My lard-busting efforts are like an old manual focus lens on a crummy SLR camera. This could possibly be the crappiest analogy I’ve ever come up with.

I remember this ancient Pentax I used in my photojournalism class at uni. I would peer through the viewfinder and wrap my chubby mitt around that lens, twisting the dial til it got in focus. But it never seemed to stay there for long. The slightest false move, the smallest tremble, and everything went blurry again.

So that’s how it’s been lately. Focusing. Losing focus very easily. Feeling fuzzy and blurred. Refocusing. Over and over again.

The couple of weeks have been completely out of focus. I am one of these people who does not thrive on chaos. I like routine. I like planning my exercise for the week, ordering the groceries, laying my clothes out every night for the next day, getting to bed by a certain time. As soon as anything unusual is thrown into the mix (Mothership visit, weekend camping trip) I don’t cope well.

And that’s in spite of all my forward planning for these events. I plotted healthy meals for Mum’s visit and packed healthy foods for the camping trip, but none of that counts if you eat the healthy food and then eat a whole pile of crap ON TOP OF IT. Mum ended up staying an extra night, so instead of cooking something healthy I suggested we get a takeaway curry, aka a steaming bowl of grease. Then while in the Highlands on the weekend, I easily persuaded myself into an ice cream cone, a large serve of greasy chips and a handful of shortbread.

It’s like as soon as I venture outside of my home/work routine into the Real World, all my planning and logic fades into the background and I give myself licence to chow. As though calories don’t count if they’re eaten in the non-everyday Super Happy Fun Zone.

The eating is always so mindless, I don’t feel guilt or remorse and I never stop to think, Is this something I really need to eat? It wasn’t until I got on the scales yesterday and realised I was up 2.5 lb (1.1kg) that I remembered all that crap I ate.

. . .

Yesterday I felt so bloody fat and cranky and ugly. My face was all puffy and itchy, my legs were a mess of red blotchy bites; I had a severe reaction to the midges (small, annoying Scottish insects) that attacked us on the weekend.

So I was in a small, shitty supermarket for the sole purpose of buying one red onion to put in our homemade bean burgers. Why is it when you feel fat and ugly you want to eat crap that will make you feel even more fat and ugly? I selected my onion then prowled the aisles, all reckless and defiant, wondering what rubbish I could cram into my gob. I wanted to grab anything and everything. But this particular supermarket is tiny and poorly stocked, I could only huff at the lack of decent ice cream; the paltry selection of chocolate and crisps. Sure I wanted a binge but I wanted a binge of decent QUALITY. Long gone are the days when I’d be happy with Home Brand ice cream and cooking chocolate.

In the end I just lined up in the queue with my stupid red onion. I put it on the conveyor belt and waited for the old lady ahead of me to painstakingly count out small change to pay for her beef mince, solitary apple and pint of milk. So I paced back and forth to the ice cream freezer at the front of the store, eyeing the Magnums and Soleros and Mars Bar Ice Creams. On my third trip I thought, FUCK IT, I’m going to have a Mars Bar Ice Cream!

But then I remembered a moment from last year, when I’d just moved in with Gareth and was feeling confused and overwhelmed by the whole cohabiting/marriage thing. I’d sneaked off to the shop for a Mars Bar Ice Cream while his friends were visiting. I stood at the bottom of the hill scoffing it down then looking for somewhere to stash the wrapper. I remember it didn’t taste anything special.

So I just went home with my red onion.

I said hello to Gareth then went straight to the kitchen and stuck two fat pieces of grainy bread into the toaster. I slathered them with an obscene amount of peanut butter then gnashed it all down with two huge glasses of milk. I ended up giving Gareth half a slice, but I ate enough to feel satisfied. All those peanuts and grains jabbing my gums and sticking in my teeth, it was all rather violent and messy.

I dunno what comes over me sometimes. You’d think after 5.5 years of fat fighting I’d have learned not to confuse eating and emotions, but it never ever stops. To Gareth it just looked like I was eating a piece of toast, but for me it was a compulsion that I couldn’t ignore. I won’t kid myself there’s a cure. But as I’ve said before, if I can’t eliminate these episodes altogether, at least these days the damage is less calorific, and I can put a stop to it a helluva lot quicker.

I’m going to have a quiet weekend. Clean up and cook and write and exercise and settle down again. Think about what I want and what needs doing.

Refocus, refocus.

29 thoughts on “Blur

  1. I know just how you feel, the frustration and lack of focus and everything. It makes the superfocused successful spells seem totally surreal.

  2. Oh I remember the Mars Bar Ice Cream from last year! You are so good not to let history repeat itself. Your description of the violence of the peanut butter sandwich is spot on!

