I want to break the record player playing this broken record

No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

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I want to break the record player playing this broken record

Post by atalanta_draper » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:38 pm

This is a post that many of you have posted before.

I am hopeless.

When I first heard about No S, I had that initial enthusiasm, and I stuck with it for a little while, and I seem to recall it actually worked, or at the very least made me feel better.

But not anymore. I am like a wild cave person, ravenous and violent around food. I tear into things. That's really the best word, "tear." When I see food I have decided I'm going to eat, I black out in a way, and the beast inside takes over. And then I come to my senses later when I'm stuffed and thinking how stupid and fat I am, and how stupid and fat I was yesterday, and how I hope some deity will descend and deliver me from being as stupid and fat tomorrow as I am today.

But of course the deity is busy with people's actual problems, and me stuffing 35 white-chocolate-covered pretzels down my gullet doesn't really make it high up the list. Nor does guzzling enough whole milk to drown a baby cow.

I understand that the only person who's coming to the rescue of my body is me.

But I can't be bothered. I start most days with high hopes for doing well, for not eating any sweets or having any seconds, and I think that maybe by the time I walk out of work I'll be svelte and French and stylish. But then I immediately (almost) descend into cave person behavior again.

It starts with the coffee. A latte (free) made with 2% milk (for baby cows watching their baby-cow figure). But then I add 4 packets of sugar. Why? Well, because it's delicious and you all know it.

And then it's on to lunch. Usually my lunch is disappointing. I usually don't bring my lunch. So when I eat something that I didn't really want, the beast cave person begins planning.

"I will just eat this salad now, and no one will look at me and think 'yeah, that fat girl would be eating [whatever].' That way no one will be wiser to the second part of my plan, which is to go home and tear into the chocolate covered pretzels and whole milk."

Sadly, this plan is what gives me energy for the rest of the day.

I think, and I'm not sure because I'm not a doctor, but I think this is what serious addicts do. They're always scheming to get the next fix. And that is exactly what I do every day.

I can't say that it's even sugar that I'm obsessed with. I could do without sugar if I were to eat some delicious and unhealthy thing every day, like a huge cheeseburger.

It's really just the indulgence that I'm focused on. I need these food-based rewards to motivate me to keep going though other things that suck at work or in my life generally. I subconsciously think "well, at least I have the pretzel and milk binge later."

Sad, no?

So my question is, how do I break this psychotic cycle?

Does anyone have a magic knack for stopping the cycle of thinking that "this is the last time." Or "I'll be responsible tomorrow." Or "I just can't deal with being hungry right now."

I will add in another layer here.

I used to be an alcoholic. I understand that some alcoholics will trade booze for sugar. I don't know that I've really done that. I think I can't do anything in moderation. More accurately, I need to have something "wrong" or "bad" or "indulgent" to satisfy me. Fortunately I never tried real drugs. I am currently addicted to the most socially acceptable and outwardly humiliating and obvious thing: food. Everyone knows because I'm fat. No one thinks I have poor character because I don't shoot food in my veins or meet it in sketchy hotel rooms.

Many alcoholics will say they are in recovery. But I am now a non-drinker. I was able to break the booze cycle before it really did any immediate physical damage to my body. (Some liver issues at the time, but nothing since, and the doctor assured me the liver heals itself quite well. I am in my late 20s.)

The tricky bit is that I can't be a non-eater.

I have to eat something, and it's like a former heroin addict living with his drug dealer. I can't actually get away from these things. What's more--I don't want to. I want to live in a world where there are delicious and indulgent things available to me. But I also want to be able to say not today. Saturday. Or maybe not on Saturday at all.

I want to be normal, and not a violent, obsessive cave person.

So I'm looking for advice. How the hell do I break the addiction to more? To indulgence? To unhealthy food? What's the way to rethink the decision? How do I reframe the way I choose?

I'm open to any and all suggestions of how to change this thinking.

(Yes, I should probably see a psychiatrist or psychologist or witch doctor or medicine man, but so should we all.)

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Post by nettee » Sun Jan 17, 2016 8:56 pm

It sounds to me as though you are addicted to sugar. It might be more general than that but what about committing yourself to no added sugar at all for two whole weeks and see what happens? I know it is not a No S thing to give it up completely but if you are trying to break the cycle then S days with sugar in them could put you back where you started.

You have done it once with alcohol (amazing willpower) so you know you can. You can't be a non eater but you can quit sugar. Have a read of Sweet poison and/or the Sweet poison quite plan by David Gillespie. I found them very convincing.
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Post by NoelFigart » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:35 pm

You're allowed to eat food that tastes good.

