Out of Hiding

I’m a recovering food hider.

In my former fat life, I would go through a drive-thru and pick up enough food to feed a family of 4. Literally. You know how it seems impossible to go to Taco Hell and eat more than $5 worth of tacos? I could throw down $15 there, easily. I would sit in my car in shame, often times in a vacant section of a parking lot where I thought no one would know me. I could eat mindlessly, finishing every last morsel of food that was sat patiently in its big bag on my passenger seat.

Hiding food wasn’t limited to the car, however. I could get a box of cookies and eat them when no one was home and hide the evidence. This is something my mom often did, although I wish she had been better about hiding it as I would always find the wrappers. Fig Newtons were her favorite (the entire container), followed by those pink-sugar-wafer-thingies (what is IN those things anyway?!) I liked Soft Batch cookies and Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips- an entire big bag.

At some point, hiding food just became difficult so I just ate. I would buy whatever, whenever, and just eat. I didn’t care anymore if pizza boxes stacked up or if my entire grocery cart was extremely unhealthy items like stuffed cheese bread, loads of chips, a box of donuts and ice cream. I didn’t even have the energy to keep the facade intact. I know I recently wrote about this nasty past of mine, but something today brought it back to light for me. It’s been about two years since I’ve practiced those behaviors. Reading those words I just typed make me so sick to my stomach. I couldn’t see the illness when I was in my stomach-filled haze. I never saw it as being dishonest with myself or with anyone else – no one ever monitored what I ate, why should I hide? Yet, hiding seemed like the right thing to do.

At the beginning of this journey, I followed a super low carb lifestyle. I liked it because it gave me very strict boundaries of what to eat and what not to eat. I also didn’t have to watch my portions much on things like steak, eggs, fish, etc so I could get my fill without worrying about calories. Back in January, I added carbs back to my life. I didn’t feel satisfied anymore with my food choices and really wanted to fuel my body (which by then was working out at least five times a week) with fruits, whole grains, oats, etc. I realized that I could lose weight without restricting myself so much, and it felt wonderful. I felt satisfied.

Since May, things have been slow-going – my consistency has been off. My workouts have been good, but I just realized today that I was hiding food again. This time, however, I was hiding it in plain sight, and from myself. I’ve dieted for so long that I know my portion sizes. I know rough calorie estimates of many foods, and have the resources available online to check for anything I’m not sure about. I’ve never liked counting calories, and after counting carbs for so long, I wanted to eat without always obsessing over if it was good or not. Some people I know have made great strides with intuitive eating. I would love to have that ability one day. At this moment in time and in my vast work-in-progress mode, I’m not there yet.

Instead, I’ve been unintentionally hiding food from myself. I would say that I’ve been doing great on my eating and exercise. I would think back to what I had to eat for the day and feel good. Nothing was particularly “naughty” (and I hate the idea of “good” versus “bad” foods) so I did good. I would selectively forget that I had 2 cups of rice instead of 1, coupled with 7 ounces of salmon instead of 4. I would eat 2 packs of oatmeal with twice the normal amount of almond butter. Little things that add up to major numbers. Even taking the numbers out of it, I realized I was reverting to old behaviors of the mindless eating and stuffing myself. I would read, tweet or watch TV while eating what would be deemed “good” foods. I didn’t realize how much I was putting into my mouth until I was done with my very large dinner plate realizing that I have no idea what that food really tasted like.

So, I’m doing what many people do: food tracking.

image from Pinterest via trainingforhealth.tumblr.com

Can I tell you how much I LOATHE food tracking? I can remember having to write down everything I ate as early as age 11 when my child psychologist thought it might help me get rid of my weight problem. He even would let me use his monster computer to find the foods and enter them myself. Fast forward to years of bouncing up and down on the scale and many different “tracking” methods later, and I just got tired. Who wants to have to obsess and write down everything that goes into their mouth? Not I. I’m beginning to realize that I don’t have to track to see if I’m going over X amount of calories per day. The number for me isn’t important at this moment. The important part is just being honest with what goes into my mouth. I don’t need to restrict what I eat, I just need to be MINDFUL of what goes in. Maybe I can recognize behaviors in how I eat, and what foods I eat when i feel certain things. Or maybe it will just keep me present in the moment and realize what exactly I’m fueling my body with.

