Wednesday, November 25, 2009
This is a sort of reverse mentality blog. Eating more is not the type of advice we usually read when we are trying to lose weight. But, I have been working hard to find some solid advice regarding the starvation mode and I wanted to share what I learned.
I have always struggled with weight. I am just not a small person and in a world that idolizes the "perfect" body, I have struggled with weight and image issues since I was 12 years old.
That was the age of my first diet.... or should I say the age I learned how to starve my body into a smaller jean size. From that time on, I have been on a perpetual roller coaster.... an up and down battle between myself and the scale. I learned that I had no self control and that if I just cut out another meal or food item, I could lose weight.... until I gained it back because my body was screaming for nutrition and I couldn't fight this call so I answered it instead with an all out binge.
Over the years, I have become very good at resisting temptation and denying myself food. Why, then, so many ask can you be so heavy? Why can't you lose weight? We see you out walking, jogging, or biking? You must be eating too much at some time... surely a closet foody. One man even said..... air must have a lot of calories in your world.
So..... I would go back to the drawing board.... exercise more, eat less. Fatigued and feeling crazy, I cycled back and forth between starvation and then giving up... not caring.... eating what I wanted, whenever I wanted because it didn't matter how hard I tried. I had no idea what I was doing to my body.
Struggling again..... determined more than ever to lose this weight, and armed with all of the Spark People tools and support, I am once again on the weight loss trail. Between early July and mid-November, however, I had lost only eight pounds. This with walking or jogging 5-6 days per week (4 miles in under an hour) and eating 1200 calories with honest and close tracking.
I have been so perplexed so I began researching. I have researched and researched and I finally discovered an article written by a trainer about "Undereaters". This trainer reports how puzzled he had been by women who came in to his weight training facility, worked out very hard (seemingly following all of the rules) and ate very little. In spite of their efforts and the trainers support, these women were unable to drop weight.
He tells that he learned that these women ate around 700 -800 calories per day.... just above starvation. They often skipped breakfast and lunch, eating very little during the day and then finishing with a normal evening meal. When I read this article, my name was written all over it.
The trainer explained that the body doesn't care if we lose weight. If it thinks it is starving, it will slow the metabolism and store fat in the effort to remain alive. He recommended that in such a case, calories should be upped and spread throughout the day with 5 to 6 small meals. He also suggested eating more in the morning and ending with a smaller meal in the evening. He did say that one might gain weight upon initially adding calories but to hang in there, trust the process and continue exercising. His best line in the article, in my honest opinion, was that many of us give up about a yard short of finding success.
I decided I had nothing to lose so I followed his advice. It is early in the game for me but for the first time in over a month and 1/2, I have dropped weight... about 4 pounds in the last two weeks.
I cannot find the article..... I wanted to make it available on this blog but so far I have not been able to relocate it. Perhaps someone out there knows the one I am talking about and will share.
I am, at least, hopeful again that I can do this.