You don't have to eat salads all the time if you don't like them.

You can follow No-S perfectly well and eat "unhealthy" food, but still keep a boundary around the quantity. Maybe you should for a little while.

Give yourself permission to have a damn cheeseburger for lunch for a week. No, seriously. I mean, hell, have a Happy Meal. They're all under 550 calories, which is a perfectly sane-sized lunch for even a dieting adult.

Eat a ham-n-cheese omelette for breakfast.

You're freaking yourself out; your language about yourself is not very nice. You probably wouldn't tolerate someone else talking to a friend like that, and you're just as deserving of kindness.

I think the whole "healthy food/unhealthy food" crap is a lot of magical thinking anyway. The reality is that humans will stay alive where a goat would starve. We're not so damn delicate as all that.

You're in a tug of war with an elephant here. Drop the rope for a bit.
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Post by Merry » Wed Jan 20, 2016 5:42 am

I'm with Noel--you need to eat things you like every day. I eat a cheeseburger if I want one (I usually go for more small/medium sizes because I know I can't finish a large and feel comfortable afterwards most days, LOL!, but if you can, start there). NoS gives you a plate. Put something on it that you actually want to eat and forget the salad until you crave one.

Plan ahead. Get rid of the white chocolate pretzels--those are for weekends (so only buy just what you can eat of them on weekends, so you won't have leftovers). But enjoy your plates of food.

I also agree that you are being mean/too hard on yourself. My son used to talk that way sometimes, and I told him if I ever heard someone else talk about him the way he talked about himself, I'd punch them in the face! (That shocked him and I had to admit I might only FEEL like punching them in the face... but you never know when you rile up a mama bear, what might happen...) Anyway...you are so much more than your physical appearance or your challenge with eating habits. Those things are not your identity and they don't define who you are.
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Post by Strawberry Roan » Wed Jan 20, 2016 6:06 pm

As cliché as it sounds, you really do have to love yourself and treat yourself better. As was wisely said, would you speak about a friend the way you speak about yourself?

You need to become vain, you need to realize that you could indeed look like the stylish French woman you envision - but not if you keep over-eating chocolate covered pretzels. One warrior will have to out-battle the other in your brain.

I do wish you well and am sorry you are in this struggle. Regardless how many billions of dollars are spent telling us the latest and greatest - it really, really is as simple as (most of the time) eating good, clean, real foods and exercising. That is, of course, if there is no underlying medical condition. Don't even worry right now about "will I lose weight eating this?" - just think, is what I am eating going to nourish my body?

No one can get you to that "aha" place but you, where you realize that you really can change your life. Sure, it is hard but isn't the life you are living now even harder?
Last edited by Strawberry Roan on Thu Jan 21, 2016 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by simmstone » Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:22 pm

Wow, atalanta_draper. Your words are brave and feel like they could've come directly out of my journal.

I started No S over 3 years ago. 15+ years of dieting (for me, that meant orthorexic eating) had preceded it and turned me into the quintessential binge eater. No S seemed like a panacea at the time. I mean, 3 plates a day?!?! No counting or forbidden foods?!?! Weekends off?!?! Wow! What a concept!! I jumped in with both feet and had 3 months of great success and thought my nutrition issues were a thing of the past.

But they weren't. I failed, eventually. I still fail.

I am still a work in progress, and probably always will be. Everyday is a battle, but, overall, things have improved for me. I binge far less often than I used to and I am far more forgiving of myself when I do.

No S is just a strategy. It is not a compulsive-eater-friendly diet, as those diets (weight watchers, no carb, calorie counting, macro counting) replace one form of food compulsion (binge eating) with another (obsessive/compulsive attention). Compulsive/dysfunctional eaters eventually need more than a strategy - they need a psychology. No S is a GREAT plan to help you moderate... but if you've counted on food to fill the void(s) in your life (boredom, dissatisfaction with job/relationship/status), No S strips away your crutch and leaves without your original coping mechanism (binge eating)... and it doesn't replace it with another compulsion (counting calories, etc). So you are left alone to deal with your actual life. That experience can be instructive, in that it shows you just how much you use food to give yourself the illusion of happiness/excitement/fulfillment, but then you have to find actual people/places/hobbies/activities/pursuits to fill the void. And it is HARD to do that! It takes a lot of time and patience. It's always going to be easier to eat a lot of delicious chocolate-covered-ANYTHING than to make an appointment to tutor some disadvantaged kids after work and actually show up for it. But the beginning of transcending your eating issues hinges on 'showing up' for something else.

