April 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

I’m sure we’ve all heard this phrase before–“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result”

I’m pretty sure Dr.Phil is the first person I ever heard say this but I’m sure the saying was around long before that.

And while I do like this saying quite a lot it’s actually NOT the definition of insanity.

Interestingly enough, the DSM manual used to diagnose psychiatric disorders does not include any formal definition of “insanity”.

Psychosis–yes.  Insanity–no

Insanity is a term used more by the legal community than anyone else.

So in a courtroom if you are found to be not guilty by reason of insanity that basically means you cannot be held responsible for your criminal conduct because some mental disorder caused you to lack the capacity to be aware of what you were doing.

On the flip side, you might also be found not guilty by reason of insanity because you were very aware of what you were doing but a mental disorder of some kind caused you to believe it was justified.

I find it ironic that the diagnostic tool which psychiatrists use to diagnose mental disorders does NOT recognize insanity as a valid term . And yet who determines if someone is legally insane? A psychiatrist!

So why am I babbling on today about insanity?

Well, I’ve learned a lot about myself over the course of my life.

I’m talking really about how I relate to food.  I’m increasingly grateful for all that I’ve learned because there is nothing worse than knowing there is something wrong with you but not knowing what or how to control it.

All my life I’ve struggled with my own version of insanity regarding food.

A hunger within that wants to overtake me.

I won’t lie.  I’ve often felt like I would go insane if I did not get to eat a pan of brownies or a Big Mac or whatever I was craving.

I’ve often felt like I would go insane if I waited any longer to just EAT.

Eat whatever I wanted no matter how it affected me.  No matter if it meant diabetes and high blood pressure and the inability to walk more than a few steps because of being super obese.

Is being 5’3…ok 5’2″ probably….and weighing over 400 pounds not on some level….INSANE?

Is willingly signing up…no…PAYING ….a surgeon to cut out 80% of your stomach so you will stop eating so much…

Well doesn’t that sound kind of insane too?

I have grappled with my own insanity regarding food all of my life

And through this horrific mess, I’ve managed to fight my way out of 143 pounds.

And wouldn’t you think that someone who had been imprisoned in a body of fat for years

Who could barely breathe, walk or function

And who was inundated on a daily basis with thoughts and cravings of food

Who once released from that would not ever want to go back

Would never EVER do a single thing that they were consciously aware could put them back into prison?

Would a prisoner upon escaping from death row willingly turn around and start walking BACK to prison??

Then why is it that on several occasions I have found myself doing exactly that?

Taking “just a bite” of my daughter’s hot dog at the baseball game knowing full well that hot dogs are a trigger food for me.

I used to eat an entire pack of hot dogs in one sitting

SO how is taking “just a bite” of my trigger food sane?

Would an alcoholic take “just a sip” of vodka?

Would a drug addict take just one hit?

Would you be willing to get shot if it was “just one” bullet??

When we think about it like this, we know it’s insane.

But yet there I am taking one bite out of the hot dog or one sip of a Pepsi.

I used to drink a case of Pepsi every 2 days. And with my surgery, carbonated beverages are NOT to be consumed.

Oh I won’t drink the whole Pepsi.  I’ll just have ” a sip”

And with just one bite and just one sip,  I find myself suddenly having cravings again.  Thoughts again.  Daydreams again about my trigger foods

And even though I only had a little bit, it’s in me now.

Permeating my soul.

Multiplying like wildfire and growing quicker by the second

And now I’m taking my kids to school and all I can think about his how I want to drop them off and go through the drive-thru.

This is what I hated about myself.  It literally drove me crazy.  I was motivated by food.  My every action and decision based upon when I could eat next.

“Oh you guys need new shoes for school? Sure let’s go!!” because in my mind I’m really thinking about the food court and how it’s right across from the shoe store.

“Oh you want me to take you to the movies? Let’s do it!” but not because I want to take my children to do something special.  No it’s because I want another excuse to EAT.  Because everyone eats at the movies right?

It’s sick. It’s insane.  It’s putting food in the forefront of your mind and making it the reason to live.

And yet here I am finding myself still doing things that might lead me right back to where I started

The DSM-IV diagnostic manual of psychiatric disorders  might not recognize insanity but the courts do.

And if I was hauled into court and put on trial for food insanity,  would I be convicted?

Well let’s try the definitions.

Do I lack the capacity to understand what I’m doing when I’m overeating?

Well–No.  I know exactly what I’m doing.  I know it’s wrong.  I know it’s destructive.

So according to that definition, I’m not insane.

Let’s try again.

Am I  aware of what I am  doing but a mental disorder is causing me to justify it?

Hmmm…..yes and no.

I’m not going to lie.

I’m really good at justifying overeating.  My mind plays tricks with my heart.

I might just be a little insane to that degree

But I think my issue would be closer to an obsessive compulsive disorder than full blown insanity.

Obessing over food.  Feeling a compulsion to eat it.  Feeling anxiety if you don’t give in.



Yeah that’s me.


So maybe I’m not psychotic or legally insane.

And maybe I’m a lot closer to being OCD about food

But this much I know to be true


I know what my triggers are.  I know how to manage them.

