Thursday, February 28, 2019

Recipe: Zucchini Spaghetti Bowl

Zucchini Spaghetti Bowl
Zucchini Spaghetti Bowl
  • 1 cup cooked zucchini (spiral zucchini and lightly cook for 2 minutes with 1 tsp oil) 
  • 1⁄2 cup(s) cooked quinoa
  • 6 oz cooked 99% fat-free ground turkey breast
  • 1 medium fresh tomato(es), dice and cook into ground turkey
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 1⁄4 cup sliced fresh radish(es)
  • 1⁄4 cup shredded carrot(s)
  • 1⁄3 cup edamame (shelled)
  • Kimchi to taste
  • Sriracha hot sauce to taste
Makes one serving.

Abstinence Day 6: A Birthday Gift To Myself

Birthday Balloons
Happy birthday, to me!
For this project that I'm undertaking, to find abstinence and recovery from my addictions, the past six days have been a warm-up. To be sure, a successful warm-up! Involving navigating temptations, cravings, and urges to binge, and feeling proud when I did so. My Food Plan and my determination to achieve my goals kept me on track.

Today is my birthday, and this project of abstinence and recovery is my birthday gift to myself: To rid myself of the anxiety and burden of battling an eating disorder and addictions that I have carried with me for as far back into my childhood as I can remember.

By the time of my birthday next year, I want to be able to reflect on the past year, of not binge eating, eating healthier foods, feeling healthier, and getting rid of the anxiety, frustration, and negative feelings that result from an eating disorder and addictions.

My next steps are to continue what I've been practicing for the past six days: Eating according to my food plan: No sugar, no artificial sweetener; eating lots of unprocessed foods within my WW SmartPoint range; and eating processed foods only in the company of others. Sticking to that for a year is unimaginable to me today. But I'm on day six, and I know to just take this one day at a time until the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, and the months into a year. And somewhere along the way I'll have developed a habit out of this and I will not need to think about it constantly.

Birthday Blueberries!
A coworker gave me Birthday Blueberries!
Birthday Orange
A coworker gave me a Birthday Orange

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

WW Grocery List

Grocery Shopping
An important part of any healthy eating approach is to have plenty of go-to foods to eat. This prevents getting hungry (or rather, hangry) that can lead to a binge eating situation. Many of the times that I binge eat are because there are obstacles to having convenient, quick access to healthier food options.

This is my cheatsheet grocery shopping list of ZeroPoint foods that I try to keep on hand at all times.
  • Fruit/Veg
    • Vegetable sticks
    • Fruit - fresh, frozen, or canned (no syrup/sugar added)
    • Tomatoes (diced - for chili or sauce)
    • Applesauce with cinnamon (no sugar added)
    • Corn - fresh, frozen, or canned
  • Beans/Dairy
    • Beans (canned - any type)
    • Soy beans (shelled)
    • Yogurt: Greek fat-free plain, no-sugar added
    • Eggs (or egg/white substitute)
  • Meat/Fish
    • Chicken breast (ground 98% fat-free okay)
    • Turkey breast (ground 98% fat-free okay)
    • Fish - Canned tuna, salmon fillet, etc.
    • Broth (fat free)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Books: Recommended Reading

Here is my recommended reading list of books I have read about healthy eating that I think are worth reading:
I also have a Goodreads book list of books about healthy eating and lifestyles.


In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World
Atkins for Life: The Complete Controlled Carb Program for Permanent Weight Loss and Good Health
Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution
The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why Lowering Your Cholesterol Won't Prevent Heart Disease-and the Statin-Free Plan That Will
Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health
Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat
The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body's Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You
Wired to Eat: How to Rewire Your Appetite and Lose Weight for Good
Never Binge Again: Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person
Obsessed: America's Food Addiction - And My Own
Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body
The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism in 21 Days and Burn Fat Forever
The Wellness Project: A Hedonist's Guide to Making Healthier Choices
Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics: A 10% Happier How-To Book
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions
Fast Food Genocide: How Processed Food is Killing Us and What We Can Do About It
How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease
The 22-Day Revolution: The Plant-Based Program That Will Transform Your Body, Reset Your Habits, and Change Your Life