  3. Hi! Just discovered that you write here too and am overjoyed as it gives me more to read. I just spent far too much of the morning reading your five year update instead of working, and I just wanted to say don’t beat yourself up, the last bit is always supposed to be the hardest, and WELL DONE. Not for losing all the weight, just for being, well, lovely.

  4. Like B, I spent many an hour catching up on your many adventures, and time and time again I find our lives so parallel. This stage where the majority of the weight loss is completed but there’s still that final lap to go is bloody tedious and difficult. But we keep plodding on, don’t we, and that’s half the success right there, that we don’t surrender.

  5. I should quiet down too and “Think about what I want and what needs doing”. That’s so important – otherwise one just flows along and ends up in weird places (mentally). Thanks for reminding me!

  6. Good news DG: as the years go on and you get things under control, the binge episodes do die down. It may take years, but they eventually go away. I’m much more aware of my emotional eating now than I ever was and can see the immediate connection. Also, I am exactly like you in that I love my routine and being in my own enviroment where I feel totally in control.

    Right now I’m experimenting with some hypnosis tapes that I use on my ipod to see if this will help me with the emotional eating. So far so good, you might want to give them a try (plus it would only put you out euro 12,00).

  7. Andrea commented on your “parallel lives”. I’m right there with her and you. I had a horrible binge last night. It was all about the quantity of food – not about quality or calories and certainly not about health. All I can say is that yesterday is OVER. I’m moving on. I have to. Hopefully today, I eat wisely. Hang in there. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

  8. Everything that you have just written is EXACTLY the fight I have with myself whenever there are good eats around. I am going to print your entry off and keep it with me for the next time I want to binge. I bet YOU will be able to talk me out of it on paper better than I can!

  9. I’ve been writing lists of “What Doesn’t Work” so I have something concrete to look at and refer back to. With each item that doesn’t work, I’m trying to give myself hints/tips/tricks for facing them, things that DO work.

    And yes, a routine is right at the top of the list of things that DO work. I have your reaction to chaos.

    Congrats on staring down that Mars bar, and on the progess you’ve made at keeping the emotional eating smaller and less damaging.

  10. Wow, I think lack of focus is going around… I’ve been feeling exactly like you have, as of late.

    Good job passing up the Mars bar πŸ™‚ I hope you can find some time to re-center very soon!

  11. Just think — that neural pathway in your brain that says “bad emotions=eat, eat, eat!” is getting shallower and shallower. The newer one that says “bad emotions=deal with it, chick!” is getting deeper and deeper. Someday the fist pathway will be completely grown over with weeds and you won’t even be able to tell where it was.

  12. I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve been feeling like I’m such a freak because I still don’t have a handle on all the emotional eating issues. I think I’m all over it then something happens and I run for the chocolate. I guess we never fully get over that impulse but well done on resisting the mars bar icecream.

  13. It seems like a lot of us are on the parrallel path here. I have spent the last 6 months trying to get on track, succeeding and then going off of it again. The emotional eating is something that is so hard to get over. It doesn’t matter how you attack this weight loss gig the underlying issue seems to be the same for a lot of people. Just hang in there DG and everyone else – together we can beat this thing and push that success button again!!!

  14. Amen to that, as I commented on Becks blog, how the hell do we fight this monster… when you find out, please let us all know.


  15. That sounds exactly like me. Very fitting for a weekend away in Lorne coming up. Although I am very prepared and have my meal ideas worked out, I can’t help but feel fear for not being in the routine. Wish me luck!

  16. No, that wasn’t the worst analogy ever – this is! Just think about that big,old crappy camera that kept going out of focus constantly and how different it is from the new spunky canon digital you can get. Half its size and so much easier to carry and adjust. Sure, it still has faults, every now and then it goes out of focus, and you’re not quite sure why – but ultimately – its a better model. Sometimes you may feel like using the old pentak just once more, for nostalgia’s sake, but you wouldn’t trade in your new one for anything! You, my friend, are the new canon model and I’ve heard that they’re bringing out an even smaller model sometime soon!
    hugs xxoxx

  17. We are funny creatures darling. Always too hard on ourselves while too supportive and sweet to others.

    I have given a lot of thought to exactly what you speak about in this post lately, a lot of thought.

    I have come to a conclusion – sort of πŸ˜‰

    I will never be free from the emotional eating attacks. Never. Because they are part of who I am. Very emotional, extremely passionate, and indulgent. And although these …ummm….”qualities” make the relationship with food a bit harder to deal with, they make all other relationships, from the one with my pots and flowers, to the one with my husband (I’m a bit mad at him lately so I eat double the amount of watermelon after dinner ;)a lot more colourful!

