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Maigahane

Maigahane Battles the Snacking Demon

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Ok, so I know this is from Shape magazine, but it's actually a pretty comprehensive one regarding potential reasons for overeating (also, please ignore the crappy title - it's a magazine, after all, so sensationalism is the name of the game for them): "Never Overeat Again".

 

Spoiler

Never Overeat Again

By the editors of Shape.com
 

The chocolate chip cookie is in your hand. Your brain is shouting, "No! Put it down! Remember, you're trying to lose weight!" Your mouth is watering. Your hand is drawing the cookie closer to your lips. "Stop!" your brain pleads. "You've already had four of those. And before that, you finished off the leftover kung pao chicken and a buttered baguette the length of your arm. Put down that cookie!"

But you don't put it down. You finish eating the cookie, then tell your brain to shush as you scan the shelves of the fridge for a container of milk.

We're a nation of overeaters: Forty-one percent of us are overweight; 23 percent are obese. Just about all of us wish we could do a better job of listening to our brains when they tell us to stop eating. Despite our desire to be thinner and healthier, we shovel in everything from cheeseburgers to cheesecake. Why the heck can't we stop ourselves from stuffing our faces?

"We overeat because we're emotionally hungry," says Laurel Mellin, M.A., R.D., associate professor of family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and author of The Pathway: Follow the Road to Health and Happiness (ReganBooks, 2003). That emotional hunger draws us into a cycle in which emotions -- such as stress, depression, boredom, fear, loneliness and emotional emptiness -- trigger overeating, which in turn triggers more stress, depression, boredom, fear, loneliness and emotional emptiness. And so the cycle continues.

How can we break the endless cycle of emotional eating? Dieting won't do it. What works is understanding why you overeat, then using the appropriate bust-the-cycle strategy to get your brain and your body on the same healthy path.

The following reasons for overeating and their solutions will help you break the harmful patterns standing between you and a slimmer, healthier body.

   

 

1. You overeat because of external cues.
You're watching TV, and along comes a commercial for Pizza Hut. All of a sudden, you're craving pizza. You're not hungry -- you finished dinner only an hour ago -- and yet you're feeling like you'd do anything for a slice of cheesy pizza. "Ads can make food look very, very good," says Kelly Brownell, Ph.D., director of the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders and the author of Food Fight: The Inside Story of the Food Industry, America's Obesity Crisis & What We Can Do About It (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill, 2003). Because our bodies have evolved to survive food shortages by gobbling up lots of food when it is readily available, it really doesn't take much to trigger a binge -- even when we're not hungry.

Unfortunately, external cues to eat are all around us, from gas-station mini-marts to vending machines. Fast-food joints are open 24/7, and appeasing a craving is often as easy as a stroll to the corner convenience store, which used to sell staples like milk and bread but now offers everything from freshly baked oatmeal cookies to sizzling sausages. "Food is accessible as never before," Brownell says.

Bust-the-cycle solutions When something you see -- in an ad or at a store -- triggers an urge to eat, Brownell suggests you try one of these strategies:

Move. Go for a walk or a run, or jump rope for 60 seconds.

Ride it out. A craving is like a wave: It builds, crests, then fades away. If you don't eat, the intensity of your craving should subside.

Create a distraction. Call a friend, take a bath, read a book, listen to music.

Eat something other than the pizza. "Very often a small amount of healthful food -- a piece of fruit, for example -- can take away the pang," Brownell says.

Talk to yourself. Ask: Am I really hungry? Is it really good for me to eat this food? Is this really what I want?

Refer to your "action" list. When you discover a strategy that helps you cope with externally triggered eating, note it on a list, and refer to this list the next time you find cheese-filled-crust pizza irresistible.

 

 

2. You diet excessively (and deprive yourself).
"We have a false belief that dieting is an effective way to lose weight," says Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, M.D., a psychiatrist in Reno, Nev., and author of Fed Up! The Breakthrough Ten-Step, No-Diet Fitness Plan (Contemporary Books/McGraw-Hill, 2003). In fact, many of us overeat because we feel starved. We diet continuously, keeping our bodies in a near-constant state of hunger. When resolve gives way to intense hunger -- as it always does -- we stuff ourselves. Mortified with our weight gain, we turn back to dieting, and the cycle goes on.

Bust-the-cycle solutions
Resolve never to "diet" again. Instead, learn to follow your body's own cues about when and how much to eat. Oliver-Pyatt recommends these steps:

Eat satisfying food. Instead of filling up on junk, eat healthful, nourishing foods that please your palate (e.g., whole grains, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, nuts, yogurt). This leads to a more relaxed relationship with food and less bingeing.

Stop when you're full. Seems obvious, but most of us continue to eat even when we're full. Eat until your hunger is satisfied, not to clean your plate, please others or for emotional fulfillment. When you're physically satiated, you feel energized, not guilty and angry.