Useful Websites

Terminology

Dictionary
For me it is important to define terminology, so that I know what I mean when I use certain terms.
  • Binge eating
    • Traditional definition: Consumption of large quantities of food in a short period of time, typically as part of an eating disorder.
    • My definition: Eating not in accordance with my Food Plan.
  • Abstinence or sobriety: Not binge eating.
  • Recovery: The period of abstinence, combined with a mental shift towards self-growth and actualization to treat the underlying issues causing the eating disorder.
References:

Monday, February 25, 2019

Abstinence Day 3: Hotel Buffets

I gave up diet soda and artificial sweetener on December 26, 2018, nearly two months ago. For the first week or two I counted the days since I had last had a diet soda. Now I do not even think about it. I am feeling very optimistic that I can do the same for binge eating, by staying on my Food Plan.

I'm travelling right now and staying in a hotel for a few days. The hotel room has a small kitchen, so in theory I could make my own food, but there is not a market nearby. The hotel has free breakfast, which is usually hit or miss, but this morning I was happy the hotel has hard boiled eggs and fresh fruit! Hard boiled eggs and fruit are two of my go-to foods, especially for breakfast.

Buffet

Lunch was at work: Chicken breast, veggies, beans, fruit, yogurt. Dinner is eating out: Fresh flat noodles with lamb (saved up all my SmartPoints for this). It was delicious, and follows my Food Plan. I also walked a lot today, so I'm feeling well exercised. I was quite proud of myself that several times I walked past delicious foods that I normally would have stopped and eaten in excess (cookies, etc.) and I really wasn't tempted because I knew it was incompatible with my Food Plan. I am looking forward to the eggs and fruit at breakfast again tomorrow.

Podcasts & YouTube Channels

I love listening to podcasts. They are a great way to make productive use of time while sitting in traffic or doing chores at home! Here is my list of podcasts that I listen to related to food, weight loss, and general health.
YouTube Channels:

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Abstinence Day 2: Let's Not Do A Cake This Year

One of the tricks I learned about food through Weight Watchers is to plan out one's food. This involves pre-tracking meals that one will eat during the day, including researching healthy options on restaurant menus. Pre-tracking creates food rules for the day, and makes sure that total food intake is within the plan. Today I pre-planned out a few meals for this week when I know I'll be eating out at restaurants.

One aspect of planning out food is to communicate with others what I can eat. This is important for social eating. My birthday is coming up, and so today I had to tell my mother not to get a cake for my birthday. A cake is an absolutely binge trigger food for me, and I need to aggressively avoid cake, especially early in my abstinence journey.
Let's not do a cake this year. I have to not eat sugar, and so I've cut that entirely out of the foods I eat, so it would be good to just skip the cake.
Mom agreed.

Birthday Cake

Breakfast today was eggs and green tea. Lunch was the Whole Foods buffet. Normally buffets might be trouble, but at Whole Foods there are so many ZeroPoint food options (salad, beans, lean protein) that it is a good place for a meal. I had a full large container of food: Melons, berries, beans, leafy greens, an egg, shredded carrots. I ran about 4 miles this afternoon and had a greek yogurt for a snack. Dinner is oatmeal with peanut butter.

Writing My Food Plan

I know I lack the willpower to abstain from binge eating. I need external help in achieving my abstinence goal. As I wrote when I defined my abstinence, I believe I have to turn over my food-related decisions to a Higher Power. Since I lack religious beliefs, my Higher Power is my Food Plan. I turn my decision making about food over to that set of rules.

Now I just have to come up with a Food Plan that is rigid enough that it will enable me to achieve my goal, but flexible enough that I will not become frustrated and easily fail.