I cannot claim to be “NOT GUILTY” for lack of knowledge or self awareness

If I put sugar in my body, I crave things

If I eat bread or bagels or donuts, I crave more.

If I take just one bite it leads to ten.

This is the definition of CLARITY not INSANITY

I clearly see what leads me into destruction and I clearly know what brings me out

This will always be a fight.  Call it what you will.

Food insanity.  OCD.  Crazy for Candy.  Desperate for Donuts.

But whatever it is that I have…..I’m aware of how it starts

And I know where it ends up

So every day of my life I have to be on my guard and remember that feeling sane about food is a gift to be treasured

Not something to be taken for granted

Because if I were to gain every pound back and this case went to trial

I know there would be enough evidence to convict me of knowing exactly what I did to gain all the weight back.

And I don’t want to go back to prison

So I’m going to do whatever it takes to stay free

Because Freedom Reigns in this place

And I’m not giving that up without a fight

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kara April 19, 2012 at 5:09 am

My self awareness had definitely increased since having my surgery!

Keep on writing- your blog is just so inspiring!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Thanks kara! Mine has increased too and then it convicts me!! Thanks for being here!


XLMIC April 19, 2012 at 5:48 am

Your words and your openness are incredible and inspiring!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 19, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Oh thanks!!


Linda Kuil April 19, 2012 at 10:42 am

Just went through this battle myself last week. I try and convince myself that I’m not bingeing as bad as I used to, or I need a high calorie day to keep my metabolism on it’s toes… EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES. SO proud of myself because I ate dinner and then did not eat a thing after! I was hungry, but I knew I wouldn’t die of starvation. Couldn’t wait to have my breakfast this morning, though!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 19, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I tell myself this too at times. My mind hates me!! lol….The voices want to tell me lies. But like you said–excuses, excuses!!! We can fight them off and speak the truth. Remind ourselves on what is real. Sometimes I think I live in the Matrix!!


Kelliann April 19, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I am SO with you. It’s a battle every single day… and it’s exhausting. But not nearly as exhausting as being 365 lbs (or in your case, 417)… fighting the fight with you, my friend.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 19, 2012 at 1:25 pm

You said it!!! Doing this is exhausting at times but not nearly as exhausting as being obese. Wow you are so right on the money with that. Something I need to remember every single day.!


Lori April 19, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Thank you Holly! You nailed it….and caused me to think about my choices after surgery. “6 months out and where am I today?” Excellent post!!
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Nikki Mohamed April 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I’m proud of you for recognizing your triggers. I think I might be at that stage and I’ve been agreeable with myself to start my program again…but obviously not committed to it or I wouldn’t still be having this same conversation with myself. I applaud your definitions, too. I think Dr. Phil is a well paid quack…just my opinion. I think that your translations of sanity vs. insanity are spot-on. Keep up the good work on your program.
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Eleanor April 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm

You know, I have heard very similar things from a couple of friends who were trying to kick their addiction to drugs. That is totally what it sounds like you are struggling with…an addiction to food. Though I have been overweight most of my life and I do have food issues, I have never had to struggle with this kind of emotional mollification. I can only imagine how hard it is.

The more I read about your struggle, the more I admire your strength and your courage. I wish I had half as much as you do.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

Oh thank you Eleanor!!


Tess April 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

I have a friend who is a recovering alcoholic. I am a compulsive overeater. He once said that my addiction was way more difficult to deal with day to day than his alcoholism because we NEED food to survive, it’s all around us, you HAVE to eat. *What* you eat makes the difference. I’m glad you realize your trigger foods. JUST STAY AWAY!! No more “just a bite” because you’re not doing yourself any favors!!! Stay the course, my friend!!! 🙂


Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

This is so true!


Amanda April 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Excellent post but I challenge the “cold turkey” addiction analogies. Would an alcoholic take just a sip of alcohol? No. But can you NOT eat? No. You can avoid trigger foods, that’s true but for someof us…it’s ALL trigger food. We eat because any number of things but we can’t STOP eating altogether the way a regular addict can. Just a thought.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

You are so right about that . We have to eat!!


Sandy April 19, 2012 at 4:13 pm

Well said. Nothing else I can add to those above but to tell you that the quote is actually one made by Albert Einstein. So that must make you a genius too!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:11 am

Hey thanks for telling me where that quote came from. Albert EinsteiN?! WoW! And here I am thinking it was Dr.Phil hahaha


Grizzleyrider April 19, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I have those same craving triggers. I have been reading the book “Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat.” There is a chapter on how to change your responses to those triggers – as I ‘ve always said it is what we are telling ourselves that trips us up. I’m not all the way through the book yet and will have to spend some time on that chapter but if you haven’t read it I think it would be worth a look. BTW I love your posts – you are so positive and you write so well what many of us are thinking but unable to express. You’re doing great and are so insightful!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:11 am

I will have to check out that book. Thanks for the recommendation!! And thank you so much for your kind comments!


Lauri April 19, 2012 at 4:48 pm

This post is so approrpriate for me right now as I am definatey fighting that demon! I have been totally obsessing over food and my food choices these past few weeks and it’s completely driving me nuts. Your post is helping me to look past the obession a little more seriously so I can get it together and get past these cravings. Thanks!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

Oh thanks Lauri!! I am right there with you in the battle girl!


