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I'm eating healthy, so why do I feel so miserable?

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I'm eating healthy, so why do I feel so miserable?

This is everything I've eaten over the past month. Well, aside from a handful of unlisted cheat meals, and yesterday eating one deep fried jumbo coconut shrimp because it was offered and for once I was too weak to resist -- and felt a huge bubbling of desire in my guts reminding me that yes, I have a junk food addiction and I need to remember that moderation is not an option just like one beer for an alcoholic is too much.

Had a rocky start of not counting calories like I did from early 2012 to middle 2013 where I lost 180 lbs but stopped after plateauing at around 240 lbs (been between 260 to 290 ever since by not calorie-counting) but after calculating my TDEE like everyone always says to do and trying to eat about 500 kcal below that like everyone says to do... (Went from 279 to 268, but pre-Thanksgiving I was as low as 264.)

The previous month I was depressed from hurting my back lifting weights so I, well, ate mostly what you see here, but also ate at cheap chinese buffets probably twice weekly and every night I had probably 3000-5000 calories of walmart ice cream. I felt so much better.

But after eating clean and healthy and natural and unprocessed like everyone says to do, I've felt progressively worse. Had problems early on from dizziness and lightheadedness and near-fainting spells but I just upped the calories and felt better, but for the past week I haven't been able to sleep more than 5 hours a night. For an entire week. I'm so tired it hurts. But I can't stay asleep for the life of me. I've tried not using electronics for an hour before bed, I've tried aromatherapy, I've tried meditation, I've tried not thinking of things that piss me off, I've even tried 100mg melatonin one night and that just made me feel worse, and none of it helps at all.

Since I'm recovering from injury I've only lifted light for most of this month (only just got my bench back above 100), but I've stopped entirely the middle of last week because I've been in too much mental and emotional pain from simple & stupid lack of sleep, from last Monday night sleeping 6 hours, Tuesday 5, Wed and Thu no more than 1-2 hours, then another 4-5 the next few nights. I'm constantly tired, I'm constantly on edg.,My therapist has a depression rating, where 1 is "Bobby made fun of my hair this morning, boo-hoo" and 10 being "in immediate danger of killing himself and/or others", mine right now is an 8 and rising, again all from lack of sleep, and I'm pretty sure it's my diet. What else could it be? Well, other than stress and worry from lack of money and pretty sure I'll never be fit and strong and aesthetic because of all the stretch marks and loose skin and blotchy complexion and terrified that if I don't eat clean and healthy I'll fall right back into my old >400 lbs hikikomori NEET ubernerd ways ways like I was not even last month after doing so well off and on this entire year of starting and stopping the weightlifting due to mounting stress and hurting myself. Lifting had been the first time in my life I had a passion for something that wasn't childish and solitary like video games, and now I can't even get to the one thing that kept me going because of this lack of sleep.

I'm not an attention whore.
I'm not a drama queen.
I'm not a troll.
I'm not baiting.
I'm not joking.

I feel so absolutely crappy that I just want to die to end the pain. But I'm so scared that if I follow the nagging voice inside that says all I need to do is indulge in my junk food addiction, my soda-n-fastfood-o-holism, that it will all be better, that if I fall off the horse for the severalth time for the past three years, that I'll end up weighing as much as a horse that I was for almost 20 years. But I'm also scared that if I don't do something immediately, that if I spend another week or even another 2-3 days like this that I'll stop being able to resist my impulses and take a knife to my own throat.

Re-iterating: I've lost MULTIPLE DECADES to morbid obesity and being a socially dysfunctional shut-in whose one and only friend is a glowing rectangle, and everyone says to be "gradual" in your changes. Well I've beengradual, for the past three years I've been goddamned gradual, how many MORE years must I lose to morbid obesity so I can for once in my life stop feeling so ugly and worthless?

I'm doing everything everyone says to do, following the /fit/ sticky and bodybuilding.com's stickies and taking bits from the paleo diet and what Scooby Werkstatt and Jim Wendler and Elliot Hulse and Dani Shugart and Maria Kang and sites like this all have to say about eating clean and healthy, so what is missing? What am I doing wrong? I'm using a multivitamin and fish oil and vitamin d and etc. etc. supplements, I'm eating tons of vegetables on top of tons of meat, I'm trying to restrict carbs and dial in my macronutrient ratios like everyone says you should do if you're trying to lose weight without losing too much muscle mass like I was stupidly doing for the first year and a half of crash dieting with zero exercise when I should have known better.

