IE Brain Swirl

Why do people think the scale is bad but don’t think millions of mirrors (at the gym) are bad?

What set me up to ‘comfort’ myself with food?  Could it have been the fact that my parents always had to have a second bottle of formula warmed up and ready to go so that when I finished the first bottle they could give me the second before I started screaming?  Is this an example of ‘imprinting’ behavior on a human  being?

Well, as you can see, I am working my way through the ‘Do You Use Food to Cope?’ workbook.  I am determined to continue on and work through this (maybe last?) roadblock to permanent weight maintenance and peace with food.  This gal’s thoughts are pretty much in tune with the IE line of thought.  Its just that this book is obviously big on the food/emotion connection and is set up as a 15 week workshop to work through that.  Its almost funny that at the same time, I had an appointment with a counselor at work to talk about some of the things that are bothering me at work.  My FIRST EVER visit to a counselor!  So what was funny was that I said I wanted to talk about this specific issue at work, and I wanted to talk about ‘I want to retire.’  So I guess I blathered on like I do here, and then she would say to me, now tell me about _____.  And I would think ‘what the heck, is she reading my mind?‘  But I had just mentioned something in passing and she picked up on that.  So we discussed A LOT more than what I went in for.  You know me.  I just wanted simple solutions to these two complex problems.  Anyways, between her and this darn book, its got me thinking about stuff that irritates/frustrates/stresses/angers me.  And wondering whether I should address these things a little more.  I just don’t want to be somebody who blathers every emotion they feel the moment they feel it.  Not necessary, IMO.

Okay.  Back to the IE stuff.  This book also tells you to get rid of the scale early on.  So I did.  Well, its still in the bathroom.  But its getting pretty dusty.  Now, a week or two ago, I was thinking this way:  I know my weight is up, but I don’t care.  Not as in ‘I don’t care, I’m gonna eat my way back up the scale to my ‘natural weight of 255’ (that’s a little IE humor.)  But as in, “I don’t care, I am a 55 year old woman who is very strong and has great endurance and eats an extraordinarily healthy diet.”  It felt really good to feel that way.  Very freeing.  But this week I feel a little more like, ‘uh, oh.  I am definitely gaining more weight than I want to.  Don ‘t like certain unnamed items of clothing being this tight.’  Interesting thing about IE and this book is that they are very firm on saying that your body will reach its natural weight, but they just refuse to address anything about what is a healthy weight.

But for now I am going to continue on this path.  It would be nice to not have to battle with myself  every time something stresses me out and I want to eat in response.  And I can see how if I could overcome this, I WOULD lose the weight again.  You simply can’t lose weight when you have a ‘bad’ day once or twice a week.  (sorry for using the ‘bad’ word in regards to eating…)

Okay.  Now, on the other hand, I also have some very strong thoughts about the whole IE/anti-IE camps.  Have you heard the word ‘comorbidities?’   Defiintion:  two or more coexisting medical conditions.  Yes.  And I think that is exactly what is going on in many severely overweight people.  Or we could use that horrible but very descriptive medical term:  morbidly obese.  So if a person has comorbidities, both conditions must be treated. Both are sometimes equally as critical in needing treatment.  And sometimes brilliant doctors will disagree on the exact treatment plan.   Most people who are morbidly obese have several comorbidities*.  And they all require treatment.  IE is possibly not going to be able to treat all of those conditions.  A diet ‘plan’ or ‘program’ is probably not going to be able to treat all of those conditions.   And we all know that diet alone or exercise alone is not going to be able to treat all of those conditions.

So.  Continuing on.  ‘My counselor,’ (I like to call her that) picked up on the fact that information is important to me.  And for me, in this area of my life, that has been to read and explore information about what has helped others to successfully lose and maintain weight loss, and to learn as much as I can absorb about nutrition  and exercise.  If I was to choose a single piece of literature that has had the most positive impact on any success I have achieved, it would be the Nutrition Action Healthletter. It is published by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  No ads.  No conjecture.  No promises of ‘instant miraculous painless weight loss.’  Just the facts, ma’am.  Some of those facts are good and exciting.  Some of them scared me enough to make me stop eating hamburgers.

