Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 5 and 6)

To recap:

  • Weeks 1 and 2 – I replaced breakfast with a green juice every morning (green juice ingredients: 2  apples, 1 lemon or lime, 1 whole bunch celery, 1 whole cucumber, 1 whole cos lettuce + anything suitable that I happened to have on-hand – parsley, kale, spinach, ginger).
  • Weeks 3 and 4 – I replaced junk snacks with better options, (boiled eggs, fruit, raw almonds, dark chocolate covered goji berries), cut-out alcohol during the week and reduced my coffee intake to a maximum of 2 per day

I’m not gonna lie – the first week of this fortnight was tough! At first, cutting back to eating one solid meal a day (even though I could have as much of anything I wanted for that one meal) was a difficult adjustment psychologically. I stuffed myself silly on quite a few poor choices!

But, by the time the second week came around, I found I really wasn’t hungry enough to warrant eating two big meals a day. I started to enjoy my food much more than I have previously. I wasn’t stuffing it in and fantasising about what I would be eating next. I took my time in planning and preparing my meal, and thoroughly enjoyed eating it.

I didn’t feel over-full or lethargic throughout the day, and my meal choices, the sorts of things I was craving, gradually started to change. One night I couldn’t WAIT to tuck into a big plate of steamed veggies and salmon. The next night, I skipped dinner altogether because I just wasn’t hungry. Say, WHAT? How is this possible?!

The idea behind only having one solid meal a day was to give my digestion a decent rest in between meals, which also gave my body an opportunity to detox. This wasn’t about starving myself – I was still having plenty of nutrients (and calories!) via my juicing. This was a way to try and uncover my emotional drive to eat, without going cold-turkey on eating. I didn’t want to be one of those freaky people who turn up to dinner with their mates with a big flask of scary-looking juice and refuse all solid food! The one-meal-a-day approach saved me from feeling like a social outcast and from feeling emotionally ‘deprived’. This is particularly important because I want to shed the diet mentality of ‘controlling myself’, or ‘being good’ which I suspect leads to change-fatigue, undermining the chances of sustaining healthy life-style changes.

Week 5 was a very busy social week – I had lunch or dinner plans each day for the whole week (usually a dieting disaster!), but I lost weight (and felt great!) despite eating out all week! Amazing!

Week 6 was more structured, so I skipped lunch, but ate dinner every night. Interestingly, I lost a heap of weight the first week, but not much at all the second week. I wonder if this is because I was eating the big meal later in the day? I shall have to experiment next fortnight to see…

My coffee in-take is slowly reducing itself! I never thought I’d say it, but I am regularly  (voluntarily!) only having one coffee a day (I even went a whole day without coffee – unheard of in decades!). Meanwhile, my fondness for having a cup of delicious herbal tea on-hand is growing unabated (the T2 varieties such as ‘strawberries and cream’ and ‘raspberry rush’ ones taste particularity decadent). It’s such a perfect treat – tastes delicious with no toxins and negligible calories!

My impulse to snack is reducing rapidly, and my snacking choices have completely changed over. I no longer crave high sugar/fat/salt snacks.

I’ve also had wonderful support at home this fortnight – my oldest son (currently aged 14) is also having the morning juice with me. He often asks about some of the other ones I make up during the week, and if I press him to, he’ll sometimes try them. There is a also pre-made store-bought one that he likes (not ideal, but it’s pretty low in sugar, and is an ok back-up option – it sure beats the soft-drink he would normally drink!). The morning green juice has more nutrition than he would normally have consumed in a month packed into every morning, so I’m very pleased that he’s started to have it. I might look at adding in an evening one for him soon too!

It felt fantastic to finally lose a bit of weight! If you’ve been following my progress, you’ll know that for the first four weeks, despite seeing some wonderful health benefits, I didn’t lose any weight. It was nice to finally see a little movement on that front, especially as I was able to do it without depriving myself!

Here’s my progress this fortnight:
___________________

# WEEKS 5 and 6

Approach:
In building upon my progress so far, this fortnight, I:

  1. Replaced one meal a day with juice
  2. Still ate whatever I wanted for the other meal (in whatever quantities I wanted!)

 Results:

  • Sleep quality: AMAZING. I’m sleeping longer, more deeply and waking up refreshed. I had two nights where I struggled to get to sleep, but once I had managed to doze off, I had a good-quality rest.
  • Energy level: Mixed. I felt great throughout the day, but quickly became exhausted almost immediately upon eating at night.
  • Mood: Consistent throughout the day, though I had a couple of very emotional evenings where I missed my ex unbearably.
  • Physical ailments: Some aching in joints.
  • New things I tried: Organic cocoa with xylotol or stevia with lactose-free milk; almond milk; plain coconut water (YUM! But – it’s very expensive and I’m not a nutritionist, but a lot of the calories appear to come from the natural sugars in it and it appears to be quite high in sodium)
  • Weight loss: 2 kg (4.4 pounds)

[See also: Weeks 3 and 4]

