- 1st thing I did when I wanted to change my life
- the mindset flip that makes it easy to lose weight
- these 3 words get and keep you on track
I loved running a health challenge.
The best part is always the people.
Participants joined from the USA, Australia, Israel, England and Canada.
For 10 days I got to answer thoughtful questions about losing weight naturally.
All this back-and-forth, heart-on-your sleeve banter got me thinking about the day I made ONE decision that got me on track to change my life. And unexpectedly… reach a healthy weight.
It wasn’t a big rah-rah event.
Rather, it came from feeling completely lost.
For the near-decade leading up to making the choice that changed my life—all I focused on was dieting.
I believed the extra pounds I carried around on the “outside” suggested I was weak on the “inside”.
But one of the traits I liked about myself the most was that I was determined. I’d stay up late to study and get up early to run.
Everything I excelled at came from rolling up my sleeves and doing the work.
So there was an urgency to get this weight-loss job done.
But no matter how hard I tried, I kept breaking my diet and blaming myself… instead of my weight-loss method.
I didn’t know you can reach a healthy weight WITHOUT feeling hungry.
Or that your weight has NOTHING – nothing, nothing, nothing… to do with your character.
It’s all about having good information and a healthy strategy.
Before I figured out how to change my life everything suffered
Despite all my efforts I was always:
- preoccupied by food, weight & hunger
- between 10 & 30 pounds overweight
- hardly attending class
- canceling plans with friends
- quitting sports I loved (there was no way I’d wear shorts)
…every part of my life was disrupted by my complicated relationship with food. And I worried I ruined too many opportunities to get back to who I would have been without disordered eating.
Sadly I’m not alone:
67% of women
between the ages of 15 & 64
withdraw from life-engaging activities,
like giving an opinion, going to school or going to a doctor
because they feel badly about the way they look.
The morning I changed my life
After throwing out all my belongings to punish myself (for breaking my diet again) and to draw a line in the sand to mark the start of a *NEW* diet, I woke up in my empty bedroom feeling lost in a place I loved… the house I shared with 5 friends in The Student Ghetto surrounding my university campus.
Sitting there it occurred to me nothing was different from the day before.
I’d tried 100’s of ways to get myself to stick to each (failed) diet.
But I was trapped in my secret life of starving, bingeing and purging.
I was READY to change my life
I was in my 2nd year of university when I thew out my clothes, mix tapes, letters, photos, books and a few silver rings that were sentimental (I thought the more my “purge” hurt the harder I’d try to stick to my next diet).
And I had no idea how to move forward.
But I wanted to move forward.
I desperately wanted to make eating simple so I could rebuild my life.
At last I was ready to STOP dieting, go back to the basics and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner so I could LIVE between meals.
I couldn’t have put it into words at the time, but sitting in my empty bedroom it became MORE important to me to be healthy than to be thin.
In that moment it sounded more like this:
Focusing on being healthy vs. thin changed my life
This simple mindset flip made every decision EASIER and an added bonus?
I reached a healthy weight naturally.
You can change your mindset too.
If you’re wondering how…
Look no further.
Here’s an easy way to check your decisions are based on being healthy instead of being thin—especially if you’ve been thinking in terms of dieting for YEARS like I did.
Simply run your decisions by 3 words: the acronym E.N.D.
I thought of this simple framework during the health challenge when our goal was to E.N.D. dieting, focus on health and start living a life you love.
For years I thought being healthy was:
- eating low-calorie food
- staying away from higher-fat foods
- doing lots of exercise
- sticking to my diet perfectly
- restricting what I ate
I was wrong!!
Reaching a healthy weight naturally and having FREEDOM from diet obsession happened to me, when I did something that goes against what the diet industry tells us.
I changed my life when I was kind to myself
Being kind isn’t just for Valentine’s Day… it’s every day of the year.
Are you ready to change your life?
Cross-check your decisions with these 3 words:
I’m going to change my life with an “E”
The “E” in E.N.D. dieting is to remind you to STOP going to EXTREMES.
For 10 years I was either “on my diet” eating just half a banana, drinking a case of diet coke, scared to eat anything with fat, grazing on little bits of food all day because I (falsely) thought feeling full meant gaining weight.
I was totally “off” my diet eating whatever I wanted before starting a new diet.
I didn’t see this pattern of extremes or recognize that I was ingraining bad habits between diets.
To me, I just had willpower and moments of weakness.
But when I started meeting my body’s needs by making a more moderate choice via eating regular meals, I could focus on everything else.
Getting in the habit of NOT going to extremes changed my life and I lost weight.
Here’s how to stop bingeing.The part of the challenge that was the most meaningful to me was looking at weight loss as a series of positive habits...— health challenge participant
My body isn’t different to everyone else’s
When you put your body through extremes your metabolism slows down. But you can ramp up your metabolism by getting into a healthy routine of eating ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods (full meals like everybody else!) When you’re kind to your body you’ll also think about food less and have less desire to binge.
I’m going to change my life with an “N”
The “N” in E.N.D. dieting is to start eating NATURAL food.
Just like Apple computers work best with Apple software, your natural body works best with natural food.
The additives in processed foods are not recognized by your body and confuse it so you eat more than you need.
(Don’t shove a PC disc into a Mac!)
Sugar is MORE addictive than cocaine.
And artificial sweeteners are 100’s of 1000’s of times sweeter than sugar—which makes them more addictive!
But when you eat ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of natural food, you meet your body’s needs—you get all the nutrients required for your body to function properly.
Eating natural food fills you up naturally.
Then you don’t eat more than you need.
Natural food takes time for your body to process (because it wasn’t processed in a factory). So the energy is released slooowly and you stay full longer. (Unlike sugar that gives you a sugar rush, causing your body to quickly store the excess energy and then you have a sugar crash… and crave <you guessed it!> more sugar!)
Then you eat fewer calories and reach a healthy weight naturally.
Check out these big, healthy lunches I eat regularly. They’re packed with a variety of nutrients.
Understand what natural food actually looks like
For 10 years I drank skim milk without realizing it works AGAINST you reaching a healthy weight. The whole time I thought I was being “good.” I even got used to the watery taste. But the truth is, WHOLE MILK is the more natural option and therefore healthier. So whole milk works with your body THE BEST.
I’m going to change my life with a “D”
The “D” in E.N.D. dieting is to stop getting lost in the DETAILS.
Worrying about eating one bite too many or going to a friends for lunch and finding out they only have white bread…
All these tiny details used to throw me off.The biggest message that caught my attention… was that a diet slip-up didn't mean I had to go on to binge, and that what I did after eating the bread or cookie was what really mattered. This is what I really need to work on, training my brain that I will no longer binge after eating a less-healthy/processed food— health challenge participant
I’d think I ruined everything because I wanted to follow my diet perfectly!
…And then I’d be back to “E”.
Putting my body through extremes.
Getting lost in the details would cause me to binge and then restart my diet.
Instead, keep making healthy choices after you think you’ve made a “mistake”.
The show must go on!
Focus on PROGRESS not perfection.
A healthy body is a reflection of healthy habits!
One unhealthy meal or choice won’t break you. And one healthy meal or choice won’t make you. It’s all the decisions you make over time added up that create healthy habits and in response… a healthy body. Keep track of healthy choices NOT perfect days.
I changed my life when I decided to E.N.D. dieting!
I stopped going to EXTREMES when I started eating roughly balanced meals made mostly of NATURAL food and kept moving forward after a choice I regretted—rather than get hung up on DETAILS.
Make Today Count
Say it out loud: I want to change my life!