Come back tomorrow for MORE food talk.  You know I can’t stay away from that topic for too long!

*and you all understand here that I am not talking about stuff like high blood pressure, diabetes, or joint pain.  I am talking about whatever it is that made us eat enough to become morbidly obese.

18 thoughts on “IE Brain Swirl

  1. So…after you finish your workbook, I think you should read my book. It’s very matter of fact, to the point, lots of information about why…but it’s also a very human, as in “I wish that pizza and ice cream were health foods but they’re not, so get over it and eat the green stuff”. I’m actually reading my way through it a second time, and doing the written exercises in it, hoping the info will sink in.
    I’m glad you are seeing a counselor, I think it’s a good thing. Sometimes you just need someone to sit there and listen! Did she help you with a retirement “plan”? I wish I could retire. I’m sick of working (but not sick of getting paid and having good benefits). 🙂

    • That’s exactly my plan. I am just trying to be disciplined and finish one book before I buy the next one.

      The counselor gave me an assignment and made a follow-up appointment to talk about retiring.

  2. I think that most of us DO have chronic medical conditions that are a factor in our weight. Migraines, asthma, arthritis, knees, back, GI track are VERY common issues in weight loss blog land. And I think often the symptoms/pain/discomfort of these are just sort of jumbled up with the discomfort/physical problems associated with having large amounts of fat/weight on our skeletal systems.

    So I think there is a complex physical factor or combination of factors. And sometimes these are tied into the fat (or the fat complicates them) and sometimes they are just coexisting in the same body. (aren’t we lucky!?!!?)

    I think these problems can make us eat. I myself have struggled with ‘stopped up GI track’ and the feeling that if I just eat the right thing or eat more, things will ‘come out’ all right.

    I very much have had the feeling for years that the right combination of things will take away a migraine – like ‘if I eat this, I might feel better’. or ‘if I eat that too, I might feel better’. It is almost desperate eating.

    And then there is the fat itself. It is impossible to describe how HUGE the impact of the weight/pressure of the fat is on the body until it is gone. We all have the general idea that it makes us feel worse, but until it is actually off – it is hard to really explain.

    You have heard me say again and again, even my last 20 pounds which was really ‘bonus’ weight loss, made a HUGE difference in my knees, lower back and lungs. HUGE. So I think physical fat/weight is a whole other factor.

    And then there is the whole imprinting, trained response thing that you talked about with your ‘back up bottle’ story (loved that example, because conditioning is such a HUGE part of all our lives).

    So I think there are all these sort of inner related factors. I have heard people say that we are all so different. And I personally don’t think we are. I think the specifics are often different, but a scientist could do classifications that would chart us (all out) with more similarities than differences.

    • Oh yes, I completely agree, Vickie, that there is a physical factor. I just meant that since I was using medical terminology to make a point, I wasn’t just talking about medical conditions that could be treated with medicine.

      And I have done that same thing so often. Trying to solve malaises with food–even the feeling of being too full.

      Well, that thing about us all being more alike than not–that is probably why we have all found each other and enjoy each others’ company so much.

  3. you made my mind swirl with all kinds of thoughts too. Good post. Very interesting to read as you think about all of this.

    And did one of your parents tell you second bottle story is why you ‘turn to food’? Or did your sister remember? And does everyone in your family turn to food? Maybe that isn’t quite the right phrase, but I think you know what I mean.

    • Yes, the bottle story is one of my dad’s favorites. Along with the story about one of my first words being ‘nappo’ (apple)–well, at least that was a healthy choice!

      I would say that my dad, my sister, and I turn to food. My mom is overweight, but food does not seem to have a psychological component for her. She is surprised when she hears me talk about how I obsess about food.

  4. Hi Debbie.

    As always, interesting post. It’s the stuff that goes on in our heads and our hearts that’s the hardest to deal with I’m sure.

    Some years ago I faced up to having a ‘death wish.’ It kind of blew me away to think that under all my ‘positive’ exterior I carried this sickness.