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About Lyn Campbell

Lyn likes to be thought of as insightful, articulate and achingly clever, but she's just a bit of a nerd, really. _____________________________________________________ All written content copyright © Lyn Campbell 2008-2012. All rights reserved. No written content may be used, in part or in full, without the author's express written permission. (Pictures available from Google - copyright unknown unless otherwise credited).
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6 Responses to Kicking the habit: emotional eating and junk-food addiction (# Weeks 5 and 6)

  1. Kathryn says:

    Thanks for your inspiring story, I’ve just started at the gym (at the age of nearly 50 & carrying at least 10kgs more than is healthy) but have been struggling with junk food, I am so good with what I eat during the day, then fall over at dinner & beyond, but I think that I will attempt to follow you in your journey.
    I’m really looking forward to future posts

    • Lyn Campbell says:

      Wow! Kathryn! I’m so proud of you! Congrats on doing something so important, and so re-affirming, for yourself! Valuing ourselves enough to gently support and ourselves is the most important step we can take in truly accepting ourselves and blossoming into the very best version of who we are.

      In regards to the night-time binges, remember – it’s not about self-control. We binge at night because of change-fatigue (ie, trying WAY too hard to ‘be good’ and ‘control ourselves’). The night-time cravings are a sure-sign of unstable blood sugar levels and nutrient deficiency, which in turn, is the short-road to mood swings, migraines and mindless gorging. Best to start by adding the good stuff that your body needs, rather than depriving yourself. Your body is craving nutrients, and is so accustomed to getting macro-nutrients, (fat, sugar, protein) , rather than all the micro-nutrients it needs, that as soon as your body experiences a ‘famine’ of these (such as when we ‘be good’ and fight to resist ‘bad foods’) , it cries starvation and craves them desperately until we become too exhausted to fight the cravings and give in (binge). My advice (please be aware I’m not medically trained and advise you to seek whatever medical and other professional advice you feel would be beneficial to you) is to focus on adding the nourishing micro-nutrients and not worrying about the ‘junk’ that you’re craving.

      Let yourself it eat. I know it’s a huge mind-set change to learn to trust our bodies, instead of fighting them, but ultimately, our body really is TRYING to nourish itself. It’s trying to ‘survive’ a nutrient famine, because we are over-fed (in terms of calories) but under-nourished (in terms of nutrients).

      After a few weeks, as your body adjusts and learns that the food source for the nutrient-rich foods is reliable, (ie, that the nourishment famine of however many decades is finally over!) , and that it no-longer has to over-compensate by ‘stocking up’ on sugar and fat to ‘survive the famine’, your cravings will start to change, and your hunger will start to dissipate.

      I’ll post more on my thoughts on this soon, as well as a (free!) guide to getting started…

      Thank you so much for reading – and for sharing!

  2. Congrats on your progress so far! Have you seen the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” by Joe Cross? It’s all about his juicing his way to health, very inspiring. In fact, I’ve never heard of anyone saying they felt worse after juicing other than the initial detox. Best wishes to you on your path – I’m reading with great interest and hope it inspires me to do the same.
    Sandra Louise

    • Lyn Campbell says:

      Thanks Sandra! Your kind support means so much to me!

      Yes, I LOVED ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ (except for the animations!) so much that I bought it after I’d watched it! Joe and Phil’s stories were both very inspiring!

      While I definitely think they’re onto something, I wanted a more gentle way to begin juicing, rather than jumping into a long ‘juice fast’ (or ‘reboot’, as Joe’s community calls it!).

      My rationale was that I would basically be setting myself up to fail because, for me, jumping into a long juice fast was a similar (‘all or nothing’) mentality to taking on a diet.

      Instead, I wanted a more natural, progressive (‘organic’!) way to integrate juicing (and all those lovely nutrients!) into my life and slowly change the foods that my body was craving, without it being a ‘do or die’ 30-60 day fast like the ones Joe and Phil did in Joe’s documentary.

      One of my main aims is to change my relationship with food; to do that, I need to stop thinking of healthy eating as ‘being good’, so that it stops being about trying to ‘control myself’ and becomes just the way I eat every day – without effort!

      Thanks for reading!

  3. Ivy Blaise says:

    Wow! Ok, I am now officially impressed. It is very cool that you are sticking to it so well and that is is going fantastic. Full kudos! Or as they say in Ireland… deadly! Have a lovely weekend!

    • Lyn Campbell says:

      Thanks Ivy!

      I’d hardly categorise my results to-date as anywhere near approaching a “deadly” break-through, but I hold out hope that I’m on the right track.

      Frankly, I’m amazed that my results in terms of weight-loss, have been so meagre! No wonder I always gave up on diets after just a few short days! I’ve consumed more nutrients, and less calories, in the last few weeks than in my life, and yet have very little in terms of weight loss, to show for it!

      So, a lot more experimentation until I find a sustainable, integrated lifestyle approach, but I’ve gotten it so wrong for so long that even my faltering, baby steps must go some way to helping me carve the right path…

      It will be interesting to see how this next fortnight goes!

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