Tuesday, February 28, 2012
And this is where I'm stuck. I can't seem to believe this step. My own experiences, plus the experiences of family members, friends, and of course the weight loss community, have lead me to believe that losing weight is a relatively simple process. As Weight Watchers says, to lose weight one must eat less and move more.
Throughout the chapter, the authors Evelyn Tribole, MS, RD and Elyse Resch, MS, RD, FADA, discuss both the physical and psychological problems with dieting. Physically, the two authors say that, with each diet, our bodies get more efficient at saving fat, therefore making it more difficult to lose weight. Additionally, regained weight seems to center in the stomach which causes increased health risks. The two authors assert that it's healthier to stay obese rather than to lose and regain (yo yo) the same weight multiple times.
But in my opinion, the more interesting damage is psychological. The authors reference a famous study of deprivation from the 1960s (I believe). In the study, a group of healthy men who typically consume 2500 calories a day are forced to limit their caloric intake to 1500 calories. As a result of the deprivation, the men start obsessing over food, particularly treats. Some men start "cheating" the diet and others become defiant. After the deprivation, the men are allowed to eat normally. And guess what? The vast majority of the men more than double their initial normal caloric intake, eating over 5,000 calories a day.
The author's basic argument is that dieting (i.e. deprivation) leads to food cravings and, ultimately, overeating. The basic premise is that people start out with eating behaviors that are in tune with their biological needs. For instance, a toddler naturally regulates his or her eating (over a period of a few days) to meet his or her needs. However, as people age and go on diets, this "intuitive voice" becomes drowned out by external cues.
One thing I noticed as a dieter was that I nearly always finished my portions of food. Because I counted the "points" for each meal, I wanted to get my value's worth. I didn't pause mid-meal to ask myself if I was full, I just kept eating and stopped when the plate was empty. While this habit was okay when I was measuring my portions, it can cause problems when I go to restaurants or have bigger than normal servings on my plates. This habit causes me to rely on the external cue of an empty plate rather than my satiety level.
Anyway, those are the two main points in the chapter.
First off, I'm not overly concerned with the physical factors. From the research I've seen, your metabolism is not a stagnant thing and will bounce back over time. That's why it is possible for yo-yo dieters to continue to lose weight. And that's why it was possible for me to lose weight. As for regaining in the stomach area, that sucks. But what dieter ever expects to regain the weight lost?
As for the psychological, it is SO HARD for me to consider that I'm not at fault here. I feel like I was born with some "fat defect" that brought all of this on.
On my worst days, I think that some witch stood over my cradle and said, "She will be pretty. She will be intelligent. She will have a sense of humor, but she will be fat. And that cancels everything out. Hahahahaha."
Friday, February 24, 2012
But they weren't. In order to reach my goal weight, I was eating very light. Some days, for instance, I'd eat less than 1100 calories. I started feeling oddly guilty about my love for mangoes. I "tricked" my body into thinking it was full by eating many volume-heavy stir fries and salads. I started to like the feeling of being slightly hungry because I knew that I was getting skinny.
In hindsight, my body wasn't so thrilled about being food deprived. I fainted twice at the end of August to early September. My body was constantly covered in bruises. I was too tired to exercise. My Weight Watcher leader commented, when during the last two months of August I lost over 6 pounds: 'Are you eating?' she said.
(Just as an FYI, I went to my doctor during that time and mentioned all my issues and she suggested I go on a 1000 calorie diet to get to 140, which she deemed a better weight for me. Just goes to show, there are some less than awesome medical professionals out there.)
Anyway, I met Nathan around that time. We started eating all our meals together and I no longer felt the urge to eat gigantic stir fries loaded with veggies and beans. I wanted to enjoy my food rather than just stuff myself to feel full. And that meant returning to a more natural place with food: I started to eat what I liked. Banana pancakes. Blue cheese. Oatmeal with peanut butter. Mangoes. Asparagus with olive oil. Pizza. And of course, we can't forget, chocolate chip cookies. Suddenly, no food was off limits.
I started to feel comfortable with food. In a way, I felt like I was reverting to 4-year-old Katie, eating what I liked without any thought to the food police that have ruled my brain for so long. But every so often I'd feel the urge to go on a strict diet again. Every so often I'd look down at my thighs and think, 'If I could just diet for 4 months, I could lose X amount of weight.' And then what? Like the child I was at 12, I foolishly believed all my dreams would come true.
And this is where I am now. The healthiest I've felt towards food in a long time. Not dieting and not bingeing. No scale in the house, but my clothes fit the same as they did last month. And this is why I think it's the ideal time to start a new goal. Not to lose 90 pounds. And not to run a marathon. But rather to take on the Intuitive Eating challenge.
The NEW plan:
Thursday, February 23, 2012
It's hard for me to remember the days before food guilt. As hard as I try, I only have fleeting memories of my behavior towards food before I started feeling that my eating was "wrong or bad." I remember pancakes sizzling in the skillet at my Aunt Linda's house. I remember having an odd hatred of Ketchup. I remember eating my spaghetti plain, with just butter and parmigiana cheese.
My relaxed, easy notions of food vanished by the time I was 10 or 11. It all started because my family-- especially my dad, paternal aunt, and paternal grandmother--thought I was an unusually pretty child. At around age 6 or 7, I started to receive a lot of comments about my looks. My aunt told me I was the prettiest out of all my siblings (nice, right?), and my grandmother told me I looked just like her (and she was a beauty in her day). I started to see my self-worth in terms of whether people thought I was beautiful or not.
But at 6 or 7, I didn't connect being "beautiful" to the Easter candy I liked to eat...or the chocolate chip cookies I liked to bake with my mom. No, I didn't start to worry about my food consumption until the very same people who commented about my looks started to make pointed remarks on my weight. It's hard to remember the exact remarks, but I recall my dad trying to convince me to lose 10 pounds at age 11 by saying, 'You could be a movie star if you were thinner.' Suddenly, my weight was linked to my looks and, by extension, to my self worth.
At age 12, I figured the only reasonable thing to do was diet. Restrict myself. I figured it would be easy to eat like a bird (like my two skinny sisters) and then the weight would fall off. And then I would be skinny. And then I would be a movie star. Right?
Except that I didn't anticipate how tired I'd feel. How much my stomach would grumble at night when I'd try to fall asleep after skipping dinner. And how much I would crave the foods I had previously taken for granted. Yogurts, cookies, pizza, muffins, bagels (you get the picture) all became forbidden foods for me. And that is when I started to binge.
During each binge, I'd believe it was my "last" and therefore I'd eat as much as I could. Because I'd honestly believe I'd never have another chocolate chip cookie again. Or another yogurt. Each diet transgression made me feel an immense amount of guilt. I hid my binges from my family and friends, which made me feel even more isolated. I grew up genuinely believing I was a flawed person.
And this feeling of self-loathing ultimately spiraled into a place of not caring. So what if I was a size 20? I was going to eat that large pizza, damn it. I hid from the world for a while, buried in my apartment with my two cats and lots of empty pizza boxes. Until one day, I poked my head up out of the fog, took stock of my situation, and realized that I only have one life to live. I could spend it hiding from the world, weighed down by guilt and excess pounds. Or I could have the guts to lose the weight and show the world the real Katie.
...continued to next post...
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Friday, February 17, 2012
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
And I fell in love.