Wednesday Weigh In – Week 250

So I did a bit of number crunching and figured this is Week 250 of my lard-busting journey. I lost 0.5 kg (1lb) this week for a total loss of 71.4 kg (157.4 lb). Which means my average weekly loss over the past 4.75 years is…. 0.2856kg. Approximately 0.6lb per week.

Bloody hell! That is a depressing statistic. 250 weeks and still not finished. And most of that weight came off in the first year! Oh well. Can’t dwell on the numbers. Plus I have had a lot of fun while losing so slowly over the past four years, I can’t deny that.

I was slightly disturbed by my eating behaviour in Australia.  There were a lot of local delicacies I’d missed and it was inevitable that I’d eat them, but it’s the way that I ate them that’s not right. I feel weird confessing this, as I know the Scottish Companion reads this site now, but in the spirit of honesty I’ll press on.

It started with the packet of Arnotts Assorted Creams. I bought them to gloat to SC about the superiority of Australian biscuits – Shortbread Creams, Kingstons, Monte Carlos, oh my! SC, Mum and I sat round after dinner and had a couple each over a cup of tea. Deeeelicious as ever. Subtle and satisfying. The leftovers went into a Tupperware container on top of the fridge. That I proceeded to raid at any given opportunity.

If Mum was hanging washing on the line or the Scottish Companion went for a shower, I’d tiptoe into the kitchen and prise open a corner of the lid, snaking my fingers inside and plucking out whatever was in reach. I’d try and savour each bite, but most often the fear of getting caught had me shoving it into my gob and gnashing away, brushing crumbs off my boobs at the same time.

The thing is, I don’t need to do this anymore. My mother is no longer a Food Ogre. After years of Issues we have both reached a place of calm and sanity where I can eat whatever I like in front of her and do not feel one single skerrick of guilt or judgement. There’s no Pursed Lips of Disapproval anymore, no "Haven’t you had enough?" or, "You don’t need that!". There hasn’t been for years. Yet still I felt propelled to the fridge by some urgent compulsion, like, "Quick! Eat all the nice food while noone’s looking!".

At one point on our holiday I had a small bar of chocolate in my bag, and secretly reached in and broke bits off throughout the day. I guess I should be happy that it was just a wee 50g Cadburys, but why the need to hide it? SC was right there with me when I bought it. He knew I had it and planned to eat it that day. So why the need for cloak and dagger antics?

This isn’t so much a problem now we’re back home, as there’s nothing in the pantry that I want to stuff into my mouth with wild abandon. Carrots? Miso paste? Frozen broccoli and cauliflower? Maybe I just fell into my old role of sneaky little fat kid since I was back home with my family after so long. But I know I still do this from time to time, and I don’t want to panic every time there’s appealing food around. I want to look at a box of chocolates and think, I might have one of those, instead of, I might have one of those, then sneak a few into my pocket when noone’s looking.

I’ve talked about Secret Eating on here before, and always attributed it to leftover Secret Fat Chick behaviour that I hadn’t quite gotten over yet. But it feels more like a compulsion than about the food itself.

I’ve also vaguely mentioned my food fascist former stepfather. He presided over my mother’s dinner plate, passing judgement and making cruel comments. He was skinny, so this is how he got to make himself feel superior. His constant negativity was passed on to my sister and I.

So I turned sneaky. If we made cakes for a bake sale, I’d deliberately make too much icing so the leftover bowl would be in the fridge for me to dip into later. If we made an extra batch of cookies for the freezer, I’d sneak into the kitchen in the middle of the night, slip a few into my pocket then eat them frozen under my bedcovers. I’d spend any pocket money on chocolates, hide inside my wardrobe and eat them by torchlight. I’d sneak extra biscuits at my grandmothers house, sneak chips and chicken nuggets when I worked at KFC.