Don’t wait until you hit rock bottom. Feeling lost is not necessary to change your life.
Pick one of the 3 words E.N.D. stands for to try out today.
Build healthy eating and exercise habits. A healthy weight will follow.
The first step to E.N.D. dieting is being aware of your choices. How many times a day do you say to yourself:
“I really should eat X to lose weight.”
“I can’t eat X because I’m on a diet.”
During the health challenge I asked participants to do the scrunchie test (!)
Grab an elastic or even a fancy & easy-to-remove bracelet and put it on your wrist. Every time you make a choice based on weight-loss (RATHER than health), switch your scrunchie to your other wrist. And keep track of how many times you make decisions throughout the day based on dieting.
Then try to catch yourself each time you make a food choice based on “dieting.” Stop and change your wording and possibly your food choices.
For instance, say: “I’m eating a whole egg, not just the egg white, because that’s the healthy choice.”
Getting in the habit of making the “healthy” choice (vs. the diet choice) helps you reach your happy weight naturally!
The healthy choice helps you lose weight.
Changing your mindset will change your life.
You’ll reach a healthy weight naturally when you focus on health. Be kind to your heart, lungs, intestines… When you focus on health your hair is shinier, your skin glows, your eyes sparkle, your brain is sharp… It’s WIN-WIN for your body and mind.
“…before it all came falling apart – That, then, take me back to when, we can do it all again.”
Don’t wait till you hit rock bottom. Make ONE healthier choice today.
Want to get on an interest list for my next health challenge or launch? Add your name here.
I hate waste!
up-cycled heart sweatshirt
– Preloved (my fave eco-friendly fashion house)
– Bogs (garage sale)
– found on dog walk: it’s from MoMA in NYC & washed on HOT!
– beautiful spirit – palliative foster Toronto Humane Society
Everything came together when I said:
I want to change my life.
Are you ready E.N.D. dieting by focusing on being healthy instead of being thin?
Have any questions about this article?
What idea resonated with you the most? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
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Sharing what I learned makes the 10 years I STRUGGLED worth it
Thank you for your passion to help others make small changes, one day at a time, Kelly! It is so encouraging to hear your story and know it can be done. I love the E.N.D acronym– so good!!!
You’re awesome Kathy!! One day at a time is such a great message Kathy! I even went smaller at the start and focused on the block of time between each meal. Breakfast to lunch. Lunch to dinner… And not being consumed with perfectionism also helps. When I struggled I was so obsessed with dramatic change I sabotaged myself after any mistake. But now I understand that building healthy habits is all about salvaging! Making the most of everything. Slip ups are part of getting good at anything new. It’s ok if you have a bad morning. Try to have a good afternoon and then a good evening. It gets easier and easier! xo
Can I ask you a question? When you say that you concentrated on being healthy rather than thin, and weight loss just happened, had you resigned yourself to be ok no matter if there was no weight loss? I guess what I mean is, when you started eating healthier and more structured meals, was the hope of weight loss still in your thoughts?
Every part of my life was disordered at that point (I thought I’d have to drop out of university because I hadn’t been to class for so long, I never thought I’d be able to catch up) and I had so many diet rules, tips and tricks I was trying to follow. At that point no matter what I ate I thought it was wrong so I’d purge. I was totally at rock bottom and wanted my life back. I hated having this big, secret life. So it felt like the only option left was to focus on being healthy and forget about being thin. I was always overweight but always STARVING. Everything was just too hard. I wasn’t excited about my weight-loss “project” anymore. I didn’t believe TOMORROW would be different… and I had been truly believing that for years. I think that desperation allowed me to completely drop all the crazy diet things I’d been doing and just eat the 3 meals in this post I was still very rigid about eating that exact amount but became more flexible as I realized I could be flexible and eating something extra was no big deal.
I really hope nobody waits until they get to that point to try something new.
Set 10 days to try eating 3 ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods. And see how you feel at the end. Try to stop thinking “I want to be thin tomorrow” and think “I want my habits to be healthier by the end of March.” I think the Scrunchie test I mention in this blog post could be a good start to just see how often you’re thinking about dieting. Each time you catch yourself rephrase it to the healthy reason. Like “I need to eat the egg white and egg yolk because the nutrients in the yolk help my eyes and brain function properly.” (Just looked that up!)
***At the time I did NOT know that the healthy choice also helps you reach a healthy weight. I thought I’d GAIN weight with the healthy choice! But I didn’t care anymore. However, I can tell you first hand… The HEALTHY choice helps you reach a healthy weight naturally. I hope that having that KEY bit of information makes it easier to make health a priority. Your body WANTS to be a healthy weight. It’s so much easier for your body to do ALL it’s jobs when you’re a healthy weight. Work with your body!!
In other words… now that you know the healthy choice helps you reach a healthy weight naturally, it doesn’t matter if you want to be healthy or a healthy weight, because if you focus on healthy when making food decisions, you’ll be both!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Please ask me any other questions that you think of.
Change is possible and please be kind and patient to yourself.
Focus on one day at a time. Or even 1/3rd of the day at a time.
Your desire to get healthy is the most important thing and the fact you’re asking these questions shows you’re ready!
Hope you are well!
I just wanted to let you know that I am doing really well since making my meals more structured and out of mostly whole foods. I am not getting hungry in between meals. Breakfast is typically porridge with blueberries, banana and almond milk. Lunch is a sandwich made out of wholemeal bread, usually tuna avocado and salad, or curried egg. I chop up carrot sticks and apple as well and add them to my plate. I have been cooking my own dinners in batches, chicken stir fry, or salmon, rice and lots of veges.
Basically all is going well and I am losing weight also- yay! There have been moments where i have felt the desire to binge, but I have really had to check in with my body and truly ask myself if i was hungry- and I wasnt. Its been pretty neat being able to tune into my bodys hunger and fullness cues. I am so proud of myself for resisting the urges because it happens multiple times a day, and ive managed to keep calm and keep plodding on, knowing how sick bingeing makes me feel- physically and mentally.
My concern is, I guess, I am still not feeling 100% comfortable with food. I feel I am not filling up as much as I could be at dinner. I am concerned that I still have the mindset that I cant eat the dinners I cook for my husband and kids- I am trying to eat healthy dinners, and although I cook pretty healthy for them, I know they wouldnt like all the veges and salmon etc I have been making for myself. They love foods like spag bolgonese, home made pizzas, tacos etc- foods that I have never ever ate when trying to lose weight.
I am worried that I wont get to the point of eating what I cook for my family, and if i do eat what I cook for them then I wont lose weight. Is this disordered thinking/behaviour? Breakfasts and lunches are no problem, I enjoy what I am eating and we all have different things we eat at breakfast and lunch.
Maybe I just need to give it more time to get familiar with the way I am eating and to build more confidence and try more variety as I progress? What do you think?
Thank you Kelly,
PS And thank you for the answer to my previous question on your blog- it really helped!
Ok. After that extremely positive email of mine, about how well I am doing, things went downhill fast. So bad.
You see, I still haven’t stopped weighing myself. I am certain now that it’s the main issue I am facing here, in regards to food and not being able to break this terrible cycle.
I am ashamedly weighing myself at least 10 times a day. If I see lower numbers, eg, the number is lower at 3pm than it was in the morning when I woke up- I am thrilled and know I am going to wake up lighter the next day. It spurs and motivates me to keep going.
What happened this afternoon when I weighed myself, was the number had bounced up by 800 grams higher than the morning weigh in. And then I questioned what I had eaten to cause this huge increase. Yesterday there was no increase- today there was, even though I had eaten the same foods.