Trust your body's feedback. This isn't easy -- especially for lifelong dieters -- but with practice, you can learn to trust your body to tell you when it's hungry and when it's satisfied.

Don't go by the clock. Eat when you're hungry. Don't wait until your next meal -- by then you'll be ravenous. Likewise, if it's mealtime and you're not hungry, don't eat.

 

 

3. You eat to relieve stress.
When you experience stress, your body responds by unleashing the stress hormone cortisol. This is part of the "fight or flight" response, which occurs when you perceive danger -- so that your physical capability to defend yourself or flee is temporarily enhanced. However, when you have chronic, unrelieved, day-after-day stress, your body remains awash in cortisol, which causes you to eat as if you've just done battle with an enemy.

"The body assumes that with elevated levels of cortisol, physical activity will follow," says Pamela Peeke, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty (Penguin, 2001). The problem is, even if physical activity doesn't follow, you still want to eat as if it did. So if your stress comes in the form of a cranky comment from your boss rather than from an ambush in an alley, you still crave the fat and carbs that your body would have needed if you'd fought off an attacker. If you are chronically stressed, that means you're probably craving fat and carbohydrates frequently -- particularly in the afternoon and evenings, Peeke says, when stress eating tends to be especially bad.

Bust-the-cycle solutions
Peeke recommends a four-step process to end the stress-overeating cycle:

Identify your stressors. Caregiving? A bitchy boss? A bad relationship that's going nowhere?

Be aware of when it's going to get ugly, and plan ahead, Peeke advises. If your stress-fueled food cravings generally hit at 3 p.m. on most days, for example, plan a preemptive strike at 2:45. Smear a tablespoon of peanut butter on some multigrain crackers, or throw some berries into yogurt and head off your craving before it hits.

Ask for help, find a new job, dump the bad-news boyfriend. Be proactive! If it's that stressful, do something about it.

Walk. Exercise helps diminish your body's stress reaction; even a five-minute walk can tame a cortisol rush.

 

 

4. You mistake emotional needs for physical hunger.
Difficult emotions cause pain, and pain sends many of us into the kitchen. "When we're dealing with a difficult emotion -- loneliness, anxiety, depression -- many of us turn to food for comfort and escape," says Dorie McCubbrey, Ph.D., L.P.C., of Boulder, Colo., author of How Much Does Your Soul Weigh? (HarperResource, 2003). "When the food is in your mouth, you've forgotten that emotional trigger. You've escaped into a fantasyland where the problem is gone. You don't want to come back, so you eat some more."

When you do come back to the real world, however, not only do you experience the original negative emotion, but you're also burdened with the self-loathing and guilt of being an emotional overeater. "It just keeps on going -- it feeds on itself," McCubbrey says.

Bust-the-cycle solutions
Work on understanding the various emotions that are triggering your overeating:

After a binge, reflect on what contributed to it. Was it an argument with a friend or family member? Financial worries? Boredom? Spiritual emptiness?

Discover nonfood ways to cope. Write in a journal or discuss how you're feeling with a friend. Don't hesitate to seek the help of a therapist: "Undiagnosed depression is a major culprit in overeating," Oliver-Pyatt says.

Before you eat that pint of ice cream, ask: Is this really what I need? Will this make me feel better? Think about how you'll feel after you binge -- bloated, lethargic and ashamed. Is that how you want to feel? "Eventually you'll learn to say, 'I love myself too much to keep treating myself like this,' " McCubbrey says. Forgive yourself after a binge. "If you can forgive yourself," McCubbrey says, "you help break the cycle because you don't go on to the next binge." And you'll feel more free.

Keep your fingers on the pulse of your inner life frequently, says UC San Francisco's Mellin. Check in with yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself: How do I feel? (Angry? Sad? Exhausted? Happy?) What do I need? (A good cry? A long walk? A nap? A hug?) "When you become emotionally connected to yourself, you turn off your need to overeat," says Mellin.

 

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Number 3 suggests PB!!! Right up your alley Magis!! It truly is the answer to everything.

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Week 4 Wednesday

 

Yesterday went pretty well. I basically stuck to my plan.