What is it? What's missing? What am I doing wrong? Someone please help me end my misery, I'm begging you.

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Disclaimer: I'm not a nutritionist or an expert of any kind. I'm just some girl on the internet trying to help you figure out your next step. 



Thought #1: Depression


From personal experience, I believe that depression and low carb dieting do not mix well. I stupidly did Medifast (very low carb + very low calorie) and while the weight fell off of me at a rapid rate I ended up severely depressed. I don't have a history of depression at all (anxiety is my thing) so this threw me for a loop. I read The Serotonin Power Diet, which is actually intended for people on SSRIs, but the information about carbs and how they correlate to serotonin production is interesting. I'm full Paleo now, but I eat white potatoes and other starchy vegetables with reckless abandon. 



Thought #2: Elimination Diet


Have you thought about trying an elimination diet to see if some of the foods in your current diet are affecting you negatively? I see that you are currently grains, dairy and legumes - these food groups can be problematic for some. I am finding that I sleep much better without these things in my diet. I've also realized that eating any fast burning refined carbs with my evening meal is disruptive to my sleep. Carbs occurring in vegetables do not seem to have the same negative affect. That does not mean this will be true for you - but in order for you to learn what foods may be affecting you negatively you'll have to do some legwork and experimenting. Whole30 is a great place to start with this. 



Thought #3: Stress & Anxiety


Maybe it's not food keeping you up at night at all. It sounds like you are really stressing about where you are in this journey and what is possible for you, and you're beating yourself up over the unknown future already. You also mention stress about finances which is something that can and does keep people up at night. Have you considered that this isn't a food issue at all but rather a stress/anxiety/mental health issue? Can you bring this up with your therapist? Do you feel your current therapist is good support for you... and if not, can you consider finding a new one? 



I truly hope some part of this is helpful for you. Please keep the National Suicide Hotline phone number handy: 1-800-273-8255 and promise yourself that you will call if you feel you are climbing any closer to a 10 on your therapist's scale. You are not a number on a scale. You are not your stretch marks. You are not your depression. You are a unique and beautiful soul in this world and you matter. 

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First let me say that you are in the right place. There are some really great people here who have really gone out of their way to encourage me in my times of doubt and frustration. You are not alone and everyone on this forum is also on a journey to be as healthy as they can.


Also, I should point out that you have already accomplished some great things to this point! You should be very proud of all the weight you have lost already - many people never do what you have already done so far.


That being said, I understand how frustrating and confusing this process can be and I definitely know how hard it can be to remember the progress that I have already made when I am frustrated about pushing forward.


Here is what advice I can offer to your specific concerns:


Diet/Sleep - There certainly seems to be a connection between what we eat and our sleep patterns - at least for many people. Consider what it is that you are eating in the afternoons/evenings. Like the poster above noted, some people do have problems after eating certain foods too late in the day. Some people may be bothered by a different set of foods entirely. I agree that some conscious experimentation may be necessary for you, as it has been for most of us. After all, everyone is different and we all have to find the things that work for us.


Carbs - I too, am doing the low carb thing. Personally, I have found that there is such a thing as too few carbs. Adding some carbs back really helped me in more ways than one. You may have to add back some carbs. Start small with something like an apple per day and see if it makes any difference.


Exercise - If you are still having pain (injury type pain) from lifting weights, please don't do it until you have more fully recovered. In the meanwhile, you may be able to do other forms of exercise without pain. Personally, I like long walks; they are low impact, require no real equipment, and provide time for quiet contemplation or listening to your favorite podcast/music. If lifting weights is what you like to do, then I certainly hope that you will be able to do so again soon. But don't let your injury completely immobilize you. You have made great progress so far - find a way to keep it going!


Depression - I have not suffered from depression myself but I have dealt with depression in others in my profession on a regular basis. All I can do is to encourage you to continue to follow the treatment and guidance of your doctor/therapist in that regard. But remember that the mind and body can have great effects on each other! And depression makes everything feel and seem worse. I can also tell you, from personal experience, that you will always find people to encourage you here.


Don't give up!

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Erm. Uh. Well, this is embarrassing. Just... want to apologize for going off the deep end. Sleep deprivation really screws with your head. I'm reading your replies and thank you, though I'm a bit too red-faced to say anything at the moment, eheh...