So after such disappointment with the scale number, I binge ate.
Kelly, I am sad. So sad. I dont think i am ready to focus only on just health and forget the desire to be thin. Its always with me. I honestly just feel like giving up and trying to find peace at this size. I cant see a way past this. The alternative to ditch the scale frightens me as I wont know how I am progressing and losing weight or not.
First I want to say thank you for sharing your honest experience. It’s so important to say what’s going on to get to the heart of the issue. I always said “everything’s great” to family, friends and my doctor and that delayed me getting good information and getting healthy.
Secondly, I just always like to say what you already know: I’m not a doctor. The info I share is based on the 10 years I struggled, the 20 + years I’ve been healthy and the steps I took to make that change.
In short what you’ve described here Teagan is completely normal when you’re trying to break ingrained habits and build healthy habits. You’re in a cycle of restricting-bingeing-regretting the binge and restricting again and so on… There’s a pattern to your behaviour and the goal is NOT to be perfect… but to IMPROVE by gradually reducing the number of times you binge per week.
You also do an activity that triggers your binges: weighing yourself.
It’s important to know that everybody’s weight fluctuates throughout the day. I’ve been roughly the same weight for the last 20 years (my clothes fit the same and when I go to the doctor for my annual physical and get weighed I’m basically the same – the rest of the year I don’t weigh myself.) BUT if I weighed myself throughout the day my weight would be all over the place. Drinking water, drinking coffee, eating a meal… this is stuff you’re putting in your body that will cause your weight to go up throughout the day. Fluctuations throughout the day are normal and healthy.
BTW… For the 10 years I was unhealthy I used to also weigh myself probably 10 times a day! So I know how you feel… and I know that when I STOPPED weighing myself it helped me reach a healthy weight naturally.
When you menstruate your weight also goes up because you retain water.
When you exercise consistently your weight can go up or plateau because muscle weighs more than fat… but muscle is lean and dense so exercising can mean weight going up BUT clothing size going down because you’re leaner.
Weighing yourself is not collecting any accurate data. Weighing yourself is getting lost in the details. (The “D” in END that I describe in the blog post these comments fall under.) Your BIG goal is to stop bingeing b/c it’s making you unhappy and it’s not healthy for your body or mind. Bingeing leads to weight gain. Eating ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods helps you reach a HEALTHY weight naturally.
I’m guessing you know everything I’ve typed and that weighing yourself in the hopes of the numbers dropping is a way to try to ease anxiety and weighing yourself is also an ingrained coping mechanism (that does not serve you).
Here’s the SOLUTION:
When I was caught in the vicious cycle of starving, bingeing and purging my doctor gave me very simple advice I did not take. And it’s a shame I didn’t take it because it would have sped up my recovery.
If you want to stop being preoccupied by food, weight and hunger, reach a healthy weight naturally and be able to focus on all the people, animals and projects you LOVE…
The first step is to break unhealthy habits and start building healthy habits.
Keep track of how many times you binge per week and how many times you weigh yourself per week.
Then next week try to binge and weigh yourself one time less. You’ll be surprised how great you feel to slowly break a habit.
You can do this Teagan!
Keep track of your progress and focus on one chunk of the day at a time. Focusing on more than that can be overwhelming.
PS Your body isn’t different to your kids, husband or mine. The bingeing and restricting slows down your metabolism. You can eat spaghetti, tacos and pizza just like me and your family do by making these meals roughly balanced with whole foods – add a salad made with a homemade, full-fat dressing to each of the meals above to make them more balanced. And it’s great to eat fish, stir fry etc. too. Focus on MODERATION and VARIETY vs. restricting & bingeing. Eating these foods you’ve forbidden as a meal will also prevent you from feeling deprived and wanting to binge.
PPS Let me know if you have any questions OR what part of my reply resonates with you the most by replying right here in the comments. I’d also love to know how you’re doing!
Be kind and patient with yourself.
In Short: Keep track of how often you binge and weigh yourself each week and try to do them one less time per week. Accept that your goal is IMPROVEMENT not PERFECTION. It’s ok to binge and weigh yourself, just focus on doing it less each week and making a healthy decision after one you regret vs. deciding the day is ruined. And it will feel funny trying something new for a while. It might even feel “wrong”. But that strange feeling means you’re breaking an unhealthy habit! Whoo Hoo! The fact you’re asking questions means you’re ready for change and I’m excited for you Teagan! xo
PPPS Here’s an article that can help about structured eating. It’s an interview between me and a binge-eating specialist called Dr. Henshall. If you read the article please leave any questions you have in the comments of that post. xo
Everything in your reply made a lot of sense, thanks for your support Kelly.
Yes you’re right, the constant weighing is a way for me to ease the anxiety around losing weight- I feel more in control when I do and it’s almost like I don’t trust the process if that makes sense. So I rely on the feedback from the scale, which is ridiculous. Now I realise that it’s controlling me instead. Not seeing a number I like sets off a binge, that is very clear. Now that I am aware of this pattern I feel better and know how important it is to break the habit to move forward. Logically, I know that food and liquid and other variables will affect my weight, and that jumping up on the scale is not true fat gain, just “weight” gain from what I have ingested for the day. Yet still, it leaves me so frustrated even when I try to think rationally about it and detach myself from the number. I am going to make an effort to cut down on the number of times I weigh daily and hopefully this will set me on path to good health. Thank you for your ideas about eating with my family- all I have ever wanted is to be able to eat like a normal person, with normal meals. I look at my 4 children who are not overweight, and realise that they too, eat mostly roughly whole meals and snacks and have never had a weight problem. I love the idea of eating spaghetti or pizza with them, but having a smaller serving than I normally would, and adding a salad to bulk it up- perfect! Seems so daunting to do that but I am willing to give it a go and try something different. Because doing the same things I had been doing led me around in circles for 2 decades. I don’t want my daugher to ever have to diet or see me on a diet ever again.
I have read your interview with Dr Henshall- it was the very first article of yours I read when I found you, I was so excited at the possiblity of what you both were saying about structured eating. Throughout my dieting life I have always thought “surely losing weight and keeping it off doesn’t have to be this hard?”. I was already eating so little and I was really scared I would have to continue that way for life. Anyway Kelly, thank you- you have pulled me back from the ledge here. Today is a better day. Usually after having a binge session- the next day or days of eating were completely written off. I would use the excuse just to start afresh on Monday. Or I would go the other extreme- restricting, not eating breakfast or much the day after to make up for the binge. Well today, I haven’t done that. I ate my normal healthy breakfast. I just broke a habit, and I am pretty pleased with myself. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and will try and be more patient and kind with myself as I break these deeply ingrained habits. I will keep you posted as to how I go. Thanks again, for all you the work you do in educating women. xx
Teagan! Your reply makes me so excited!! Everything you said is so wise. Please do log the times you weigh yourself & binge. Logging your choices builds in accountability. Then you can start looking at choices in terms of: “how you did this week” vs “how you did today”… Then it’s easier to stop thinking about perfect days and instead, focus on having a better week than the last and then improving again the next week. You’ll feel so great to cut back. Small changes feel “real” once you get used to focusing on small improvements and they really build momentum. And you’ll reach a healthy weight naturally. So much of what you said was my experience EXACTLY… just wanting to eat normally, weighing myself constantly, worried I’d have to be hungry the rest of my life… So I understand where you’re coming from. And believe me things get better. Please keep me posted! And don’t hesitate to post questions here or another post any time. By sharing what you’re going through via asking questions on my blog, you’re helping other people who are in the same position as you and that’s so kind and generous of you. xoxoKelly
So Kelly? I am so sorry to bother you here. I just want to reiterate all that is swirling around in my head and re learning everything I have ever believed about losing weight. I am still trying to grasp that if I put the scale away, and do everything that worked for you, this will work for me too and I will lose weight? I have 24 kgs to lose. Eat the meals that I cook for my family in small portions even if they arent the healthiest? Trust in myself, eat balanced meals and exercise? Why does this feel so scary and unsettling to do? It seems so simple, and too good to be true. It just hit me that I have wasted 20 years doing everything but the easiset most sensible thing. I am sad and angry about this. Was starting my first diet at 15 the thing that started this whole downward spiral?