I really like the approach to a Food Plan that the book Never Binge Again developed. The approach involves creating rules in four categories:
  • There are foods I will never eat again
  • There are behaviors I will always follow
  • There are foods I can eat unrestricted
  • There are foods I can eat under certain conditions
The book also suggested the following tips for writing an effective Food Plan:
  • Create rules that will be followed for life
  • The rules should be very clear and explicit, with no wiggle room or ambiguity
  • Start with easy to follow rules
  • Focus on elminating binge triggers first, and weight loss later
  • Start with the most problematical food(s) -- for me, this is sugar
  • Have enough options to not be hungry
  • Once developed, the Food Plan must be followed to the letter
  • Any violation of the Food Plan is a binge, and remission from abstinence
  • Following the Food Plan may be uncomfortable at times
Quitting bad food habits is hard because I have to keep eating something. I cannot just quit food entirely. This is why quitting food might be harder than quitting cigarettes or drugs.

In drafting my Food Plan, I knew the following concepts were important for me to integrate:
  • I used to have a habit of drinking three to five servings of diet soda a day. I gave up that habit on December 26, 2018, and haven't had a diet soda since. My main reason for giving up diet soda was to stop ingesting artificial sweeteners, and so on December 26, 2018 I also gave up adding artificial sweeteners to foods and beverages. I know I ingest some with sugar free gum, but that does not target a sweet tooth craving. Therefore, artificial sweeteners will be a never again food.
  • Sugar is the main cause of my binge eating disorder. My earliest memories as a child involve bingeing on sugar. And throughout my childhood and adulthood, bingeing on sugar-added foods has the primary issue with my food addiction. Therefore, I have to completely stop eating foods with sugar added. Sugar will be a never again food for me. The only sweet foods I will eat are fruits. 
  • Weight loss has been important to me, and as I previously mentioned, Weight Watchers has been the only weight loss strategy that has ever worked for me. Making sure I maintain my goal weight is important to me, and therefore incorporating WW into my Food Plan is important. I will always cap my daily eating at 28 SmartPoints (the max points for a blue dot in my WW plan).
  • Both on WW and with a binge eating Food Plan, I understand the importance of having unrestricted foods. When I'm hungry, I need to be able to eat something, otherwise I will binge eat. WW has a long list of unrestricted ZeroPoint foods, and I will adopt that list as my unrestricted foods. This includes all fruits and vegetables, beans, eggs, and lean meat like chicken breast and turkey breast. As WW says, these are foods I am unlikely to overeat.
  • My conditional foods are the hardest category. I need to exclude my binge triggers, and have rules that will stop me from bingeing, but also give myself flexibility to enjoy food and eat out with friends. The lawyer in me drafted a conditional statement and I can eat processed foods only under certain circumstances: 
    • First, they have to follow the above rules, so no foods added with sugar or artificial sweetener. 
    • Second, they have to be eaten with other people around. 
    • Third, they can only be eaten when no unprocessed or ZeroPoint foods are available, or for special occasions.
  • The primary foods that the above rules allow me to eat are unprocessed foods. That is my go-to for every meal.
In the future, I will evaluate if I want to incorporate intermittent fasting into my Food Plan.

Book: "Never Binge Again: Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person"

Never Binge Again: Reprogram Yourself to Think Like a Permanently Thin Person by Glenn Livingston (website).

eBook PDF available for free at this link!

The premise of the book is that we have "inner pigs" that cause us to binge eat bad foods ("slop"). We need to tame our pigs to avoid binge eating. I had a hard time with the pig analogy, but many of the other concepts in the book were meaningful to me. As other reviewers have said, it may help to suspend disbelief while reading the book, and focus on the elements that resonate with your experience.

My key takeaways are below.