So, for now I track. This means I even tracked that fun size Butterfinger bar I ate from the front desk candy jar at work. No shame. It went in my body, and so it goes down onto the monitor. I’ve said in the past how much I don’t want to share exactly what I’m eating. In full disclosure though, to myself and to others, I’ve got it all public. Please realize that I’m not following any particular program, or say that what I’m eating will help you lose weight. I’m just eating what I feel like, and my documentation is just to keep a record. My primary tracking will be through MyFitnessPal, so if you’re there, feel free to friend me.

Coming out of hiding. Another not-so-fun step in this weight loss journey!

Do you track your food? Does what I’m talking about make any sense?! Are you still awake after reading this post? :)

  • http://www.asmallloss.com/ Mary

    Oh yes, I am a recovering food hider, too. Secrecy was a big thing – the only thing that felt better than a binge was the high I got from doing it privately, because there was the added rush of not wanting to get caught. I ate intuitively for my first 100 lbs. but then started tracking everything because I knew I was coming up on a stressful life transition and needed extra accountability. I write everything, whether it’s a salad or a fudge brownie – I can hide from everyone else, but I can’t truly hide from myself.

  • http://www.asmallloss.com/ Mary

    Oh yes, I am a recovering food hider, too. Secrecy was a big thing – the only thing that felt better than a binge was the high I got from doing it privately, because there was the added rush of not wanting to get caught. I ate intuitively for my first 100 lbs. but then started tracking everything because I knew I was coming up on a stressful life transition and needed extra accountability. I write everything, whether it’s a salad or a fudge brownie – I can hide from everyone else, but I can’t truly hide from myself.

  • Heidi

    Are you me? I so get this post – I am a smart woman who can play stupid dangerously well when it comes to my intake. I’ve resisted a food diary in each of my several attempts at establishing healthy habits but no more.  Thanks for the honesty! :)

  • Adrienne

    ahhh. i love you. thanks for the reminder to be honest with myself. now i just need to find a way to care when i go over by 1000 calories! :)

  • http://carbiegirl.blogspot.com CarbieGirl

    It makes a lot of sense, I was the same way and fear monitoring my food intake because the last time I did it I went overboard and lost weight the wrong way.   I know I will more than likely have to face it again but Im giving myself the time to relearn and educate myself on food and what the body needs for balance.

  • Chetney

    Congratulations on such an important moment of awakening! I love your blog! 

  • http://theravegan.wordpress.com/ The RA Vegan

    Oh yes I get this.  I remember documenting everything I ate on those WW charts from the 80s and I get kind of upset.  The idea of doing it bothers me, even though I know I sometimes need the accountability.  It’s a constant learning process and I’m impressed that you saw that this is something you need right now.  Thanks for being so honest.  It helps.

  • Meghanomartin

    I’ve tracked faithfully for 7 months and don’t see myself stopping. I don’t look at it as a restriction or even a chore. I do it to keep up with calories. I still track even on days where I’m treating myself. It just holds me accountable and I’m not ashamed! It’s a valuable tool for a lot of people.

    Good luck with your tracking!

  • Denise Marie

    Yes I track my food. I actually go ‘old school’ with a notebook in my purse. I have been doing it since I started my journey 6 months ago. I write down what I eat and the calories if I know it. I thought about tracking more than just calories but that just stressed me out. Yes it makes sense. If I do not write it down I have a hard time remembering what I ate. Over the holiday weekend we ate out A LOT and I barely wrote anything down. On Monday night I was trying to record and I kept stumbling over when/where we ate. That is one reason I can not use an online tracking. It would probably be easier if I had a smart phone but right now I would not be able to update till the end of the day and by then I might not get it all. I am actually on my 3rd notebook. It has helped me realize that at this time I can not have ice cream and some chocolates in the house.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511322334 Heather Roebuck

    I can totally relate.  I hate tracking because I hate looking up all the foods.  So I start to “guesstimate”.  I also struggle with tracking because I get manic when I see the numbers.  I use Sparkpeople and they make recommendations for intake for you. So as I track, I find that it’s more food than I believe I should eat, so I start modifying or I obsess about trying to get more calories from certain groups (carbs, fat, protein).  It’s so annoying.  I just wish I could eat my 1800 calories in any form or fashion…

  • http://twitter.com/BhamJen Jennifer Dome

    Tracking is tough! I’ve been doing it for about a year and a half and I still hide food from myself sometimes by not writing it down. When I do admit that, yes, I ate 3 cookies today, I feel somewhat better about owning up to it, as if maybe next time I can resist the temptation. It doesn’t always work, but it helps. The hardest things is estimating calories accurately. I know I underestimate things I eat outside of the house when I should overestimate to make up for a restaurant’s preparation, for example. Another source of my faulty tracking at times. But I do the best I can and hopefully make up for the discrepancies by working out. But, like you, my weight loss has stalled…so maybe coming clean with myself is the answer.

