July 12, 2018

Weight Gain Through Emotional Eating

I can't really pinpoint when my mood started going downhill, but I feel like a big mess right now. Remember that post in April I wrote, called "The Big Fat Mess That Is My Life Right Now"? I just re-read it, and everything that I wrote is still very true. I could basically slap today's date on it and call it a new post!

I have tried to get my life back on track by setting new goals and posting them here for accountability (by being public with goals, I hoped it would make me embarrassed not to accomplish them)--that didn't work (well, it IS embarrassing, so I guess that part worked--haha!). I have tried setting goals and keeping them to myself, hoping that having less pressure would be the trick--that didn't work.

I've tried easy goals, I've tried challenging goals, I've tried having no goals at all, I've tried taking everything one day at a time. I've tried everything I've ever done in the past that has worked for me, and nothing is working right now.

I found this four leaf clover a couple of days ago, and I thought it was funny because it looks very symbolic of my luck--four leaves, but one of them is chewed almost completely off, so does it really count? 😂Two steps forward, one step back.

four leaf clover

In the past, I've always had pretty clear depressive episodes. I was either hypomanic or depressed, and neither of those was very mild. Since starting my bipolar meds, though, the mood stabilizer has definitely put those in the "mild" category. I still have episodes of each, but they are nothing like before.

Currently, I only have very mild depression, and I think even those symptoms would probably go away if I could just get my life back on track. By that, I just mean feeling in control and motivated to do the things I need to do. Get rid of some stress.

My biggest stressor is my weight (or what I imagine it to be, because I am actually too afraid to look at the scale). I can feel it in my clothes and see it when I look in the mirror--I'm SURE I've gained even more since the last time I weighed in. I feel like I've gained 30 pounds in the last two weeks, but I know that's probably an exaggeration. Realistically, I'm thinking maybe I've hit the high 150's. I know that I should just face the number, but without having a real plan to lose the weight, I think it'll just discourage me even more.

Speaking of, remember when I posted about my plan to get back to my goal weight? Yeah, I haven't been doing it. I didn't make my plan very difficult, but I (obviously) haven't made any progress. I'd planned to count calories again, because that always works well for me; but after not counting all last year, and doing SO well with intuitive eating, I keep telling myself that I'll just eat intuitively like I did last year.

Except it doesn't work that way. I wasn't sure why I'm having such a hard time with it now after it felt so natural before. The whole concept of intuitive eating had finally clicked for me, and I was so excited about it! And then when I started having symptoms of depression, I began to eat for comfort. Now, I'm just stuck wanting to lose the weight I've gained, and to do it like I did last year.

I've been thinking hard about it, and the biggest difference between now and then, as far as my diet goes, is that I was very happy last year and I didn't feel any urges to eat for comfort. When I was happy, I only thought about food when I was really hungry. There were times where I would completely forget to eat a meal because I was busy with something and I just wasn't thinking about food at all.

When my mood is down, eating becomes something that I actually look forward to--something that makes me feel better. Obviously, that affects my weight!

So, I don't think that the weight gain or loss comes from whether I'm counting calories or not; rather, it comes from my frame of mind and happiness level. If I can feel happy, I shouldn't have a problem with eating better (whether it's counting calories or intuitive eating or something else). My mood is what makes it easier (or harder) to stick with whatever plan I am following.

Last year, when my life felt like it was finally on the right track, going so smoothly, it was because I was 100% focused on doing what makes me happy. And because I felt chronically happy, I didn't feel the need to try to make myself happy with food.

I saw my psychiatrist a couple of days ago, and it ended up being a long appointment because of my mood being all over the place lately. There was a lot to go over. He ended up changing up my meds a little bit--decreasing the dosage of two, and adding a third. He told me to give it a few weeks and see if that helps; if not, we can try something else. So, I'm hopeful that I'll start seeing some (positive) changes. Mainly, I want some of my focus and motivation back.

The most difficult emotion for me is feeling overwhelmed. When I have a ton of stuff to do, and I fall behind on things, I get overwhelmed; and then, because that feels so uncomfortable, I try to put it out of my mind (i.e. procrastinate); procrastinating just makes me more overwhelmed. So, it's a constant cycle until I get caught up. And then with my weight going up and my not running regularly, it just escalates. I guess I just get this feeling of being "too far gone" to get back to that good place I was in before falling behind.

The solution, of course, is obvious. Don't take on too much. Don't procrastinate. Just do what I can. GET IT OVER WITH.

It sounds so simple in my mind. But when trying to practice that mindset, it's a big challenge for me.

As far as running goes, I just haven't been. I started doing my Cookies Summer Challenge, with plans to get in every single run on the list. It's not too late, so I am REALLY hoping I can make myself get back to it ASAP (I'm banking on the medication switch helping me). My last run was the Independence Run (on the 4th of July, wearing red, white, and blue).

red white and blue running clothes

Ha! I was trying to take a photo to prove I was wearing my red, white, and blue, but it was pretty difficult to get my socks in it, and they are the best part!