 

Food - I was hungry when I got home again so I had a piece of bread. Then late at night I had problems sleeping, I think part of it was because I was hungry. I didn't feel the need to eat and my stomach wasn't grumbling but it felt hollow. I ate some roasted edamame and drank water and eventually went to sleep

Breakfast: PB&J oatmeal

Lunch: Ramen, blueberries

Snack: slice of bread

Dinner: Vegetarian loaf

Snack: edamame

Cals: 1624/1600

Carbs: 225/200 (52/50%

Fat: 62/53 (32/30%)

Protein: 70/80 (16/20%)

 

Cardio - Nope

 

Strength - Nope

 

I have a 5k mudrun Saturday and a 25 mile bike ride Sunday so I'm taking it easy this week. Unfortunately I ended up taking a bit too easy yesterday and only ended up with 4k steps. I had a meeting run long into my lunch time so I didn't get my normal 30 minute walk then and then it was hot and I was lazy and I didn't go for an evening walk

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Week 4 Thursday

 

I slept badly Wednesday night so I was feeling about 1/4 to 1/2 dead all day. But I stuck to the plan. Luckily the plan included leftovers for lunch and dinner :)

 

Food -

Breakfast: PB&J oatmeal

Lunch: Ramen, blueberries

Dinner: Veggetarian loaf

Snack: Edamame

Cals: 1530/1600

Carbs: 206/200 (50/50%)

Fat: 60/53 (33/30%)

Protein: 67/80 (17/20)

 

Cardio - Nope. I did get both of my walks in again so I managed 11,600 steps

 

Strength - Resting before my race

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26 minutes ago, Maigahane said:

I slept badly Wednesday night so I was feeling about 1/4 to 1/2 dead all day. But I stuck to the plan. Luckily the plan included leftovers for lunch and dinner :)

 

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Leftovers are one of the things that keep me sane.

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5 minutes ago, jonfirestar said:

Leftovers are one of the things that keep me sane.

I don't understand people who don't like leftovers. There's a possibility that I'll eat the same things today that I ate yesterday....and the day before. And it makes me happy :) Though I might actually cook dinner so I have some leftovers for this weekend

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You know you have a winning recipe when leftovers are something to look forward to. ^_^ 

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17 minutes ago, Maigahane said:

I don't understand people who don't like leftovers. There's a possibility that I'll eat the same things today that I ate yesterday....and the day before. And it makes me happy :) Though I might actually cook dinner so I have some leftovers for this weekend

I do sympathise with not wanting to eat the same thing day after day but leftovers mean I don't have to cook and that I get a delicious and nutritious meal rather than (insert whatever convenient junk here) I would have eaten instead. Easy win IMO

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Can't wait to hear how it went

Well you'll have to wait a bit longer cause this girl needs a nap but I have to prep for an HOA meeting in 2 hours but....more swag. Short story is 30 miles by bike this morning :)

eb64ab1605f41b8b4ebc4b6fe1c2b91c.jpg

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5K mudrun followed by a 30 mile bike trek?  You are a beast!

 

A beast that fully deserves a good nap!

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5K the Hard Way

 

I could probably just copy and paste my post from last year. The course was the exact same as last year which is fine, it's still a blast. Last year was incredibly slick but this year was a little bit dryer (drier? both look wrong but are apparently right according to google) so I could do a bit more running through the woods. This race is one where just about anyone able-bodied can complete all the obstacles, though they may have to take the "easy way" option, such as ladders out of the creek crossings instead of ropes. I chose the hard way on all of the obstacles except the very last one creek crossing (again, I took the ladder last year too) because I was just too worn out by then and it seems to be the steepest bank. According to my gps watch it was actually only 2.53 miles and I finished in 50:53 (last year Hubs said I took about an hour and fifteen minutes). I was talking with a couple of women at the start line who had never done something like this before. I told them it's a blast and that this one is my favorite. I caught back up with them about 2/3rds of the way through in the woods and they said they're definitely coming back next year, they were having a ton of fun. So I told them about the one I'm doing in August and they may be going to that one too.

 

I have a non-visible but kinda painful bruise on my right inner thigh and a scrape down my left knee but other than that no worse for wear. This was the first real test of my trail running shoes and overall they did great. I had way more traction climbing the creek banks than I did before but being "waterproof" means that when you're in water up to your waist they fill with water and don't let them out later so I had to stop and squeeze water out of the toe box after each creek crossing. And even though they don't have inserts my heel with PF feels really good. It's about the same soreness I'd get from a higher than normal step day with my good walking shoes.

 

The weather was amazing for the race. We'd been hanging around in the 90F's for the last few weeks which is just miserable but it cooled down Friday and stayed cool all weekend. As I was driving home after the race my car said it was 76F, perfect!

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Sounds like a really fun race. I really wish they had more of these around me, because I want do some more.

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Trail Trek

 

The local trails network puts on this bike ride every year. They have distances from ~8 miles to ~50. Last year we did a 16 mile ride but got back before they started serving lunch so we went out and did the 8 mile route also rather than wait around. This year we did the 25 mile route plus the ride to actually get to the starting area and back home. My little city has a surprisingly nice trail system, we started on the northwest corner and rode to the southeast and back a different route pretty much entirely on nice wide bike trails. The weather was cloudy and cool which was absolutely perfect! I actually turned off the ac in our house and opened the windows all day, I think the high was 76F. About 10ish miles in we went up a LLLLOOOONNNNGGGG hill that 2 years ago on my first long bike event almost killed me. It was where a friend actually offered me his asthma inhaler I sounded so bad. This year, zero issues! I actually kept my breathing under control through the entire ride. I couldn't believe the difference from that ride two years ago.