Are you reading my diary (!) Seriously, you sound like you are. Our experience is similar.
First, you’re never a bother. I think you’re awesome and so d*mn cool for laying it all out and getting to the bottom of what’s going on. I was too scared to talk to anyone and that made things worse and last longer. The UNNECESSARY “shame” in disordered eating makes people isolate themselves with MISINFORMATION and that’s why many people have a complicated relationship with food for too long. If you broke your arm you wouldn’t keep it a secret. You’d ask questions, get help, heal and move on. And I LOVE that you’re treating your eating situation like a broken arm and talking about it. I wish more people would do that. I wish I did that earlier than I did!
And thanks for sharing openly. About 30 million people have disordered eating in the US alone. So anytime someone talks about their relationship with food openly (like you are) you’re helping others.
I wrote for my alma mater’s newspaper recently about that UNNECESSARY shame of disordered eating… “The shame comes from thinking, “I have an eating disorder because I have no self-control”—but actually, most people with eating disorders are givers, go-getters, and perfectionists.”
If you like, you can read the rest of that article here.
I can only speak from my experience and what worked for me but it sounds like we have similar stories. All the restricting then bingeing forces your body into survival mode which slows down your metabolism. Then it’s easy to gain weight and hard to lose it.
I hope you can press pause, and think about this… Anything healthy you do right now is going to be better than what you’re going through mentally and physically right now. What you’re doing right now isn’t working. So it’s time to try something new. So to answer your question above… anything new and healthy is worth a go!
To begin get your body into a routine. Eat ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods and ROUGHLY balanced snacks made MOSTLY of whole foods between meals when you’re hungry. You don’t need to be hungry to lose weight. It’s going to take a week or longer for your body to be like… “Ahhh… finally I’m in a healthy routine and can stop being in survival mode.” Then your metabolism will bounce back.
Think about how terrible everything operates in your body when you’re in a bad sleeping routine. It’s hard to think, you feel lethargic, etc. An unhealthy eating routine is so hard on your body too and stops your body from working efficiently.
I was always between 10 and 30 pounds overweight when I was drinking diet pop, eating reduced-fat food, grazing, skipping meals, bingeing, purging, etc. Then when I stopped messing around with my body and got into a routine I lost weight naturally.
I started dieting when I was 14 so I understand how you feel but try to refocus the frustration into excitement! Once you start eating in a routine you’ll stop feeling hungry and stop thinking about food so much.
But please don’t expect perfect days. You’re breaking ingrained habits and building healthy habits.
***Make sure you keep track of how often you binge and weigh yourself. Start now and see how much you cut back on bingeing and weighing yourself by the end of March.
I’d binge and purge sometimes 17+ times a week and weigh myself 10 times a day or more (that’s like 70 times a week!) So a realistic goal, if you’re similar to me is to try to cut back by just one time a week. It will get easier and easier! But keep track. Of course you plan not to binge or weigh yourself at all but keep track every time it happens. And be kind to yourself!! Be patient. You can bloody do this Teagan!!! I wish we were talking about this over coffee instead of letters on a page but this ‘il do!
If you want to leave a comment here once a day to check in and give your daily total for weighing and bingeing that’s awesome. Accountability helps so much. If you want to do that, just do it like this:
Saturday, February 29
weighing myself: X times
bingeing: X times
Then the next day do the same. I want to see you have the best F-ing March you’ve had for the last 20 years.
Then at the end of March, when you’re body’s been in a routine for a month, you can see how you feel and if you like, we can talk about the next steps, if there are any. But for right now all that matters is you binge a little less, weigh yourself less and get your body into a routine so your metabolism can bounce back.
Get out a March Calendar or print one page off the web, circle March 31st (or put a heart around it!) and put it on your fridge or tape to a bathroom mirror. Keep that goal to improve your habits and routine in mind so you’re not thinking what’s my weight today….? You want to think about how good your body will feel on March 31st when you have a month of small improvements adding up over the month. The 3 things you want to do are:
1. eat with your family – and eat basically the SAME portions
2. binge a little less
3. weigh yourself a little less
Those would be awesome March Goals, Teagan! And you could keep your tally of bingeing and weighing yourself right on your calendar.
Again, I’m not a doctor… just sharing my experience and what helped me get healthy 20 years ago after 10 years of being caught in the vicious cycle of starving, bingeing and purging. xo
Exercise isn’t as big a part of weight loss as people are led to believe (going to do a blog post on that soon). But I’m curious what your exercise routine is like? And what your daily physical activity is like?
ps when you ask if dieting at 15 started the downward spiral, I just add this to give evidence that dieting makes you gain weight – I only needed to lose 10 pounds (maybe less!) in Gr. 8 (when I was 14) so I started dieting and soon I was 30 pounds overweight!
pps you said in your comment that this feels scary… that’s normal! I thought I was lazy for being nice to myself by eating regular food but stop thinking (!) and try something new for the Month of March. Us humans overthink things like food and that gets us into circles of rationalizing to do what we always do. Your unhealthy habits feel “right” when they’re “wrong” because you’ve been doing them so long you’re used to doing them. Anything you’re not used to doing, even when it’s right will feel strange. Get over the hump. Focus on one meal at a time.
Thank you for such kind inspiring words Kelly, you have been so nice to me. Your reply about us being similar made me smile. Especially when you said “You can bloody do this Teagan!”- you sound just like an Aussie Thank you for your encouragement, I really appreciate it. I am just so full of self doubt and insecurity, I can’t really blame myself for this though as it’s been a rollercoaster of up and downs in 20 years of dieting- I have forgotten how to trust myself with food. I guess, I have always wanted to find a way of eating that I could lose weight on, as well as continue eating that way for the rest of my life. I think structured meals made of mostly whole foods is the missing piece to the puzzle. I am so tired of eating different foods than my family. Or when we go out, or social gatherings- I am tired of the anxiety I feel around food, and fear not losing weight if I eat lasagna lol. So, are you saying that the goal is to eventually not weigh myself at all? I understand cutting back will benefit me, but how do I gauge my weight loss progress in the meantime? Is once every morning bad? How do I stay on track? My exercise routine is as erratic as my eating. When in actice weight loss mode- ie really trying and starving, white knuckling it through, undereating as well, I am at the gym 6 days a week. In some instances I had to finish early as I felt dizzy. The exercise I do is Bodypump, a Les Mills class, 3 to 4 times a week. I do love this class as I am very strong and have a lot of muscle- I put heavier weights on my bar than the instructor. The other 2 days are usually a form of cardio- on machines in the gym which I have grown to loathe- I would rather go for a brisk walk outside. But in the heat of the Australian summer right now I prefer to work out indoors. I have dabbled in yoga classes on and off which I do enjoy. Tried spin class a few times ,but didnt like the intensity of it. And then, if I am not in active weight loss mode, and bingeing, feeling sorry for myself( which can last for months at a time before I “try” again) I don’t exercise at all. It’s either I am all in, or all out, there is never any balance. Very all or nothing approach. At 15, I cant remember how much I weighed, but I was bigger than my friends, maybe 10 kgs overweight. I have alsways been active as a child, and now looking back on it, I see I had more muscle mass than my friends who were naturally skinny. I begged my mum to help me, so we did weight watchers together- I guess that was the beginning of all of it. When I was 20 I wanted to lose weight before my wedding so that was another time I dieted. Had my first child a year later and gained weight. Had second child not long after. Weight going up and up over the years. Finished having children in 2014, and in 2016 got serious about losing all of my weight- this was done at first with low carb high fat, then as I progressed, counting calories and severely underating. I was probably eating 800 calories a day here wifh exercise added, my beautiful long thick hair started to fall out. But I was so motivated by how thin I was getting on the scale. Didnt take long until I started bingeing- I was starving. From 2016 to now has been chaos, putting my body through wild extremes. I have lost large amounts of weight and regained it, plus more a few times in 4 years. It has been a nightmare. I feel so ashamed, and fear what people must think when they see me looking thin, to now, obese. Its a horrible cycle. So sorry, I am rambling a lot here, it just feels cathartic writing it out and looking back on my past relatonship with food. I love all your suggestions on how to make this work xx
Oh, and my daily physical activity is pretty sedentary, I’m a stay at home mum. I am always doing odd jobs like cleaning etc. I like to tend to my garden or playing with the kids in the yard, stuff like that.
