Author: Ben

09
Aug
2019

Another torrid week

I’m feeling pretty discouraged at the moment.

This week started badly. Binged in front of the F1 on Sunday night. Actually gave up on watching the race, because I was struggling to stay awake and ridiculously full. Had a fairly big all-day binge on Wednesday as well. Today (Friday) I ate all the food I’d packed for work by 10:30am, plus some extra cake and biscuits, then made sure I ate plenty at lunch and afternoon tea as well.

Being depressed about how I’ve been eating is leading to a vicious cycle of eating more to try and not feel depressed and I’m beginning to wonder how much of my eating these days is actually ‘extreme hunger’ and how much is just me feeling totally depressed and empty inside, and wondering if it’s all worth it, and if I didn’t have a wife and daughter relying on me, would this be a good time to ‘take the open door‘?

I want to talk about positive things. Learning guitar. I bought one. It arrived Tuesday and I’ve had a couple of brief attempts at working through some beginner lessons. I want to talk about the correlation between eating disorders and an over-fixation on health and body image, my loss of identity (apart from fitness) since having a child, and how learning guitar is an attempt to reinvent myself, and find other means of evaluating my self worth.  But of course if I fail at learning it, this might backfire.

It does seem as if it is taking less food to actually feel satisfied and stop a binge. Maybe that’s progress, I don’t know. Or maybe it’s just because I’ve been making an effort to eat so much more earlier in the day, that I physically can’t fit much more in.

I hate to think what I weigh at the moment – it’s been two weeks since I last stepped on the scales. I think I look fat, and I think the tightness of most of my clothes is exacerbating that feeling. Maybe I need to go back to wearing more baggy clothes so I don’t have to deal with the constant reminder of how much weight I’ve gained.

And now it’s after 10pm, sitting here bloated after a big dinner, half a tub of gelato, countless biscuits, cakes, chocolates, chocolate brownie and hot chocolate drinks, I know it’s gonna be another hot, sweaty night of shit sleep and aggro with the wife and daughter and dog and I’m wondering when all this is going to end, who will I be when it does, and will I be happy with the person I’ve become?

02
Aug
2019

Another small step…..

I posted this on my Insta this morning, but as I’m trying to keep this blog kinda anonymous, I won’t link and will repost with a bit more detail here…

It may not be obvious but the difference in size and weight between these two bags is enormous.

I got the bag on the left in June 2017 in my Avatar Nutrition days. It’s an Innovator 500 by Six Pack Fitness. Let’s be prepared, I said. I loaded each compartment with different varieties of snacks, my own tea and coffee, protein powders and shakers, cutlery, as well as my standard lunch and the other foods I planned to eat for the day. I was gonna hit my macros come hell or high water!

I’ve been carrying this bag to work every day for two years. For the last few months or so I’ve not eaten anything out of it except my standard lunch. And it’s so big and unwieldy… I have to stop and wait for people in the hallway so I don’t bump into them with it, and given that I also carry a backpack with my laptop and other equipment in it, it’s a pain in the bum.

The stupid thing is, my lunch is only in it from the kitchen to the car, then the car to the fridge. I’m office bound most days, with access to a fridge, microwave, and a fair few shops within walking distance. So it’s completely unnecessary, but yaknow… habits.

Today I downsized and put my lunch into this smaller bag instead – it’s maybe a quarter of the size and weight. It might seem like a pretty minor thing, but this is another (small) step in the process to fixing my relationship with food. The smaller bag is so freeing – and ya know what? Food is just food. Meals don’t have to be perfect. If I’m hungry – I’ll go buy something. And in fact, I plan to – because shop bought sandwiches taste so much better than what I make at home, and actually, I might feel like a burger.

Don’t let food become a chain around your neck. Don’t let a fixation with your body size and shape ruin your life. I did, and I regret it so much. So many arguments at mealtimes, yelling at my wife and daughter because I was hangry, avoiding social and family events because the food didn’t suit me, or (worse) attending and starving myself because I refused to eat sausages because OMG SO MUCH FAT… or compulsively walking day in and day out to try and burn off the calories and make sure I stay lean.

