Hopefully everyone is looking forward to spending time with loved ones and enjoying Thanksgiving dinner, however you’re doing that this year.  I’m going to a fancy buffet with some local relatives down the coast a bit, then I’m going to meet the parents for a few days in LA.  I’m sure I’ll eat a huge meal, and I’ll hike the day before, go to the gym the day of, eat lightly these next few days, maybe a few days after, and not worry about it more than that.  The parents, however, are a different story.

I have a lot of resentment still about how they tyrannized me about weight through my adolescence.  Who would have thought that belittling your daughter, attempting to diet her with stupid and dangerously incorrect notions of nutrition, and telling her she’s fat and disgusting would have long lasting negative consequences?  Big “fuck you” to both of them, her for being her, him for not stopping her sooner (he won’t let her do it now, mostly because he doesn’t like my temper).  I’m sure this will offend some of you, especially the parents, but some parents really do a bad job.  I know they did the best they could, but it was so many kinds of wrong and cruel, and I don’t know how to undo the damage they did to my self-esteem and overall lack of psychological well-being.   I may also see physical consequences from periods of starving myself (she didn’t make me do this, but nobody noticed) alternating with incredibly dangerous or out of control eating habits.  I remember how frail and breakable my fingernails (and hair) were, compared to now, from poor nutrition and unhealthy living.  They’re old now, and I wish I didn’t feel this way, it’s not helpful to anyone.

So, the point of this is that my eating/lifestyle spin out of control for about a week before I see them.  At this point, I’m not much bigger than my mom, so I comment on her crappy eating, not very mature, but I kind of want her to know how it feels.  She occasionally gives me a dirty look, usually ignores me.  If she wants to think she’s all that because she eats low-fat cheese and doesn’t use butter or salad dressing, yet doesn’t see a connection (or disconnect) at eating 3 ice cream cookie sandwiches every night, nothing I’m going to say will make a difference.  She’s never been fat, so none of this pushes her buttons.  I am ashamed that I try to make her feel bad, but I am still very hurt.

I don’t like writing this blog because I feel exposed.  I want to withdraw right now, not deal with people, not express emotions, just numb myself and exercise.  Anyway, before seeing the parents, I get some strange internal rebellion, eat fewer vegetables, higher fat/bready meals, and start smoking again.  I’ve been eating huge breakfasts, hitting the gym, skipping lunch, and then walking until I get hungry, which may be 12 hours after breakfast.  I think I won’t gain weight, because I don’t think I’m really overeating, as I hardly eat the rest of the day, but this is not healthy, sane living.

Regarding big meals, I’ve been reading here and there about how people misunderestimate (sorry, GW Bush poke, I think that word is hilarious) calorie intake, especially when eating big meals.  Turns out, everybody does this, not just obese/overweight.  Maybe the difference is how often big meals are eaten?

Overweight and normal weight people estimate calorie intake the same way

Another similar, about supposed slow metabolisms, for fitness professionals, with more attitude but some useful information.  I don’t buy it 100%, but one of the things this article points out, is talking about “eating frenzies”, which may or may not be binges, but will easily outdo a weeks worth of “dieting”.  They don’t differentiate between emotional overeating vs the body trying to counter the diet (and neither do I anymore).  This is why my first priority here is no bingeing, even though that means no dieting, and I have to be careful with my psychology first, food second.  Not sure what to think of my spinning out of control eating and exercising right now, but I’m giving it a pass, as it’s disordered, but not fattening, and I’m too depressed and indifferent to fight it.   Likely I’m subconsciously trying to push myself to diet because of upcoming parent visit, and it’s causing shock waves to my life.

Underreporting?  Who me?  But I have a slow metabolism

As they try to figure out what separates those who lose and maintain weight, vs those who don’t, they’re looking at brain patterns and learned behaviors, with regard to restraint and disinhibition.    It seems people who lose weight and keep it off have different responses to food than those who have never had a weight problem, or who are overweight but don’t lose weight/keep it off.

See Food Diet:  Brain Activity and Weight Loss

These are all summary papers, with citations available if you want to actually read the real paper, or the studies involved.