Emotions

  • "It’s also why it seems like no matter how hard you try, you eventually find yourself eating in ways you swore you never would again. And it’s why you may feel demoralized, dejected, and hopeless about ever successfully dealing with food."
  • "Because in this book we’ll apply a very kindhearted, effective way to recover from mistakes without becoming preoccupied with guilt and shame."
  • "Bingeing transforms you into a wild animal. It rejects the laws of humanity and returns you to the jungle where life is brutish, chaotic, and short. Bingeing wipes out your spirit. Don’t spend years investigating WHY you Binge before you stop. Just stop."
  • "To Never Binge Again all you need to do is Never Binge Again. You do not need to repeatedly smack yourself in the head with a spatula to prove you’ve suffered enough."
  • "You do NOT need to know why you Binge. You just need to stop."
  • "Guilt and shame about Bingeing are uncomfortable emotions which quickly dissipate in the absence of a plan to Binge again. Much like the pain you feel after touching a hot stove, these feelings exist to help you learn…and they go away quickly once you’ve done so."
  • "most people report feeling somewhat “unconscious” during a Binge, almost as if another entity had “taken over.”"
  • "you can and should let go of the guilt and shame associated with Bingeing once you’ve analyzed the Squeals, corrected your Food Plan (if necessary,) and re-committed 100%…"
  • "whether you’ll choose a life of discipline versus a life of regret."

Relapse

  • "If you fall down, you’ll just get up and resume where you left off."
  • "a small Binge [will] snowball into a full-blown Food Orgy, and seriously undermines confidence in your ability to control yourself."
  • "What if you DO Binge? What then??? Simple: Analyze what happened, adjust your sails, and then NEVER Binge again."
  • "Making a mistake doesn’t invalidate the law. Your Food Plan remains law at every possible moment in time,"
  • "promptly forgive yourself and make a 100% confident, renewed commitment to perfectly follow your Food Plan forever. You are a fallible human being."
  • "A Binge is defined as even one bite or swallow outside of your carefully constructed Food Plan."

Eating Plan

  • Analogizing following a food plan to learning how to ride a bike: "And eventually—perhaps not on the first few tries—she WOULD make it…in large part because you protected her from becoming pre-occupied with the possibility of failure." and "If you make a mistake, you’ll just pick yourself up and get back to peddling in the right direction, speaking kindly to yourself the whole time."
  • On never eating certain foods again: "certain impulses are too strong to restrain when they’re given even a tiny opening."
  • The concept of "never": "If you can’t say you’ll NEVER do something again (or never engage in a particular food behavior again), the Pig knows it’s only a matter of time until it gains the upper hand. If we define a “Binge” as engaging in any eating behavior which contradicts your Food Plan, then at very minimum we must be able to say we will NEVER Binge again." and "“always” and “never” are sacred vows. They become something the Pig can’t assail, no matter how hard it tries, because the motives behind any Squeal suggesting an exception will be recognized immediately."
  • "Define your Food Plan with 100% clarity so you can tell with certainty when you are ON versus OFF it. A Binge = even one bite and/or swallow outside of your Food Plan. You will NEVER Binge again."
  • "Consuming even the most minuscule amount of Pig Slop —anything even remotely off of your well defined Food Plan—is, by definition, a Binge."
  • "When you stick to your Food Plan and nourish your body you will NOT die. But you won’t get a Food High either. You’ll just kill the Craving and go on with your day. This will NOT be exhilarating. You’ll experience life however life was meant to be on that particular day without a food high… But YOU will be 100% in control. This is the only way to get the results you want."
  • "If you find you’re repeatedly struggling with a food or drink in the Conditionals section, the odds are pretty good you need to move it to the Nevers. For many people, certain super-rewarding foods taste and feel too good to constrain with conditions and rules. But these same people—who may have struggled for years or even decades with a particular food—find it remarkably easy to NEVER have it again. Certainly much easier than the ongoing, painful search for that one “magic rule” which will let them have their cake and eat it too."
  • "Whole, unprocessed, organic plant foods—and a modest amount of organic animal protein—are the ONLY truly healthy foods for humans on this planet."
  • "Anything less than a 100% commitment is nothing more than the Pig’s plan to Binge."
  • "When you accept 90% compliance, you’re depriving yourself of the immense confidence and peace of mind which only 100% can bring. 100% is really the ONLY option."
  • "There’s absolutely NO need for “Cheat Days” and/or “Controlled Binges” on a well-considered Food Plan"

Counting Time

  • "Counting the number of days, months, or years it’s been since you last Binged is like counting how long you’ve been obeying the law. It’s actually harmful because it signals the Pig you are insecure and ambivalent about your commitment. There’s NO reason to count the number of days since you last Binged."