Once when I was eight, I saved up a bunch of two-cent coins and got a friend to buy me some chocolate buttons from the corner shop on the way to her bus stop. The next day she handed over the loot in a little white paper bag. I’d never been allowed lollies in a white paper bag before. Sweeeeeet. I hid in a quiet corner of the playground, scoffed them down then hid the bag in a tree hollow. My mother taught at my school at the time so I felt I’d gotten away with murder.

When I left home, as we all know, I continued to sneak. But since the sneakery went from the occasional spoonful of icing to two-litre tubs of ice cream or two Extra Value Meals, inevitably my weight soared out of control.

My mother is no longer with my stepfather. And I sorted my issues with Mum, with a series of screaming arguments about five years ago. I finally let fly with all the crap that had been bubbling beneath the surface and ever since we’ve had a great relationship – mature, understanding and honest.

I don’t think that my recent sneaky eating was so much Fat Chick behaviour as just leftover childhood crap. Sometimes I think my fat is just an unfortunate side effect of the past. When I’ve sneaked food it happened in a robotic trance, disappearing down my trap before I’ve even registered the taste. It felt like danger and rebellion. Most times I didn’t even have a particular craving for the food, I just saw it and felt compelled to snatch up the opportunity in case it never happened again.

What do you do with this knowledge? Do I call a shrink? I don’t think I need to go that far. I have long acknowledged how the past affected me and moved on.

But there’s still some pesky hangovers.  Just last week there was a huge bowl of Lindt truffles at my hairdressers with a Please Take One sign. I took one, but waited until noone was looking and quickly unwrapped it, scoffed it, then stashed the wrapper into my handbag. They were MEANT to be for the customers but again I felt the need to slink around!

I need to remember that I am not a child anymore. No one is watching the way I eat, noone is judging me, least of all my bloody hairdresser. So I don’t need to be sneaky. I don’t need to be a rebel anymore.

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26 thoughts on “Wednesday Weigh In – Week 250

  1. I think it’s just leftover childhood crap, you don’t need to run off to the shrink. Spending time at home makes EVERYONE revert to childhood behavior, whether it’s related to eating or anything else. It’s good to know where some of our behaviors come from, it helps to avoid them in future, but from my experience, there’s no CURING these issues. You manage them, as the shrinks say, and once in a while they crop up again. No biggie.

    Your 0.6 lbs a week loss is exactly where I am – 60 pounds in 98 weeks, most of it in the first six months. Now I’m lucky to lose a pound a month. But, I’m so glad to not be GAINING a couple pounds a month, I’ll take whatever loss I can get!

  2. I wanted to write something deep and meaningful, but all I’ve got is “me too.” Thanks for saying it. Your transparency is, as it always is, a breath of fresh, true air.

  3. I think in just acknowledging what happened and the mechanisms involved in that particular behavior when eating will free you up in the future. At least, that’s how it worked for me. It takes some time but you’re more aware of what you do now, so you’ll catch yourself…great entry.

  4. we think we are so unique but then we aren´t. I think most of us fat people have that sneaky eating behaviour. I still don´t like to eat in public or I try to avoid it as much as I can. I don´t like to eat around strangers and so. I feel like people are judging me. I prefere to eat crap food and snacks alone “hiding”.

  5. I think you inadvertently mentioned the problem in the last sentence of the 4th to last paragraph – ‘in case you never had the chance again’. It’s the ‘quick, eat all the yummy food I can’t get back in Scotland’ thing. I do the same thing after I’ve been to the NZ shop in London. I only go 3 times a year to limit the overindulgence because each time I go I have to buy a packet of everything and 2 packets of the particularly yummy things and then they’re just gone within a few days.
    I think that, especially when your memories of home are of the yummy food you used to eat, that’s going to be a trap you might fall into until you make new memories. Scotland has the aura of your new life with new habits and all that goes along with that. Maybe Australia is like one huge Cherry Ripe?
    For me, there are loads of things I love about NZ – and some (not all though!) of those things are foods. Hokey Pokey ice cream. Milkshake lollies. Twisties and rashuns. L&P. NZ Cadbury chocolate. Whitakkers chocolate bars. Honey Nougat and Summer Roll bars. Toffee pops. Mallowpuffs. Milo. NZ Marmite. Feijoas. The massive oversized too-big-for-export kiwifruits for about $1 a kg. (see not all unhealthy either.) It’s inevitable that I will indulge when I am there in February but I’m resigned to the fact I’ll come back and live without them for another year…

    In short: don’t sweat it, I’m sure it was a situational thing.