Wishful Shrinking April 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I had never heard or understood anything about trigger foods until I started going to a 12 step food program. I didn’t understand that it was the 1st bite that set my brain racing for the next one. Not the 3rd bite, 7th 10 or the 20th the 1st! I too have had weightloss surgery and was very sucessful and if happily ever after would have been easy I think I would have been about to maintain my low weigh a while but stress rolled in and I reached for what I know best. the ease and comfort offered by the first bite of my binge foods and it quickly as it takes to buckle the seat belt on a roller coast I was ona dieting roller coaster ride that has made me felt more insane then anything in my life. I am so glad the ride has come to a stop and that for now I am not chosing to sit down on that ride today.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

You are so right about the roller coaster!


Chetney April 19, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I’m so bookmarking this post! Holly you are a gift in my life!!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:10 am

And you are a gift to me too Czesia!!!


Rae Rae J April 19, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I posted a comment then got side tracked and forgot to push submit! You are so on target with how I feel, it’s scary. If you end up certifiable, I know a lot of us that will be in the looney bin right with you! I know I am OCD. I used to be OCD about food. Now I’ve had to force my OCD onto other things.
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:09 am

I do that too Rae! I am glad I won’t be alone in the looney bin!! hahaha….


Jane April 19, 2012 at 8:34 pm

That twinkie sure looks yummy! As long as I’ve been reading your blog I’ve noticed a few triggers which is very interesting to me because while I battle weight, I battle 20#’s. Soda is no big deal to me, I really don’t like it, but candy….I could eat a pound of candy everyday. So, back to my point, I’ve been paying more attention and yes, I get it. . .eat a cookie, go back for 3-4 more when what I really wanted was one. So, I’ve been much more aware, but also enjoy each bit of the one cookie I wanted (instead of scarfing it). I even took a big deep sniff of my friends fries the other day and had a salad instead. The big sniff was oddly satisfying. Thanks for pointing out all of this stuff. Self awareness is such an important step for any challenge. I appreciate your open and helpful blog! 🙂


Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:09 am

Thank you so much Jane!!


Staci April 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

It is so horrible and unexplainable. I can completely relate. I think I will take just a bite. And I do. But then I end up going out and gorging myself on that very item or its sister because now I *HAVE* to have it. 🙁 So unfair. But claiming unfair won’t help anything. Stay away from it, me and you both! It is our abuser. It has caused us hurt and harm, and we need to just cut the connection. So hard, but needful!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:09 am

So true Staci!!!


tz April 20, 2012 at 2:08 am

wow, you so could have been in my brain while writing about wanting food…ugh. Good luck with freedom…hoping to see you there one day 😀
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:07 am

Yes you will be there!!!


Faith April 20, 2012 at 2:43 am

Ahhh…me to a T! This past week, I’ve had to put the brakes on and not have a bite of things that I know I’ll down the whole package. There is a tray of peanut butter chocolate cookie things sitting in my fridge..I don’t even like them but I stare at them when I open the fridge. I know if I take a bite, my brain will go nuts over the sugar and say..”so what if you don’t really like’s fawking SUGAR..EAT IT EAT IT ALL RIGHT NOW”
You’re not going to go back to prison, Holly, just recognizing this, writing about it and then banging the gavel down shows you are in a different place from where you were a year ago. We might always struggle or have a trigger food(s) but I think there comes a point when the “click” happens. I think that’s happening for me this time around and having read your posts (all the way back into the archives), the growth and strength you have gained while losing the weight is fantastic.
Keep on keeping on, my friend. 🙂


Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 20, 2012 at 3:07 am

Thanks Faith . And I just love your name. Every time I read one of your comments to me I am reminded to have faith in the journey. And I really appreciate you saying this b/c when other people have some measure of confidence in you it helps too.


Bill Dameron April 22, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Holly, your blog is inspiring to anyone who reads it. We are all grappling with some demon and bits of insanity. I think in a way it is much more difficult for you than an alcoholic. An alcoholic can say “I am not going to drink ever again” and live. But you can’t say “I am never going to eat again.” and live. Keep going! You have so many supporters and we want you to succeed!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down April 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Oh thank you Bill!! I appreciate your support and encouragement. YYou are so right that we all have some demons and bits of insanity we are grappling with!! Some days I feel more insane than others lol but reading comments like this just make my day and bring me back towards sanity!!


Kelly Sheldon April 24, 2012 at 2:24 am

I am 4.5 months post op. I have really been struggling lately. I have found I can eat pretty much ANYTHING I want, and have been eating a lot of unhealthy choices lately. I’m not gaining…my sleeve stops me from overeating. But I’ve stopped losing. I’m only half way to my goal. I still need to lose another 80-90 lbs. I so completely relate to this blog. I have to find my strength again…

Thanks so much Holly. You are truly an inspiration.



Chandra April 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

I love your “I am not obsessive” graphic…so true for me.

This hits home, once again. I’m grappling with some trigger items too…thanks for another great, thought-provoking and inspiring post.

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