At first, that concept isn't going to sound particularly attractive to you. It's far easier to retreat/isolate/binge than to act. It's far easier to say "I'll cut out all carbs" than to say, "I'll cut out all excuses for why I don't participate more in my life." But the more non-food-based experiences you can put into your body, the greater chance that one of them might provide actual fulfillment. And once your brain gets a pleasure response from that fulfillment, your chances of convincing it to choose that activity over eating slightly increase. And each time you reinforce that pattern, the wiring gets stronger and stronger, until, eventually, you know in your bones that mindless/compulsive eating doesn't actually do anything to fill the need your body is expressing when that desire arises, and you'll have lived experiences as a concrete example to give your brain... and, over time, you will choose the experiences over the food more often than you used to. And, eventually, you'll rarely choose the food. And, when you do, it will be far less (in frequency and quantity) than it used to be. This is the way I've slowly fought my way back.

"Brain Over Binge” by Kathryn Hansen is a book that is helpful in introducing you to the concept that urges are completely separate from actions. It's not an immediate cure, but it helps you familiarize yourself with a concept that most binge eaters find implausible - that an urge to binge eat is not the same as actually choosing to ACT on that urge.

"Health At Any Size" by Linda Bacon is a useful book to introduce you to the concept that caring for yourself is independent of your weight (though I don't agree with her suggestion that intuitive eating is the ideal strategy for folks with a history of dysfunctional eating).

Obviously, No S is a great book for helping you realize that moderation is more than enough to help you achieve a reasonable relationship with weight/food.

The above books were all instructive, though no single one of those was a silver bullet for me.

Writing down your meals for while can also be helpful for a certain time. It's a pain to commit to, but it starts you down the road to eliminating self-deceptive behavior - a crucial concept for a binge eater.

There are lots of great suggestions above, too - eating what you want, as long as it fits on a plate, is a great idea. It helps you to realize that type of food and AMOUNT of food are two different concepts - i.e. craving pizza and having 2-3 slices for lunch is a different animal than craving pizza, eating a salad for lunch then having two large pizzas for dinner (I used to frequently do that... it's like a right of passage for binge eaters).

The first step of breaking free of this beast is reaching a point where you are ready to try food AND non-food-related strategies to break the cycle. Sounds like you are there. Best of luck on your journey!
"No S is such a good way to combat the randomness, which is often the slide into more and more." - oolala53

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Post by lpearlmom » Thu Jan 21, 2016 4:22 am

okay there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. Food is NOT an addiction. You are just giving into the natural instinct to um survive, live, exist! Food is suppose to taste good just like sex is suppose to feel good because mother nature wants us to survive!

Stop beating yourself up. There is nothing wrong with overeating, there is nothing wrong with being fat. There are a lot of beautiful, smart, amazing fat people in the world. What is wrong though is that you are unhappy with your relationship with food and NoS can fix that.

Forget about being skinny for awhile. Just want to stop having this love/hate relationship with food. That is where I started. I had just had enough of the constant obesessing. I swear food & weight was ALL I thought about. I just wanted it to end. Start from the beginning. Pile your plates high with whatever food you want. I mean whatever you want.

I ate a lot of cheeseburgers and fries in the first several months of NoS, I had mohcas every day. But I stuck to my 3 meals and something amazing happened. I stopped hating myself, I stopped thinking about food non-stop. My relationhsip with food began to normalize. This was nothing short of a miracle. Start there. Do that for 6 months, then if you really want you can adjust what you eat and start to lose weight slowly.

That is my advice. You can do this, please don't give up. Message me if I can help in any way at all.

*HUGS* Linda
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Post by Over43 » Thu Jan 21, 2016 2:42 pm

In 2010 I lost twenty pounds in two months on No S. (I was highly motivated at the time.) I followed the rules to a tee and exercised hard three times a week. Often times my meals consisted of Hamburger Helper, canned fruit, a number 8 from McDonald's, pizza, I would even have a Coke occasionally with a meal and not sweat it...I would not suggest that for a long term approach, but the main tenants of No S are no snacks, no sweets, no seconds. There is nothing that states you have to eat boiled oats everyday. Or choke down a salad.

Various eating approaches aside, as Peter Voss (who have mentioned previously in posts) suggests we make ourselves unhealthy through calorie poisoning. That is, bottom line, to many calories. He never delineates what kind of calories.

Good luck, and good eating!
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I made myself be hungry, then I would get hungrier. - Frank Zane Mr. Olympia '77, '78, '79

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