Friday, October 27, 2006

The weekly weigh in

I'm proud that I'm losing weight. I really am. I'm actually enjoying the Weight Watchers program. It's easy to follow, well organized, logical, medically and nutritionally sound and allows for human nature. I'm not going hungry, I don't feel deprived, and I would recommend it for any adult dieter. However, I still hate dieting.

I hate the mental transformation I undergo when I'm dieting. Food becomes too important. Numbers become too important. I become both pleasantly and painfully obsessed. This week I couldn't stop thinking about I needed to tighten the straps on my bra and how the legs in my favorite pair of khaki slacks were getting noticeably big. I loved it. I also couldn't stop thinking about my double chin. At my thinnest and my heaviest weights, I've always had a double chin. Unless I opt for some plastic surgery, which is highly unlikely, I probably always will. Since I lose weight in my face first, I've noticed it getting smaller. That's good, but I've become consciously aware of it. I'll be going about my business, and suddenly that extra bit of flesh will get stuck in my mind, and my entire being seems focused between my neck and my face. There's a lot more to me than my chin, but those times it doesn't feel that way.

I can't stop thinking about food. It's one thing to plan your meals. I've been doing that for years, and I still don't find it an easy task. It's tedious and time consuming. However, planning out my meals ahead of time means that there's always something for breakfast in the fridge that I can just grab and eat in the car on the way to work, I have the ingredients I need for the dishes I want to prepare, and I stay within a budget. Those are some real benefits. Now though, every bit of food in the kitchen seems more important.

My first couple of weeks on the diet, all I changed was my portion control. I ate what I wanted within the recommended amounts. I did my tracking, writing down what and when I ate and making sure that I stayed within the daily recommendations. I learned what was dominating and lacking from my menu. The tracking let me see what changes I needed to make. They weren't hard. Honestly, fitting in enough healthy oil is my biggest challenge. Now though, I'm thinking about what I might miss if I don't plan for it. Just feeling like I can't be spontaneous about something as simple as a burger for lunch or a piece of chocolate on a bad afternoon makes me feel trapped. When I feel trapped, I get rebellious. On a diet, this has usually meant a binge, after which I feel like I've failed yet again, like I always have before, and thus always will, so why should I bother any way? This trap is more clever and cunning than it appears. Instead of lingering too long on a decision that should just take a moment, I open the door to the defeatist attitude which is one of the most dangerous aspects of depression.

Numbers are the big obsession. This week, I gained a little less than a pound. I expected this. A person can't lose as much weight as I did last week without the body making some accomodations. Add the hormonal cycle into the mix, and I knew that I would basically just hold my own even though I was still within the diet guidelines. Despite anticipating this and making mental preparations, it still got to me. Now, I think I've done great on this diet. My weight loss over six weeks is right over 21 pounds, which falls into the rapid loss range. I'm not shooting for rapid weight loss, although it's very common for truly large women to do this in the initial part of a diet. I want to make this work and get my weight and food intake to healthy levels that I can manage for the rest of my life. Part of me still wanted to hit a 25 pound loss though when I went to weigh. I wanted a milestone, and I'm dissapointed that I didn't get it, even though I know better. I'm a woman who's used to duality in my nature, but this is driving me nuts.

What I hate the most is feeling like my priorities are out of whack. I don't want my food, my body, my clothing and the bathroom scale to be the most important things in my life. I want to enjoy food. I want to enjoy and feel comfortable in my body. I want to care for and respect myself, but I don't want to be some superficial twit who can only think about her size and what she puts into her stomach, and that's what I feel like when I'm dieting.

So here is my challenge, to live healthily and eat consciously without letting it dominate my life. It took a long time for obesity to be recognized as an illness and not a character flaw. There are many people who still don't get that. Many people still don't recognize it as an eating disorder, but my experience tells me better than that. My mentality is warped around the same items that my daughter used to nearly eliminate herself from this planet. The curve of the warp is a bit different, but it's still the same flaw. My guilt is tremendous when I look at the pain she's experienced. I know how badly I taught her. She's doing so well, but I know that it's still a struggle, and this is one of the reasons why it's so important that I get this right.

