Finding The Right Kind Of Accountability

A funny thing happened on vacation. I went almost a whole week without stress eating. And then, on the last day and every day since, it all started back up again. So! Very typical stress eating habits. When I am not stressed, and enjoying the time of my life in Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, I don’t stress eat! It’s nice to know that this really is a stress-eating thing and not just me self-diagnosing some sort of bigger neurosis relating to food. I mean, I think I just looked at it like, “But I’ve been stressed my whole adult life (getting pregnant at 18 does that to you) and it wasn’t this big of a problem for the last 20+ years, maybe that’s not really it.” But then I went a week without stress and never had to fight the urge to binge.

So the challenge, if I want to lose the “House Selling Weight” – (You know, weight I gained when I started stressing about selling our house, as opposed to “Baby Weight.”) (The period goes INSIDE the quote there, right?) I need to remove the stress in my life. EASY AS PIE! Except that’s not going to happen until the house sells, so instead I need to go back to my efforts to try to deal with stress in ways other than eating. Which I’ve tried before to various degrees of success. Mind, my friend told me that she got a super-fast house sale for cash through The Property Buyer and was so happy with her results so maybe that is something to consider to reduce my stress, but I’m not sure if that will raise my stress levels or not because I’d only want to use a reputable cash buyer.

I feel like I need some accountability. Someone I have to report to if I eat an entire bag of sour cream and onion ritz chips. (Not that I’ve done that.) (I’ve done that.) I’ve tried various apps but they always annoy me. I can’t really justify spending money on something like weight watchers. But I need to figure out some way to make it so my binge episodes are NOT SECRET. You know? How do I do that. Are any of you people looking for accountability partners? Should be email each other our food diaries every day? Would that work? I don’t know. Probably not. It’s just that right now, I plan my stress-binging as a private event intentionally, but maybe if it wasn’t private, I wouldn’t do it? I KNOW. I WILL HIRE A CAMERA CREW TO FOLLOW ME AROUND 24 HOURS A DAY AND UPLOAD THE EMBARRASSING FOOTAGE OF ME EATING 42 DONUTS EVERY NIGHT.

But seriously, I think that would totally work.

The other problem I think is that I’ve talked so much about stress eating that now, when I do it, I’m all, “Look! Doing that thing I do that I talk about all the time!” Kinda like how my husband made me stop saying that the kids got my genes when they fall down. “They now just think that’s their destiny, being klutzes, so they accept it and kinda own it. Whereas if you didn’t mention it, it would be a one time thing and they wouldn’t put “clumsiness” in their wheelhouse of challenges they would have to overcome to do something.”

And he was right because I catch Nikki referencing her clumsiness she got from me all the time. DAMMIT. WHY DID HE HAVE TO BE RIGHT?

So by making it a “thing” I think I’ve given it power. So if I’m about to binge eat 37lbs of french fries I can be all, “Look! Stress eating selfie!” and it’s funny. Or I can post a Facebook Status or put it on the blog and HAHAHAHAH! Look! She’s stress eating again!

I think I’ve made it my schtick without meaning to.

SO! Accountability. Any ideas that won’t cost me money?

20 thoughts on “Finding The Right Kind Of Accountability”

  1. I’m afraid I have zero ideas but want to wish you well. I struggle with eating my emotions and know how hard it is to regain control.
    Good luck!

  2. So I don’t have any magic ideas, but I’ll hold you accountable. Text me when you feel the urge to binge and I’ll send you a something back (no guarantees on what ????. )

  3. I always need accountability help. I don’t overeat, until I do, then I figure go big or go home.
    I’ve tried apps, but they always tend to guilt shame me about the choices I’ve made.
    I’ve tried writing down every single bite I take, I’ve tried blogging about it, I am still not sold on any one method of logging food.
    I would need a partner that I could say, hey, I’m so stressy right now, that I might just eat all the food in the fridge, and have them talk me down before I eat all that food, but even dealing with it afterwards is enough of a guilt trip for me that I tend to just block it out. (which leads to more binging)

  4. Strict instructions to get on my bike! 🙂 I’m severely lacking in saddle time thanks to soccer season (which ends this week!)

  5. I have a couple of friends who also struggle with binge eating, and I sometimes text them if I am having a tough time. Maybe you could have a text friend to do that with? I would be happy to do it, although that might (might?) be weird since we are not IRL friends.

