Saturday, July 23, 2011
I've decided to be goofy and say I'm not on a diet, I'm on a LIVE IT! :-P It shouldn't get to me but sometimes it really bothers me when I see friends self-righteously depriving themselves and giving me unsolicited advice and labeling foods as BAD thus making ME "bad" when I eat those foods around them. And I find myself holding back not saying things about what I consider THEIR crazy-making eating rules but I find myself thinking about other people's food. I eat over at a friend's house and she's stripping all the toppings off her pizza to wipe off the grease and only having ONE slice and talking about being careful and watching her weight, which is MUCH less than my weight. And I'm having 2 slices of pizza because I'm hungry and that's my food plan, and I find myself noticing she goes back after dinner and has a granola bar and banana and part of me is thinking "that's about 300 calories right there, roughly the same as the thin crust pizza, why does she feel like it's so WRONG to just have those calories as a second slice?"
So why DOES it matter so much emotionally when my food choices are judged as wrong? Does it matter where our similar calorie count is coming from? Is it better to have an approach that takes into account the whole day of food and eat 300 calories as cake or ice cream when I'm short on carbs or fat for the day? How do I work on NOT feeling bad or frustrated when eating around someone who has black and white health judgement calls on various types of foods? I feel like I've finally figured out something that's working for me for weight loss, I think some of my plateaus and weight re-gains in the past were due to UNDER eating when I was guesstimating I had covered my 1200 calorie minimum and I really WAS going into Starvation Mode and hanging onto every calorie I could. I think I wasn't having enough fruits and veggies a day so that's another thing that for me is a Big Deal right now. So my food approach is be sure I've covered my calories for the day, try to meet the balance ratio and minimums of proteins and fats, eat more than 120 grams of carbs a day so I don't go into ketosis (though that was how I lost my 70 pounds originally) and get LOTS of fruits and veggies even when I don't feel like it when I'm first thinking of a breakfast/lunch/snack.
I feel I've had WAY too much deprivation in relation to food in my lifetime and an Inclusive instead of Excluding approach helps me emotionally. So even when they don't SAY "you shouldn't be eating that!" the LOOKS and attitudes hurt and put me on the defensive inside. I sometimes wish I could say "I CAN have cake, it's WORKING for me!" or "with the salad dressing, cheese, croutons, processed meats, olives, and avocados your salad has more calories than my 2 slices of pizza, do you even REALIZE that?!" I'm biting back my reactions to unsolicited advice AND fighting the urge to give it myself! Why can't we just share food together and enjoy it and each others company without all this emotional baggage and judging and frustration floating around?
Some people I've been around don't want me to eat sugar (this was my father's big health thing all through my childhood, starting in the hospital when I was born and he refused to let them give me glucose), some don't want me to eat ANY kind of fat EVER, some don't want me eating anything artificial, some think I should be replacing meals with smoothies and eating nothing but chicken breast and steamed veggies for dinner, some have super magical cabbage soup or teas that would work if I just TRIED them... it goes on, and keeps going on. I've tried a lot of different eating and food styles/plans/diets throughout my life starting in childhood dealing with various family allergies, especially when my mother went through a phase where she seemed to be allergic to EVERY SINGLE FOOD except zuchinni squash so she would rotate foods trying to only have "1 bloating food, 1 itching food, 1 headache food" etc. each day and still get enough nutrition to survive on! We had a phase where steamed parsley was served by the 1/2 cup for our serving of green leafy vegetable. We had a phase where we went entirely vegetarian for 2 years and the whole family got sick and we had to go back to eggs, dairy, and fish again for health and sanity. I went through college feeling out of control of my eating and food not because I was out of the house and getting to finally make my own food plans but because I was too poor to afford to feed myself decently on $20 a month and was eating free lunches at student centers 3 days a week and free food from friends any time it was offered.
I'm still recovering from Health Food Overload of childhood and Junk Food Deprivation, plus Fear of Starvation and Fear of Getting Fat. A part of me is still the kid who stopped eating butter for 8 years because I was being told by my family I was too fat. A part of me is still the kid who was hurt when food was snatched off my plate by my mother and little brother because I was getting fat. A part of me is still the nursing baby who was pulled away from my mother and put down while still hungry because "that's enough for you, the Dr says you're getting fat!" So I know this runs deep, it's not going to magically go away. I may always have an emotional need to have the ever so slightly largest piece of any dish that's cut or divided into portions. I may always have the lurking fear that if I don't eat ALL of the food on my plate NOW it won't be there later, or this is my only chance to have this particular food EVER.
The one time in my life I was actually THIN was after my body seriously malfunctioned and my right ovary turned into an Eight Pound Cyst that was still expanding when they had to do exploratory surgery on me to even discover exactly what it was that was happening inside me. I was 20 and suddenly went from my "overweight" 136 pounds that I'd been since I was 14 to 112 pounds that week. That was scary to me, my wrists and elbows and shoulders seemed to stick way out, ribs and hipbones stuck out, I was really BOTHERED by having no breasts anymore and going back to training bras. And I suddenly felt FREE of the fear of getting fat, I knew I WANTED to get back to where I felt I was a healthy weight for me, which was about 10 to 15 pounds "overweight" on the height/weight charts. I ate butter! I enjoyed food without WORRYING about it too much, I ate till I was full and put away leftovers for later! I had a foot long scar from my ribcage to pelvis but I was happy with my body while getting back to and maintaining my weight, and for the first time in my life my belly and abdomen lay FLAT when I was lying down, which makes me think my ovarian cyst may have been around for YEARS before it was suddenly expanding hugely.
I wasn't fat again till I got suddenly REALLY sick just all the time and was bedridden with new mystery pains and constant colds for about 2 years and gained 130 pounds super fast while only eating 1400-1800 calories a day, I couldn't understand it and it was REALLY frustrating. I was scared by how fast the weight piled on, it felt like nothing I did stopped it, I tried diets with cabbage soup and the meal replacement powders and all those things friends who give diet advice told me to try. I went from being able to walk all over college campus all day long and dance for 4 hours at a time to having trouble even making it from bedroom to bathroom because of the pain. I didn't get bad health conditions caused by being fat, I got fat because of undiagnosed untreated health conditions and I felt hurt and angry because it just kept HAPPENING in spite of anything I tried.
After the pains turned to levels and cycles I could cope with somewhat I tried a variation of a very low carb diet and lost 70 pounds, but I was going crazy eating that way for so long and then I had to have surgery to remove a lump in my left breast and that seemed to reset my metabolism or something because the low carb diet just STOPPED working at that point. I'd made it down to 202 pounds and was upset I was SO close to finally being under 200 again but never made it. I figured since the low carb didn't work anymore I'd just try to maintain weight but then we moved and once again I wasn't in control of my food options because of finances and always being at my friends house and eating with her. We got food from the local food bank and my cooking was all from that with very little to supplement it. With lots of free loaves of bread I made lots of high carb food to survive on. And I regained about 40 pounds over the next few years and had been fighting up and down the same 20 pounds or so till I found this site this June.
So my approach here has been hesitant to trust it's working, but it seems to be, even though every plateau I hit has me scared that this is where it stops and I'll just have to live at X weight because following all the rules and guidelines and sticking with "the program" has fallen out from under me before. I set my goal weight at 200 because that will be a big emotional breakthrough for me and even though I'll still have more to go that seemed like a reasonable goal to start with. If things keep working I hope to meet my goal by Christmas this year if not before. I hope they keep working because I'm really loving this fruits and veggies and getting to eat cake life I'm living now!