You really do sound more and more like me Teagan!
Thanks for taking the time to share your dieting and exercise history. Glad it’s cathartic. Until you write it down it can be hard to see all the extremes. Once you start more moderate eating and exercise your body with literally THANK YOU and you’ll reach a healthy weight naturally.
I think you should keep March super simple.
Just focus on:
1 – eating 3 meals with your family and snacks between meals when you’re hungry (aim for ROUGHLY balanced, MOSTLY whole food)
2 – bingeing & weighing yourself a little less each week
3 – keeping track of how often you binge and weigh yourself each day (and reporting back here in the comments if you like – I’m excited to see your progress)
Re: Weighing yourself
I don’t think you should make rules about how often you weigh yourself. Just try to do it less each week. Remember, weighing yourself is a trigger so stepping on the scale is kicking off a cycle of bingeing… When you feel the anxiety building and the desire to stand on a scale, pick a few healthy coping mechanisms like:
a) walking around the block
b) reading a few pages of a book
c) phoning a friend…
All that matters this March is that you keep it super simple by doing #1, #2 & #3 above the best you can.
*****You need to get your body into a healthy routine for March. Then your metabolism will boost and go back to normal. Then you’ll reach a healthy weight.*****
I have lots of posts about exercise – as I was always overweight when I over-exercised. Just like eating, exercise should be MODERATE.
Here’s one article to start with that will save you 300 hours a year.
Ok… keep me posted!
Great thank you! I will focus on those 3 main things you suggest during March and will check in and let you know how I am doing.
Yay! Can’t wait for the updates Teagan.
We’ve covered a lot here so if you’re feeling anxious or feel like you’re overthinking things (that’s me anyways!) come back to this post and re-read our conversation. I think it will help remind you of the pattern you want to break and why it’s SO worth trying something new! I think the biggest thing is to take each day one meal at a time. And then concentrate on what you want to achieve before the next meal. It will be April before you know it. And remember, the goal is to log weighing yourself and bingeing and just focus on doing them a little less each week. Check in by leaving a comment here any time you like Teagan. You can do this! xoxoKelly
I do have a couple of questions for you Kelly. Firstly, I know I am jumping the gun here, and my immediate goal is to concentrate on the 3 steps we outlined which is great. But I can’t help but think of the future also- it’s just how my head works. I am curious to know how you knew you had lost weight when you focused on eating 3 structured meals a day? Were you weighing yourself periodically at times during your journey? My second questions is this. Calorie counting basically works on the premise of a person lowering calories as they lose weight, eg having a deficit of 500 cals a day. Then as they lose weight they require fewer calories for their smaller body until they end up at their goal/maintenance weight and eat accordingly. For someone wanting to do structured eating and not wanting to count calories, how does it work? Surely there comes a point in the process where my body will reach a plateau because I will be eating at maintenance level? Did you experience this? Say, I reach my goal weight one day, what stops me from losing even more weight and getting too thin eating 3 balanced meals a day? Does the body just instinctively settle in at a weight it knows best due to eating mostly whole foods? Did you have to monitor it in some form so that you didnt become too thin? I am so sorry if this doesn’t make sense, I am just so confused and probably overthinking it.
I feel like the only way to keep this simple and focus on the 3 March goals is to only talk about the 3 March goals.
I love you’re someone who thinks into the future but to set you up for success the best thing is just to focus on trying something new for 1 month.
For 10 years I kept trying the same thing that didn’t work. So I say to you, focus on something new for 31 days!
Live one day at a time and focus on one meal at a time and log your bingeing and when you weigh yourself. We’ll talk weight etc. after you’ve spent March getting your body into a healthy routine and making that your ONLY priority. You CANNOT lose weight for any lasting amount of time unless you get your body into a healthy routine. There’s some tough love for you! xo
Re: Calorie Counting
I don’t count calories. You naturally reach a healthy weight and naturally know when to stop eating (because you feel full) when you eat a variety of NATURAL food.
Natural, natural, natural!!!
Eating roughly balanced meals made of mostly whole foods will help you reach a healthy weight naturally.
Your body WANTS to be a healthy weight because it’s easier on your heart, etc.
Stop trying to LOOK healthy and BE healthy. A healthy body is the RESULT of healthy habits.
200 calories of licorice will do nothing for your body and keep you hungry. You’ll have a sugar high and then sugar crash and then crave more sugar. That’s why I don’t count calories. It’s more important to think about the food you’re eating then the calories.
I just make sure my plate has natural food from all the food groups.
Here’s some blog posts about why I don’t count calories and why I focus on balanced meals.
Feel free to ask any questions and remember to KEEP IT SIMPLE!!! This March is a very special month for you because you’re trying something new. That’s AWESOME. And all my advice is based on how I changed my life from being obsessed with counting calories, weighing myself, feeling hungry and being overweight to LOSING WEIGHT NATURALLY. So I’m not making this stuff up as I go, I’m sharing what really changed my life. At the start it feels weird and is scary and I love that you’re asking me questions but I hope you can keep trying what I suggest because it’s based on my REAL experience!
You said in earlier comments that your kids and husband are a healthy weight and eat healthy food… Your body is the same. (I always thought my body was different but now I realize I was overweight when the rest of my family wasn’t because I was messing it around with all my disordered eating and exercise behaviour.)
The weight you’ve gained is from binging and restricting and over-exercising and doing the things your children and husband are NOT doing. I got healthy when I copied roughly what my partner ate as he also had healthy habits and moderation.
I just put up a new FREEBIE in the milk article. Check it out here. This info will help you. It’s about the 5 forbidden foods I didn’t eat for the 10 years I was overweight, and how I LOST weight when I started eating these 5 foods.
I am just wondering of your opinion on alcohol…in many ways this is more of a nemesis for me than food.
I socialise a lot and I love a glass or 3 of wine… thing is, I then overeat as my resolve is out the window. I just can’t seem to stop at 1.
Should I give it up altogether even if I really love it? T.
Thanks for your message.
First I just want to thank you SO MUCH for asking this question. It definitely is one a lot of people wonder about.
Secondly I just like to be super clear. I’m not a doctor so I share information based on my experience of being healthy for the last 20 years after having disordered eating for 10 years. Alcohol is outside my expertise but I can make some suggestions.