It was a pale imitation of a life and it’s one that I refuse to live any more. Food is good. All of it. It’s there to be enjoyed. My body is the least interesting thing about me. It really is – and the benefits of eating enough food to fuel my body are evident in my energy levels, my gym performance, and my overall happiness.

That’s not to say I want to get fat again, or that I don’t care what I eat. And it’s true that I’m bigger than I want to be right now. But this is all part of the process of attaining balance in my life, and some sort of peace with food.

I refuse to diet again until I am confident I can do it without turning into a monster. Til then, I’ll just have to live with how I look. It’s really far less important than how I act and how I feel.

30
Jul
2019

Good and bad

I haven’t had a great couple of days, to be honest.

I had a birthday last week, and enjoyed some cake and slices and generally had a really good day.

But we’ve had a sick puppy on our hands, so a bit of extra stress and sleep deprivation has taken its toll – at least that’s my excuse. On Sunday night I fell into old habits and hit the dessert hard in front of the F1, and then followed that up with another giant feast on Monday.

I don’t really feel any guilt over it any more, which is good. On the contrary, I’ve been using the feasts as opportunities to conquer my fear foods. I can honestly say that I’m no longer scared of eating takeaway burgers, having had three (plus a few other takeaway meals) in the last week.

I’ve also started on the chocolate milk. On Sunday night (pre-dinner) I stared at it in the supermarket for ages; looked at the nutrition info on two or three types; put them all back and didn’t buy any. I feel as if that may have triggered my overeating later that night. But I actually had one yesterday during the binge, and another today, and have one more in the fridge for the next time I want it. Pretty soon I won’t be scared of this either. Chocolate bars are another that I’m starting to knock over. Enjoyed a double coat Cherry Ripe yesterday and ate half a Snickers before bed – honestly thought I’d be sick if I ate any more or I’d have finished it!

For funsies, here’s photos of some foods I’ve eaten today. Obviously this is not a balanced diet. But if it helps me normalise these foods in my stupid brain; it’s worth it.

Lunch – takeaway wrap and a takeaway chicken kebab. Yes, I did have some ‘safe’ foods with it still (salad and yoghurt/berries).

Snack – I’ve wanted to try one of these for ages. Verdict – overrated. I should have had actual chocolate milk.

More snacks. This chocolate milk is the shiznit. I know I shouldn’t look at the macros because it’s proper full fat milk. But damn it tastes good.

I ate the chocolate chip muffin with some proper (not low calorie) vanilla ice cream; proper chocolate topping and a hot decaf mocha. And by jingo, it was good.

So that’s been my day today. I haven’t binged and have eaten unrestricted; no doubt I was in a calorie surplus but I’m feeling comfortably satisfied. Let’s hope tomorrow is another day like this one.

 

24
Jul
2019

Recovery Progress Update

I feel like most of my posts lately have been fairly negative reports about what I have been calling binges (but are really extreme hunger). Today I received a nice email from J who has been reading my posts here, and while it was kinda nice to know that other people are reading and finding it helpful (thanks, J!) it reminded me that this is also supposed to be some sort of record of how I’m going, not just a neverending catalogue of my eating habits.

So, it’s time for a review of my symptoms and where I’m at with addressing them.