  • Lesley

    I have a hiding past, too. And, I have to sometimes catch myself even now that I have the instinct to hide stupid food things. And, then I remind myself that there is no sense in hiding. If I want/need to eat, I better acknowledge it and eat it..or not. And move on. 

    I’m tracking my food again (doing WW) and I’m 80% good tracking and 20% avoidant. I have to remind myself (constantly) that tracking isn’t evil – It’s JUST A TOOL. It’s just a tool that provides information. It’s not good or bad. It’s just information. Information brings awareness. And, I just have to try to be non-judgmental. yep, you just reminded me that I need to jump on over and track my food now. :>

  • Lisa

    I admire your brutal honesty in this post.  Putting “it” out there is going to help set you free, inspire others to admit their own hiding secret, and will make way for better habits to follow.  You’re not alone and you have a supportive group cheering you on.  You have overcome over 100 pounds of food that you’ve hidden–and you’ll continue on this journey.  Facing this issue head on is necessary and will only lead to becoming a healthier and fitter you!  There is no shame in honesty, my friend.  I wish you much success. 

  • phatmom

    This is really interesting to me. So much of my fitness/food battle is psychological. I don’t track my food for a few reasons.

    First, I’m not faithful with it, so it’s pointless. I tried tracking my calories, and it lasted about 3 days. It just doesn’t work for me, probably for reason 3 below.

    Second, I tried tracking Weight Watchers points, but after checking the points for what I ate for about a week, I found I was well within what they recommend every day, so why bother?

    Third, my major food issue comes from my mother restricting everything I ate as a child–even though I wasn’t overweight. She was projecting her own issues onto me. So I usually eat when I’m angry just to say, “Yes, I can! You can’t tell me what not to eat!” So, the very idea of being strict about my eating choices has the opposite effect for me! It just makes me rebel and want to eat more.

    So, on the off-chance that someone else has the same problem, I’m gonna share what works for me:

    1. I know what the trigger foods are FOR ME and I just don’t have them in the house. My husband does the shopping. No salty snacks at all because I won’t stop. No breads except whole wheat and pita bread. Bread is my big weakness. No desserts unless I make them myself, and then only for special occasions. Sodas are only allowed on weekends. Desserts that are allowed are ice cream and dark chocolate bars because I can eat these in moderation, and I can’t feel deprived or I will rebel. These are my rules. Yours will be different. I do this for ME, for MY health, not because anyone is telling me I can’t have them. It took me a long time to get to this point.

    2. I simply eat half of what I used to, of everything. If I would normally have eaten two tacos for dinner, now I eat one. If I would have had a whole plate of pasta, now I have half a plate. It’s a simple rule. There’s no measuring or remembering involved. Only a very few foods are totally restricted so I don’t feel like someone is scowling down watching my every move. And you know what? I usually feel full. The exceptions are fruits and veggies. I can have as much of those as I want (as long as they aren’t covered in sugar or butter).

    The half-of-what-you-used-to-eat-rule doesn’t apply to binging, of course. That was never really one of my problems. Now this may not help you lose weight quickly. But it’s something I can stick to, and when I combine it with working out four times a week, I lose weight slowly and steadily.

    Sorry to write such a long post. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Just thought it might help if someone else sees the same weird, rebellious pattern in their thinking.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1078306633 Kris Casas

    I just realized something that I tell staff all the time when they’re taking data totally applies….”if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen!”

  • http://twitter.com/MizFitOnline carla birnberg

    it makes so so so much sense and nary and eyelid flutter up in herre. my thing? not food right now. the hiding from self? TEMPING EVERY SINGLE DAY

  • Rebecca Bond

    I can see so much of me in your post. I really can. I track my food on MFP and find it really useful because I stay accountable all day. Plus if I track all day and then I don’t want to ruin it in the evening. 