    I say lets make peace with this and just feel proud when we resist the Mars Bar Icecream or the second pita bread.

    You have gone so far to still feel like this at times. Control them, don’t let those incidents take over your day!

    *Super hug*

  18. thanks for all your thoughts and understanding, comrades! πŸ˜€

    airlie, you rawk…. that cracked me up big time! i’ll be a canon, then! hehehe!

    argy, i’m in the same boat as you. so glad you made that comment, thank youuu! it’s my personality, always has been, but makes for a tumultuous relationship with food πŸ™‚

  19. I cant believe you can buy Mars Bar Ice Creams in Scotland!!! I haven’t found one in Canberra for years now sob…

    Probably a good thing as I used to abuse them terribly.

    I get the compulsion thing too, no its not just eating a piece of toast with peanut butter is it, but at least you recognise it for what it is, and you minimized the damage.

  20. I can relate πŸ™ We have a disease / addiction and it isn’t just going to go away. The fact that you are so aware of it and your triggers is the main thing. So you have a bad day… At least you can look back on it, see why you slipped up and start again from scratch.

    I have a major problem being out of my comfort zone too. I guess there must be a solution. Or I could just become a hermit πŸ˜‰

  21. But you didn’t have the Mars ice-cream despite the compulsion (which I well understand and empathise with). And with a little perspective a one off icecream cone, chips and shortbread is not going to break the (body)bank and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over these things. As you well know it’s just when it stops becoming a one-off (and I know that it’s that that is worrying/scaring you)

    I too find it so hard to stop giving in to the compulsion to eat/gorge whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it.

    But you didn’t eat the Mars ice-cream and you didn’t buy crap. You have moved on.

    (Sorry, has this just been a hugely annoying and patronising comment – didn’t mean it to be)

  22. i know you’re not being patronising, cal πŸ™‚ don’t worry!

    it’s been upsetting coz it’s an overall trend for… well, pretty much since i got back from portugal in march. focusing then losing it so easily. i’ve not had any real loss for almost five months. it may just be an ice cream here and a shortbread there, but it’s a cumulatively crap effort over time hence i’m not making much progress.. blaaaaaaaaaaahhh *le sigh*

  23. Augh. I know just what you mean. When you’re not in a routine regarding the rest of your life, it’s very difficult to maintain the routine with food and exercise (though you couldn’t help the exercise hiatus, and it sounds like you’re back on plan, give or take the odd pushup incident…)

    I’d agree with Argy – have some watermelon in the fridge waiting for these moments. Or raspberries. Or whatever healthy thing feels a bit luxurious and extravagant. Doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.

    (or if you’re looking for an intermediate sin, Del Monte frozen smoothies are 97 calories and very, very nice. I’ve got 2 packets in my freezer…)

  24. Ditto.

    I had a horrific binge episode yesterday about an hour after writing an entry on how focused I was! So at least you had a minor victory (peanut butter on grainy toast has nutrtional value!).

    Can someone please stop this rollercoaster? I want to get off.

  25. Ahhh, with you on this, but doesn’t it feel good to STOP yourself as opposed to realising it is an emotional binge AFTERWARDS?

    As to the shopping thing, I do have a tip to avoid buying stuff, but you have to be short of cash, have time and be on a bike: you go, in a stinking mood and on your bike to the supermarket, in the rain preferably, choose your trolley (the wee small ones are best) and just stomp round putting EVERYTHING you want in it. Everything. Plus the stuff you need. At some point you realise that a) you cannot afford this, b) you cannot carry all this on the bike, and c) you do not need it. The time in the supermarket is thereby doubled as you go back putting everything back. I actually do this a lot. I can resist a HUGE blow out, it is the wee tiny mars bar icecreams that are the problem, so bloody well done.

  26. Aaaah! The whole mindful eating thing is my biggest struggle. I loved the image of you assulting your peanut butter toast.

  27. Congrats on not giving in to the crappy grocery and its temptations! I’ve found being a food snob helps a great deal when I want to binge. Its all one big mind game and you are winning the game. A piece of peanut butter toast is sooooo much better than a mars bar.

  28. I was looking through diet after diet pages, and came across this blog. I want to lose about 80lbs. I’m actually very active, go to the gym nearly everyday and still i can’t seem to shift it. I’m starting to eat healthily, but my main meal seems to be at 6.30 after work, and although it seems healthy enough obviously i am doing something wrong. Maybe eating more at 1.00pm and less at 6.00pm would work. Does anyone have any suggestions? It’s frustrating to know i am trying and never being rewarded by actually losing weight!…:(

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