  6. Being back in our childhood house always makes me do weird things too. I normally go and visit mum sometime during a school holidays period (I am a teacher) and I find myself doing the same thing: sneaking biscuits when she is out hanging the clothes out on the line, buying chocolates when I am out and eating them in secret in my bedroom, going out to have a coffee and scoffing down hot chips. For some reason there is that need to hide my eating even though mum and I have come to a truce about my weight. I think the surroundings become a trigger to subconscious thoughts and actions that we have not been forced to acknowledge for a while especially when we live a distance away from home and do not visit it often. Perhaps next time I am up there I will bring the chocolate out and share it with everyone – that could be the first step to recovery.

    Congratulations on the weight loss – you have done amazingly well. I have just hit the 65kg and am looking forward to spoiling myself with something special when I hit the 70kg mark.

    NB

  7. Yeah, me too. I think it’s decreasing with time though, the slipping back into old strange habits thing. I use sharing with my husband as a motivation to avoid buying treats when I’m alone, and have to constantly remaind myself that I’m allowed stuff, and that IT WILL BE THERE LATER. That’s my big thing with chocolates and cookies etc. my mum and I were both chocolate fiends, so it was a race!

  8. Sneaking food for me is a manifestation of the idea that I cannot let anyone know what I truly desire because the me that desires the extra chocolates or cookies is the same me that I’ve been protecting my whole life. It’s hard to let go of the idea that I don’t need to protect myself anymore and that desiring and having is okay. Those habits of thought and feeling learned amongst the hard knocks of childhood are so very resistant to change.

  9. Oh man reading this brought back memories. Not all good. I used to do the same thing as a kid. I think what helped was going to university and telling myself “those cookies will be there tomorrow. They’re always there. You don’t need to eat them at every chance you get.” But I always revert back when I go home.

  10. oh pick me pick me!! i do the exact same thing… even though i know i have nothing to be ashamed of, i still think.. oh.. if i stay up until everybody goes to bed they wont hear me open the freezer/fridge and if i dont use a plate they wont even know it ate it! I mostly dont even want the food, just the texture or the feel of it in my nouth. The only way i can not do it is to make sure that when i eat i sit down at the table with a bottle of water and eat nice and slowly. btw, i love the ticker!

  11. it makes me wonder how many more of us out there had food nazie (now ex) stepfathers and will -hopefully not forever- have to deal with these problems. How many of us will have to constantly remind ourselves that our husbands are nothing like those men… how many times he has to yell ‘dammit im not R’ before i understand he’s right.
    this post was incredibly upsetting for me but maybe its time to confront these problems head on, in which case im grateful to you for bringing it up 🙂 you’re a star

  12. Of course, all of OUR children will grow up entirely devoid of food issues… (I really, really hope that could be possible, actually. But I have no idea how.)

    I think “when will I have the chance again?” is almost worse than “I don’t want you telling me what I can’t eat, so I’ll go and eat chocolate in secret”. The second feeling can be dealt with intellectually, but – especially if you’re with family, and they’ve provided the food as a treat – it’s harder to resist on individual occasions when the food is right there, in front of you…

    Also, there are strategies that can be used to break the second habit (like not having the things in the house, or not carrying change around – I won’t break a £10 note to buy a chocolate bar!) but if you’re being offered something, and everyone else is eating it, it’s really hard not to take it.

    I’m waffling, but what I mean is – I’m sure it was being back home, on holiday and so on, and things will return to normal.

  13. If only we’d all known each other way back when, do you suppose the support of so many others who felt just as we did would have helped?