And finally, I want to say I LOVE you’re so social. It’s healthy to get out there and be with friends. Connecting is Principle #10 on this blog because it’s such an important thing for humans to do. I withdrew socially and isolated myself with misinformation when I was struggling with disordered eating and that slowed down my recovery process. So good for you to enjoy the people you love in your life.
OK… here’s a few ideas:
So in general I think if something isn’t serving you then it’s a good idea to make some changes. Whether it’s an:
-article of clothing
-someone you have a toxic relationship with
-or a habit that’s preoccupying or sets you up to fail/gets in the way of your goals
So if you feel that alcohol is disruptive my suggestions are:
1 – try not drinking for one week and see how you feel. Really decide to make a go of it and maybe find someone to check in with each day to make sure you’re accountable. Lots of people take breaks from alcohol so you should feel proud of your choice.
2 – if it’s not a huge issue for you but you’d like to just cut back, perhaps limiting alcohol consumption to the weekend would be a good start. Like I love a piece of chocolate cake as much as the next person but I don’t eat chocolate cake every day. Try limiting alcohol to just the weekends for one week and see how you feel.
3 – look into other ways you can be social that doesn’t involve alcohol. Like a stained glass course, volunteering, playing badminton, joining a hiking group, signing up to watch monthly documentaries, taking a renovation course, etc. When you find something you want to try go for it! It can just replace one of the alcohol-related activities you do each week.
If you feel really worried about alcohol please take the right steps to deal with it seriously. Like talking to a family doctor is a good start. There’s also an international woman’s group called “She Recovers” that has weekly meet ups. I did a blog post about She Recovers that shares more about what a meeting is like. These groups are usually full of resources and include people who have disordered eating, alcoholism, trauma, etc.
Making life changes are much more successful when you:
A) join support groups (which will be full of people looking to do non-alcohol-related activities)
B) when you have people you can check in with for accountability.
Then you spend less time making starts and stops.
I want you to be living your best and healthiest life and if you think alcohol is preventing that then I think it’s important to share your experience with a qualified person “in person” via making an appointment or going to a support group.
I hope these ideas give you some starting points and I just want to say how much I respect you for having the desire to improve your life and look for answers by talking to people and reaching out.
Let me know if you have any questions,
I am just wondering whether its ok to eat certain foods that aren’t “fully” whole, ie one single ingredient. I know you say roughly balanced meals, but I just want to make sure this sinks into my brain. So for example, a can of tuna is ok in a sandwich? Or some pasta sauce over whole wheat pasta? Or thickened cream used in a dish? I make sure to include lots of vegetables along with these things to make it more balanced. Am I on the right track? I have had a really hard week, second guessing myself and choices, and still bingeing
Second-guessing yourself is normal.
You’re trying something new and it feels weird!!!
But feeling weird is normal when you’re trying something new. It means you’re making healthy changes.
I was scared of eating all the things you mention too. But when I realized I was either restricting or bingeing then it was easier to try out the happy medium. From what you write it sounds like you’ve been either restricting or bingeing for the last 20 years. Right now you’re doing a happy medium and your body will LOVE you for doing that.
So in response to your specific question, for the last 20 years I’ve been a healthy weight:
1 – I eat tuna on a sandwich all the time and I add mayo and I eat it on white bread sometimes too!
2 – I eat pasta sauce and I only have white pasta – that’s my pasta preference (over whole wheat)
3 – thickened cream is natural
Lots of vegetables are awesome too!
You are totally on the right track!
Just keep logging how many times you binge this week and how many times you weigh yourself and then next week try to do it less. Even if it’s just one time less that’s incredible progress. The beginning is always the hardest.
Keep me posted on your progress and thank you for reaching out. I’m thinking of you and cheering for you. I completely know how you feel.
You can do this Teagan! Keep eating the healthy meals your family is eating and try not to get lost in the details.
Even a little chocolate as a treat at the end of the day is good too. Break off a few squares, put them on a plate, put the chocolate away and enjoy.
Does that make sense?
Makes total sense Kelly. I have been doing a lot of reading the last 2 weeks, and it’s like a veil is slowly being lifted from from my eyes and I can see more clearly. The more I read, the more I realise how uneducated my food choices have been. But more importantly, realising that all of this os not actually my fault, I am not a failure or weak or lack willpower. Its exciting to know that the restrict/ binge cycle that has had a hold on me for so long, can easily be beaten by just giving my body the proper nutrients it needs to function. Your principles seem like the most easy concepts to follow for where I am at in life, and I am trying to go against years of being told otherwise by the diet industry that I can’t eat certain foods. It is so helpful and reassuring knowing that you lost weight by eating these same items- it gives me hope and strength going forward, to not get so hung up in the details. I don’t have to have the ‘perfect’ diet. It’s going to take time, as you can tell, I have a fear around food. Like you, I would only ever eat half a banana- too much sugar, too many carbs. I have felt the difference in how my body feels this week after a day of eating wholesome foods versus crap. I want to treat my body well after years of putting it through hell. Thanks again for the reassurement I needed to know I am on the right path xx
Your reply makes me so happy Teagan.
You’re absolutely right it’s not your fault OR a lack of willpower.
It’s actually very beautiful parts of yourself that have led to disordered eating.
Have you read this article?
Let me know if it describes you,
Describes me to a T. I have all of those personality traits of type A. Especially being extremely sensitive and impatient. I am also a very organised person. Very interesting.
And they’re all admirable traits to be proud of. When you redirect your energy from disordered eating to what you love to do, you become UNSTOPPABLE! Often people with disordered eating are givers, go-getters and perfectionists. xo
How do you know when the time is right to seek help from a professional for binge eating? I am not doing very well at all, I seem to go good for 3 days and then it’s like a deep hunger sets in and I cave and binge. I think, until I really ditch the hope of wanting to be thinner and concentrate only on being healthy, that this will not work for me. Problem is, I can’t seem to drop the thoughts and desire to lose weight. It’s constant. I am really looking forward to receiving your book in the mail!
First I want to say how AWESOME you are. You’re asking for help and that makes you strong and smart. Life is way too short for us to be experts in everything and so getting help allows you to get back to your own expertise and the people, animals and projects you LOVE.
My take on getting professional help is to ask for help sooner than later. The idea is to get help to AVOID a crisis rather than getting help when there is a crisis.
A stitch in time saves 9.
When I asked for professional help I was in a crisis. I had no idea how to eat anymore. So whether you’re in a crisis or not, it’s a good time to connect with a specialist.
Also, I think if you’re wondering if it’s time to get professional help that’s a good indicator.
Here’s an article I wrote about getting professional help and my experience. And how it was different and so much better than I thought it would be!
And I believe you’ve already read my interview re: Structured Eating with binge-eating specialist Dr. Henshall but if not, that’s a good resource too. It gives an in-depth look of what to expect. It’s amazing what you can cover in just a few sessions!
Also, I believe Dr. Henshall takes international clients so you can either contact him through his website (I’ve linked to his website in my Structured Eating blog post here) or if you like I could connect you both via email.
Just let me know!
I’ve been in your shoes and want you to feel optimistic. Asking for help is going to be a huge turning point for you Teagan!
Please keep me posted and let me know if there’s anything I can do.
Even if you feel great today it’s so worth reaching out NOW to get the ball rolling.
MAKE TODAY COUNT.
