating more and piling on the weight I think, what’s the point? I’m just a naturally fat person! I know that the key to weight loss is consistency but I can’t even seem to get off the ground.

I know I felt great before and I try visualising that person, living that life, but the visualisation seems to fade so quickly. It’s making me really miserable though. I find myself chastising myself every other day and wanting to get back on the diet wagon, but I think I have failed so many times now I’ve lost all belief in myself….so I’m back to square one. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Thank you x

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20 Answers

Lightlyseared's avatar

Change is not a linear process with begining a middle and an end, it is a cycle. Some times you only have to go round once, sometimes you have to go round many times. I quit smoking a hundred times, but each time I learn’t something. I haven’t smoked it 10 years but that doesn’t mean I won’t start again, but if i do I’ll be better prepared to quit again.

Just because you didn’t succeed last time doesn’t mean that you can’t succeed.

rooeytoo's avatar

I absolutely believe in The Food Tree, it is a diet but also a new way of eating that lets you fill up on what your body needs, not what your taste buds (and pancreas) have learned to crave. It is tough for the first couple of days or first week but after that, it becomes easy. Buy the book, it is by Dr. Ransveig Elvebaak, or something like that, her website is
She doesn’t give much away on it, you really have to buy the book, but it is worth it. As for the man thing, get involved in a sport or something to keep you busy and having fun. Remember a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. They are fun to be with sometimes, but you really don’t need one to have a full and satisfying life.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

In my opinion, losing weight isn’t so much about what you eat, but how you eat and how you exercise. Eat slowly, and you will feel full on less food. Also make sure you eat a lot of fruit, because you can never have too much and it will help your body maintain itself.
Exercise is more important though, because it both expends energy and improves self esteem. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals that make you enjoy it, and when you look in the mirror you will like the results. Fitness is more important than overall weight as well, so don’t focus on the scales. Instead, focus on how far you can run or how many push-ups and sit-ups you can do. If you have trouble getting motivated, create a schedule where you force yourself to exercise for half an hour, four days a week. Commit for four weeks, and you will never give up exercise without feeling the urge to go back to it.

BarnacleBill's avatar

You’ve recognized the pattern, so that’s the first step in changing. Next, figure out the when and why of your eating patterns, so that you will know what you need to watch for and when you need to substitute something else for eating at those times.

It sounds like the way you think about dieting is as something you do/don’t do to lose weight. The purpose should be “I am going to learn to eat in new, healthy ways for the rest of my life.” Food is neither a prize or a punishment.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Lynne, Think about how hard you worked to get where you are now. Don’t let that effort go to waste!

Ok, so you had a setback. It is not the end of the world. Fix it.
Start today. Get rid of the snack food or easy to eat junk. Don’t eat it ;-)
Do you eat because you are in the house? Go outside. Go to the park, the library anywhere there are people. Window shop in town if you enjoy that activity.
Weight is mostly a function of intake and exercise. Keep moving. If you are sitting in front of the TV or PC, try standing. Turn on the radio and try dancing.

Stay away from smoking and drugs. As intelligent and nice as you are, I’m confident you will break out of this slump.

tedibear's avatar

“I think the problem lies in my belief that I just can’t lose weight without there being something else (a man?) in my life.”

“Anyway, every day I think to myself, I’m going to do it! But I fail and just keep eating, so I feel bad about myself and eat more and because I’m eating more and piling on the weight”

“I find myself chastising myself every other day and wanting to get back on the diet wagon, but I think I have failed so many times now I’ve lost all belief in myself.”

@lynneblundell, welcome to the wonderful world of emotional eating. Isn’t a just a bitch? Those quotes from your post and your own initial question about this being self-destructive behavior tell me that you know you need to change what happens. Are you ready? Do you want this? If you’re sure it’s what you want, I have 2 pieces of advice that I think will help. But you have to be ready to work.

1. Get The Food and Feelings Workbook by Karen Koenig. Start at the beginning and work your way through. I only got to about chapter 3 or 4 and learned a startling amount about why and when I overeat so that I have learned to recognize and usually! stop. It’s hard because it means you have to feel what you’re feeling without eating what you’re feeling.

2. Find a support group that works for you. You say that you’ve been doing weight watchers; what do you mean? Are you going to weekly meetings or just following the meal plans? I am part of an online support group on My Calorie Counter and that was the key for me. I have tried on and off most of my adult life to lose weight and until I got the emotional support from others who understood, none of it worked. There are other websites out there, as well as “live” groups. (Although you would have to check your hometown for what’s out there.) I like the online aspect because I can go there any time and babble to my group of friends. A “live” meeting might be once or twice a week and when I have a problem, I have it now, and want to ramble about it. Whether you go to MCC (and I would be more than happy to direct you to my group if you want, but there are plenty of them out there.) or Sparkpeople or wherever, I think it will help you to be able to say, “HELP!”

By the way, my source for all of this? The 70 pounds I’ve lost. These last 20 are just a bite to get rid of and it’s all emotional for me now.