    I thought that once it was exposed eating better etc would be so easy. There was more stuff to deal with and as life progresses I seem to pick up other stuff so knowing myself is as important as doing the good things for optimum health. Sometime it feels like a tedious journey but like all thing is life, you never know what is around the corner.

    Wishing you a wonderful day – week etc.

    • Wow. I don’t think I had a death wish, but I did come to the conclusion that I would die young and ‘there was nothing I could do about it.’ And I agree, the journey is frustrating and tedious, but exciting, because as you said, you just don’t know what’s around the corner.

  5. And my therapist has always said – VERY rarely is there ONE key event/factor/issue/problem/buried memory. Many people start therapy trying to ‘remember’ something specific. And the something isn’t actually there. There was no ONE thing. No big cause. It is a lot of things that built on one another. And a lot of time can be spent chasing the ‘one thing’ and really the key is just like weight loss. We do one little (positive/healthy) thing and then keep doing it. And then we add another little thing and keep doing it. And pretty soon we have changed our lives and our habits around and are in a much better, and different place. Therapy is very much like that.

    • Love this thought, Vickie. Very much along the lines of something else I read this morning, and something I want to write a post on. Maybe later today.

  6. Seems to me like a lot of the IE books are written by people that never had a weight problem (or really much of one). When you get 100 pounds overweight, there is a lot more going on than not listening to your intuitive instinct.
    Get cracking on writing that book, will you?

    I wobble about missing the scale. I don’t think to much about that number when I weigh myself, as I lost most of the emotional attachment to the scale a while ago, but I do like the comfort of the ‘check in’.

    I can’t even tell with my clothes. I put them on and at first I think they might be getting snug, then I think they might be getting loose or staying the same. I think that is why I like the scale.

    Anyway, enough about me….

  7. love the mindswirl as even though Ive been eating intuitively for a while now I find that some days, stressful days my mind still swirls and I need to STOP and be still and focus to even “just know” 🙂 what my body needs

  8. Great post, Debby–very thought provoking. I can identify with all of it. Obesity is just one of my disorders, and I can clearly define two more, one physical and one emotional, that has kept me coming back to the food for oomfort. I am just beginning to have some clarity about all of this. Your post really helped. Thanks.

    • Sorry about the typos I’ve been having lately. I have a new keyboard, and my touch and the keys aren’t in sync yet. Sometimes I touch the key and it doesn’t register, and sometimes it registers twice. That’s what happens when you learn to type on an old Royal manual typewriter.

  9. Wow. That’s quite a brain swirl. I know it wasn’t just one thing for me, it was definitely a combination of nature and nurture. I think I’m doing well with practicing corrections on the “nature” side of things (that is, “eating to the meter”). It’s the “nurture” stuff that still trips me up now & then. Does knowing my “comorbidities” and their causes/roots help me in that area? Probably more so than it used to, but knowing does not always ensure that I make the most healthy choices.

    Lori’s comment about IE books seeming more geared toward those who were never seriously overweight seemed somewhat right on to me. (Please, if anyone knows of a book, I’d love to hear about it.) When I searched for “intuitive eating overeaters” on the Web, I found a site called “Nutrition Info 101” by a registered dietician who practices Intuitive Eating. ( Have any of you seen this one? What I found interesting was her response to a reader question of “Can IE be used to treat diabetes and bulimia?” Her answer was very telling, I think: “When you have an eating disorder, Intuitive Eating is ultimately a goal, but you’ll need guidance from an experienced team that specializes in eating disorders (physician, therapist and dietitian). Hunger and fullness cues are not accurate when you are in the midst of an eating disorder.” She goes on to say, with reference to patients in her own practice, “Intuitive Eating was not implemented until both the bulimia and the blood sugars were stabilized, and it was a gradual process.” She also had an article about mindful eating vs. intuitive eating, but I’m not sure I really understand the difference yet. Still pondering and reading (like you, I like to find good info); the brain swirl continues….

  10. Pingback: TVP, Part Deux « debby weighs in

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