  • Tammy

    I’m guilty of mindless eating, too.  I’ve just started writing in a food journal.  I’m just writing down what I’m eating, not necessarily how much or calories or anything.  I hate tracking, too, so I didn’t want to get too technical or else I wouldn’t want to do it at all.  But after I write down what I eat, I write down if that was something planned or unplanned and how I felt after eating it.  Writing down how I felt helps keep me aware of what my body is really saying about what I’m feeding it.  Being mindful is key.  So glad you were able to recognize what you were doing before it got too out of hand or set you back in your progress.

  • LHA

    As always, an excellent post!  Most of us have probably hidden food and certainly have mentally “hidden” bad food choices from ourselves at times.  Tracking food completely is a good way to hold yourself accountable.  One problem that I have had with food tracking is that sometimes it makes me obsess on food too much, if that makes any sense.  I can feel like my whole day is spent planning, eating, recording….just plain thinking about food!  For me, less time spent on the food obsessing and more time spent actually concentrating on the other parts of life can actually help me eat less.

    Phantom’s comment rang a bell with me too.  I can’t tell you how many times when I was a child some well meaning adult said to me “Put that down. You don’t need that.”!!  This might be while others around me were eating something yummy and enjoying it and no one said that to them.  Eating food rebelliously is a concept I do understand.  

    Thanks for a great blog and to all of the people who comment.  It is really helpful to read everyone’s experiences.

  • MindaC

    I can relate to getting sloppy with measurements. When I start losing weight, I am so diligent about measuring. Then I start eye balling it and pretty soon I’m forgetting what the proper measurement/points combination is. I have realized that when I track, I succeed and when I don’t, I fail. It’s boring and it sucks but it is what it is. I read a book called Ravenous by Dayna Macy earlier this spring. In it, she says that she’s accepted that tracking is a practice just like yoga and in order for her to be successful she has to do it. I’m trying to get in that mindset.

  • http://gettinghealthy-myblog.blogspot.com/ Debbie

    I share the food hiding behavior pattern.  I can relate to buying a box of cookies and hiding them from the rest of the family so I didn’t have to share.  Just when I think that I am past that behavior, I find myself sneaking around again.  Who am I hurting when I act this way?  ME!  How did I fall into this secretive trap?  It started in childhood as a way to eat what I wanted without censure.  I could hide my binges from my family, and secretly rebel against their rules.  But I couldn’t hide it from myself and the result was overwhelming guilt that pushed me deeper into the behavior pattern.

    I do track my food now and I also use MyFtinessPal.  I swore when I started this journey that I would never journal my food or count calories, but I found that in order to stay on track I need to be accountable.  I still try to hide and eat secretly some days, I’ll leave a days tracking unfinished as if that really hides anything.  It is an ongoing battle and one I will probably have to fight over and over again.  Thanks for being so honest and transparent, you give the rest of us the courage to be honest too.

  • Elise

    Totally with you.  I track food too.  I thought it was a failure at first — “healthy” people should be able to eat intuitively!  Maybe they should, I don’t know.  I know I can’t.  Food has been my panacea for too long — my “intuition” is to shove it in and drown out anything I’m stressed about.  Keeping track keeps me honest to myself, and if that’s a crutch I need, I’m fine with it.

  • http://kylydia.wordpress.com Lydia

    I have to admit that I’m still a hider and a non-tracker. I track until I eat a food I don’t know, and then my laziness smacks me in the face. I don’t bother to find the info for it. I know that I need to do this – the good and the bad.

  • Emily

    Oh how I understand what you are going through. I would go through the drive thru at Taco Bell on my way home from work and then eat a full dinner when I got home without telling anyone that I had already eaten. I know that tracking keeps me honest. I tend to automatically eat “better” when I track everything I eat. I also do not focus on the calorie number as it really isn’t helpful to me. Just being honest with myself. I have tried tracking on myfitnesspal, but I find that even knowing the calorie number causes issues for me. So I am totally old school: I have a notebook and a special pen. I just write it all down. Every single bite. I am back to tracking today too. I managed to maintain this weight for 2 months now, but it’s time to get back to losing. I know we can do it, we’ve both done it before. It’s just getting back to realizing we are worth it!

