Friday, January 25, 2013

Getting through the urge to start snacking

I'm happy to report that my blood sugar levels have been normal for several days now.  Hooray!  I'm feeling less and less fearful of a low number displayed on my meter when I test my fingers now.  My food has been really great for the most part, except at night.  I have been religiously tracking my food in my Lose It app, making sure I'm getting the right amount of carbs and other servings that my dietitian gave me as guidelines. All my meals are fantastic during the day ... very healthy, very filling, very satisfying.  But, when I get home from work or school at night and I'm left alone with just me, I have found myself making trips into the kitchen sort of hunting for food to nosh on and just not even realizing what I'm doing.  I know this is purely emotional eating because I am getting plenty of good stuff into my body before then and I'm drinking a lot of fluids as well.  These days lately, the last several months really, have been very emotional for me.  Dealing with all of the medical stuff that I have had to walk through has been tough emotionally, coupled with actual physical pain.  Sometimes I have gone to food to take my mind off of it or to somehow make my way through the frustration I have been feeling. 

Being off of the products after doing so many successful months of Optifast has been hard as well.  I kicked ass while I was on the shakes and now it feels like it's taking everything in me to hold it together because the craving for food is so intense most nights.  I've gained so much of the weight back.  Not all of it, thank you God, but a good amount.  It hasn't been all me making bad choices - there have been side effects to medication making me gain a lot of weight, too.  Regardless, there is gained weight.  I know it on the scale, I can see it in how my clothes fit, and I feel it from the way other people look at me.  The last one is the hardest one for me I think.  When I was at my smallest and getting down to it, I was getting comments from people left and right, every single day.  "Wow, you look amazing!"  "Oh my gosh, how much have you lost?"  People greeted me with smiles all day long.  When they looked at my body, it was in astonishment of the transformation that has occurred.  And now?  Now I get no comments.  People do look at my body but in that, "I can't believe she's gained so much weight back" sort of way.  Some people who were so much in my corner before hardly talk to me now or it's a strained awkwardness.  It's been a real eye opener.  As much as I have been in my own private nightmare, I have been feeling whatever I've been feeling about it.  But then to have people give me the once over or hardly talk with me any more - well, it's a little rough.  Granted, this is not everyone in my life.  The people that love me now have always loved me and always will, no matter what.  Of course they want me to be happy and healthy, just like we would want for anyone.  It's those looks that people give me that I remember at night time when I am alone at home and I guess I don't know how to deal with the feelings it brings up in me.  I know it's not out of maliciousness, but I'm sure it's people feeling helpless as well.  Trust me when I say that I am doing my absolute best to be present in the moment, to be honest and to work through this tough time.  I'm also working hard at not beating myself up about all of this.  The Type A part of my brain tells me I've failed, but I know I'm not a failure ... just a human being trying to work through an intensely difficult and challenging part of her life.  I can't forget - I have been overweight and obese for almost all of my life.  Of course it is going to take some real work to leave that in the past and try to forge forward with a new life.