  6. I’m dieting right now (again). I’ve been using myfitnesspal to keep track of my calories/exercise.

    I try very hard not to eat the extra calories I earn by exercising. Something I’ve just started doing when I want to eat something that’s not exactly healthy is make myself walk around the block (3/4’s of a mile) before I eat it. If I come back and I still want to eat it, I do. Often I’ve found that after the walk I don’t want it any more.

    Stupid mind games, but sometimes distraction does work.

    Good luck.

    P.S. I thought you looked great in all of your vacation pictures!

  7. I swear you and I could be sisters from different mothers or something like that, we have so many of the same thoughts/issues/insecurities. I was just thinking the other night how it would be great to have someone besides my immediate friends and family that could help when I feel like I want to binge eat. My friends and family don’t really know the extent of the eating that I do sometimes so it would be nice to have someone that understands and that I know would not judge. I know we don’t know each other but I’ve been reading your blog for years and years and if you would like someone that doesn’t know you personally that you could text and vice versa I would be happy to volunteer. Hope that doesn’t sound weird 🙂 E-mail me if you are interested.

  8. The myfitnesspal app is pretty good. When my doctor put me on a diet a few years back, she had me write down everything I ate and she followed up with me a couple of times . I do suggest that-it helps keep you honest on what you are eating.

  9. There’s some systems in place wherein you support a cause you actually disagree with whenever you fall off the wagon. In your case, maybe an anti-gay marriage organization? Would that be motivating enough, knowing that bag of fries is going to send $5 to Westboro “Church”?

  10. Maybe come up with a distraction/replacement…like text a friend and vent instead? Or channel into one of your acts of kindness? something that provides a release/feel good sensation and takes a few minutes to complete?

  11. I finally just joined Weight Watchers online — and it’s not that expensive. $10/month with no joining fee (they had a special going on — probably still do). There’s just something about entering all my “points” online that feels very satisfying. I love making lists and doing that type of fiddly stuff, so I enjoy looking up how many points I’m eating and planning on staying withing the maximum.

    Anyway, just thought I’d let you know –it’s not as expensive as you might think. And if you want to go to the in-person meetings, they have them everywhere.

    Good luck!

  12. Honestly this may sound crazy, but through a lot of therapy I discovered my key to not binge eating was not to diet. If I want a donut, I have a donut. If I want a couple of slices of pizza for dinner, I have a couple of slices of pizza. Mentally knowing I can have whatever I want at any time and not putting shame on it, I don’t binge. I also make it a point to not order the healthiest thing on the menu like I used to when I’m with my coworkers, boyfriends, friends, and family. (Because I used to then just binge when I got home and was by myself.) Also, not restricting doesn’t allow me to get ravenously hungry and then binge. For me that’s a huge trigger. Do I still have weight to lose, yes. Hopefully that will come off with more exercise. I did however lose the weight I had from binging every night and I’m way happier

  13. The exact same thing happened to me! For me, what triggers binges (or binge “phases”) is feeling restricted (in any sense, not just restricting food) or feeling completely out of control in a situation. Knowing this has helped a lot, and I can’t even remember the last time I had one. And for me, weight did come off with exercise 🙂 Hope this works for you too.

    Zoot, sometimes having a rant helps me when I have urges. I’m happy to help -you could send me long texts or we can do short whatsapp voice messages if you want. I live in Scotland though, so the time difference might affect my availability. But, it will mean I’ll be available at 3 in the morning if nobody in your timezone is.

  14. I think that it might help taking a picture of your food, or writing down exactly what it is, how much you plan on eating, and how many calories/fat/etc. is in it. Stress eating is dangerous because it involves little to no thinking, and it happens SO FAST. You feel crappy, you grab something and gobble it up, you feel better, and then you feel worse. When you get the urge to eat an entire box of Krispy Kremes or what have you, if you STOP for a minute to record all that stuff it really gives you a chance to *think* before you put it in your body (I guess, in a way, making you accountable to yourself). Rather than thinking about it afterwards, which leads to feelings of shame and more binge-ing, and more shame and blah blah blah vicious cycle.