 

 

In total we did 30.6 miles in 3 hours 45 minutes (including stops for a snack and lunch). I've apparently been watching too much of that BBC show I talked about earlier because for the last half of the ride I kept thinking "Man, my thighs are knackered!". But I'm walking today so that's a plus :)

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What an amazing weekend. Well done on the OCR and the trail ride. You completely Rangered this weekend.

 

1 hour ago, Maigahane said:

I was talking with a couple of women at the start line who had never done something like this before. I told them it's a blast and that this one is my favorite. I caught back up with them about 2/3rds of the way through in the woods and they said they're definitely coming back next year, they were having a ton of fun. So I told them about the one I'm doing in August and they may be going to that one too.

 

This is excellent. I love that you were recruiting more people to OCR on the course!

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Just so you all don't get a too inflated sense of how badass I am, this also happened this weekend:

 

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Week 4 Weekend

 

Ugh, I fell off the rails eating this weekend. Not completely horrible but not good. I didn't log anything so lets see if I can remember what I ate

 

Friday -

Breakfast: PB&J Oatmeal

Snack: carrots and greek yogurt dip, large cookie

Lunch: leftovers...ramen I think

Snack: TWO MORE large cookies

Dinner: large fries from McD's in BBQ sauce

 

Saturday -

Breakfast: PB&J Oatmeal

Snack: half a banana, oatmeal cream pie

Lunch: two bowls of cereal

Snack: two plain tortillas (if you can't tell I desperately needed to go grocery shopping at this point)

Snack: two peanutbutter cups, possibly an oatmeal cream pie, I really don't remember for sure

Dinner: frozen burrito thingy

 

Sunday -

Breakfast: Taco Bell crunchwrap

Snack: granola bar

Lunch: PB&J, veggie wrap, chips, two cookies

Dinner: two bowls of curry

Snack: 1/2 a pint of black cherry ice cream

 

So yeah, no ridiculous binging but also not the healthiest of foods. I did a bad job planning food for the end of this week and I really didn't feel like cooking the stew that was the one meal I had ingredients for by Friday. I realized after the fact that every meal I planned for this week is less than healthy too. I need to talk with hubs and figure out meals that are easy, healthy(ish), and that we both are okay eating for the days that I really don't feel like cooking.

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Week 4 Wrap up

 

Food - Was pretty bipolar last week. I had a failed experiment for breakfast Monday which led to me being very hungry and eating TWO oatmeal cream pies, one of which I definitely didn't need. Then Friday I was not up to cooking dinner so we got fast food (actually now that I think about it, we were going to go to a nice restaurant but forgot how busy it would be on a Friday night so we gave up and hit the drive through). I had a couple of days of eating too few calories mixed with a day or two of eating at my goal.

 

Cardio - I purposely took this week off from my cardio goal because of my eventful (event-full?) weekend. I did a long bike ride Sunday and my mudrun Saturday

 

Strength - again, I purposely took the week off. So I did my big lifts day Sunday and my mudrun Saturday. All the days in between were non-strenuous walks at most

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Challenge Wrap up

 

Food - The goal of this challenge was to beat the "Snacking Demon". It is certainly not dead but I have a good idea of what I need to do now to finish it off. Larger breakfasts and lunches keep me satiated so I'm not wanting to rage-eat the entire kitchen when I get home from work. I experimented a bit with trying to stick to a macros goal and will keep this up for a while longer. I also think I need to raise my goal calories from 1600 to 1700. If I stick to about three days in a row of 1600 calories I'm starving by dinner on the third day which makes me think I'm just slightly under-eating.

 

Cardio - I'm still struggling with this goal because I just don't enjoy running....at all. Especially not in the summer heat. But I want to be able to run when I do my OCR's and not die. I'm really not sure how to best go about it.

 

Strength - I'm getting back into the groove of this one. I enjoy lifting even though I have to modify things because of my free gym's limitations. I like my plan of two days a week of the "Big Lifts" (BP, OHP, DL, and SQ) and a day of more accessory type work. I just need to have a better plan of what I will do on that third day since I felt like I was just floundering when I did it in week 3. 

 

Overall - I learned from my experiments this challenge and am putting that knowledge into action so I will call it a success. It wasn't perfect but if it had been that just means I set the bar too low

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Great job on the challenge and on the races.  You had a true bad-ass weekend, including the ice cream!  You did have perfect weather luckily for those races though.  It's great that you were able to see how much of a difference all your training has made. 

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