Lots of love,
PS I sent your book on Monday so it’s well on its way to you! xo
Yeah I feel like I am at a point where I can’t really deal with this on my own anymore. I think it is way bigger than I had imagined it to be, maybe talking to someone can give me an outsiders perspective. I have read those articles thank you. Seeking help is a huge step because I finally admit I have a real problem and its scary. Its hard because I will have to wait to see someone get help, and the expense, but it will be worth it in the long run. I saw on your instagram page that my book was on it’s way- hooray!
Investing in your mental and physical help will make a world of difference for you Teagan. I spent so much money on bingeing, buying diet pop and new day planners to represent “new starts”, etc. that the investment of help pays off quickly. I completely understand where you’re coming from and know it can feel like a difficult time and even scary. From someone who’s been there and back I can say that I see that time in my life now as exciting (even though I was so lost and didn’t see it that way at the time) because talking to a professional changed my life. Acknowledging that you need help is the first and hardest step and you’ve done it!! Asking for help is the next. If you like, please keep me posted. I’m cheering for you. xoKelly
I have just made an appointment with a psychologist that deals with eating disorders for April, I am proud to take this step. It’s hard because, when you’re dealing with binge eating for so long, it doesnt seem like it is a medical issue you know? It feels more like a problem that I should have been able to solve on my own, something that is just down to laziness or gluttony, or through my sheer lack of willpower. I saw it as an issue that wasn’t as serious as bulimia or anorexia. Of course I know this isnt the case, but it’s how I have felt for the last 4 years or so and why I haven’t sought help for it yet.
You explain how so many people feel Teagan. We blame ourselves instead of our method. You don’t have a lack of willpower. Just tons of confusing information from the diet world that makes eating so complicated. Speaking to someone who is an expert will give you new methods that work and get you healthy! Do you have a plan from now until your appointment in April? Maybe keep a food diary to share with the psychologist? Or did they recommend anything?
So true. And the worst part about it is that there is so much shame surrounding it, which prevented me from reaching out. It batters your self esteem, and because of that, I guess I didn’t feel worthy enough to get help because I haven’t loved myself for a very long time. I don’t think I ever have. It’s destructive in every way you look at it. I have not been advised to do anything as of yet, still waiting to hear back from the psychologist and confirm, she seems like a really good fit for me and focuses on mindfulness and whole health as well . A food diary is a great idea. I guess my plan for now until my appt and before your book arrives, is to try and implement all I have learned from you, take daily walks and a couple of yoga classes a week and continue breaking harmful habits. I really feel very blessed and fortunate to have stumbled across your site Kelly, for I don’t know whether I would have gotten help had I not. I want more than anything to be a positive role model for my daughter too.
Everything you said is beautiful Teagan. Being a good role model for your daughter is so motivating and from interacting with you I’d say you have lots to love yourself for… You’re an open, warm person and we need more people like you. I think the goals you’ve set between now and your April appointment are healthy and smart. Be kind to yourself and take things one day at a time. When you get good information and redirect your energy you’ll be unstoppable. And I really mean that. I’m around if you have any questions about anything. xoxxoKelly
Just wanting to know on your journey to reach a comfortable weight for you, did you fail at times? How often? I seem to have a few good days, then I lose patience and lose my way.
I know weight loss is not linear but WHEN can I expect to lose weight??? I have only been able to lose weight in the past with a strong will and very careful planning.
The’ just eat healthy most of the time’ just isn’t working for me and hence, I am getting really frustrated.
I have 20 pounds to lose- realistically, how long would it typically take for ths weight to disappear- I need something! Some hope??
I just wanted to say, I am exactly the same as you, amd stuck in the same problem. I can do quite well for a few days, only to abandon healthy eating. It’s very frustrating because there is no real structured plan to follow, like I have done with diets in the past. With that comes a sense of loss of control and doubt. Just want to say I know exactly how you feel right now. Hopefully Kelly can share some tips x
Hi Teagan (& Tonina)!
I think the key for you and countless other people who are getting frustrated after a few days is patience and being kind to yourself.
I totally get it… I wanted to change everything overnight. For 10 years I wanted instant change and for 10 years I struggled! Now I see the connection 🙂
I didn’t make change until I focused on progress instead of perfection. Please check out my response to Tonina for more details and hope you get a chance to read this post too. It also answers a lot of your questions. xoKelly
Hi Tonina and Teagan,
Love this group conversation we’ve got going here! I think it highlights that your pattern of behavior is common and has a solution – the same one that worked for me!
Thanks for your message. Lots of FACTS that should give you hope coming your way… OK:
I didn’t lose weight until I stopped starving, bingeing and purging and got my body into a healthy eating and exercise routine.
Starving, bingeing and purging slow down your metabolism and make it hard to lose weight.
Your body LOVES routine.
The good news?! From what you wrote it sounds like you’re bingeing every 4 days or so. (You wrote: I seem to have a few good days, then I lose patience and lose my way.) So I would guess that when you stop bingeing every few days you’ll lose weight.
You said “The ‘just eat healthy most of the time’ just isn’t working for me.” But it makes more sense to me that what’s getting in the way of your weight-loss goals is losing patience and overeating.
In order to reach a healthy weight you need to break the habit of overeating. Here’s how to break habits.
In short, if you’re bingeing every 4 days keep track. See if you can put off overeating for 5 days. Then see if you can hold off for 6. Soon you’ll get momentum, start to see results and you’ll be out of the habit of bingeing and reach a healthy weight.
Or keep track of how often you binge each week or each month and then aim to cut back by one time each time period you’re tracking.
The HOPE this should give you is that it’s clear that the around 20 pounds you’d like to lose comes from overeating every few days. So when you cut that out and get your body into a healthy routine I think you’ll mentally and physically feel amazing.
Also, check out this blog post for more info that will answer your question. I wrote it especially for you. Let me know if this information (in this comment) makes sense and if you have any questions. 🙂 Kelly
Thanks Kelly. Sound advice as always. I must let go of the perfection idea and expecting fast results. It only leads to feelings of inadequacy and then binging. Progress, even if small, is moving in the direction of where I want to be. Thanks again for my book that arrived today- love it already x
Thanks for sending me a photo of your book Teagan!! You made my day 🙂 My favorite way to read a book is to mark it up! Get a pen out and circle anything you want to re-read and slap on a sticky note so you can go back to it easily. Yes, progress not perfection is the KEY. It helps you build MOMENTUM! Then everything gets easier and easier. I love what you said: “Progress, even if small, is moving in the direction of where I want to be.” One thing that helped me a lot was every time I binged after a “mistake” I visualized myself taking a huge step away from my goal. Then every time I kept moving forward after a mistake (rather than binge) I visualized myself moving forward to (as you said beautifully) WHERE I WANT TO BE. For example if I ate a cookie and thought “I ruined everything” and then binged I’d see it as a big step back. But if I ate a cookie and thought “ok, instead of bingeing I’m going to get back to doing laundry or reading a book or whatever…” I saw that as a step closer to my goal. xoK
You’re a gem, Kelly! Thanks for your inspiring response.xx Teagan (and everybody else). We CAN do this!
I’m excited for you Tonina!
Because you shared more information about your pattern of behavior (hard to get to the heart of things over email and blog comments but we did it!) I think you really will see AMAZING results once you break the habit of overeating in frustration every X number of days. I hear you. That was definitely me too. And then I broke the habit of bingeing and lost weight.
You mentioned in your comment: ” I have only been able to lose weight in the past with a strong will and very careful planning.” While that works it’s (as you experienced) unsustainable. So I feel so optimistic about you trying ROUGHLY balanced meals made MOSTLY of whole foods + keeping track of overeating and slowly breaking that habit. That’s the approach that worked for me (after years of yo-yo dieting). Please keep me posted on how you’re doing. And be in touch with any questions.