Right now, I'm going to try to just focus on one thing at a time. I managed to clear out my inbox over the last few days, which felt great to catch up on. I haven't figured out what to do with my eating habits, so I'm going to leave that alone for the moment. But right now, I'm committing to going for a run tomorrow. That's it! It might be on my treadmill, and it might only be one mile, but I'm going to state right now: I am going to run tomorrow.

Anyway, this whole post is basically to say that I am a mess right now and I'm trying to get myself back together and functioning normally ;) I hope to see some progress soon!


25 comments:

  1. don't despair...we've seen you do it before... you've got this. Best of wishes going your way

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for sharing Katie. I've always appreciated your honesty and vulnerability in your posts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. So sorry you're struggling. It is brave of you to share with us. Surely things will turn around soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hugs, and don't be too hard on yourself, just do what you can while you ride it out! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're okay. The tough times give me strength and I grow from them and become a better, more loving person, even though it is complete hell when in the middle of those tough times! I'm convinced our suffering is for a reason. Prayer is helping for me right now! xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Katie, I have read your blog for years and just wanted to share that I, too, am going through something similar. Binge eating (or more like mini binge eating, if that's a thing) and feeling overwhelmed constantly have been how I have lived my life for some time now, and it sucks! I am trying to figure it all out because I felt kind of at a loss as to how I could help myself, but a couple things have slowly been helping so I thought I would share them here.

    One is a book called "Spontaneous Happiness" by Andrew Weil. I don't buy his vitamin packs, cookbooks, etc. but I have found so much of his advice to be very valuable. This book in particular examines our constant need to be "happy" and evaluates what that really means and why so many of us aren't there, and what we can practically do to become more content with life. He is not preachy or judgmental at all; in fact, he often uses himself as an example of the less effective approaches to happiness and life. I highly highly recommend his book... I checked it out from the library and felt sad when I returned it so I got it back and am rereading it! It is a pretty easy, enjoyable read.

    Another thing that has been helping me a great deal with my own emotional eating issues has been a cognitive behavioral therapy self guided workbook called Hungry Bear. Of course I cannot find where I downloaded it from so if you are interested in it, let me know and I can email it to you in PDF format. It is out of a clinic in Australia and it gives very practical tips on managing binge eating as well as disassociating food with any particular emotion and how to stop assigning it more value than it really has. I haven't finished this program yet but so far it has been helpful at untangling the giant knot I have made for myself with food and disordered eating.

    Lastly, I have been listening to books on tape by Jon Kabat Zinn about mindfulness (and a little on meditation). This might be too out there for some people but I am finding that a lot of the time my food choices are made impulsively, without thought to my overarching goals. Being more mindful has helped me slow down my thinking and behavior, which has helped with making better choices for myself. It has also begun to help with my sense of being chronically overwhelmed.

    As I said, I am no expert on any of these subjects because I am really just getting going on them, but I can sense a shift happening and these three tools have really helped with that. Just thought I'd share!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have always loved your honesty in your posts. There are a lot of us, myself included, that struggle with the same things. I hate to admit this but my weight is up in the 170's again and Im trying to hard to get back on track. The one thing we can never do is stop trying. Thank you for your realness. xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can relate on the food aspect here. Its so weird, I'm the heaviest I've been in years (40 pound gain, ugh!) and when I think about all the clothes in my closet that don't fit, I get a little sad. But when I'm not thinking about my weight, I'm actually happier than I've ever been! It's been nice doing what workouts make me happy and eating at a restaurant and not counting the calories. But on the flip side, I don't want to gain any more weight. It's very conflicting! I feel like if I completely put the worry of losing weight out of my mind, I might actually lose weight! If I don't stress over it I mean.

    I don't really know where I'm going with this point here. Just rambling ;) But hang in there Katie! I think you're doing great! And I love that 4th of July picture, those socks are the cutest!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'm sorry that you're struggling. Maybe we could go for a run together...although I know that you and I are pretty opposite in terms of preferred running times! :p Maybe we could find a happy medium, ha ha! {{hugs}} to you!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi Katie. Ugggh, so sorry to hear you are in a funk right now. I think anyone who has had weight issues can relate. I just wanted to let you know that you have been so inspirational to me personally through your journey. Sharing your successes and your challenges reinforces the truth that the journey to healthfulness isn't an easy or carefree journey. It will take every ounce of strength and dedication that I have within me, but I know that I can be successful. I hope that knowing your journey has helped so many others will help you find your way back.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much for posting. I can relate so well to everything you're saying. It is soooo hard and I feel so overwhelmed its almost paralyzing at times. Just going through the motions to get through the day. Is there any way you could get yourself more support? Go to a free weight watchers meeting (1st is always free, I know you've done WW before and its not your thing, but maybe drop in and see if it resonates? I go every week even though I'm not following their freestyle plan and still tracking points plus). What about an overeater's anonymous meeting (free)? Or meeting with a dietician (someone who can be your own personal cheerleader), possibly covered by insurance? Or I've heard people who have great success with TOPS, but I don't know much about that, just that it's less $ than weight watchers. and overall the point is less about loosing weight, but more about how you feel. maybe it'd help you to feel more in control. also when you're depressed (the general you), you tend to isolate and not reach out. So maybe just getting more human interaction and support would help you some.