  • As noted, I don’t track or weigh my food at all any more. I don’t obsess about perfect macros, I still try to get 30g of protein in every meal particularly after a training session, but really – close enough is good enough. A decent helping of meat and maybe some yoghurt or eggs if I’m in doubt, and everything is happy.
  • I don’t look at nutrition labels very much these days. Every now and again I do, mostly just for interest’s sake, but it’s not usually a compulsion. Although I did look at the label on an AMAZING cookie I ate the other day… AFTER I’d eaten it. And since then I have been scared to buy that cookie again, even though it was so darn good – so clearly I still have some work to do here. But that being said, I can eat out at a restaurant without fear or favour these days. I even had a burger and chips the other night, and enjoyed them with no guilt.
  • I am getting better at not restricting food all day, most definitely. I have been working with a dietician who has really drummed into me that I need to eat every 2-3 hours whether I’m hungry or not, and sticking to this has really helped me become far less food focussed. Also, and this should be common sense, but I’ve realised that if I’m not starving at dinner time, I’m in a far better mood to be spending time with my family, and I’m far less likely to want to eat a half a dozen servings of dessert afterwards. Which is great, because it leaves me time to spend on other, productive habits. So, my suppers these days tend to be very small, if anything at all – and I think that cutting back on that evening splurge, as well as moving to lifting in the morning again, has really helped me sleep better too so it’s a win all round.
  • Refusal to eat non-healthy food? Nup, nada. I still try to eat ‘clean’ 80% of the time (because there’s nothing wrong with caring about your health) but I can’t remember a single day when I haven’t had some kind of chocolate, cake or biscuit in the past couple of months. And that’s kinda taken care of the fear of excess carbs/fat as well…..
  • Multiple trips to the supermarket every week? Rarely happens. I make do with what’s in the fridge or in the cupboard, and quite often if I can’t be bothered making lunch I’ll go to the bakery (or the takeaway) and buy a bloody sandwich. Imagine that!
  • Seasoning foods? I don’t do it anywhere near as much now – half the time I don’t bother, if a food isn’t tasty enough to eat without seasoning then perhaps I shouldn’t be eating it? But yaknow… chips need salt, salad needs mayo, and I even had sweet chilli sauce on my noodles last night. 3 months ago that would have been unthinkable because OH, the CAARRBS! The SUGAR! I do still use 99% fat free dressings, and having been watching a lot of Megsy Recovery lately, it’s reminded me that this is something I need to address. Same as my fat free yoghurt obsession.
  • Microwaving tea and coffees? Nup. Nada. Can’t remember the last time I did it. Although I do occasionally now make a frothy coffee, with lots of milk, and I do warm that up first. Because it’s the closest thing to a latte that I can make at home.
  • Bullguarding food? No, not really. I do still get a bit moody at mealtimes if I’m super hungry – but mostly I combat this by trying to never let my hunger get below about a 3 on the hunger scale.
  • Craving carbs? Well yeah… as I’ve posted many times, my extreme hunger almost always involves some carb heavy food. But the erythritol out of the packet thing… nope. When I committed to gaining weight, I completely dropped artificial sweeteners from my drinks and went back to beautiful, lovely, sweet tasting raw sugar. I might have used erythritol or stevia two or three times in the past few months, the thought barely crosses my mind.
  • Compulsions to move? Well no, not really. I still like to have a bit of a walk after lunch, but I don’t do it if I don’t feel like it, or the weather’s bad, or if I have lots of work to do. Since taking the Fitbit off I’ve felt the most free I’ve felt in a long time. I still get into the gym and lift weights – lots – but that’s something I enjoy even when I don’t feel like it.
  • I’ve cut back on supplements a lot. Nowadays I’m down to 3 that I take regularly (creatine, vitamin D, and digestive enzymes) as well as a few actual medications. Most of the others are still in my stash but just get ignored.
  • My bladder has been much improved since I gained weight and stopped drinking so much black coffee.
  • I’m still a bit obsessed with gut health – partly because of the huge quantities of food I’ve been slamming at times, I feel like making sure my digestive system can handle it is probably not an awful issue to have right now.
  • Extreme hunger – if you read this blog at all you know it’s still an issue. But I’m coming to terms with it.

After throwing this post together in a bit of a hurry, I feel like there’s far more positive things going on than negative, even if I still feel out of control around food at times. Things to focus on are finding better ways to deal with stress than eating (last week was… very bad in this respect) and making sure I don’t restrict. At all. Just eat when hungry and move on with life. And there are fear foods I need to work on. Chocolate milk is a classic that I haven’t mastered yet. But I will get there.

Lots of positive things going on in my life outside of the food world. Work is going fairly well, and I feel more productive than I have in a long time. We have a beautiful new puppy at home, and I just signed a contract to build a new gym in our backyard – soon I will have a lot more space for my man cave. It’s my birthday later this week, and we have some fun stuff planned including a nice night out and meal with the family.