  • http://austinstf.tumblr.com slavetofashion

    I am slowly coming out of my food hiding. I used to hide candy in my purse and bring it home to eat at night alone in my room. I’m also very big on eating fast food alone in my car at lunch time. For some reason I have this mental block on going in somewhere and ordering my lunch and eating alone – I feel like I look pathetic. I try to have lunch plans with a friend everyday so I’m forced to eat with someone, not hiding in my car. And the secret candy stash is gone, so that’s good. Thanks for sharing and being so honest. Your bravery makes me feel brave too :)

  • http://twitter.com/christieinge Christie Inge

    I just wanted to say you are f’n awesome. I used to be a food hider, too. My food was chocolate frosting and later, nutella. I can always tell when I am starting to pick up some of my old behaviors by how I’m thinking. Often, I will be thinking I needed to hurry up so I won’t get caught. Those are always a light bulb for me that I need to check in a see what is actually going on.

    I have recently started tracking again too but not with the intention of judging what I eat but to bring some much needed awareness back into my relationship with food.

  • Mymsie Floofenheimer

    SO admire your honesty & courage!

  • Joie

    I am doing weight watchers, so yes I track food. 

    I was TOTALLY 100% against WW, until I realized I had hit an all time high…especially at only 5’3″.  I just KNEW WW wouldn’t work….then I lost 5 lbs the first week. 

    I realized what I had been eating was not “bad” food…it was chicken, fish, etc…however it was like enough food on one plate that could be for two people.  And I did a lot of picking…

    I find myself still wanting to hide food from myself as well – I completely understand that.  But I am getting better since I have to see it on the screen.

    Damn it all, I was MEANT (HAHA) to be born tall, naturally thin and rich!!  SHEESH!

  • Melissa @ Journey to Marvelous

    This is a great post Emmie. I have been guilty of food hiding many times in the past, and I still do it today when I’m not good about tracking. Food tracking isn’t fun but it’s great that you are taking steps to keep yourself accountable and moving forward in your journey! I’ll be rooting for you!

  • http://twitter.com/nickelbynickel Andrea

    Thank you for sharing. (yes i’m still awake 😉 )

  • http://twitter.com/LisaEirene Lisa Eirene

    I don’t mind food tracking. I have to do it. Sometimes I’m not honest with myself though and I need to work on that. Lying to myself about what I am eating is only hurting me!

  • http://toobig.net TooBIG

    I can totally relate to tjos. So much so that you can tell when I’ve eating something bad because the entry would’ve been blank in MyFitnessPal. I was hiding it from others but when I looked at it I knew exactly what was supposed to be there. I honestly never had guilt with what I was eating I fucking bought it and im gonna eat it. That was Me. It wasn’t til I started tracking til I started feeling guilty.

    Great post.

  • Alan

    I can relate to this Em, I been living this for the year until recently. Every bite count, every ounce, every tspn. I eat alot of the same foods over and over and stop measuring when I do because I feel like I know what it should be. I am pushing myself to measure everything now!

    Great post!

  • http://domwillrunforbeer.wordpress.com/ Dominique

    I really admire your honestly and hope you know that you’re not alone.

  • http://biglifelittleblog.blogspot.com Emily

    Thank you for writing about this. I think it is something so many of us can relate to. I definitely have been the person to order two drinks at a fast food drive-thru b/c I didn’t want them to think all of the food was for me (it was).

    This post is a great reminder for all of us former “food hiders” to mind our portions and that measuring cups are our friends!

  • Sarah

    Oh boy. I started tracking my food for the first time when I was 14. I do it now. I have to. I count EVERY little calorie that goes into my body. It’s important to me. Whether it’s points (how I lost my 129 pounds) or calories (how I’m trying to lose the last 10-20) tracking the food makes it work.

    And I was hider, too. I would go to McDonald’s on my way home from work when I younger (like 20) and buy enough food to feed a family and sneak it into the apartment and then stuff myself. And hide it the wrappers. I still hate eating in front of people but I’m not as bad.

  • http://twitter.com/iambillieday Kel

    Do you track your food? Does what I’m talking about make any sense?! Are you still awake after reading this post?

    I joined Weight Watchers a while back, which essentially forces you to count calories, just with a points system. I have also tracked my food intake on myfitnesspal, which is a really great tool.