Kayak8's avatar

None of us would ever expect to sit down at a piano and play Rach III the first time at the keyboard. We all expect that we will have to practice to become really good at something. I think we forget this when we do things like trying to change eating habits or quitting smoking. Difficult things take practice.

Unfortunately, when we are not good at something after a bit of practice, we translate that to mean failure when it isn’t at all. We are actually moving closer to our goal of being good at something. There is a lesson in every plateau that we have to learn before we can move beyond it and find the next one. We often mistake the second or third plateau for being the first plateau AGAIN and it isn’t. What feels like fits and starts is the normal human learning process. We have to practice each part of something new (playing scales to get the fingering right or replaying the same section of a piece until we commit it to memory).

This is easy to remember when what we are learning is something outside ourselves but the same rules apply when we want to learn something inside ourselves as well.

Brian1946's avatar

This may seem tangential, but why did you stop seeing that man?

tedibear's avatar

@Kayak8 – Excellent response! I love it – “there is a lesson in every plateau.” I’m stealing that phrase!

nebule's avatar

@Lightlyseared Thank you, it does feel incredibly tiring though doesn’t it. I don’t want to spend my whole life battling this, but it seems inevitable. My mum is nearly 70 and she’s been battling with her weight her whole life…it comes down to the fact that we love naughty food doesn’t it and trying to change that mind set by making being thinner and healthier as the preferred option, doesn’t it? There always seems to be the default position that we fall back to.

@rooeytoo I’ll have a look into it thank you…sounds quite extreme in terms of giving up this the case? I know I don’t need a man but it does seem that that fulfilled something inside me that the food has replaced..I’ve felt this way whenever I’m in a relationship…there’s a certain excitement and sense of fulfilment…I don’t know how to get this feeling alone.

@FireMadeFlesh I do try to exercise a lot and when I was losing I was committed to doing it at least four times a week… I guess I feel so tired a lot of the time and that’s probably got a lot to do with eating too much as well…it does seem like a catch 22. I exercised this morning though…it was really hard work, but it doesn’t feel worthwhile if I’m just going to run to shop for a bar of chocolate or apple crumble…

@BarnacleBill I totally see your point and I know this is where I’d like to get to…seeing food as nutrition and not as a reward or comfort in any way, but I can’t envisage a point in my life that I’ll ever manage seems like it’s in my blood to react to it this way.

@worriedguy Thank you, you are very kind and encouraging. I always want to have a ‘last blast’ though… like if I’m going on a diet tomorrow, I want to have all those things today that I can’t have for the rest of the week… and I know that even if I do manage to stick to a diet through the week, come the weekend I’ll want to indulge again. How does one change something that serves a purpose? The all or nothing approach…swinging from one extreme to the other doesn’t help me I know…but oh, I don’t know…I feel you guys getting frustrated with me… maybe it’s me frustrated with myself…I feel like I sound like I don’t want help… but I just want that light bulb moment back…

@tedibear I know you’ve hit the nail on the head, I know my eating habits are emotional and will have a look for the book, hopefully I can get it in a library as cash is tight I’ll have a look at the calorie counter website too. I know it’s something I have to commit to, maybe I’m not ready yet…but thought of that brings me to tears…I don’t want to get any bigger than I am now. Thank you xx

@Kayak8 You’re right of course. I suppose the main difference is that your mistakes when you eat and over indulge are displayed to you and the world as a constant reminder that you’re not doing so great, which makes the whole thing a lot worse…shame.

@Brian1946 He was married!! It wasn’t even really a full blown affair..I was more of a friend and confidante that he wanted to manipulate in the end and I shut it down. I wasn’t even in love with him, I was just flattered and felt special, worthy and desired.

BarnacleBill's avatar

@lynneblundell, Seeing food a just nutrition is not good either, because that sounds so bleak. What I mean is learn to to “own the choice.” Seeing what you eat as a conscious choice changes how you eat. You don’t feed your son a steady diet of candy, cookies, cakes and sodas because he likes those better than fruits, veggies and meat, do you? Your family probably handed you your relationship with food. “If you’re good, you may have a cookie.” “If you clean your plate, you may have dessert.”

My Achilles Heel is pasta and carbohydrates. I could eat pasta or pizza for every meal. Add breadsticks swimming in garlic butter, and I am in sheer heaven. But I can’t do that. I started eating three vegetables and a baked/broiled/grilled meat or fish for meals. That is a boatload of food. I choose to not include rice or pasta in my diet because 1) while I adore it while eating it, I feel sluggish and tired afterwards, 2) I love it so much, I overeat it, 3) the carbs mean that if I don’t burn them off right away, I get fat, and I hate to exercise. So by choosing to eat veggies instead, I am choosing to avoid 1, 2, and 3.

That doesn’t mean I never eat the things I love. I do, but I do it consciously, deliberately choosing to do so. I eat a small portion of spaghetti, pizza or whatever in place of the meat, along with lots of vegetables.