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Sugar has the same neurological effect on your body as some addictive drugs as far as the pleasure/addiction response goes. My belief is that you literally go through withdrawl symptoms when reducing it drastically in a short time.

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Ok, so my name is Laura, and I've been exercising for about six months semi regularly , I'm bipolar II, depressed, borderline personality, generalized anxiety disorder, and I'm determined to prove that people with a schlew of mental health disorders can feel healthy and at peace. However, I know this is a steep mountain I'm climbing. I've been making logs, exercise logs to write how I feel or felt during a work out and what foods I craved afterwards. (initially, fruit and bread). I've learned that people with bipolar can actually go manic with exercise chemicals and it's important to keep an eye on it, and people with anxiety take longer to recover because their bodies are already stressed out.


I've learned a lot from self analysis and self study. I've studied psychology on my own for about eight years and I've studied health on my own for about one year, but with a huge background of health (my parents were both body builders and I didn't eat ice cream until I was twelve at a friend's house, to give you an idea. but I knew what sprouts and vitamin E were).


My approach to exercise has been, do it because it feels good, and then eat what feels good. So I started out by eating hotdogs after my work outs because that's what I fucking wanted, and so I did it. Then I started craving chicken, then I started craving rice, then brown rice, then potatoes, and slowly my cravings literally became salad. All I wanted was HUGE salads. I'm talking massive, I'm a vegan all I ever eat is salad I'm not hungry at all yes I am salads. 


Because that's what I fucking wanted. Processed foods like Kraft Mac and Cheese boxes started to make me angry. I was like, this is bullshit food. I'm not getting nutrients. This doesn't make me feel good. I have hallucinations. I've been recording how different foods make me feel. I have no scientific training, but I am recording all of my experiences and emotions, placebo or otherwise, and processed foods seem to have an effect on my ability to handle reality, or to differentiate between what's real and what isn't. 


The large salads made me feel like I was on top of the world at first. I literally refused to go a day without a salad in it. I told everybody. I was IN LOVE with salads. I was HIGH off spinach, mother fucker. 


But then I crashed. I got really depressed. Something came out in therapy for me that was so painful and deep rooted that I laid in bed for two days, sleeping in and out for 15 hours at a time. And you know what occured to me? What if eating healthy detoxes your emotional body? 


I like to think of it this way : I am an organic computer. My body is full of tiny things that need information - and that information is the DNA of the food I eat, right? Or something like that. So, what if whole, raw foods are easiest for my cells to process so they aren't stressed, or confused, and it's a program that's the best operating system for my body?

What if I got updated, but my body is still processing the change and dispelling the old stuff? The junk food stuff?


I'll admit I understand. Junk food is comforting. It puts me in a kind of stasis, where everything is normal, even and RIGHT. Because I'm used to it. I grew up healthy, but I dated someone who was an adamant lover of junk food for three years. And cigarettes. and Alcohol. and Pizza. and all the foods that make my mental health worse. and he stressed me out on top of that. I knew in my body at a certain point that that relationship was beginning to kill me. I have twelve grey hairs now that I didn't have before and a sag to my face and emotions that I didn't before I met him. 


But what if my eating healthy, has made me depressed because it's cleaning out the stuff that the bad food made dormant? I know that sounds outlandish, but what if? All I'm asking is you to watch your behavior with the different foods and recognize that maybe that's what's happening. 


I am mad, though! Of course you would be, too. All the commercials and Pinterest girls we've seen have LIED TO US! Eating healthy is supposed to make us smile and feel healthy and happy and flip our hair and want to smile at the camera, right? No. I think all the healthy food ads we see is what happens after you've been eating healthy for a long time, and you're committed to changing your lifestyle and those are the results, for some.


Listen to your body. Give it what it wants, but be aware of why it may want that food. I'm still not sure why I crave McDonalds ... I know it means I need protein, and I know it means that I am "bad". but guess what? Maybe McDonalds does taste better than health food. Health food is more "animal" than other more processed foods. We made processed foods, I think, back 50-70 years ago, to be "fun" food. Food for a Friday night. but we all eat it all the time now because it tastes so good.


But old home economic text books talked about eating healthy vegetables every day. My point to this long comment, is maybe your healthy food choices are correcting something very intimate in your heart, soul, body, emotions - the pain you've had for years, stashed away in your cells. This is a theory all based on speculation and records at this point. 



Edited by LunaSix
*always fruit and bread, my initial craving, the rip open the fridge when I am still in my shoes foods were bread and fruit.

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