It's difficult to explain how food is actually less important to me when I'm eating in the way that makes me fat than it is when I'm consciously trying to lose weight. However, the behaviors I use when dieting (thinking constantly about food and size) are those that are considered to lead to obesity. Irony doesn't fit well on a scientist's scale, and that may be why eating disorders are so damn hard to treat.


Blogger Donna said...

The think I MOST hate about diets is the knowing you can NEVER go back to eating whatsoever your heart desires, whenever you want. Yes, I can eat anything I want in moderation, once in a while. But I can't do it all the time.

That's hard.

I hate it.

October 27, 2006 9:32 PM  
Blogger silverlight said...

I know what you mean. When one is dieting -food-seems to rule one's life.
I so hate that too.
And then you always have to careful what you eat. ugh.

October 27, 2006 9:42 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Dieting is a whole different way of life. But the whole idea is to relearn how to eat. I did it for over two years. And I have to admit, I felt SO much better all the time when I ate the right stuff. I've fallen off the wagon the past few months, what with the stress and the cafe and all, but it's NOT making me happy. I've gained a bunch of weight (I'm too afraid to get on the scale) and I feel like crap. So I'm really envious of you that you are on the program.

October 27, 2006 11:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cynthia, congratulations on a beautifully honest, enlightening post and on your continuing successful weight loss! You're truly an inspiration and I admire you for it. (",)

I myself need to lose all the horrid post-pregnancy pounds I gained but I still need to summon the willpower to seriously do it. Maybe if I keep reading your blog, I'll finally get around to it! c",)

Stay sexy! :p

October 28, 2006 12:03 AM  
Blogger Virginia said...

"It's difficult to explain how food is actually less important to me when I'm eating in the way that makes me fat than it is when I'm consciously trying to lose weight. "

Acutally that makes total sense. I understand all to well finding a different relationship with food. I have a nerve in my back that sometimes acts up and somtimes feels numb, and I remember one of the serious consequences of the diabetes is nerve damage, and that becomes a great "incentivisor" to stay the course. It makes my goal very concrete.

So much of our social lives and reward mentality is centered on food. Its hard to change that focus.

Good work. Keep it up.

Peace, Virginia

October 28, 2006 7:27 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

Good for you. Dieting, or eating the right foods in the right proportions, is not easy. I am so in awe of Lisa who was able to follow WW and still has kept the weight off to this day! WW is more about life changes than weight change. I am very proud of you.

October 28, 2006 8:34 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

My comment got lost!! What is up with blogger!!! Anayway, I said I am so proud of you. WW is about life changes as well as weight change. No matter what, when we look good, we feel like a million dollars!

October 28, 2006 8:36 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

Dang it!!I look like a smuck! (Hahah....I am a smuck)

October 28, 2006 8:37 AM  
Blogger Debra said...

This is a wonderful post! I'm thinking that "trapped" feeling is part of the reason that WW didn't work for me.

At the moment, I'm working out regularly (I'm sore all the time) and doing the eat 300 calories every 3 hours routine. I'm tracking everything on FitDay. While early in the program I'm losing. When the timing becomes instilled, I'll concentrate on eating more veggies.

October 28, 2006 9:13 AM  
Blogger Shelina said...

I fully understand not wanting to obsess about food. I haven't joined a program, but have been trying to keep myself otherwise occupied so I won't watch so much tv - which is when I eat the most. Also gave up soft drinks. Exercising more. I know when I did this before, I was impressed at how EASY it was, even though, it seems so hard when I don't have the momentum going. I don't have the momentum now, so I am trying to get back to that place. I tried to remember what I did when I wasn't heavy, and I think I just ate when I was hungry. No, what if I get hungry later, but before the meeting is over. I think the harder I try not to obsess about food, the more I do it.

October 28, 2006 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh smart woman !
I worked for ww for years!..
I have every cookbook they ever came out with ..
so if you need a recipe..let me know!

October 29, 2006 4:57 PM  

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