Life is good.

24
Jul
2019

Extreme Hunger – it subsides

So after 4 days of actual binges, I spent the next few days trying to eat heartily without restriction and have not had any more episodes of ‘uncontrollable’ eating, although I did eat enough to make myself actually vomit on Monday night.

Things are getting back to normal now. Hate to think what I weigh – but that’s not important. As I said to the dietician – the number on the scale doesn’t scare me any more. I do care how I look, and how my clothes fit, but that’s about it right now.

18
Jul
2019

From Hero to Zero

Had dinner at the in-laws on Sunday night, on our way home from the weekend away. I skipped the ice cream for dessert, with the intention of having something sweet at home.

Yep, did that alright. Ate a ton of desserts, cereal and everything I could get my hands on, and binged every day since – three and a half days of completely uncontrolled eating. Today (Thursday) is the first day I feel like I’ve got some semblance of my normal diet back, and even then I’ve eaten more than usual just to avoid feeling restricted.

Without stepping on the scales, I feel like the entire mini cut was a waste as I’ve probably undone all that hard work. I’ve been fairly grumpy with the wife and daughter making me feel a total failure as a parent, and I pretty much hate myself at the moment.

Things were going so well…. sigh.

13
Jul
2019

Diet – day 13

So I haven’t posted in a while, mainly because I haven’t had much to report.

After 13 days I’ve managed to drop the weight that I’d hoped to, my body composition is looking far better, and I’ve managed to avoid binges the whole time – but it’s been a close thing the last couple of nights. I’ve done a lot of meal skipping in the last week, and some of the old tendencies are really wanting to come back, but in a perfect piece of timing we have gone away for the night to a hotel in the mountains and I’d planned to either stop dieting or at the very least take a break this weekend anyway.

As I type this from the hotel it’s snowing outside, I’m sitting in front of a warm fire with a belly full of restaurant steak and apple crumble and ice cream and feeling more full than I have in weeks. To top it off I absolutely smoked some lifting PRs in the gym this morning before we left, and I’ve managed to spend an entire afternoon and evening cooped up with my wife and a precocious four year old without biting anyone’s head off (yet).

Right now, I’m satisfied. Not sure where to go from here, I’d like to be leaner but summer is months away and there’s no point rushing. Better to keep trying to find that sweet spot of sustainable eating and keep banishing the disordered thoughts some more.

Appointment with dietician next week. She probably won’t be impressed that I’ve restricted, but the fact it’s stopped the binges is a good thing from my point of view. I guess now we see what happens once I start adding back highly palatable foods again. But no point worrying about that right now. Just gonna sit back, stay warm, try to destress and enjoy the time away. At this moment, life’s good.

24
Jun
2019

Diet. Day 1.

So if you read my last post, you’d know that the binges hit a peak 10 days ago. I actually ended up having 3 big ones in six days (Wed/Fri/Sun).

The following week I made it through the whole working week without one, and was very pleased, until I let it all hang out on Saturday night and went berserker. That cemented my decision that I need to put the brakes on for a while, and perhaps as a last hurrah, I had a little bit of a dessert feast last night (Sunday night) as well.

So  here we are, it’s Monday the 24th of June, and my plan is to diet for 3-4 weeks at most to get myself feeling and looking a little more athletic, before I try and attempt this ‘normal person eating’ thing again.

Perhaps this is a relapse. Perhaps this is a bad idea. I don’t know. But eating lots of everything doesn’t seem to have stopped me from losing control so perhaps relearning some discipline with myself will be helpful.

It’s slightly uncharted territory as it’s really only the second time I’ve attempted to lose weight without tracking calories/macros, and it’s the first time I’ve tried without the Fitbit. I’ve also got some slight changes to my diet in mind, including trialling a low carb breakfast (mostly eggs/cheese/meat), which will be interesting, and also a bit of a challenge to a fear food. I’ve always loved eggs (and some types of cheese) but always been fearful of the fat content. So there could be some good come from it as well.