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Abstinence Day 1: One Day At A Time

I am hoping that yesterday's binge was my last. I have said that hundreds of times, but I have hope. I woke up feeling okay, went for a 3 mile run, and have been staying very hydrated with water and green tea. I did a mini 14 hour fast (skipping breakfast), lunch will be eggs, oatmeal, with a bit of peanut butter. And I will stick with ZeroPoint foods the rest of the day.

Today I had strong urges to binge and eat foods that I should stay away from. I'm proud of myself for making it through one day.

Intermittent Fasting

I have read a lot about the benefits of intermittent fasting (“IF”, e.g., 16:8 method). The first number (e.g., 16) describes the number of fasting (non-eating) hours, which can include sleep time. The second number (e.g., 8) describes the number of feeding (eating) hours. Many people implement 16:8 intermittent fasting by simply skipping breakfast.

As I got close to my goal weight using WW, I implemented intermittent fasting into my routine, primarily to get my blood sugar lowered as I have insulin resistance. My fasting windows were between 16 hours and 24 hours. I then stopped using intermittent fasting, but I am considering what role, if any, it could play in addressing binge eating disorder.

Pros
  • Provides a mechanism to force myself to avoid eating because I'm focused on a goal or rule of fasting
  • Develop impulse control
  • Give digestive system a rest between digestion cycles
  • Normalize blood sugar levels and avoid insulin swings that lead to cravings
Cons
  • May lead to binge eating during the "feast" window
There are a lot of different ways to do intermittent fasting, and many different views on what foods are allowed to be eaten during a fast. These are the rules I follow:

  • Water, tea, and coffee (black) are encouraged
  • Non-fat broth is permitted
  • No other food or drink is permitted

Lifeomic has developed an app called the Life Fasting Tracker for IOS and Android that I like a lot for tracking intermittent fasting. It is simple, free, and has a social component.

As I develop my Food Plan, I integrated intermittent fasting (16:8) into my plan as an "Always" rule, a minimum of one day a week.

Lifeomic "Life" Intermittent Fasting App
Lifeomic "Life" Intermittent Fasting App

Website: "Physiqonomics"

Physiqonomics

At some point in my searching the internet for solutions to my problem I came across the Physiqonomics website. I read a few of Aadam's articles, and soon realized I needed to read all of his articles, like a book. So I opened each one in a web browser window, and started reading. Key take-aways that were helpful for me:
  • Intermittent Fasting - 16:8; helps develop impulse control.
  • Keep calm and carry on.
  • Break negative feedback loop cycles (i.e., binge-fast-binge) with disruption. Stop the loop.
  • Prevention: Pre-tracking food in a log, building healthy routines and habits.
  • Be strategic in eating, even on spike (high calorie) days.
  • Strength training: Focus on compound moves - Bench, squat, deadlift.
Aadam also has a very informative and active presence on instagram and twitter.

Book: "Obsessed: America's Food Addiction - And My Own"

Obsessed: America's Food Addiction - And My Own, by Mika Brzezinski

Mika's book introduced me to the concept of control, as it relates to food and eating.

Being in control makes me feel:
  • happy
  • optimistic
  • proud
  • healthy 
Being out of control makes me feel:
  • like bingeing
  • stressed
  • feel bad / guilty
  • disappointed
  • unhealthy
Mika was a compulsive eater, and compulsive exerciser to counteract the effects of the food. She was trying to outrun her diet, which never works well. Once she exerted control over food, she overcame her eating disorder. 

I thought she did not do an adequate job explaining how she mastered control over food. But her book gave me optimism that what I needed to find was the ability to control what I ate, and once I found that control I would have success over my eating disorder.

Defining Abstinence

Goal

My goal is to achieve abstinence from binge eating. I need to define what my goal means in clear, measurable terms.

My goal of abstinence from binge eating is defined as following my food plan. Relapse is not following my food plan.

My Food Plan

Although I am not religious, I do agree with the tenants of Overeater's Anonymous that I am powerless over food, my life has become unmanageable, and only by turning my relationship with food over to a Higher Power can I free myself from my addiction.

