I have decided to switch gears a bit, at least for now. Some years ago, I read a Christian book by Gwen Shamblin entitled "The Weigh Down Diet". The principles of this book, which I will talk a little about in a moment, have always rung true for me, and I lost nearly 100lbs. at one point while practicing them. At some point, I let my love and desire for an excess of food overtake my desire to honor God, and now find myself back at square one! But alas, I am still here, and still learning how to have lasting success at this long journey we all share....
I would like to preface the following principles with the statement that I know there are several ways to lose weight, and many of them are the "right" way. The goal, then, would be finding the way that's "right" for you as an individual. Facts are facts. Ultimately, we all need to find a way to take in less calories than we expend. There is really no other way to lose weight. The difference, then, lies in how we each succeed in taking in less!
I personally, and many will relate, have had a long time love affair with fried, salty, and cheesy foods. (I certainly have my moments when I can overdo sweets, too, don't get me wrong!LOL!)
Ms. Shamblin wrote, "The root of the problem is not the food ingredients, but how much volume is going down the old hatch(our esophagus)! And, indeed, we consumers have wanted the food industry to take the fat out of the Twinkie so that we can simply eat more Twinkies. Changing the food but not changing the volume of what is swallowed will leave us on a roller coaster of weight loss and weight gain."
And that's where I live! On that roller coaster. I want off this ride!
Ms. Shamblin also wrote, "I knew no end to fullness, and I tried throwing up my food after a binge but was not coordinated enough. The endless cycle of diets/exercise and weight loss/gain was deeply entrenched by now. I loved to eat and eat and eat. Although it felt good to stuff myself, I felt enslaved."
"I just did not buy the idea that all overweight was a result of genetics or was inherited. Making the food behave by dieting did not add up, either. It never explained how my grandparents were at their right weight while eating bacon and eggs every day. In fact, they had never heard of light cream cheese and skim milk. They had the best of the best coconut cakes, homemade ice cream, and pecan pies.Fried chicken and bread and butter were not condemned. Food was enjoyed, and diets and exercise were never a part of the conversation. "
Gwen Shamblin earned degrees in nutrition science and dietetics. She expresses here that she found something missing in the way of modern thinking about food and dieting.
Back to Gwen... "My studies kept me up-to-date on efforts to change the food content and on the dangers of too much fat and too much sugar. We touched the edge of behavioral approaches to weight loss, and I felt as if that was much closer to the answer than the study of food content. However, parking my car in a more distant parking lot and putting my fork down between bites did not stop the desire in my heart to continue chewing through the refrigerator and pantry contents at 10 o'clock at night."
"Why have skinny people not been a resource for overweight people over the years? ... I asked my skinny friend if I could just watch her and write down what she ate in the next 48 hours.... The first eating occasion she had for the day was at noon at McDonald's. I had already eaten my whole Big Mac, large fries, and milk shake, and was nursing a diet drink. She was still working on the first half of a quarter-pound hamburger! Then she did something strange; she started to rewrap the second half of her hamburger. I was astounded. I tried asking her what she was doing. She said, 'I don't want any more.' So I asked the next obvious questions: 'Are you sick?' and 'Are you sure you are from this planet?' She said that she was not sick and that she was from Tennessee. I asked her to please tell me what she was thinking. How could she throw away food from McDonald's? You see, not only could I eat my Big Mac, large fries, and milk shake, but I could eat her Quarter Pounder as well. And I really wanted the food from the people at the table next to me, but I was too polite to ask for it."
Can anyone relate to this? I sure can!! So what did she do...?
Ms. Shamblin: "My thin-eating friend was never able to tell me why she could stop in the middle of the hamburger. That untold secret was going to prove to be the missing key to the great mystery of permanent weight loss. Within any 48 hour period, my skinny friend did not eat as much as I ate. She might have eaten a lot at one meal and then skipped the next one. Over the entire period, she ate smaller amounts of food. I just starting imitating this fascinating behavior she displayed-not knowing how I was doing it. I lost my excess weight... I (ate) everything I was hungry for, but ONLY when I was hungry."
"I realized that I could stop in the middle of a hamburger and I, like my friend back in college, still did not know how in the world I did it. I also knew that I would never be overweight again."
All this insight in the first chapter!!! The book goes on, basically, to explain that we all have two holes in our body. A hole in our stomach, and a hole in our heart. Only one requires food to be filled. Unfortunately, we fill them both with food, and lots of it! Gwen explains that when we can fill our empty hearts with what they need, healing and ultimately God, then we no longer have to fill them with food, which does no good, anyway!
It has helped me to realize that I can eat whatever food I want, as long as I'm paying attention to the signals of 'hunger' and 'fullness' that God perfectly designed for my body. How many times have I ignored the fact that I'm full, simply because I loved the food and didn't want to stop eating it?!? It's good to remember that the food will always be there when I'm hungry again. My body, due to it's excess fat stores, does not need large meals at all. When I can manage to eat only when I'm hungry, and stop when I feel satisified, I take in about 2/3-3/4 less food than normal! I have spent so much time longing for the "forbidden" foods that were evil, that now those foods that are healthy and "righteous" are the absolute LAST thing I want to put in my mouth. I rebell at the idea of salad, fruit, and grilled chicken. When I allow myself to choose what my body is craving, within the boundaries of hunger and fullness, I feel happier and more in control.
So.... all of this to say, I'm going to approach this journey of mine this way, for now. Perhaps I will go back to logging my food at some later date, but for now, I cannot handle the mental and emotional commitment that "dieting" takes out of me! For all those who've been in this thing with me through thick and thin (you know who you are!!!), I love you. May each of our unique strategies bring us success in this walk!