To that end, I decided that I would do a little research.  I wanted to search for tips from other people who were having the same struggles with nighttime eating after eating so well during the day.  I didn't want tips on how to eat healthier or to make sure I wasn't skipping meals ... that sort of stuff is not what I'm looking for.  What I am seeking is to find some ways other people with emotional eating issues have made it through the evenings and eventually changed those behaviors.  So I found a lot of great tips that I felt compelled to share here.  I know that my work is to dig at the core of what is going on and to tackle it head-on.  While I continue working on that, however, I want to make it through my evenings without feeling like I'm grazing out in the pasture.  Here are some suggestions I found.  Most are basic, common sense sorts of things, but I need the reminders:
  • Drink some tea.  A great idea is to find assorted tea flavors and have a different one every night.  There are some pretty interesting tea flavors out there.
  • Brush your teeth immediately after having your dinner.  It makes continued snacking less desirable if you're going to ruin clean teeth and, I'm guessing, will make certain foods less appealing.
  • Pamper yourself by pampering your body:  soak your feet and massage them, put lotion all over, listen to relaxing music, give yourself a mani pedi.
  • Exercise in the evenings and have your dinner after you've finished your workout.  It means you will need to eat a little bit later, but it may prevent additional snacking late into the night.
  • Drink water to determine if your hunger feelings are truly hunger or if maybe it's emotional hunger.  You might even do something fun, like flavoring your water with lemon/lime or drink sparkling water.
  • If you're bored at night, do things to keep your evening interesting like taking a class, taking up a new hobby, calling a friend.
  • Make sure there are not foods in your house that are conducive to snacking.  If the food isn't in the house in the first place, it's a lot harder to eat it. 
  • Stretch your body in a very leisurely way.  While you're watching TV, instead of sitting in a chair or on the couch, make a change.  Get up, sit on the floor and stretch your legs, your torso, your arms.  You'll feel great and your body will thank you for it.
  • Grab a really good book to read.  Make it something light-hearted, a "feel good" read that is a page turner.  Your time will fly by.
  • Clean your house.  Put things away in your living room, mop the floor in the kitchen, clean out your cupboards.  It'll keep you busy and moving.
  • Chew sugar-free gum.
  • Meditate for 10-15 minutes.  Maybe you do this with candles or music, or simply just being silent in a dark room.
  • Take a really long shower or bath about an hour after dinner.  Wear something nice and form-fitting to bed, not just a big t-shirt.  It's too easy to overeat when you have clothes that are not constricting.
  • Give yourself a facial and leave the scrub on for a good while, perhaps during the times when it's the most challenging.  Pretty hard to eat while you've got goop on your face.
  • Instead of just reading your Bible, take out a notebook and handwrite verses.  Not only will it keep you busy, but it'll likely have more meaning when you are able to spend more time on it.
  • Blog and write in your journal more.  This is what a forum such as this is for ... to not only to celebrate the triumphs but to work through difficulties, too.
I'm sure I've missed some suggestions, but this is a good starting point.  Tackling that craving urge in the evening has to be a top priority for me.  I don't want to gain all the weight back.  I worked too damn hard and spent way too much money to just throw that away.  Besides, I don't want to go back to how things used to be.  I was miserable before.  Even though I have a lot of medical stuff that's come up since I started working on getting healthier, it's still a much better place now compared to where I used to be and I can't ever forget that.  I am determined to work through all of this and come out even stronger than before. It's easy to feel great when you're losing the weight, but I'm here to put a face on those that have struggled as well.  To sum all of this up, I want to share something a friend had posted on his Facebook page the other day that was so encouraging to me:

God loves you too much to lead you into a mess.
He has a plan for you that far exceeds anything you may recognize.
Make a commitment not to quit, but to press on today and everyday!
You've got to go through this to get to the other side.
People are waiting for you to make it through 
so you can help them make it through.


Big Heart said...

Those are awesome ideas to avoid snacking/munchies! I'm sorry there are people who are in your corner only when you're doing well :( Screw them! What you're going through is tough and you're doing your BEST to get through it. Yay for blood sugar being normal! I believe you're treating your body as good as possible right now and it takes time for it to recognize it. Give yourself a hug! :)
PS I will text you in a bit about tomorrow's walk. Weather app says 20% chance rain :/
Why does it always rain when we go walking?!?!

Melissa said...

Hugs friend...I am struggling right alongside of you. I have been very down, and that means I isolate, and in my sadness the night grazing starts. I think this may always be a challenge for us...many of the strategies you list I am trying to use and they are helping. I also, courageously, set up an account at MyFitnessPal. As you know, I'm a techno-newbie and I don't really like these things, but I need to keep track of my snacking so I am accountable for it. My dietitian Millie said night-time will always be a threat and we need to be on guard. Sometimes I feel strong, but sometimes I don't. Things are difficult, but like you note: Never Give Up!

Cedes said...

Yep--- nighttimes are the worse for me. So I'm heading to the gym in a bit. Painting your nails (even clear) helps too!

Kathy said...

Ladies, sounds like I'm not the only one who has a hard time at night. Makes me feel better, but kinda bummed that we have to struggle with the food. If only it were easier ;-)

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