Skinny Daily Post


When I was at my highest weight (and the most deeply in denial) I used to think it didn’t make sense that I could be obese since I ate so much healthy food. Only when I started my food journal did I discover that the relatively small amounts of healthy eating I had been doing was far overshadowed by the mass of empty calories that I gobbled down every day. Moving from that place of self-deception and frustration to a point where I could be honest and understanding has take a long time. And I’m still not all the way there.

It wasn’t exactly ‘easy’ for me to cut out junk food, but the fact that I ate so much of it so often meant that even starting with small changes I saw big results. I remember, and have written about previously, the fact that I even had sugar cravings and headaches when I first started my dietary changes.

For the most part, I’m reasonable about how I eat now — I make mostly healthy choices, but I’m not a purist, and I enjoy snacks and sugary foods just for their own sake. At the same time, I know that the parts of my character which initially drove me to excess eating are still latent in the strata of my personality, and can be aroused from sleep if fed sugary treats.

This morning, for example, on my way to work I convinced myself that I was bored with my breakfast pattern (usually fruit, followed by a veggie and eggwhite omelette) and needed a little something extra. I stopped at Peets Coffee and got a fat-free vegan scone. I savored it (they’re a little flat, and are best when dipped in steaming coffee) but when I was done, I realized I was not done.

The rest of the day I have spent overeating. My lunch and my dinner were huge and I ate until the point of bursting. I haven’t felt this uncomfortable in a long, long while. The interesting thing is that, except for this morning’s scone, everything else I prepared would normally fall into the ‘healthy’ categorie (veggies, whole grains, fruits, etc.). Its just that I prepared and at them in such great quantities that I felt uncomfortable afterwards.

I’d like to think that its impossible to overeat cauliflower, or pears, or tomatoes. But the fact is that even these amazingly great foods can become a problem if I’m feeling a little out of control. Its a slippery slope.

Now, I’m guessing that when I wake up tomorrow I won’t feel as bad as a boozer who’s gone on a bender. I probably won’t even feel like I did after my cookie binge during my Dad’s funeral weekend two years ago. Its palpably different to have had too much of Costco’s ‘normandy vegetables’ (they must eat a lot of broccoli, carrots and potatoes in the west of France), than to have OD’d on ice cream.

But I have to admit that it really and truly IS possible to have ‘too much of a good thing.’

5 thoughts on “Too much of a good thing

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Your honesty is really great. It would be easy for you not to let us know about your down days. PS Egg yolks are a really healthy, good, fulfilling thing.

  2. Zsuzsa says:

    Have you heard of ˝overdrinking˝? I used to drink 4-5 liters of water daily until my nefrologist warned me it could damage my kidneys and its wrong to drink out of habit or boredom or “just because a diet tells you so”. Today I drink 2-3-4 liters and I find it enough.
    And yes, I agree-its not that wrong to binge on vegetables..

  3. Josie says:

    I try to justify my overeating in the same way…at least it’s nonfat plain yogurt/veggie burger/fruit/bran muffin/etc. But at the end of the day, all those ‘healthy’ excess calories still add up to overeating, and my body doesn’t know the difference. It will have to gain weight!

  4. Barb says:

    Johnathan.. The reality is, you know what to do about it.. Think of those people, for whatever reason, eat til they are bursting and keep right on doing it day after day. You got right back on program and analyed what you did.. I think that self awareness is half the battle… 231 and counting down 🙂

  5. Nikhila says:

    Just yesterday I was thinking about the way I lied to myself about my eating patterns when I was my heaviest weight. I thought I had a slow metabolism or some disorder because I ate healthy and exercised plenty. Looking back, I have to recognize that no, I ate a lot and didn’t exercise much at all. I was keeping pace with my then boyfriend who was also overweight and a foot taller–it’s amazing I didn’t weigh more than him with the amounts we were eating.

    I thought I wasn’t eating that much junk food, but I averaged a large bakery cookie a day, plus alcohol, desert and appetizers 3-4 times a week. True–it wasn’t the junk food overload I craved, but combined with the portions I was consuming, it was enough. I think it’s easy to feel like I was being healthy because I was denying myself the food I wanted to be eating. That deprivation felt like a healthy choice when really the healthy choice would have been to ask–why am I feeling deprived when I’ve eaten so much?

    Now I’m striving to lose the last 20 pounds while maintaining the 75 lost and it is TOUGH. I eat so much less now than I did 5 years ago, but I still eat a little too much for the body I want to have. I still have the minor binge on cheese or have desert or wine or both at the fancy restaurant and I know, these small shifts are what keep my trending downward so slowly. Frances Kuffel observed in her autobiography, Passing for Thin, that the difference between losing weight and maintaining is a very thin pavement. I find the difference between maintaining and losing is an even thinner swath.

    And the question still persists–why do I feel deprived when I’m still eating so much? The answer does not elude me–it’s just a moving target of mutlilayered options.

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