Sunday, March 04, 2012

Identifying the Root Causes of My Weight Problem

Dear Diary...

I'm feeling a little better this morning.  No, a lot better.  After yesterday's Nobody Likes Me Whaaa Pity Party, I had to get out of the house.  I had to get away from everything.  I hadn't felt so gloomy in such a long time - and I didn't like the way it made me feel, or react for that matter.  So, Hubby and I got the kids dressed and we went out for a while. 

I probably don't have to tell you what I did when I went out.  When I feel as crappy as I did yesterday - and its purely emotionally driven - there's one thing I seek.  Food.  Yes, I let my emotions drive me.  Yes, it's a terrible, terrible excuse.  But, for the first time in a long time I needed that food.  Not to ease my suffering, not to calm my nerves - I needed it to make me realize and smack myself in the face that this is a behavior pattern I. MUST. BREAK!  As soon as I was done eating, I felt sick.  Physically sick.  I didn't feel better, I felt ten times worse.  It wasn't guilt.  It wasn't the food cooked improperly.  It was my inner me screaming "THIS WILL NEVER MAKE YOU FEEL BETTER, ONLY WORSE!"  So, I picked up the book I bought to help me out - and I started reading.

I got half way through the first chapter.  To the portion of the chapter that discusses finding the root of my weight problem.  I will say right now, that I'm not going to tell you everything about the book.  I'm pretty sure that's some kind of copy right violation.  What I will say, however, is that this portion of the book - finding my root cause - asks me to answer a TON of questions.  It tells me to write the questions down in a journal and answer them - honestly.  Well, this is my journal, so this is where I'm going to answer those questions... honestly.  Hopefully I'm not breaking any rules by copying the questions here.  If you plan on reading them, and my responses - I apologize in advance...this is going to be one LONG post.

Do you have parents with weight problems?
Yes.  My mom has struggled with her weight just as long as I have.  She was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago.  She managed to lose enough weight to control her diabetes with food and exercise.  Then, she gained some of the weight back and is still struggling.  My dad had always suffered from major heartburn issues, that ended up causing him to have a surgery to help.  That surgery prevents him from eating certain foods, he has to eat much slower.  He's managed to lose some weight because of it - a lot, actually - but it was his eating habits that earned him the surgery in the first place.

Do you drink too much sugary soda?
No.  I hardly ever drink soda.  I may have a Diet Dr. Pepper or Diet Cherry Pepsi once every few days, or once a week, but that's about it.

Do you get less than 30 minutes of exercise or physical activity each day?
I work in an environment that has me up on my feet and walking around the building most of the day - but unless I go to the gym or go out for a jog, I don't really get my 30 minutes each day.  I'm working on it - but I still have more days a week that has less activity than those days I make myself exercise.

Do you watch more than 1 hour of TV a day?
Yes.  During the week, 6pm till bedtime (around 9) is TV time.  On the weekends, it's about the same - but then I'm sitting in front of the computer just as long as I sit in front of the TV.

Do you get enough sleep?
For the most part, yes.  I try to get 7 hours of sleep each night.  I go to bed at 9 and get up at 4.  I sleep a little longer on the weekends.

Do you eat mindlessly?
Oh, yes.  This one really needs no explanation.  I eat for all emotions, I eat when I'm bored, I eat when I'm watching TV.  Mindless eating is my biggest hurdle, that's for sure.

Do you live or work in an environment that makes it difficult to eat healthfully and keep moving?
I try not to live in that environment.  I've tried to adjust the family's mindset in what foods are brought in to the house and eaten.  Work?  Yes.  There's always some sweet treat or luncheon or something going on in the break room that tempts me.  A teacher's lounge can be a smorgasbord of temptation and mindless eating.

Those are the main questions, then there are these questions that are meant to help me identify deeper root causes....these questions take up a whole page in the book.  There are a ton of them.  They are probably the most important of all the questions.  I have to answer them, so I understand if you want to skip this...

How do you feel about your weight?
Well, I hate it.  I want it to be at a healthy range.  I want to feel better about the way I look and feel.

Is having a healthy weight a high priority in your life that's worth your time and energy to address?

Do you have enough concentration to focus on your weight problem, your poor eating habits, and your sedentary lifestyle?
I do.  I just need some guidance and help keeping me concentrating on it.

What is distracting you from your focus?
Stress.  That's probably my main distraction.  Stress with focusing on wanting a teaching job so bad.  Stress with dealing with the issues with Butter.  Yes.  Definitely stress.

Do you feel that you are doomed to be overweight and it does not matter how hard you try?
Sometimes.  There have been days and weeks where I feel like I have my mind on the prize - and then one small, insignificant event takes place that has me messing up or sabotaging myself.  I have often thought that I'll never get it, I'll never succeed.

Do you eat just to feel better, if only for a short time?
Yes.  Constantly.  It's no surprise, but food is my drug.  I find myself often looking for the next "quick fix", even if I know full well that I'll regret the decision later.

Are you eating before you go to bed because you are tired? Are you attached to certain unhealthy foods late at night? Why? What triggers you to eat just a little while after finishing your meal?
It's possible I eat before bed because I'm tired, I never really thought about that before.  I am attached to sweeter foods in the evenings - cookies, chocolate, ice-cream.  I don't know why, again I've never really sat down and thought about it.  I just get an urge for something sweet in the evening - and if it's available to eat, I eat it.  I account boredom to eating shortly after finishing a meal.  If I'm just sitting and watching TV, I often get the urge to snack. 

Are you using food to fill an emotional void, relieve loneliness, or cope with your anxiety, fears, or stress?
Yes.  Yes.  And yes!