  15. In regards to not wanting to pay the money for Weight Watchers, there’s a great free app called iTrack Bites. It’s basically just like WW, using the point system, but totally free. There are add-ons you can purchase, like one for restaurants, one for beer, etc, that I would highly recommend getting, and if you buy them bundled as opposed to one by one, I think it only costs around $6. There’s also a great support community within the app as well. Lots of people post challenges you can participate in (10,000 steps a day challenge, lose 10 pounds from specified date to specified date, etc) so I feel like you wouldn’t have any problems finding accountability partners. Maybe it would be helpful? Regardless, I wish you the best of luck!

  16. Hello! Yes, I need an accountability partner also. Also, if I could stress clean or stress run/walk, that would help me a lot. Do you know how I can switch to that instead of eating? Let me add to your to-do list, what about creating a forum/webgroup where we hold each other accountable? You are awesome and are not made up of your mistakes. They’ve helped to define you, but I’m glad that you’re here, even if it is not the most perfect version of you. Thank you for inspiring me.

  17. I don’t think you need an accountability partner for the eating, but I think you need someone to reach out to when you are stressed/feel overwhelmed to help you refocus. You were still selling your house while on vacation…you were just focused on the moment instead of future “what if” moments you can’t control (“what if my house never sells” etc). Perhaps a free ANAD support group would be beneficial right now…something where you aren’t focused on food, but on working on the tools to help you address the stress and reframe it so you don’t have to stress-eat it. I’m working through similar issues, and relate to everything you write. One thing that helped me was a tip to not focus/stress about anything that wasn’t occurring within the local weather report (time frame wise). Then, the 5 Day Weather report becomes a good trigger of “should I be stressing about this”?

  18. Don’t mind the ass-vice here, but I was thinking of you when listening to Gretchen Rubin’s ‘Happier’ podcast the other day (this episode specifically: http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/05/podcast-11-make-the-positive-argument-simplicity-vs-abundance-and-sunscreen/). In her new book on habits, she talks about the 4 Tendencies people have about habits (quiz here: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1950137/Four-Tendencies-January-2015), which helps you understand how you respond to inner & outer expectations. One of the Tendencies needs outside accountability, which made me think of you.

    Outside of that, I get you on life being stressful, especially when re-entering the world after a trip.

    PS – I just had to question how I used a period with a parenthesis. I think we both did it right.

  19. My girlfriends and all are all losing 10 lbs together. We downloaded MyFitnessPal and have access to see each other’s food diaries so I know everyone can see what I’m eating (but we focus more on the “ooo that sounds yummy” or “good job eating quinoa” type support vs shame or calling someone out for having a treat). We also use the WhatsApp chat app to keep in touch during the day, especially if someone is feeling frustrated about eating healthy and needs to vent or needs someone to metaphorically slap the cookie out of their hands. Of course, you have to be willing to overshare for this type of accountability to work but we’re on week 2 and so far it’s been helpful for all of us.

  20. I have done weight watchers and my fitness pal and fitbit and you name it to track my food, and while I like it and it works very well to be aware of what I am eating, it does zero to stop my stress eating. Because, it does nothing to change or help the stress. When I am stressed, and want to stress eat, then NOT eating becomes a BIGGER stress than the original stress was. If that makes sense.

    So, what works for me: getting outside. It worked last summer, I’d just load the kids in the stroller and go to the park and that helped.
    I also dislike eating after exercise, so the more I do that it is better.

    Here are some random ideas to break your pattern: If you stress eat, you have to put your phone on camera looking at you and take selfies.
    If you stress eat, you can only eat while standing on one foot and when you lose your balance you are done. Or only eat while pacing back and forth.
    You have to stress eat alphabetically: A one day, B the next, C, and so on.

    Good luck and let us know if anything works! I’ve got to do something. I still have a LOT of baby weight left on, and I am exercising and running a lot, but still sabotaging myself with the eating.
    Also, don’t beat yourself up about stressing about the house selling and keeping it show-ready. I have done that twice in my life, once with kids, once without, always with pets, and keeping your house ready to be shown and waiting is absolutely and completely out of this world stress. A pattern I fall into a lot goes: Stressor –> stress –> then I fell like I shouldn’t be this stressed –> more stress about being stressed –> wanting to eat –>trying not to eat –> more stress.

    Well, that was quite a comment. Please keep blogging about this though, you are not the only one for sure.

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