    I just wanted you to know that your post on hiding food really resonates with me. I am over 300 pounds myself, and have been hiding food as long as I can remember. I would say that at the height of my overeating, I was spending more money at the drive thru and eating alone in my car than anywhere in my house. I would just drive to McDonalds and then drive random places around town to eat. I didn’t want to eat in front of anyone. I knew that I would feel bad if I did. Truthfully though, I didn’t feel very good about doing it when I was alone–I just got kind of numb. Like my eating was an out of body experience.

    I am always struggling with mindful intuitive eating. Perhaps if I had been willing to listen to my body in the first place, I wouldn’t have gained so much weight.

  • Katherine

    Love your blog! I am a “recovering” secret eater/food hider. There really is something about the shame of hiding, and the shame of being overweight that has stayed with me. Ah, if losing weight was really only about calories in/calories out…alas, it’s all about what goes on in my brain, for me! I have lost 85 pounds (30 left to go) with WW so, I track, and it works for me. When I don’t track, those bad habits creep back in. There are TONS of ways to do it though, so try to find what works best for you and what you find most tolerable!

  • Anonymous

    I do well when I track my food.  Otherwise I fool mysel into thinking that I am doing well and that’s when I binge.  

  • MB

    I’ve never been able to track food, or count calories or points with any success. For some reason it always made me feel so obsessed with every single thing and every time I wrote down something I thought should be there I would beat myself up about it and not be able to just let it go and move on. I know tracking is a great tool for weight loss but I haven’t been able to make it work for me. I hope you have more success with it than I ever did. Good luck!

  • findaisy

    About ten years ago, I joined an intuitive eating group to help resolve my compulsive eating. (Funny, I’ve been writing about this experience in my blog.) It did help me relieve the guilt, shame and paranoia of eating restricted foods, but this is when I actually started to have a weight problem. I’ve now been in CBT for a year and I’ve discovered that I rebel against traditional dieting rules in the form of bingeing and overeating including tracking. I’m with MB, tracking doesn’t work for me. 

    BTW what was the child psychologist thinking?

  • Kris

    I’ve been a food hider too. And the point you made about hiding food from yourself in plain site totally applies to me right now. I work from home so instead of fixing a plate for lunch, I’ve been going to the fridge and grabbing a Weight Watchers cheese stick. Then I’ll wander back to the fridge and grab another one … then maybe a soy patty. And perhaps some watermelon. Then I might have a teaspoon of chunky peanut butter. I add a little too much low-fat granola to my greek yogurt. The types of foods aren’t bad but the portions are creeping up. You’re right. Mindfulness is the key … and tracking. Thanks for sharing. It helped me become aware of my own calorie creep.

  • Bec5060

    I track my food. I do it mostly to be real and honest with myself because I’m the only person I need to be accountble to. Do I (although rare which surprises me sometimes) miss some days? Yep. Am I embarrassed sometimes about what i let myself eat? You bet. It is annoying and it seems sometimes like a ridiculous task that I may have to do forever. But its working. And that’s what is important right now in my life. Good luck! (you INSPIRE ME!!)

    Rebecca (random blog reader, supporter, and participant in this weight loss journey)

  • http://plumpetals-workinitout.blogspot.com PlumPetals

    Hi! I just came across your blog and I love your posts – especially this one. I think the food control – portions and types of food – aspect of my weight loss journey has been the most difficult part. Exercising isn’t a problem – it’s figuring out how to make healthy choices rather than unhealthy ones that takes the real training. I do track my food and it does help. I did reach a point where I thought that I knew what I was doing and didn’t need to write down everything I ate anymore … but then I started to gain weight so I knew something was wrong. I can’t wait to get to the day when it comes naturally. 
    Thanks again for the great post! 