Do you continue to eat when you are full, and how does this make you feel?
I do continue to eat, sometimes, when I'm full.  I do it because it was kind of how I was conditioned.  I was always taught that I should clear my plate during a meal and to not waste food.  Often it makes me feel tired, lethargic, and uncomfortable.  I know it's something I need to get over - but sometimes I don't even realize how full I am until my plate has been cleared.

Is overeating a Band-Aid to cover up another type of pain?  Are you trying to feed an emotional hunger?  Are you using food as a crutch?  Do you use food to ward off the painful, heart-wrenching feelings that you have buried deep in your heart?
I had never really thought about this until my last visit with Butter's therapist.  I knew that I used eating to handle stress, but had never considered that I used food to cope with feelings I've buried or tried to forget about.  I haven't yet been able to identify these deep, painful feelings.  I assume that they are probably triggered to the horrific relationship I had with Butter's bio-father.  As much as I've convinced myself that he's behind me, and the pain and agony that man caused me is long gone - my eating may suggest otherwise.  Maybe now the surface has been scratched for me to dig deep and unleash the feelings I've been hiding and trying to forget for years - it's brought about the sad feelings I've felt the past couple of days.  Back then, I was told over and over that nobody liked me, nobody cared about me.  So, when I feel that way - I eat.  I was told I was weak, ugly, useless - and that I'd never account for anything or do anything with my life.  When I stress about not finding a teaching job - I eat.  One of my biggest fears is that Butter turns out like him, so when I see similarities or behaviors that remind me of that man - I eat.  Wow - seeing it in black and white for the first hurts, but also feels freeing somehow.

Now that I've answered the questions about the emotions surrounding my mindless eating, the next set of questions focus on some other miscellaneous factors....

Where do you get your information?  From a credible source?  Or from magazines, TV shows, or advertisements that sensationalize results and make promises they can't fill?
I've had my experience with fad diets and magic pills - and didn't like any of them.  I try to do my research, but I stick to the mentality that I'll lose weight if I eat less and exercise more.  As much as I tried to fight it, I've come to terms with how important it is to keep track of the calories I'm consuming, and the amount I'm burning when I work out. 

Do you find yourself being affected by food commercials on TV or in magazine advertising?
Not really.  I mean, I've seen commercials and thought "wow, that looks good" but not enough to where I run out and buy whatever it is.

Have you been the victim of countless diet books that have led you to lose confidence in your ability to reach a healthy weight?
Yes and no.  I have several dieting books, but once I start hearing about the restrictions or limits the certain plan requires - I usually shy away.  At the end of the day, the dieting books I have read all say the same thing:  You have to eat less and exercise more.  I just don't like being told that certain foods are off limits, or I have to partake in crazy amounts of exercise.  My body just doesn't function well with those types of restrictions or expectations. 

Do you have a preexisting health condition that prevents you from exercising?  If you do, did you seek out the advice of a professional to help you find appropriate physical activities that you can do on a daily basis?
I have very bad knees - hardly any cartilage left in either of them.  I was instructed back in 2010, when I first started exercising for the first time in years, that I had to be careful.  My doctor instructed me that if I lost weight, my knees wouldn't hurt so much.  Yet, if I pushed my knees too hard, I'd end up with more problems.  I was advised to take it slow - walking, light weight training, etc.  Once I built up more endurance and strength, I would be able to accomplish more.  And that was true.  I got to be able to jog for 3 miles at a time and felt absolutely no discomfort while exercising.  Now that a lot of the weight is back, I feel the discomfort again - which means I have to lose the weight again.

Lastly....listen to your heart.  What are your inner longings?  How are you going to fulfill these longings?  Do your self-talk, beliefs, or interactions with others hinder you from maintaining healthy eating and active living?  Are you your own worst enemy?  Have you put time and effort into healthy eating and active living?  Why or why not?
My inner longings are to be at a healthy weight, be able to run for miles, feel confident in who I am and with my appearance.  I try to surround myself with people and things that remind me how important my healthy eating and active living is.  But I am my own worst enemy.  I am the one that self-sabotages.  I am the one that strays from the focus for silly reasons.  I tell myself that I'm going to put in the time and effort, but I fail more than I succeed.  Why?  Because I need to work on freeing myself from the excuses, freeing myself from the emotions....and driving myself until I succeed.

Answering those questions has definitely opened my eyes.  Will all my problems now be over?  Of course not.  But, just as a drug addict takes the first step by admitting they have a problem - I, too, have taken that first step.  Now it's up to me to start working on those problems.  The road will be long.  The journey will be hard. 

I had a great week, last week.  The success I felt is what I want to feel every single day.  I am the only one that can make that happen.  I am going to keep reading this book, following the advice...and hopefully, good things are going to come my way. 

First step?  I'm going for a run.  Right now.

Till next time. ;)


  1. The question were very thorough and I love how you took the time to explore each and every one. The emotional part of this journey is as important if not more so than the physical part since re-gaining has always been an issue for me.

    Best of luck. Hope you feel better!

    1. Thanks, dear!! Love having some positive feedback - and you're so right. I know that once I get over some of my inner battles, the outside will start performing. :)

  2. Well done for putting this up, I love your honesty! I think once you discover the source of your issues then the healing begins. All the apps, plans and routines in the world don't matter a damn until you address why you got to this place to start with.

    I really identify with this because it's part of the reason I gave up Weight Watchers. I was using it as a crutch and not dealing with the real problems!

    It does get better! xxx

    1. Thanks!! I will say that MFP is really helping me be mindful about how much I'm eating. The struggle, now is to be mindful about what I'm eating before I eat it. Thinking about why I'm eating - for nourishment or because I'm bored or because I'm emotional. I wish there was an app for that!! LOL


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