This article about Overeater's Anonymous helped me understand that a food plan can be one's Higher Power, especially for someone like me who is not religious. My food plan will be my Higher Power.

My food plan can be amended over time.

Success with my food plan is not defined as 100% adherence to the plan (perfection), but rather making progress with the plan. (see Finish by Jon Acuff for more on the importance of progress rather than perfection). If I fail to follow the plan, I have relapsed, but that does not mean the plan is worthless.

The book Never Binge Again was instrumental in helping me understand that if I do not follow my food plan, that relapse does not invalidate the plan altogether. I just pick right back up where I left off.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Abstinence Day 0: Hundreds of Last Binges

Today was a typical binge: I ate a healthy breakfast and lunch at work, and managed to avoid strong cravings and temptations this afternoon. But when I came home from work, I lost control: Peanut butter, ice cream, cereal, a large burrito, and then I went to Target and bought the $1.99 box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies (a childhood favorite of mine). Outside the store, I put four of the cookies in my pocket and threw away the rest of the box. I ate all four in the ten minutes it took me to walk home. And despite all that food, I still wanted more.

Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pies

I have had hundreds of "last binges." I do not know if this will be my last or not. But as I approach my 44th birthday next week, which represents my goal quitting-cold-turkey abstinence date, I have newfound motivation to stop binge eating.

Weight Watchers

I have separately written about my experience on Weight Watchers (rebranded "WW"). I will integrate some of that content into this blog.

I am a lifetime member of WW, meaning that I achieved and maintained my goal weight. Following WW helped me lose nearly 40 pounds.

WW provides me with a mechanism (SmartPoints) to quantify my eating, and hold myself accountable. SmartPoints act as a motivation to avoid bingeing, and teach me what foods I can eat when I am hungry. But I still struggle and have binge eating days. I am working on learning what triggers me to binge eat, and develop skills and tools to avoid bingeing when I am triggered.

I have read that diets and food restriction is counterproductive for addressing eating disorders. I have to focus on other strategies to find abstinence from my food addiction. I hope to be able to continue using WW to keep my weight at a healthy weight and focus my eating on healthy foods. WW is a very integral part of my overall healthy eating strategy, as it guides me about what foods I should eat, and how much.

I have found the following points to be the keys to my success on WW:
  1. WW is the only diet that has worked for me. Eating within my point range is all I need to do to achieve and maintain my goal weight.
  2. Weight loss through managing food intake is vastly more effective and efficient than attempting to do the same through exercise.
  3. WW is about improving healthy habits over time. An occasional lapse, binge day, or strategic break from tracking will not reverse a weight loss trend.
  4. In case of a lapse, resume the WW plan immediately. Never punish.
  5. Be strategic with eating and exercise: Pre-track food especially when eating out; have easy access to low-point foods; enjoy lean proteins; focus on high benefit exercises like strength training and high intensity interval training.
I am going to repeat here some tips I had posted elsewhere about achieving success on WW:
  1. Be very strategic about eating, and view every meal as an opportunity to further your goal. Research and pretrack meals (especially if eating out). Rely on freestyle zero-point foods and a lot of hydration. Have some easy go-to meals and low-point items you order at restaurants.
  2. Find out what number of points work for you. For me, I found that if I ate all my dailies, I would lose weight. If I also ate my weeklies, I would maintain; and if I ate my FitPoints, I would gain weight.
  3. Take some days off. Don't stress about Thanksgiving and Christmas, a special occasion day, or an indulgence while on vacation. And if you fall off the wagon and eat all the Halloween candy, just pick right back up the next day and resume the plan. 
  4. Build a community of supporters. This can be at WW workshops, friends and family, and online through Connect. This can also be watching YouTube videos about WW, or listening to WW-related podcasts.
  5. Envision what success looks and feels like, and what overeating looks and feels like. Is that high-points food really worth delaying your goal?
  6. Finally, most people on WW are trying to lose weight. But following the WW points plan is really about making better food choices by nudging us away from high-point sugar and fats and towards lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.