  14. I wish I had all the answers, but I don’t. I still sneak food sometimes too and it doesn’t make sense. I hope you can let go of whatever it is that makes you feel ashamed of the food you consume because feeling ashamed is an awful feeling. Thank you for sharing all of this about your past with us, and I hope that in doing so, it helps you feel freed from it.

  15. Acknowledge the past, act in the present and onwards to the future. Nothings tastes as good as being thin feels.

  16. I was a huge food sneaker as a kid, because of those same accusing looks from my mom. She still denies that she had anything to do with my weight problem. I still sneak and hoard food, and have great difficulties being accountable to myself about what I put in my mouth. This is going to be the hardest part in losing weight for me.

  17. Sometimes you don’t have to have a food nazi (as Cat so eloquently put it) in the family to have this reaction. Mine came from school yard bullies who thought they knew the definition of beauty. And I didn’t fit it.

    Those last 13 kgs are going to be a pain in the bum (literally) to shift, but shift they will. Because you want them to and you haven’t been at it 240 weeks to give in to them now.

    Have a great weekend dg

  18. I also think it’s left over crap – i remember I the thrill of sneaky chocolates and biscuits and all that yummy stuff and I was thin kid and teen. I think it was more getting away with it, and how exciting it all was. I also think by making not it may not be a fat chick thing and another thing will help you figure it all out.

    It’s crazy (i’m realising too) just how many layers there are to all these eating behaviours.

    Have a great weekend!

  19. I hope I’m still remotely interested at week 250 and not back where I started! I really respect people who have been doing this for a long time, because the one thing that really scares me all the time is the prospect of keeping this up indefinitely to make sure I don’t undo the hard work. I’m sure you’ll shift those last few kilos soon enough though!

  20. Oh dear, the montage of emotions this has stirred up in moi!! Sitting here tearful, hating the fact that I am a Sneaky Eater. I even go to the extremes of going and buying an exact replica packet of biscuits to replace the ones I snuck so often that they were all gone. Hard to be sneaky when you go overboard. I mean, how do you explain a missing pack of biscuits. “Must have been the darn cat!!”.

  21. The important thing is that you’ve written about your food-and-parental issues. But even if you examine them aloud, in private, it’s an enormous help. Keep up the good work, dg.

  22. Alcoholics also hide their problem and sip their drink unseen from others. I suppose with both problems its about feeling ashamed, and also I think it’s about not facing up to reality (like if others don’t see you eat, you are not really eating). I have been up to quite a bit of “hiding eating” myself and I think I will also analyse it in my next post. And god! seing those 70 something kilos lost on the ticker thing looks so good! You are going great, even if it a more gradual loss. You will get there

    love

    Eli

  23. Isn’t there a reliable statistic floating around saying that the most sustainable weight loss occurs at an average of about half a pound per week? And isn’t it fanastic that in losing your weight over that period of time you are also maintaining your weight loss. As for all the sneaky eating shit, take it from a fellow sneaky eater, admitting and acting on it (as you are doing, albeit gradually) is addressing it. You continue to be an inspiration.

  24. It’s hard being home isn’t it. I went home to see my mum last year and I was like you – totally reverted to childhood eating. I think it’s harder when you only get to home occasionally because you don’t have a chance to change your behaviours. If you lived around the corner you’d have developed a way of coping by now.

    It’s fantastic that you’ve dealt with all those issues with your mum though. I don’t think my mum issues will ever be resolved with her.

    It’s amazing, the work you’ve done. You have persistence, that’s for sure.

  25. Obviously, you’ve touched on something many of us can identify with. We’ve been there, too, that sneaking, that awful sensation of realizing that childhood still rules at least part of your psyche. Ack. It’s awful to think of it some times. And then other times, well, you have to be so damn proud of yourself. I don’t think a 0.6 lb per week loss is such a bad thing; in fact, I aspire to that long haul. It’s about being able to keep it off. You prove again and again that “the amazing adventures of dietgirl” is just the most fitting name ever for your journal. Amazing, indeed. Thanks, as always, for writing.