  • Alex

    Hi Emmie.. I like your blog. I am wondering how low carb you went when you were eating low carb?  I have clearly been insulin resistant my entire life (maybe you are too?) and was a fat little girl, fat teen and fat adult.. my highest weights would be in the 300 lb neighborhood. I have spent my life always hungry and always thinking about eating the next gob of food.  Super low calorie, low fat, high carb starvation diets got me to lose over 100 lbs several times but I was miseralble and malnourished and would stop those diets when my hair started to fall out.. then the weight came right back. I have now come within 15-20 lbs of my goal weight by eating very low carb.. I keep my carbs below 20 net gms per day with only occasional trips up from there for a special occasion or event. I have been happily living this way for about 4 years now.
     Once I got my carbs this low, the “magic” started to happen.. my appetite and all cravings vanished.. I eat a good amount of fat, eggs or meat at each meal and maybe some leafy greens or berries and maybe some full fat dairy like cheese or heavy cream and once I am full, I forget about food completely for 4-10 hours! The reason I forget about food is I am finally using my stored body fat for fuel between meals.. isn’t that what we all really want to do? I rarely if ever need a snack and often only eat twice per day.. the keys for me have been: eat until satisfied and make sure there is a good amount of fat in the meal.  I don’t eat any grains or sugar (humans don’t need them to be healthy)  We have all been taught that we need to eat “healthy whole grains” but the truth of the matter is grains, along with sugars are the main reasons that so many people are sick, fat and diabetic. When people become insulin resistant, they no longer can trust their natural appetite..I know I couldn’t.. since one is technically starving at the cellular level, you feel hungry even if you have just eaten 1000 calories of high carb food. To break that cycle, and get my body to utilize my stored fat as it is meant to do, I needed to get my carbs to the 20 net gm level. I imagine the level is somewhat different for each person.  The reason I am writing to you is that by looking at your food log, it seems very high carb and would leave me quite hungry..  When I was eating calorie restricted but high carb I was preoccupied with food all the time and clock watching for the next snack or mealtime to finally arrive. It does not need to be this way.. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to just to forget about food most of the time.. I couldn’t believe it until it finally happened to me.  The bonus beyond no cravings is that eating low carb is REALLY healthy too if you choose real foods and not fake packaged “low carb” food substitutes.  You get a lot of fresh veggies each day for 20 net carbs.. Trust me, after a few weeks, you will not miss the candy, cereal and other goodies at all.

    Best of luck!!

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  • Michelle B.


    I totally understand what you are going through. I am 41 and have been overweight all of my life, but I am conquering it slowly but surely. In 2003 my weight reached an all time high of 272 pounds. Like you, I am tall (5’9″). My weight would go up and down, up and down. As of today 7/21/2011, I weigh 211 pounds. I have 30 pounds to go. I have not seen 272 pounds in over 5 years.

    I do track what I eat on calorieking.com. I fought tracking my food for years, but it works for me. I also eat low carb. I keep my carb content to about 100 grams of carbs a day. I also write a blog, http://www.michelleslowcarblifestyle.com. Tracking keeps me sane now. Do I do it everyday? No but I do it 80% of the time and my weight stays off.

    Like you, I would overeat certain foods. I never hid foods, however, I would go and buy cake, pie, icecream and eat it and throw the rest away. I could not understand “why do I do this?” I realized recently I have low serotonin levels. How did I know? Well, I was watching a reality tv show online, and one of the characters who is obese decides to have lapband surgery. She goes to her consultation with the doctor, where she gets weighed, her blood is taken, etc., and the first question the doctor asked her was, “What are your favorite foods?” The lady replies, biscuits, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and other starchy carbs. The doctor tells her that the foods that she eats are raising her serotonin levels and high serotonin levels keep people happy. Serotonin levels are raised when people drink alchohol, do drugs, eat carbs, etc. This doctor goes on to say that is what anti-depressant drugs such as prozac do: They raise serotonin levels. The patient says, “You are so right because I am always happy.” She weighs 296 pounds. She even mentioned that she did not drink alcohol or do drugs. She was eating the starchy carbs to keep her serotonin levels high and she did not even no it.

    I always noticed when I exercised, I did not have any appetite. Why? Because exercise raised my serotonin in my brain. I am not a doctor, but the way you are describing your behaviors, hiding foods, eating carbs, that you have low serotonin levels. I realized after watching that episode that I had low serotonin in my brain. I continue to exercise since that raises my serotonin but I also began to take 5-htp, 100 mgs a day. I purchase it from the Vitamin Shoppe. Since including 5-htp in my daily supplement regimen, I do not binge on sweets and carbs any more. I now leave food on my plate because I get full quick. It is like my strong desire for food, especially junk food, is gone.

    I want you to be sooo successful because you are a beautiful young lady. Keep doing what you are doing and hang in there!


  • Lydia

    Emmie this is just the push I needed. I’ve been telling myself I NEED to get back to tracking my food because when I get complacent about it I always plateau. I just made my MyFitnessPal account :) Thanks for the nudge! Oh and I’m a food hider too, looks like there’s a lot of us out there. I do lots of things I’m not proud of to sneak food, but when I track that subsides for the most part.