Video: "The West Wing"

I am a huge fan of The West Wing TV show. I've watched the whole series through several times. One of the main characters, Leo McGarry, was the Secretary of State. He was also an alcoholic, and that played into several of the storylines. There were two episodes where he discussed his alcoholism.

The West Wing

Years later when I realized I had a sugar addiction and binge eating disorder, these scenes resonated with me and helped me understand how people suffering from all addictions, including food, are powerless against their diseases. The way Leo described feeling towards alcohol is how I feel about food. Quotes are below, with links to the YouTube videos of the scenes.
"I'm an alcoholic. I don't have one drink. I don't understand people who have one drink. I don't understand people who leave half a glass of wine on the table. I don't understand people who say they've had enough. How can you have enough of feeling like this? How can you not want to feel like this longer? My brain works differently."
"I don't get drunk in front of people I get drunk alone."
Q: Is that why you drank and took drugs?
A: I drank and took drugs because I'm a drug addict and an alcoholic.
Q: How long did it take you to get cured?
A: I'm not cured. You don't get cured. I haven't had a drink or a pill in six and a half years, which isn't to say I won't have one tomorrow.
Q: What would happen if you did?
A: I don't know. But probably a nightmare the likes of which both our fathers experienced, and me too.
Q: And so after six and a half years you're still not allowed to have a drink?
A: The problem is I don't want a drink. I want ten drinks.
Q: Are things that bad?
A: No
Q: Then why?
A: Because I'm an alcoholic.
Q: I don't understand.
A: I know. It's okay. Hardly anyone does. It's very hard to understand.




Goals

For as long as I can remember, I have lived with an eating disorder. I have binge eating disorder, which has occupied my relationship with food. I do not know what is the cause.

My earliest memories as a child involve sugar addiction: Hiding in a closet eating cubes of sugar from the coffee supplies.

I have often found myself in the snack room at work stuffing myself with cookies and candy, all without caring what they tasted like. Or, in the parking lot at the grocery store hiding in my car eating an entire box of cookies. I have often eaten a filling dinner, and then gone through the fast food drive-through for a second dinner, even though I was not hungry.

Gretchen Rubin taught me that I am an abstainer. When I see a box of cookies, I have a binary choice of eating either no cookies, or bingeing on the entire box. In contrast, moderators can have a few cookies and walk away from the rest. I know this is also true of alcohol and drugs, not just sweets. I am an abstainer (all or nothing), not a moderator. 


Cookies

When I binge eat, I feel a loss of control, unable to physically stop myself. Through therapy, I learned I have had an addiction to sugar since I was a child. Although therapy was helpful in surfacing and discovering my issues with binge eating and sugar addiction, I lacked the tools I needed to overcome those challenges and successfully lose weight. I continued to suffer through the physical and mental effects of blood sugar highs even though I knew exactly what caused them.

Even when I successfully used Weight Watchers to lose nearly 40 pounds and achieve my goal weight, I was still binge eating.

Next week I turn 44. As a birthday present to myself, I want to free myself from my addiction to food that been all-consuming and debilitating, and unhealthy physically and mentally.

Hello

Hello. I have binge eating disorder and an addiction to food.
Binge eating disorder and food addiction has been a large aspect of my overall relationship with food. I have found myself in the snack room at work stuffing myself with cookies, candy, peanut butter cups ... without even caring what they tasted like. I have been in the parking lot at the grocery store hiding in my car eating an entire box of cookies. Girl Scout Cookies represent a nearly insurmountable challenge, and every year after the boxes of cookies were distributed I would find myself eating an entire box in one sitting. I have often eaten a filling healthy dinner, and then gone through the fast food drive-through for a second dinner, even though I was not hungry.

When I binge eat, I feel a loss of control, unable to physically stop myself. Through therapy, I learned I have had an addiction to sugar since I was a child. Although therapy was helpful in surfacing and discovering my issues with binge eating and sugar addiction, I lacked the tools I needed to overcome those challenges and successfully lose weight. I continued to suffer through the physical and mental effects of blood sugar highs even though I knew exactly what caused them.