This is gonna be interesting…..

 

15
Jun
2019

I’m done

No, it’s not what you think. I’m not done with recovery from this disordered eating shite, and I’m not done with life. But I’m done with my bulk, and let me explain.

It’s now Saturday night and I’ve had two more crazy binges this week – one on Wednesday night (in a fit of depression and loneliness, after hurting myself a bit in the gym) and one at work yesterday afternoon, for no real reason that I can think of except I just wanted to eat some nice food. And boy, did I ever. Dinner was supposed to be a pastie but ended up being soup, because I was so stuffed.

I’m not beating myself up about this, in fact I’m slightly proud of the fact that even though I had the urge to lift last night (cos yaknow… burning calories as compensation, plus I could send at least some of them toward building muscle, right?) I didn’t. I sat on my arse on the couch and spent a little time with my (long suffering) wife. Faffed about on Facebook and YouTube. Shed a few tears over an acquaintance from many years ago who recently passed away. Drank hot chocolate. Slept.

I weighed myself this morning (yes, I’m doing that again, but it’s not compulsive, just when I feel like it) and it was pretty much what I expected. But again, no big deal. I skipped breakfast (honestly…. truly… I wasn’t hungry), I did my chores, and I got a great training session in before having a big lunch, a nice afternoon, and the pastie for dinner (which was super good, thanks for asking).

But to the main point of my post – I am big enough now that I’m feeling sluggish and lazy, I had to order a new belt yesterday, and I said when I hit this weight that I’d be done with gaining. Also – I think I’ve let these feasts become a habit, and while I totally think they were necessary for me to get eating my fear foods again, I also think I’ve let my disorder become an excuse and allowed myself to slip into bad habits of snacking and not eating mindfully.

So this week is a new start – time to break the snacking habit, attempt to maintain this weight for a week or so, and then do a quick mini cut to drop some of the fat. Four weeks at most. If I lose a third of the weight I’ve gained in the past couple of months it’d be a miracle, especially as I intend to do it without tracking and without going too hungry. But I think I can get to a place where I’m happy with my physique and able to maintain it without feeling deprived all the time, unlike the last few years.

It’s a new phase of this journey and I’m looking forward to it a lot. Dieting on higher calories with no Fitbit and no off limit foods. Many would say I shouldn’t be dieting at all, but I’m a rule breaker who’s come a long way. If it causes some of the old issues to resurface, I know what I’ve gotta do, but I’m sure I can do this. Wish me luck!

 

 

 

06
Jun
2019

Desserts #2 – Now With Added Cereal

So I was feeling pretty down last night (after a particularly stressful day at work), and after kidlet went to bed I kicked off again, that’s twice in 3 days. My food journal is a dumpster fire of ice cream, puddings and Frosties. Oh, that honey flavoured corn flake goodness.

I had a training session planned and I even considered skipping that so I could lie on the couch and wallow in self pity. I didn’t, which was good. I felt a little less fat and bloated afterwards. Til I had my post training hot chocolate, biscuit and yoghurt. Then I felt like a beached whale again.

Today hasn’t been a good day either. The Frozen soundtrack was playing on my drive to work, and I decided to have a singalong, but instead of cheering me up it had me bawling my eyes out.

What’s more concerning, maybe, is that I had nawt but a coffee and a can of Monster for breakfast, a can of Pepsi Max for lunch, and didn’t let my first solid meal pass my lips until 4pm. And that was just a bowl of greek yoghurt with some fruit and muesli.

Sure, it could legitimately be said that I wasn’t hungry at breakfast time and not eating was a good example of listening to my body. But by morning tea time I was thinking about food a fair bit and by lunchtime I was definitely a little hungry – but I still decided to restrict and compensate.

Psychologically, I’m feeling pretty fucking delicate right now. It doesn’t help that my weight has almost hit the ceiling I set for this bulk (a week or two earlier than I want) and I’m almost unable to get my belt done up on the last hole, and I’m trying to avoid buying another one. But I really don’t want to be falling back into these old habits of fasting and restricting right now.