PS And don’t be hard on yourself if you binge. This is an ingrained habit. Just focus on progress. Log how often you do it and work on cutting back slowly 🙂 Soon you’ll have momentum and feel amazing.
Kelly, I just read in your book that after you sought help from the doctor, that it took you another 5 years to get on top of your disordered eating. Was the reason for this because you kept wanting to diet and see dramatic changes instead of making small steps? How can I get into the mindset of building healthy habits quicker? I am not sure exactly what is holding me back, and that in itself is so frustrating. I am not sure if this even makes sense. I just really want to get started eating healthy, but also I am scared to fail for the 100th time. I want to do this the right way so that it lasts. It’ so simple, yet so hard for me for some reason. I feel really broken and defeated.
That’s an awesome question and I’ve got good news for you!! xoxxo (Sorry… I’m excited!)
Ok… So for 5 years my complicated relationship with food escalated. Then it got so bad in the 6th year I spoke to a doctor and found out I had OCD. Speaking to a doctor and discovering I had an underlying issue was my first turning point. I think when anyone opens up to another person about what they’re going through it’s a huge turning point.
Then… it took me another 5 years to find all the information that I put in my book (Like I used exercise to purge for all 10 years I had disordered eating because I thought the more exercise the better! Reality: too much exercise and using exercise to purge can slow down your metabolism).
And finally, a big piece of my recovery was checking in with someone I trusted regularly, to help me get through those moments when I’d feel myself fall into unhealthy habits. Knowing I was going to check in with someone and knowing I was going to be honest *no matter what* really helped me get through the day and over the hump of falling back into old habits. Checking in with someone also helped me live one day at a time so I didn’t get overwhelmed.
So in short… there were 3 parts to my recovery:
1. Speaking to a doctor to discover I had an underlying issue: OCD (just knowing I had OCD helped me break my perfectionist mindset)
2. Getting good eating and exercise information which I patch-worked together from trial and error and speaking to tons of people (all the info I found is now in my book)
3. Accountability: checking in with someone consistently to help me stay on track and put all that good information into action to build healthy habits.
You’ve read my book so you understand what healthy eating and exercise look like. So I think if you checked in with someone regularly, to start breaking some unhealthy habits and building healthy habits, you’d be WELL on your way to getting a healthy body and mind FOR GOOD. You have the DRIVE to get healthy (OR you would’ve ordered my book and just watched a rerun of FRIENDS on tv instead of reading it… and you read it in like, a day!! You’re awesome). And you have the knowledge of what healthy eating and exercise look like (from reading my book). Now you just need to break those habits. If there’s someone you trust that you can check in with daily to report back on ONE habit you’re breaking at a time, I think you’ll find you create INCREDIBLE momentum.
I feel like you’re on the brink of a BIG healthy change Teagan.
You’re certainly moving in the right direction!
You’re absolutely right, I know what healthy eating and exercise looks like. It’s the part of breaking habits that is my biggest obstacle right now. I keep reading your suggestion to record how many times I binge in a week. The thing is, that number is really inconsistent, and I am doing it very often right now. Anyway, thank you so much. I just need to buckle down and do it and stop overthinking everything.
It’s ok if you’re inconsistent each week. But I’m betting you have a competitive streak that will be like… I binged 18 times last week. I’m going to cut it down to 17 this week! I think you’ll be more consistent and binge consistently less when you TRACK your progress.
ps… Because you ordered my book, there’s something *special* coming your way, that will help you do ALL the above 🙂
It helps you put everything you learned into action.
Keep an eye on your inbox!
I am really struggling. I am afraid I am on the cusp of giving up, hanging on by my fingertips here. I have not implemented the things you recommend Kelly, and more frustrating- I dont know what is stopping me. I KNOW what to do, what to eat, I know the plan. I have read your brilliant book. I cant for the life of me, put it into action. Today, I started off with a good breakfast. By 10.30am I was reaching for sweet junk. Then the whole day I just thought “f#@* it”. I could not stop with that one snack and just do better with the next meal. That one junk snack set off a cascade of more crap food. I dont even know why I am doing this. Something is very very wrong with me. How can I want something so badly, and not take the steps to do it? It doesnt make sense. I guess the current world and all that is happening is getting me down too. But, I want something to just go off in my brain already, a lighbulb moment- anything- and just do this consistently and reach a healthy weight. This is starting to get scary, I am now scared at what this binging is doing to my body inside, I dont want to die from complications of this. I cannot do it, I just cant. I cant even see a psychologist right now. Losing hope.
What you’re feeling right now is overwhelm.
So you’re falling into old habits.
I totally understand and was completely there too. And got healthy. So you can too.
When I was in a similar position to what you’re in now I divided the day up into 4 parts.
1 – wake up to breakfast
2- breakfast to lunch
3 – lunch to dinner
4 – dinner to bed
And I just focused on one of those parts at a time. And if one part didn’t go well, I tried to make the next part go well.
You want to focus on progress not perfection.
BUT to break the overwhelm, I think you would benefit IMMENSELY to build in accountability with another person to say OK… the first quarter of the day went well or didn’t. Then to ONLY focus on the next quarter of the day. Once you build up a few quarters of the day that you feel good about, you’ll be in a COMPLETELY different place then you’re in now. xo
I’d strongly suggest you connect with Dr. Tony Henshall. He’s based in the UK and takes international clients so COVID-19 would not get in the way of your treatment. Support right now is the best investment you could make. I hope you’ll at least reach out to him and see what his suggestion is. You’re ready for change and that’s what you’re feeling right now.
Dr. Henshall does FREE 30 minute consultations so that would be a perfect place to start. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here’s his contact info and you’ll see how to book the consultation there: https://www.downwithdiets.com/
Set up that appointment and if you’re not a match I’m sure he will suggest a next step for you that will help.
You can write to me any time too.
PS reaching out for help is a sign of STRENGTH and that’s what you’re doing Teagan. That’s a big step toward recovery. You are wise and proactive for doing that. xo
Well, months after finding your wonderful book, I have not lost a gram. I have stopped dieting but I still overeat. Allowing myself to eat without dieting has not stopped my emotional eating. The thing is, I hate the way I look and I keep thinking it’s going to take too long to get to where I want so I give up.
How do I get the momentum going to ensure i do lose weight without dieting?
Thanks for sharing how you’re feeling.
You have healthy eating & exercise information from reading my book. Now you just need to put it into practice. When you’ve ingrained habits that don’t serve you (that was me for sure!) putting some accountability in place is the KEY to getting on track and building MOMENTUM so you can transition your present choices into healthy habits. Then food can stop disrupting your life & be an easy, enjoyable part of your daily routine.
If you’d like to know more about how Accountability Coaching works, you can book a discovery call with me. Just go to the side bar of any of my blog posts. At the top you’ll see the picture of the Make Today Count image and underneath it says “Work 1:1 with me”. Just pop your info in there and you’ll get the next steps.
Good information plus Accountability allowed me to reach & maintain my HAPPY weight for the last 21+ years. And life is just so much easier when you’re not worrying about what you CAN eat or WILL eat or already ate…
Accountability also helps you keep going when you want to give up 🙂
My life was completely in chaos when I asked for help. And accountability helped me put all the good info into action and stick with it. I always say if I can get healthy you can too. And I’m talking to you Tonina! We’ve been in touch for quite a few months and I know you’re ready to make this happen! I’d love to see you set yourself free. And… Building healthy habits was a magical time in my life, NOT a time of hardship.
You CAN do this!