I’m not sure of the difference between restraint and disinhibition, thus don’t quite understand this one, but if someone wants to explain it to me, I’d be happy.

Eating Inventory and Body Adiposity

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone

Mt Diablo

very steep hike


5 Responses to “Disinhibition”

  1. November 23, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Ugh, what a depressing post. This is one of those times when I’m too stressed for intuitive eating, I’m not into these weird eating behaviors. I’m going to try mindful eating, or maybe just eating sanely, even though it feels weird.

  2. November 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    I hear your anger and understand. However, I started gaining a lot of weight in 9th grade and begged my mom to put me on weight watchers [with her].It was like they did the exact opposite of your folks. Mine ignored it, which can be just as damaging. I don’t know which one is the right one – ignoring or getting involved in your child’s weight issues. I do know that calling your child fat and disgusting is not a good one. When my daughter, at 11, decided she wanted to be a vegetarian, I wanted to pull my hair out. She was more a carbotarian than a veggie one, if you get my meaning. She came back from 7 weeks away at camp a few summers ago and I told her she looked terrible. She looked yellowy pale and her body looked and felt mushy. I told her how unhealthy she looked, not how fat or out of shape. I told her it was my job to get her healthy looking before school started. I fed her salmon and tuna and veggies that she liked and threw in turkey meat [she though it was faux turkey] into the chili that she loved. By September, she was about 8 pounds thinner, her color had returned and her blobbyness had gone away [oh youth]. However, she realized that 7 weeks of eating shit really did damage to her body and that eating healthy for 4 weeks wasn’t so bad, and she liked the way she was looking and feeling. It’s hard as a parent to find the right side of the tight rope to walk on, but it’s a glorious feeling when you do [which is usually less often than more]. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and do what you need to do to get through this holiday and your parent’s visit.

  3. 3 RA
    November 26, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving Julie! I hope you are surviving the time at your folks house. My mom was highly critical of EVERY thing I did as a child and teenager. And they wondered why I went to an out of state school and never looked back. I have so many opinions on child rearing that I dare not speak since I have no children of my own. Haha, what do I know right?

    Give yourself a break right now and a couple days to recover when you get back home. Shake off the bad feelings and get back to the things that make you happy. (Like hiking that gorgeous mountain!)

  4. November 27, 2009 at 10:05 am

    i had a similiar upringing, and it really hurts. i just read your post as though i were listening and hearing you.

    it’s so difficult, isn’t it, to find our own self-esteem, especially at any weight? if we’re not accepted unconditionally as a child, it’s hard to learn as an adult.

    i used to be exactly as you are before and during family visits. a lot of times i would skip Thanksgiving, and that made me much, much happier. i’d go see my family on the saturday and sunday, but i’d keep awful turkey day to myself. i made my own wonderful rituals — i’d eat healthfully (it seemed to be the one day i WASN’T bulimic) and i’d go to see a bunch of movies.

    skipping the family meal was hugely unpopular with the family, especially since my family would travel to my mom’s from different states, but i still resisted every year.

    my parents are gone now and the family doesn’t gather together. i regret many things, but i don’t regret protecting myself around food and their weird food and body obsessions.

    we’re entitled to take care of ourselves. sometimes, it’s survival.

    hope things are going okay. sometimes our actions just end up punishing ourselves. take as good care of yourself as you can. let us know how it’s going

  5. December 1, 2009 at 6:48 am

    i feel the pain in this blog. i grew up with a father and grandmother that constantly made fat jokes if i gained 5 lbs.. pinching and pointing it out to family members, comments on pictures, and it gets to me, and i see it happening to my sister, who for the first time in our lives is heavier looking that i. i just want to cry and lash out at them. i did do it to my uncle one time, who lost a ton of weight after going on cocaine binges made a smart ass comment about me being chunky after i had my son, to which i replied.. “guess we all can’t go on the “crack diet”. my grandmother thought me disrespectful and rude. excuse me? it’s ok for adults to belittle family members, and as an adult with a child, i cannot respond? please. i have to say a lot of my weight loss success has been learning to love myself and saying f* you people!! family or not!

    inspiring blog hun. you’re just being you, vulnerable and opening up to us, and we are here *hugs*

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