Eat More to Lose Weight, wait, what?
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Sometimes things aren't as straight-forward as they seem, and sometimes they are.
Over the years I've joined Weight Watchers, and every time I followed their plan I wouldn't use all my points and they'd tell me at the weekly meetings that I wasn't losing weight because I wasn't eating enough. I needed to eat more. MORE? Seriously? I'm huge, how can I need to eat more? This is SO counter intuitive. So, refusing to risk the rise in weight, I didn't eat more, and eventually I got frustrated at how hard I was trying without succeeding and I gave up. I thought it must be something else — the progesterone that caused me to gain the weight in the first place, or my PCOS making it harder for me to lose weight, or my age, genetics, some other external force at play. I refused to accept that I simply wasn't eating enough food.
Years later, still struggling with my weight, my doctor sent me to a Nutritionist and she had me keep a food diary. I religiously wrote everything down and turned it in and week after week she'd say the same thing, eat more! Phooey, I thought, if I eat more I will be bigger, not smaller. My gynecologists reminded me that "there were no fat people in Auschwitz (I know, how tacky is that?!) So, I went along keeping a tight hold on smaller, lighter portions and staying big. I recorded my food, but I worried about stepping at all outside of the box. It was a struggle. And it didn't work for me. I was stuck stubbornly at the same weight.
I've always been active, then I started working out, A LOT, every day, and I did lose weight. It was a struggle the whole time but slowly, slowly, the weight came off. It was tough to allot the time to work out, sometimes 4 hours a day. I trained for a marathon, I did a dozen half marathons, I joined boot camp, I did yoga, I hired a trainer, and did aqua aerobics and Zujmba, and swam and hiked. I lost over 70 pounds and it was a constant struggle to keep them off. Then for several months I couldn't work out at all and the weight came back like gangbusters, and it was depressing. And the less I was active, the more depressed I was, and the less I could fathom ever being active again. It was a stressful time, and while I was gaining weight by the truckload, I was living in the same house with my older sister, and my dad. I gained 10 pounds to each pound they gained. TEN POUNDS!
Recently, I started looking at things differently. I needed a way to find balance, and a pathway to being a normal sized person for the rest of my life? I started considering other options and seeing diet as a bigger factor...if it's all about exercise, then why aren't ALL inactive people obese? They why didn't my Dad and my Sister gain weight the same way that I did? Our activity, food intake and energy output was roughly equal, and we share the same genes, but something in my body chemistry doesn't work the same way theirs does. Neither of them has ever had a weight problem. I found this perplexing.
Recently I've been meeting with Pat Spencer, a registered dietitian and I've decided to let her call the shots, two of the biggies are: having me eat more :), and having me follow Dr. Peter D'Adamo's Blood Type Diet when choosing foods. It's been hard to eat more, but easy to choose foods that meet the criteria. I'm about 6 weeks into it and already I feel more energetic, I'm sleeping better and get this — I'm eating more AND I'm losing weight. My body is no longer in starvation mode and I'm down 12 pounds so far.
There's moderation in all things, this is not eating run amok, I'm not Godzilla grazing my way across Los Angeles. I'm following the calorie count Pat has established for me and I'm working to balance proteins, carbs, fiber, and so on. But this time I'm trying to meet ALL the requirements which includes drinking enough water (14-16 cups a day) and eating not only enough food, but also the right foods to properly fuel my body. Amazing, there's been so much less struggle involved. Now, onward and upward, adding a reasonable amount of physical activity to the mix...