I have found that when I get too hungry, my defenses come down, and it’s easy to fall back on impulse eating. I always have gaspacho or vegetable soup (without meat) in the freezer. If I come home starving, I will eat soup or a whole bag of frozen green vegetables before I start cooking dinner. I try to eat 5 meals a day. At night or on the weekend, I avoid the kitchen and the song of the “Great White Mother” (refrigerator), if I have the urge to snack, I generally go to sleep or get out of the house instead.

Here are the truths to eating:
As an adult, you cannot eat the way you did in your childhood. You are no longer expending calories by growing.
Your emotional relationship with food was handed to you by your family. You need to re-evaluate if you are going to hand that same relationship by example to your child.
What you put in your mouth is a choice. You own the choice.

nebule's avatar

@BarnacleBill Gosh, you sound so grounded and compassionate with yourself..I want that. I want that so much. Sometimes I have it… but sometimes I don’t and it does feel like a swtich. I think I probably need to get that book recommended by @tedibear I know I need to deal with my emotional eating big time and I know that weekends are a scary time for me… You are SOOO right about the childhood thing…that really touches me…and you are right I do need to re-evaluate my relationship with Theo’s food too. I do feed him healthy food, but when I’m feeling like pigging out I let him, positively encourage it in fact…I know, it’s awful please don’t chastise me for it anyone…I know it’s bad

I really need to think about this more and start to make some serious changes at a fundamental level, rather than superficial diet level. I’m going to print these posts off and put them above my kettle to remind me… to start thinking consciously about my food, but I feel I have a lot of work to do. I need to find balance and some big amounts of compassion for myself x

kess's avatar

You focus is wrong…
Your self destructive behavior is common among men,
Is there anything that you can get into that is not just another cycle of self destructive behaviour?

Yes.. forget the self destructive lifestyle and live above and beyond it.
it is called the “True Life“and is opposite to the commonly perceived lifestyle which is the false which leads to death.(self destruction)

rooeytoo's avatar

@lynneblundell – it is a matter of perception as well, try not to look upon it as “giving up” good stuff, rather you are avoiding the things that are taking away your energy and instead filling up on the fuel your body can use efficiently. When my grandfather was alive he did not eat candy bars or drink soda, he ate like a horse but it was real food, not processed and filled with sugar. And once you have lost the desired weight, you add back in the things you miss the most, but in small doses that you control, not the addictive sort of “need” for sugar and white carbs.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Hey ... Umm… @lynneblundell Should I set up a fluther meeting for you at a restauant in your area?
We know how well that worked for @Mrentropy.

WG. Your would be matchmaker.
My motto is: “I take care of the worrying so you can enjoy the date.

nebule's avatar

I don’t get the Mr Entropy thing…. me thinks I’ve missed something???

LuckyGuy's avatar

Oh yeah. It must have been when you were busy with something else. ;-)
I convinced Mrentropy, IMO Fluther’s most eligible bachelor, (I’ll find the thread for you so you have the history) to be at certain spot at a certain time and to have dinner with whomever showed up. .
He did. I think he ended up with Austinlad. That is why someone called me “matchmaker” at my 10k party.
I’d do it for you in a heartbeat.

Here is the link

Styler's avatar

Emotional eating is really a hard thing to over come. You need to find something that makes you feel better about yourself to replace it with. Everytime you feel like going to get the ice cream out of the freezer, do something else that makes you feel better about yourself. For example my sister is an emotional eater and when she is feeling like comfort she goes to her craft area and makes something with beads. She then takes them to fairs and sells them so they don’t take over the house.

There are also lots of food tricks you can do. Such as when you feel hunger even though its not meal time and you haven’t skiped, drink 2 glasses of water. Don’t have treats in your house, instead have healthy taste goods Such as fat free frozen yogert instead of ice cream, fruit instead of sugary stuff, no soda (not even diet), no sugar loaded juice… if you feel you want a sweet drink drink a glass of water and then have half of the drink you normally would. Soon it will become natural. Don’t skip meals, it will make it so you are tempted to eat junk or fast easy unhealthy food due to hunger.

Also, find another female in your area who also is wanting to loose weight to be a work out partner with. Even if it is just a walking buddy you are more likely to go out and do it. Plus it becomes fun girl gossip time.

sandalman's avatar

Discipline is a muscle. It has to be exercised, and you can’t start with monumentally impossible tasks like adhering to a diet when you’ve never tried curtailing what you eat before; it’d be like asking someone who’s started jogging to run a marathon. To start off, begin watching what you eat one day a week. Then slowly increase the number of days, until you have the whole week covered. The specifics of your diet plan will probably vary, but I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at.

That’s how you’ll learn to trust yourself more and more. Good luck! Heck, I don’t even need to wish you luck. You’ll see. Going glow and steady WILL win the race.

nebule's avatar

@worriedguy ah ha, I see, lol! That’s lovely! Although I don’t think there are many from the UK here… but possibly something to think about for the future…:-)

@Styler Thank you, that’s really good advice and I shall put it into practice!! x

@sandalman Thank you, trust, compassion and one step at a time… couldn’t agree more! xx

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