Thursday, February 5, 2009

Good Post on TGFE regarding Binge Eating Disorder

There's a very thought-provoking post on Charlotte Hilton Andersen's blog, "The Great Fitness Experiment," about binge eating disorder. It's one I'm going to ponder a bit, even after posting here.

My first reaction was, although I sure had a lot of those behaviors and feelings, I'm not sure I entirely resemble the diagnosis criteria. Mainly because even when I felt most out of control with my eating and consumed vast quantities, I often felt a great deal of pleasure, it wasn't all self-loathing and depression. Also, if I really had the disorder, would the diabetes diagnosis have prompted me to stop the self-destructive behaviors? Or was that the shock/catalyst that helped jolt me into the right direction?

Before diagnosis, I did engage in a lot of the behaviors: sneaking food, eating alone, eating quickly, eating past the point of fullness and into discomfort. Example: going through the Burger King drive-though on my way home from work and cramming two burgers, even though my commute is usually only about 30 minutes and there was, generally, a great dinner waiting for me at home. Basically, lots of eating behaviors that made me think, "Why??? Why do I DO this stuff???" I often felt totally out of control, and hopeless about whether I could change.

Somehow, things did start to change last spring, even before my diabetes diagnosis. Part of it might have been getting more Vitamin D in my diet; I started taking the same fish oil/calcium with vitamin D supplements as Mr. Handsome & Handy did after his mid-life doctor checkup. It was around that time that it started dawning on me: I was tired of being fat. That's how I worded it then; now I would describe this as "tired FROM carrying too much body fat and being sedentary." Because I was literally tired all of the time, absolutely drained, as opposed to tired of wearing an undesirable clothes size, or tired of not fitting the media image of "being thin" (which we all know is soooo about being healthy, yes, that is sarcasm you're hearing).

Part of how things changed might also be "the blog effect." I've written before about how seeing the possibilities--represented by other bloggers--inspired me. But Charlotte linked to another post on her blog ("The Great Fitness Experiment: How to Think Like a Thin Person") in which she talks about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and how it helped her resolve issues in her life. She wrote:
"You practice thinking and writing (there's lots and lots of writing involved in CBT) the thoughts you want to have and replacing your old destructive thoughts with the new ones."
Wow. Serious "ah hah!" moment for me. I don't know much about CBT, but it sounds a lot like what blogging has done for me without my even knowing it, both writing my own and participating in the greater health/weight loss/fitness blogging community. Maybe that's why I gravitate toward maintenance blogs ("how to think like someone who maintains a weight loss successfully") and fitness blogs ("how to think like an active person/athlete"). I want to figure out how to change my mindset to one of healthy, active habits. Opposite life of the brain, as it were....Definitely more to learn and to think about.

One thing that I notice is that I'm a bit less fearful now about losing my new habits. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or a bad thing...part of me feels kind of like, "Where did these changes come from? What's making it last? How do I ensure that I don't slip back into the old ways?" Last fall, for example, I skipped one of my runs. I just did not feel like it that day; but even as I made the decision, I was scared, worried that I would lose the new habits I'd gained. (Like I had in the past.) Whereas in January, my schedule went all haywire; however, I didn't freak out as much, just started strategizing about when I could squeeze in bits and pieces of activity if not my usual cardio and strength training objectives. I'd walk when I had to make my calls to relatives, or work out to a DVD in my room at night before bed, or simply plan to do something the next day and figure out how. On the food side, I'm cautiously exploring a bit more with my meter and what I can handle and still be in range, which is good from a "knowing my limits" standpoint. Example: I ate 4 pieces of dim sum at the Chinese New Year party at work today, and my blood glucose was 139 at 1 hour post-meal. That's just under my personal max of 140, so I won't be doing that all the time. Good to know for next time, though! I'll probably keep it to 2 pieces instead. Overall, I think my overall goals give me a destination and my weekly goals provide the map.


debby said...

This was really thought provoking. I'm going over to check out Charlotte's site. I felt the same way as you 'even when I felt most out of control with my eating and consumed vast quantities, I often felt a great deal of pleasure.'

And I really related to this description '"tired FROM carrying too much body fat and being sedentary." Because I was literally tired all of the time, absolutely drained.' You reminded me that I was not even comfortable sitting in my most favorite chair.

SeaBreeze said...

I think this was a wonderful, honest, and thoughtful post. :D

As for the Dim Sum party, I'm super jealous but I am going for some with my dad on Saturday morning.

Pubsgal said...

Thanks, gals! I was really impressed by Charlotte's post; it resonated, because I'd been thinking a lot about the nature of control and food. It seems like a lot of people, not just me, seem to be having a tough time with this lately.

debby: I kind of thought I hadn't been alone in those feelings. :-) I think you made a great point the other day on your blog ("Mission Accomplished" post)...the behaviors might not go away completely, but we manage them the best we can on a day-to-day basis.

SeaBreeze: I'm glad you don't have to be super jealous about the dim sum party for very long. :-)

SeaBreeze said...

In regards to your comment on my post today here's my answer: No, I don't think it would be too much to do some light strength training after. I did arms and upper body before my 90-min class yesterday. I am glad that I had planned on the Yoga class because the gym was PACKED and I would have been really frustrated had I planned a cardio workout.

What kind of Yoga class is it? At 630 in the morning is might be a fantastic way to start your day. I can't wait to see your review.

Also, have you tried some of the free Yoga Downloads? If not, I will try to dig up the link for you. I actually did some with the little girl I was babysitting last week because she is always intrigued when her mom does Yoga.

P.S. Shame on you for hiding your birthday until the last minute. Had I known I would have sent you a card. ;) My birthday is this month too, it makes for a busy February (my mom and bro have bdays in the same week as me)

Juice said...

I'm definitely headed over to check out that post!

If you are interested in exploring CBT in more detail, you might enjoy reading the Beck Diet Solution. It is all about using CBT for weight loss.