Wednesday, August 01, 2012
I have been dieting since my thirties when I gave up smoking. Always the weight I managed to loose in the summer went back on in the winter, and always the diet that was so successful once, I couldn't get back into, couldn't cope with the restrictions. This time has been different. I did put some weight back on, but nothing like back to my highest. So just to remind myself, and to try to quantify the things that have changed, I thought I would try to put it into words.
I was a thin child, and a thin young adult. When I was in secondary school, I was always first sitting at dinners, which meant we were expected to eat quickly and get out, so that the second sitting could have theirs, also we were not allowed to leave anything. Someone would stand over us till the plate was empty. Then when I married, although I was always last to sit down, I was expected to finish my meal first, to get everyone else their dessert. This meant I was always a very fast eater, and my husband would not have anything wasted, so I got into the habit of eating leftovers myself, so that I would not get shouted at.
This has changed. Now I eat slowly, enjoying every mouthful to the full. I take small mouthfuls and put my knife and fork down between them. This allows me to register when I'm full. I always put plenty on my plate, I track calories roughly, but don't worry too much as I rarely finish the lot and having plenty makes me feel that my portion is under my control, not that of my calorie allowance.. I make a point of binning something.
I could never stick to diets. Mustn't eat this, can't eat that, and my husband checking every mouthful, you shouldn't be eating that! That's too much, no wonder you're so fat! Well I'm a widow now, and responsible for myself. I eat whatever I fancy, but in smaller amounts and less often for high calorie foods. If I fancy a sausage roll, or trifle, I have it instead of a main meal, not to be done all the time but fine now and again. Now my diet doesn't control me, I control it.
When you are given a calorie range to keep within, you feel guilty and a failure if you don't manage to stick to it. I have changed that. A normal maintainance amount is 2000 calories, so that, now, is my upper allowance. Also I add it up over a week, so if I'm over one day, and under another, it averages out. That works much better for me.
I check my progress by my tight trousers, if they're getting looser I'm doing something right! Better than hopping on an off the scales, standing on one leg, obsessing about the numbers. It IS only a number, it's how my clothes fit that matters.
All these things have changed. I used to be defined by my weight. Always the fattest person in the group, always the last on a walk, I still am, but I refuse to be embarrassed, or ashamed by that. I am as I am, it's my business, nothing to do with anyone else.
I hope I can remember all these things when the dark days, both physically and mentally, return. I weigh less now than last summer, just have to keep things in perspective.