    ReplyDelete
  12. WOW! I could have wrote all of this post! I gained 40lbs from FEB2018 - May2018. Which only made it harder for me to try to get back on track. Depression is a BEAST! I had three weeks now or binge free. And I have been slowly getting my exercise back into my day. It feels great, but there is that nagging BEAST telling me that "it's no different this time, silly" I would to prove him wrong!! Keep you head up and one day at a time :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. I feel where you're coming from. :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. Two steps forward and one step back is still forward progression. Hang in there. *hugs* I think part of why we all follow you is that you show the truth, that perfection isn't real; progression and improvement are often not a set of linear steps up - sometimes we zig and zag, rise and fall, to get where we want to be.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've been reading your blog for years....I always relate. I'm so there right now. Keep writing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I hear ya Katie!

    I too could have written this post......I am almost 50 and I keep saying ..."I am sick and tired of worrying about my weight!!" I can only imagine a life and things I may have accomplished in my life IF every little thing I do and choice I make to do DIDN'T REVOLVE AROUND FOOD, MY WEIGHT, AND CLOTHING I MIGHT WEAR due to how I may feel or look.

    UGH!

    It's so stupid....I just want to be about 10-15 pounds lighter and yet my mind cannot let it go...its been that way for 25 years probably. Why I can't just be happy at the high 150's I will never know. (Honestly, when I see others who appear so happy albeit heavier I get so jealous inside)

    As you may remember I suffer from winter depression but this time it seems to be affecting me year round...ups and downs of stress and thus the eating goes up and down too. Right now I am trying to read more motivational books and books about living a life on purpose they do seem to help.......Carry on friend.....

    ReplyDelete
  17. If the biggest stressor in your life right now is your weight, you really need to get a job or go do some volunteer work and stop focusing on yourself so much. I am sure just feeling like you are contributing to the world would make a world a difference.
    I would give anything for the biggest stressor in my life to be 30ish pounds overweight.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you can not understand from the comments above that this blog contributes to the world, you definitely have bigger stressors in your life than a little weight to lose. There is a saying that needs to be heeded more in this world of social media and reality TV, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." Good luck to you, this world is a hard place to navigate.

      Delete
    2. I hope thoughtless comments like these don't put you off blogging Katie! You are doing an amazing service. Especially to those who need it the most. Thanks to your blog I realized that I suffered from lifelong anxiety and depression. I knew something was off but I didn't know it was anxiety and depression until I read your eloquent posts and figured it out. Thanks to you I am now on medication and I finally have a normal life. I agree with bigdogpants. You are helping people around the entire world.

      Warm hugs from Noray

      Delete
    3. Hey "the real thing"... you are a bozo. Katie is being real & she is so much like the rest of us. She IS making a difference in the world by telling her REAL story of struggle. So many of us can relate to her & appreciate her being raw on how hard this journey is.
      YOU are the one that needs to get a life... this life is about LOVING ONE ANOTHER. Cheering each other on. It is not our job to Judge. Your comment really bothers me & I HOPE that Katie sees how much love & support she has around this social community & how much WE really care about her.

      Delete
  18. Hi Katie, I have been away from your blog for a while but am going to get back to reading regularly now. I've missed following you! Sorry to hear that you've been struggling. I hope that the new medication situation does help you improve. Every summer I have emotional/mental trouble -- it is so strange, it's like reverse SAD or something. I just don't feel good and things sort of feel 'wrong'. Plus, I feel like an oddball because, who feels worse in summer than winter? Lol! I do take meds for anxiety/depression. Anyway, you are certainly not alone in your mental health struggles! Hopefully that is a little comforting. PS - I live in Toledo and am one of the folks who almost participated in your Indy Mini meet-up a couple years ago. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  19. I check in on your blog every now and then, and am always impressed with your honesty about your journey. To me, this makes you more beautiful than anything aesthetic (although you are gorgeous). I am very inspired by what you do. I go through a love/hate relationship with running and have found cross training to be very effective in keeping me engaged in fitness. It was very depressing after I suffered an illness that prevented me from running. I went from high level, right back to the bottom. Reading your blog makes me think I am not alone. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Peace. And thank you for your sharing and honesty. I do not want to enter into the realm of advice by any means, but wanted to share that I have found much to think about in listening to the FoodPsych podcast - new ways to think about health, body size and healing.

    ReplyDelete

Feel free to leave a comment! I had to turn on comment moderation due to a ton of spam comments, but I will approve your comment ASAP.

Blog Archive